Further Developments on Oak Gardens

 

 

Update  August 10th 2019:

Application 18/6338D withdrawn.

This application sought to discharge planning conditions 6, 7, 9, 12, 13 and 14. So why has it been withdrawn? Once the site was given outline planning consent the Planning Officers must guide the applicant to a successful outcome if at all possible. We know that a meeting was held in the field between the developer and the Planning Department representative to resolve some problems. I believe the outcome of that meeting was the recognition that the application would be refused in it current form. Rather than let that happen the developers have with drawn and will now consider how to make a successful application to obtain agreement on the reserved matters.

Did the objections we made have an effect?. Undoubtedly. Here are some of the key points made in the PC’s submission:

It does not fulfill a number of pre-consent conditions listed in HM Inspectors report schedule (Appeal Decision APP/R0660/W/16/3165643 ) namely:

Condition (8) with reference to the objection to the current (modified) site layout made by Jennifer Miller, Definitive Map Officer, PROW Team, Cheshire East Council. An appeal is ongoing and this condition CANNOT be met until the outcome is decided.

  Condition (14) i) levels of adjoining gardens; etc… still no shown on any plan. It is not possible to identify the levels of adjoining gardens. This is necessary to be clear about the impact this development will have on existing residents.

The proposed development does not comply with a number of Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan policies:

1.The Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan (BNP) states under Housing Policy H5 Design:

..not be adversely affected through overlooking, loss of light or outlook, over dominance or general disturbance.

The inspector also commented on the problem in that the field is in fact higher at several points than houses in Wakes Meadow and that needs attention…I appreciate that existing occupiers would have their outlook changed but not so much as to cause unacceptable harm to their living conditions.(para. 21) These plans propose a serious loss of privacy and amenity to existing residents. Specifically along the northern boundary where they would dominate over existing, lower properties. In the case of house C2 in plan E, it comes very close to their boundary and represent a complete loss of privacy to No 9 Wakes Meadow. To the east, the affordable houses also dominate the gardens and outlook from the three dwellings along Bunbury Lane.

2.The application also fails to meet BNP Policy LC1 – Built environment: namely that new developments should:

...demonstrate a high quality of design and a good standard of amenity for existing and future occupiers of the proposed development, at the same time ensuring that the amenities of neighbouring properties will not be adversely affected.

These poorly and uniformly designed executive homes fail to meet many of the Village Design Statements (appendix 2) resulting in a congested development. Inadequate planting and unfriendly high fences.

Policy ENV3 -Woodland, Trees, Hedgerows, Sandstone Banks, Walls, Boundary Treatment and Paving.

Included in the policy are the statements:

All new development close to existing mature trees will be expected to have in place an arboricultural method statement to BS5837 standard or equivalent before any work commences

The new site plan seems to be an attempt to fulfill this requirement. All it shows is the root Protection Zones of each of the major trees in and around the site and how the houses trespass on these zones This does not meet the standards of BS5837

Missing :

Future Growth Potential (Crown height and spread).

No shade footprint throughout the day based on future growth potential.

Stem Diameter

Documenting health and any defects

Preliminary management recommendations

Remaining useful life of the tree etc.

3. The western border of the site backs onto a stream – a tributary of the River Gowy and designated a Wildlife Corridor:

Policy ENV7 – Buffer Zones and Wildlife Corridors opens with the statement: The existing woodlands, wildlife sites, drainage ditches, brooks and culverts will be maintained and enhanced and, where appropriate, new buffer zones and wildlife corridors will be created to increase the biodiversity of the plan area.This is designated in the Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan (BNP) as a Wildlife corridor in Policy BIO 1 – Bunbury Wildlife Corridor (Map Reference Appendix C Map 1 BNP).The designated area should incorporate all semi–natural habitat along the river corridor and include a non–developable buffer zone to protect the corridor from issues such as ground water and light pollution, and the spread of invasive garden species.The 15m buffer zone is specified by the CE Principal Nature Conservation Officer and repeated by HM Inspector in giving her consent to the development at appeal.

