Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Find out more about Neighbourhood Planning

The draft Core Strategy says that over the next few years local communities in the rural areas should decide how their communities should accommodate new development through Neighbourhood Planning. If you would like to get involved in preparing a Neighbourhood Plan for your area, you might like to attend a workshop being run by CPRE Avonside:

Supporting Communities and Neighbourhoods in Planning 
Monday 27th February 2012, 6.30—9.30
The Charter Suite, Chipping Sodbury Town Hall
Free but booking is required

CPRE Avonside say:
The workshop will help you to understand how local communities can have a stronger voice in local planning, to encourage the development that they need and to help protect their area from inappropriate development. There will be speakers from CPRE and South Gloucestershire Council, with plenty of time for questions and discussion. If you want to know more about how to have a voice on planning for your area, please contact us and come along to your local workshop.
For more information or to book a place, please contact:
Joe Evans, CPRE Avonside
07854 741130

Appeal against refusal of extended hours at Ram Hill Business Park

Last July, the planning committee refused applications to extend the working hours at Ram Hill Business Park. The owners have now appealed against this decision.

Any comments made on the original planning applications will be passed on to the planning inspector who will decide the appeals. If you have any new information, you have until 23rd February to make representations.

Details of the appeals are on the South Glos website. Select "Appeals" and search for the following references: 12/00004/COND, 12/00002/REFUS and 12/00003/REFUS. You can view the appeals and make comments on the Planning Portal:

http://www.pcs.planningportal.gov.uk/pcsportal/ViewCase.asp?caseid=2168260&coid=2166976 (lead case)

Monday, 30 January 2012

Commenting on the rural policies in the Core Strategy

If you have found the recent advice in the Coalpit Heath and Frampton Cotterell Focus unclear or live in one of the other parts of the Ladden-Frome area, we hope the following will help you to comment on the draft South Glos Core Strategy.

Why comment?

The Core Strategy is the planning blueprint for South Glos for the next 15 years. As well as allocating land for new development, such as the land to the north of Yate, it also contains policies for dealing with potential development on other land in the rural areas. In the spring, a planning inspector will consider the draft Core Strategy at an Examination in Public. Developers will no doubt be challenging the approach South Glos have taken.You have until 17th February to show the inspector your support for the policies for the rural areas.

Viewing the Core Strategy

On the South Glos website, there is a page introducing the latest draft of the Core Strategy. Under "How to view the documents" click on the first link, "December 2011 Core Strategy incorporating Post-Submission Changes". This will open up the Core Strategy.  Alternatively you can click here to go straight to it.

Finding the relevant sections

Most software for viewing PDFs will allow you to go quickly to a particular page rather than having to scroll through the whole document. Unfortunately the pages of the PDF don't match the numbers printed on the pages. In the following instructions, we first give the number as printed on the page and then in brackets the number to enter into the page finder in your PDF reader to go to that page.
If you are concerned about potential developments in the rural areas, such as at Engine Common or Woodlands Farm, the most relevant paragraphs are:
  • "Paragraph 4.1", which describes the vision for the future of South Gloucestershire, is actually several paragraphs in a box that goes on for three pages. It starts on the page numbered 21. (If you want to find it quickly using the page finder in your PDF reader, it is page 26 of the PDF). To find the part relevant to the rural areas, scroll down to the final point, on the page numbered 23, which starts "The rural areas will continue to be...". 
  • Paragraph 4.27 and 4.28 are on the page numbered 33 (if using the page finder go to page 38). They set out the vision for rural areas such as Frampton Cotterell & Coalpit Heath. 
  • The commitment to empowering local communities to shape the future of their communities through Neighbourhood Planning is in paragraph 16.3a on the page numbered 192 (use the page finder to go to page 197). 
  • The vision for the rural areas is set out in the next paragraph, 16.3 and the policy for the Rural Areas, CS34, follows in paragraph 16.4. 
  • Paragraph 16.8 on the page numbered 195 talks about how housing development will be handled in the rural areas in the first 5 years of the Core Strategy. 
It is important that you confirm your support for all these paragraphs if you agree with them and say why.

