Meeting Wednesday June 20th at Charfield Memorial Hall Sports Lounge
Present: Mark Rosher, David Lines, John O’Neill, Pat Jones*, Laurence Parsons, Maurice Buchanan*, Ruth Buchanan*, Marcus Whawell, John Gregory
Apologies: Sue Simmons, Judith Law, Alex Threlfall, Judy Drinkwater, Ruth Balloch
* Indicates new CNP attendees following the recent Fighting For Charfield call for volunteers
- Following Yvette’s decision to step down as she was leaving the village, Mark offered to step down as Chair if anyone else wished to take on a greater role. It was agreed unanimously that as Mark had such a wide knowledge of the Neighbourhood Plan he should maintain this position.
- Mark gave a history of the CNP to date and explained that it had been variably active since its establishment (following the Gladman now Crest Nicholson application). He went on to explain that the subsequent creation of the West of England Combined Authority and the development of the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) had forced the newly adopted South Gloucestershire Local Plan to be re-written, and that any Charfield Neighbourhood Plan had to align with both hierarchical documents. This had caused the CNP to stall, but in the event of the JSP being adopted, or not, there was now opportunity to shape the development of Charfield into the future.
- Everyone introduced themselves.
- John O’Neill (JO) explained a lot needed to be sorted out in the village if the JSP was adopted including roads primarily Wotton Road, the school, railway station and infrastructure as a whole. South Glos Council suggests that infrastructure will come “in tandem” with development and not before.
- There was a reiteration that the CNP is here to help design the village if the JSP does decide that Charfield can take on new housing. Or possibly even help design the village if the JSP is declined and then we are attacked by speculative developers, who push for their development on the basis of SGC having no five year housing land supply.
- Laurence highlighted that there remained a need to engage and enthuse the village to get more involved in the CNP, as many residents still seem surprised at the level of development proposed even after so many meetings/leaflets/social media notices.
- Pat raised the concerns she has around pollution and the wider health issues this has on the population in Charfield. JO explained that SGC is undertaking air quality surveys, but as this has only recently begun, the data can only be used as a base figure for future comparisons. JO explained it was perceived to be particularly bad near the school due to stationary traffic at the pedestrian lights.
- Mark raised discussion points on how traffic pollution might be mitigated or reduced, including calling for charging points in the village for electric vehicles. There was a suggestion that developers might offer a charging point and assert they had met the needs for combatting pollution, and this should be addressed in the CNP to reiterate the problems (and not only pollution) that additional vehicle movements would cause and to establish greater mitigation.
- John Gregory (JG) asked what measures could be put in place for the so called “Wotton Road Improvements”. Mark said that the railway bridge is the key financial issue but is the responsibility of Network Rail and the quotes seen by SGC have varied between £5 and £20m for a new station and upgraded bridge. Money they may not have available in the next few spending rounds.
- A congestion charge was raised but discounted as it would also impact upon residents.
- JO explained that the developers have suggested chicanes, which ironically were removed from Wotton Road about 20years ago due to queues of traffic when Renishaw expanded.
- Mark suggested it could be possible to put in the plan that all new roads meeting Wotton Road should have a roundabout junction to allow easier traffic flow onto Wotton Road. JO also suggested controlled junctions (traffic lights).
- The idea of shared space where there is no differential between the pavements, roads etc with less signage and white lines but more zebra crossings has resulted in slower traffic in other villages.
- JG raised concerns around the Bloor Homes initial plans to have an access to the development from New Street. JO said that SGC had said this was not going to happen, but their plans include an emergency access, which had concerns this may be opened in the future.
- Mark explained that footpaths are an important part of the plan and the CNP could create new footpaths. This could include the peripheral pathway and links to the greenway/cycle paths, and that the initial CNP work had promoted the idea of Charfield greenways appearing in the JSP.
- Streetlights – Charfield was the first place to switch off the streetlights at night and the CNP could add this as being a requirement for the developments, so the rest of the village is not lit up by lots of new street lights at night.
- It seems the new developments have ongoing management charges for the green space upkeep which has not been adopted by SGC. This charge is an unknown and following lots of Watchdog type news stories, it could be written into the plan that there is a freehold preference for owned property in the village, to avoid escalating maintenance and service charges.
- Mark also explained that the minimum 35% of new houses must meet the affordable housing criteria, but there have been cases where developers have negotiated this down on grounds of viability. It could be put into the plan this is not reduced and also that people who live in or have grown up in Charfield get preference on affordable ( eg social rented and or shared ownership) housing.
- Village Fete – it was agreed that there should be some leaflets at the event in just over a weeks time.all attendees to share their explanation of what the CNP is… plus to highlight in bullet points what they believe other residents would be interested in, such as greenways, Bats, traffic lights during developments etc etc
- Mark explained that the reversing beeps on the trucks may not be a legal requirement, but saved the developers money by not having safety banksmen. The silencing of these on new developments could be a stipulation of the CNP.
- It was clear from discussions about the Bellway construction activities and their impact on the village that traffic management and construction plans must be a part of the CNP, to define hours of work, timed deliveries to site, and how eg temporary traffic lights are operated.
- The CNP should also include topics on biodiversity, wildlife corridors, avenues or street trees, an overall landscaping policy, potentially including open water eg lakes.
- The area behind the impending Barratt Homes Public Inquiry location (Warners Court) was discussed. Celestine, the rock found in that part of Charfield, was mentioned as being a valuable geological asset that could be lost or damaged through adjacent development.
- Mark said he would open the CNP Dropbox up to all attendees. (done) and would email those persons who have expressed an interest in being kept directly informed about CNP to obtain ‘informed consent to email’ in line with GDPR.
- The CNP process was discussed including how the inspection and referendum at the end of the process will be managed by SGC not the village.
- Next few CNP dates were agreed as
- Wednesday 18th July,
- Wednesday 19th September and
- Wednesday 17th October, all at 7:30pm in the Lounge.
- Mark will ask Paula (Parish Clerk) to book room.