 

Finally in reference to 18/6356D the results of the infiltration testing revealed that the site will need a substantial drainage system that will feed into the brook. This needs an environmental assessment of the impact on the brook before being approved. Such a proposal could pose a serious threat to the wildlife corridor.

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Update July 10th 2019

A new element in application 18/6338N appeared earlier this week. It was under the heading of ‘Reserved matter application for the appearance, landscaping, layout and scale of outline planning permission 16/2010N;. But what it actually boiled down to was a tree survey or rather parts of a tree survey as I will explain. 

I was not familiar with BS5837 (2012). Like many BSi proclamations I know they are there to set standards in a wide range of fields. If a tool or product carried a BS Kitemark it was a guarantee of basic quality. So, when this update to the Oak Gardens field development arrived, I was unclear as to what it was all about. It appeared to be the same site plan with additional data about the trees. That then leads to the interest in BS5837or to give it its full title:

Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction

The process of developing a tree Protection Plan is laid out in the documentation and requires the following stages:

1. Topographical Survey – a map showing the location of the trees , relevant spot heights adjacent tot the trees. The position of the all treees on the site, or overhanging the site. The crown spread (shown in green and blue areas on the map . the extent of hedges, stumps and shrub masses.

2, Soil Assessment:

This is undertaken to assess whether the soil is shrinkable which could cause damage to structures without appropriate protection.

3.Tree Survey

This is clearly a key part and I want to quote directly from the Standard to make my point.

The survey classifies trees according to a standard set of criteria:

U : Not worth keeping ast they have little ‘value’; i.e. they are dead, dying or won’t last 10yrs.

A: Trees of high quality. Life expectancy of 40 years or more. Many examples around the site of English Oaks and Ash trees and fall into this category. They are seen mainly as visual assets of the landscape. (A2). The canopy of these trees are shown in green.

B: Moderate quality with a life expectancy of at least 20yrs. The canopy of these trees are shown on the plan in blue.

C: Tree of low quality

 

It states:

4.4.1.2 Tree surveys undertaken after a detailed design has been prepared can identify significant conflicts: in such cases, the nature of and need for the proposed development should be set against the quality and values of affected trees. The extent to which the design can be modified to accommodate those trees meriting retention (see Clause 5) should be carefully considered.

However, it is my contention that the survey or the report of the survey as presented in the new plan and the subject of the current consultation is incomplete. What additional data that needs to be included is specified in BS5837(20120? Well, what I can’t find is:

  • Height
  • Stem diameter
  • Branchspread
  •  
  • He

ight above ground of the first significant branch and direction of growth. This is needed to inform ground clearance, crown\stem ratio, and shading.

  • Life stage (e.g. young, mature, etc)
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  • Preliminary management recommendations
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The purpose of the survey is to inform the site layout design. As the design of the layout has not changed following the  that suggests the survey is either irrelevant or has been ignored. I believe the evidence suggests that the design of the site should be altered. In a number of places proposed house locations intrude into the root protection areas (RPA’s) (Houses, 1A, 7B, 10B, 11B)

A number of the trees have protection orders but this is ignored. All the oak trees and Ashes are protected and this should place constraints on the site layout design and the impact of the construction process. No mention of these aspects are currently mentioned in any new documentation. The BS5837(2012) states:

5.2.4 Particular care is needed regarding the retention of large, mature, over-mature or veteran trees which become enclosed within the new development (see 4.5.11). Where such trees are retained, adequate space should be allowed for their long-term physical retention and future maintenance

Yet we still see serious trespass into the RPA of the veteran Ash tree 5T by plot 10(B) and 7(B)

The tree protection plan also appears to be missing. It may appear later but should show:

the location of protect barriers to form construction exclusion zones around retained tresss (all TPO’s) Where access to RPA’s is required then ground protection measures need to be in place and shown on the plan.