How to make comments

You can make comments online, by email to planningLDF@southglos.gov.uk or by writing to Strategic Planning Policy and Specialist Advice Team, South Glos Council, PO Box 2081, South Glos BS35 9BP.

St Saviour's Church Hall improvements

This weekend St Saviour's Church Hall was opened up to the public so people could see the improvements they have made and find out more about their plans for the future.

A new, lower insulated ceiling has been installed in the main hall, to cut heating bills and keep the room warmer. The side room, used by a toddler group among others, has new carpet, cupboards and blinds. This was partly funded by some of the money allocated to Westerleigh ward from the balance left when the council houses were transferred to Merlin. They are still fundraising for further improvements.

Westerleigh councillor Claire Young also had a chance to see the newly serviced clock mechanism in the tower. The Frome Vale Area Forum made a small contribution towards this project.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Plans for chemical dosing kiosk at Kidney Hill

Claire Young with the temporary dosing tank
Wessex Water has applied for planning permission for a permanent chemical dosing kiosk at Kidney Hill. This will replace the temporary solution that was put in place at the end of 2010 to stop bad odours in the vicinity of Broad Lane caused by sewage in the rising main. You can view the plans and make comments on the South Glos website.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Residents say "No" to Barratts

Barratts got a resounding message from residents on Monday when they held an invite-only “stakeholder workshop” as part of their preparations for submitting a planning application for the land at Woodlands Farm, Coalpit Heath.

Barratts are proposing to build 420 homes with a local centre and shop. Possible accesses to the site could be off Park Lane and/or Badminton Road or through The Meads development.

Claire Young and Pat & Dave Hockey attended the site walkabout (pictured) and the first part of the workshop to find out what is proposed and to listen to the views of the residents who attended. We made it very clear to Barratts that by doing this we were in no way endorsing any application for this site. Over the past year, we have made sure that the Woodlands site was not included in South Glos Council’s planning blueprint for 2012-2026, the Core Strategy. “This area is left in the plan as open countryside as we know only too well that this is what local people want,” said Pat Hockey.  

Every single resident at the workshop opposed development at Woodlands Farm and made it clear to Barratts that they value living in a village. They highlighted concerns including the loss of countryside, the impact on roads, drainage problems and pressure on local services such as schools and doctors.

Westerleigh ward councillor Claire Young said, “I am disappointed that Barratts are jumping the gun in this way. The Council’s Core Strategy says that communities should shape development in their villages through Neighbourhood Planning. It is local residents and businesses, not the developers, who should be in the driving seat.”

“Unfortunately the workshop was poorly handled. Local people were rightly unhappy at the short notice given, especially for an event being held on a weekday when many of them had to be at work. It was unwise to invite only immediate neighbours and local councillors without telling other residents when they will be able to find out about the plans.”

“The site is in Westerleigh Parish and stretches down to Badminton Road in Coalpit Heath. Despite this their brochure refers to Frampton Cotterell throughout and they chose to hold the workshop in the public building in Frampton Cotterell Parish furthest away from the site, even though there are a three community halls close to the site in Coalpit Heath."

Barratts have now promised to talk to Westerleigh Parish Council about holding a further workshop in Coalpit Heath and they say there will be an exhibition open to all members of the public in the spring. We will keep you updated through Focus and this blog.

What can you do now?

Monday, 16 January 2012

Temporary traffic lights in Coalpit Heath

There will be temporary traffic lights from Tuesday 17th - Thursday 19th January at the Badminton Road/Station road junction, Coalpit Heath (Coalpit Heath). This is to allow access to a BT box in the carriageway.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Beat the school application deadline

If your child was born between 1 2007 and 31 August 2008 you only have until midnight this Sunday (15 January) to apply for their school place for this September. The easiest way to make sure your application arrives in time is to apply online. You can call 01454 868008 for further advice and support.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Box Hedge Farm and Wessex Water applications approved

Yesterday the planning committee approved applications for outdoor activities at Box Hedge Farm and a Wessex Water sewage holding tank in a Badminton Road layby.

