With thanks to Laurence Parsons and others for these notes from the meeting.
In attendance were representatives from CEG, Bloor Homes, Barratt Homes, Hill House Farm, Charfield Parish Council, South Gloucestershire Council Planners, Charfield Ward Member, Charfield Primary School, Charfield Memorial Hall and Playing Fields, Fighting for Charfield and the Charfield Neighbourhood Plan group.
1. JSP inspection may now be the first two weeks of July, followed by individual days in September for each location. Then 3-4 months for the Inspectors to write-up their findings, so probably Spring 2020 before the councils get to vote for adoption (if the inspectors don’t throw it out – which we hope they will).
2. Hill House Farm have announced that they propose to apply to build around 120 houses on their site (South of Crest Nicholson) as part of the JSP. This was termed “phase 1”, comprising around 20 acres. They were less forthcoming about “phases 2+” but indicated that they have 140 acres of developable land and may wish to see as much as 500 houses.
This is entirely speculative at the moment. They were also keen to stress that 70% of these houses would be “affordable” and “priority given to existing Charfield residents or their children”. They also implied that they may be able to provide space for additional sports pitches or a school or a railway station car park.
Note that the JSP proposes 1200 houses, so some developers may not get as much as they planned. There are also significant access issues with even Phase 1 (use of Station Road) although they assure us they have robust plans to allow traffic flow.
3. CEG’s planning application has now been submitted to S.Glos (900 houses with a 2FE school, 950 without). They confirmed that they are not expecting determination before the JSP resolves.
4. Barratt expect to start building within a few months. They were advised of the Neighbourhood Plan draft CEMP policies (these are intended to enforce wheel washing, times of deliveries, and that sort of thing) and asked to ensure “we don’t have the same mess that we had with Bellway”.
They also revealed that their “10m wildlife buffer zones” actually consisted of 5m of actual hedge/greenery and 5m of tarmac/block paving parking areas. Nobody seemed impressed by that.
5. Bloor are aiming to submit their planning application in June. This will be a hybrid application with around 100 units in the full application and the rest in outline. They also confirmed that they are not expecting determination until after the JSP.
6. The Primary School stated that they are currently full (technically, they have 6 spaces, but they are also over capacity in two classes). CEG restated that they are happy to build a new 2FE school; the council and school reiterated that they will need a 3FE school. No resolution.
7. The Neighbourhood Plan team announced that they hope to go public with their draft Plan in the early summer. It would be good to get this done and on the books soon.
It was also announced that at the last CNP meeting, a villager had proposed a “Southern Charfield Relief Road”, to go from the roundabout at the top of the hill, through the CEG site, crossing the railway line, and on to the Renishaw roundabout. This would relieve traffic on Wotton Road. Whilst this is very much at the “what if” stage, and there are many hurdles to cross, the idea was thought to have some merit.
8. The Greenway group now have a phase 1 feasibility study, to go to the relevant landowners first, for feedback/reaction, before being made public. They were also invited to the next CNP meeting (April 2nd) to discuss how this might be referenced in the Neighbourhood Plan.
9. Discussions on the infrastructure that should be provided by developers included contributions toward improvements at the Memorial Hall and Playing Field. This would not remove obligations for provision of new additional sports facilities or other community provision, but would offer some mitigation in the early years before school, community centre and additional pitches etc were built.
10. There were discussions on access from CEG site into existing estates. While access for vehicle traffic was definitely not wanted, an improvement to the pedestrian access at Hawthorn Close / Woodlands Road linking into the CEG site for pedestrian access only would especially benefit school children attending the existing and or future school. Discussions continue post meeting between CEG and the Ward Member.