Bunbury Election Results March 2018 declared

Congratulations to Chris Green who has been elected as the Councillor for the  Bunbury Ward.  The results are shown below:

Ward election results 2018

The turnout was a rather disappointing 33.4% but this is not untypical of Local Government  By-elections. A long established conservative held ward this is a difficult one to crack for any other party. The voting trends are however interesting.

Share of the vote:

2015                    2018

Conservative  70%                    56.2%

Lib/Dems        n/a                      29%

Labour            17.7%                  14.7%

Greens            12%                    5.1%

Clearly the Lib/Dems took votes away from all the other parties and became the second party in Bunbury Ward.

Tarporley says 20’s plenty

Have you been to Tarporley recently? I hadn’t been for a few weeks so it made a pleasant surprise to find a rash of 20 mph signs round the town. The High Street and many of the side roads and residential streets have speed limited to 20 mph.

 

Tarporley goes for 20 MPH

 

We have known for some time that Chester & Cheshire West has adopted the ’20‘s Plenty for us ';; policy. Many residential streets around Chester have the 20 mph signs up already.   Now it seems they are extending the scheme to other towns around their area. This is great news and helps to strengthen the pressure on Cheshire East to adopt this policy.

It was good to see that a number of the candidates in the recent election were also prepared to come out in support of the campaign. It was also raised as an issue at the last Parish Council meetingA member of the public asked if this policy would help the village rebalance the needs of pedestrians and cyclists relative to those in vehicles.

 

 

The Duchy Homes Development – a progress report.

By now many of you will have seen the  billboards advertising the properties for sale at the Grange site on Wyche Lane. Some effort has been made to meet the village Design Statement and the Neighbourhood plan

The use of local materials such as red Cheshire brick and sandstone with slate or clay tile roofs, white–washed  finishes, hedgerows, sandstone banks and walls will be encouraged to maintain the local vernacular and enhanced sense of place.

(Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan Policy LC1 The built Environment)

The Design and Access statement is  pre-BNP having been submitted in 2014. Outline planning permission was not granted until July 2016.  I have not found any update to the Statement although since Duchy Homes started to meet the reserved items of the original consent more details have emerged.

Two things strike me about this development.  Firstly  the high prices being asked for these plots. The two bedroom apartments (not ‘flats’ at these prices!)  start at £340k. The houses for sale are described by Duchy Homes as ‘Luxury’ and come at premium price with the top asking price just under £900k and the ‘cheapest’ at  £760k. These prices compare with the average price of sold properties in Bunbury of £465k  How well they sell will emerge overtime but already two are ‘reserved’; .

Next , a look at the ‘affordable homes in plots 11-14 throws up another question. They appear to be quite  small. The floor plan would seem to suggest  they are about the same size as the double garages attached to the bigger properties. Of course these properties have a second floor so the space available is larger than a double garage! Have a look at the design below.

Affordable Housing on the Grange site

 

Is this the best we can do for affordable housing? As prices of houses rise does it mean that affordable one’s have to become proportionately smaller? Or does the cost of the affordable homes push up the prices of the ‘market’ properties on sale?  I doubt the second explanation as the cost of these houses are recouped from the social housing company that takes over the management of these dwellings.

In fact the UK does not appear to have any legal space standards. There are ‘technical standards’ as part of the planning process. These specify an area for single and double storey homes. A one bedroom property (double or twin) should be at least 58SqM while for 2 bedrooms it is 70sqM.

The UN Special rapporteur on housing was in London a week ago to look at the Grenfall Tower tragedy. She had a number of troubling comments to make:

“My sense is that in London there is an emphasis on the development of property to attract money and wealth to the city. My concern is that is overemphasised, and the standards and wellbeing of tenants in social housing are underemphasised, and that is a structural issue.”

Is this true of many areas outside the capital? What would it look feel like if we replace ‘London’ with ‘Bunbury’? She went on to say:

The fact that so many residents have said to me they are not being treated as human beings is suggestive of a society that is structured in a way where those in social housing are viewed perhaps as counting less. And that is deeply troubling.”