Westerleigh Councillor Claire Young reminded the committee of residents' concerns about noise and dust, highway safety and safety issues associated with the activities proposed in the Box Hedge Farm application. The committee had a lengthy debate on highways issues and some members were concerned that there still wasn't sufficient information about the passing spaces. However Pat Hockey's motion to defer the application again, so that the information could be provided, was defeated 8-3 with two abstentions and a motion to approve the application was then passed with the votes reversed.

The Wessex Water application had been deferred from the last meeting so that the committee could visit the site. After their visit, they asked for landscaping plans and last week Wessex submitted new plans and a photo montage in which the verge was restored to a gentle slope, as it is now, rather than a sudden drop and then a flat area. Claire explained that residents were happy with the revised scheme but officers were concerned that the plans did not show what was being described. The committee approved the application with a revised landscaping condition which should allow Wessex to landscape the site as the residents wish. The scheme is intended to stop sewage flooding in houses in Vicarage Road.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Have your say on revised planning blueprint

February 17th is the closing date for any comments on the strategic planning proposals for South Glos up to 2027. These are contained in the Draft Core Strategy published by SGC at the end of December. Copies are in Libraries and One Stop Shops or they can be viewed online.

The story so far

The Government Planning Inspector appointed to consider the Core Strategy postponed the Public Inquiry scheduled for October to allow the Council to reconsider the number of homes it was proposing, justify the Green Belt boundaries and put forward proposals for Filton Airfield in the light of the BAE’s intention to close it.

In response to this the Council is now accepting 22,340 new homes should be built instead of 18,150. These extra homes would be accommodated on Filton Airfield, land that would have been too close to an operational airfield and on a further release of Green Belt land at Cribbs Causeway. Further employment is also proposed in these areas. With the 4,060 homes already completed since 2006, this would make a total of 26,400 new homes in the period 2006-2026 and beyond.

How does this affect our area?

It is hoped that these proposals will satisfy the Inspector and that he will accept that there should not be any addition to the 3,000 homes proposed for Yate, any loss of Green Belt beyond the motorways or any changes to the proposals for the Rural Areas. The current proposals for the Rural Areas would mean that local communities would have the opportunity over the next 5 years to come forward with proposals for where they consider any further development to meet local needs should be accommodated.

We already know that Barratts are unlikely to accept this and are likely to be proposing over 400 houses in Coalpit Heath. We also know that Bloor Homes & Sydney Freed Holdings are preparing plans for hundreds of homes and some office development at Engine Common.

What can you do?

You can view the Post Submission Draft Core Strategy either on line or see a hard copy available at libraries and the Council’s One Stop Shops. Turn to Appendix 2 where you will find:
  • The Vision for the Rural Areas is the last point of paragraph 4.1 on page 23 and 4.27 and 4.28 on page 33.
  • The commitment to empowering local communities to shape the future of their communities through Neighbourhood Planning is paragraph 16.32 followed by the Vision on page 192 with the  policy for the Rural Areas, CS34 on page 193 followed up in paragraph 16.8.
 If you feel they should be supported then you should take the opportunity to respond to the consultation before 17th February.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Get ready for the Big Spring Clean

Would you or a group you belong to like to help clean up our local area this spring? The South Gloucestershire BIG Spring Clean 2012 runs from 1 March – 30 April and this year will be part of the national Love Where You Live campaign.

Free gloves, refuse sacks, litter pickers and hoops are on offer to groups who organise a community BIG Spring Clean event. The council will also arrange to collect all the litter you pick up as long as it is bagged and pick up locations are agreed in advance. Skips are also available where needed and for the first time you will be able to order separate bags for recycling cans and plastic bottles.

You can find out more and register for your supplies online - the deadline for registration is 24th February. You might also like to register your event on the Love Where You Live website, where you can also access useful resources.