Meeting recapped the situation regarding Warner’s Court, drop-in application for 121 houses and a retail outlet by Barratts Homes. Refused by SGlos planning committee which cited unsustainability and demonstrable harm to the community in terms of strategic proposals, but by the time of that meeting Barratts had already gone to appeal and are seeking a Public Inquiry (cf Gladman). SGlos will likely use a consultant and barrister to defend the refusal, and any PI is likely to begin no sooner than January 2018. John O’Neill will advise when any date is confirmed.
The JSP is likely to become available in draft form around early October and is scheduled to go to Council mid-October. These dates can change. It will then go out to consultation. There is a drop-in session at the Hall on 20th September between two and eight o’clock pm. CNP will promote both events to the village and encourage attendance and engagement.
On the potential for challenge of the JSP on the basis of the tiered assessment in the 2015 Sustainable Access Report, it was noted that this report was apparently not foreseen to be made public (!) and had in any case now been superseded by the 2017 Sustainable Access Report which does not make use of a scorecard and tiered assessment. The tiered assessment had been devalued by comments regarding how the scorecard could produce irrational outcomes.
The meeting was appraised of an informal meeting with CEG
CEG are the agent working with Charfield Landowners Association to promote development of the land roughly from The Pear Tree pub to Little Bristol Lane, across the rear of the Manor Estate.
This meeting attended by Mark Rosher, Liam Balloch, Sue Simmons, John O’Neil, Paula Evans and Stephen King (CEG) on 3rd August.
Meeting agreed to on the basis that IF the JSP proves to hold a 1000 house extension of Charfield we need to be engaged with the developers involved to get the best outcomes for the village. Does not modify our current stance of opposition to the expansion proposals.
King spoke of a new primary school – possibly a replacement leaving the current school site (church owned land?) for other development purposes. He spoke of utilising about 40% – 60% of the land for development and leaving the rest as green space, including the “dog walking” field (protecting the view to St James from Charfield).
Mark Rosher proposed that any development should provide a peripheral footpath and cycleway around the development separate from vehicular traffic that would enable safe passage around the outer edge of the development, and “spoke linking” into it. This would provide a safer route for through cyclists than the current Wotton Road as well as providing a vehicle free recreational and utility route in the village.
Tangential to this topic, Mark also spoke about Wotton Town Councillor Catherine Braun’s initiative to investigate the feasibility of a cycleway between Charfield, Kingswood and Wotton under Edge. This has support from all Town and Parish Councils but since the spend is all in Stroud District, Wotton Town Council have suggested it may take ten to fifteen years to come about – far too long! It was noted too that Gloucestershire County Council spend only about 0.2% of their transport budget on cycling – far less than most other similar councils.
Following meeting, Mark Rosher walked Stephen King around the proposed area pointing out significant issues of access onto Wotton Road and into Little Bristol Lane and the junction of LBL with the WR. He also pointed out the community asset that was the green space, and the potential hardship that any “improved” access into the development from the Manor Estate would cause to existing residents including for a new school.
The meeting then discussed the Charfield Neighbourhood Plan and it’s function in terms of an imminent JSP with 1000+ new houses.
If such occurs the developers are likely to produce outline applications long before CNP can be put to referendum and adopted, and therefore developers would circumvent the work being done on behalf of the community.
The CNP cannot move faster because the Plan has to align with the SGlos Local Plan not yet produced, which in turn has to align with the WECA JSP not yet produced!
Ultimately therefore the CNP team may have more use as a provider of information to the likely (to all potential) developers than as a producer of a Plan. We have all the community engagement information and the survey results which give us a unique insight into community aspirations and needs.
Whilst reaffirming opposition to a 1000 house expansion of Charfield, the team felt there was worth in an engagement with the developers most likely to move to application if the JSP confirms the expansion plans. These would be CEG and possibly Bloor Homes (for New Street – 250 houses proposed in call for sites).
The meeting reaffirmed the desire and need to produce an actual Neighbourhood Plan noting the increased CIL proportion paid to NP led Parish Councils, and such a Plan would reflect the same topics as would drive engagement with developers.
The current topic list derived from the community engagement and survey is
Connectivity throughout village – footpaths and cycleways
Eco positive design
Size and type of homes – no of bedrooms, style of build
Phasing of builds
Zoning of new facilities
Open Spaces – recreational space, street lighting, street trees, orchards
New Community Facilities
Charfield Railway Station
The meeting agreed to produce in-team drafts of topic themes, producing a narrative of the CNP without (of course) SGlos LP linked policy statements, from which a village mail-drop update and a more detailed narrative plan could be produced as continuing engagement documents.
Next meeting agreed as Wednesday 27th September (19h00 – 21h00), booked awaiting confirmation.