There is much more that could be said on this topic but I have gone on at some length already and many may feel that enough is enough. I will end with the following quote from the Standard :

6.1.1A precautionary approach towards tree protection should be adopted and any operations, including access, proposed within the RPA (or crown spread where this is greater) should be described within an arboricultural method statement, in order to demonstrate that the operations can be undertaken with minimal risk of adverse impact on trees to be retained.

 

Update: April 23rd 2019

The Planning Officer e-mailed to say the missing Species impact assessment update’ specified in condition 10 of the consent will be ‘confidential’ and only seen by the Nature Conservation Officers.

The report of the Principal Officer again reinforces the points made in their original response to the reserved matters application (18/6338N) . Better protection for the vintage Ash, a 15m buffer zone against the woodland on the west of the site and other details list below. However, the Officer goes on to agree that the Wildlife Habitat management Plan is OK and the impact on species is mitigated by the plans submitted.

Disappointing.

Update May 1st

It appears the issue that requires a ‘confidential’ update relates to the badger sett adjacent to the site. Apparently the sett is described in the words of the conservation officer as ‘inactive’ at the time of the survey.

Badgers and their setts are protected and it is an offence to disturb badgers, to damage their sett or restrict access to the sett. Was this sett to be included in the extended gardens on the original plans? Those gardens on the properties adjacent to the wildlife corridor originally had gates leading into the corridor and fence lines that extended to the banks of the brook.

Original Comment

As noted in several of the comments on this proposed development (18/6338N) a number of details were missing from the application. That meant it failed to meet all the conditions of the consent. Despite the public consultation having ended on the 13th February additions are still being added by the developers.

A couple of new tactics has emerged that I have not seen before on an application. Firstly, has been the astonishing failure to submit a full application that at least attempts to meet the conditions laid down at the time of the consent (see previous Oak Garden blogs). Why the developers thought this would a sensible approach is hard to fathom. It may lead to delays and request to re-submit. Although neither has happened to date the decision date is less than a fortnight away (16th April).

Secondly we have seen the use of secondary applications alongside the main submission. Next to 18/6338N we have had 18/6356D both of which closed for public consultation on the 13th February. Did you notice 18/6356D? Well most of us missed it and nobody but the Parish Council made a submission. While it deals a lot with drainage issues the impact on the environment of any subsequent scheme is potentially serious. The plan is to install a system that drains into the adjacent brook. The PC is rightly demanding an environmental impact assessment before any work goes ahead.

Now we have a new application 19/1582D that seeks to discharge conditions 10 and 11 that was ignored in the original application. To remind you theses were:

10) Before the approval of the final reserved matters application, an updated protected species impact assessment and mitigation strategy shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. Development shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details.

11) Before the approval of the final reserved matters application a habitat management plan to cover the life of the development shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. From the day of commencement of development, the management plan shall be adhered to thereafter.

The main substance of the application is the habitat maintenance report. Note that this is NOT the updated protected species impact assessment and mitigation policy. It comes with an amended layout plan (see below) to show some mitigation features, namely Compost Bays (7), Hibernacula Mounds (3), habitat Mounds (3) and the Ecology Area (pond and surrounding area. The layout also gives details of planting. This is to be welcomed. we may regret the original consent but we can still hope for the best development.

In correspondence included on the site the developers have responded to the criticism by the environment (Heritage & Design-Forestry) officer. This is the changes they have made:

1. Reserved Matters – Access gates have been removed from the rear garden fences belonging to the houses on the western boundary preventing access into the Ecological area (read ‘Wildlife corridor’)

2.   The ecological area is now not divided into separate areas, but is now an open stretch of land to maintain the favourable conservation status of the affected great crested newt population and will deliver adequate compensation for the priority/protected species present.

3. There is a gate now placed at one end of the ecological area to allow access for management purposes.

4. Lighting – Only low level pillar lighting is proposed for the development to allow for illuminating the road and pathways for each home. A example attached (see CE site). No high level street lighting is therefore proposed.

The developers then go on to seek assurance that these amendments and the Habitat Management Report will secure approval of the conditions 10 and 11. The Habitat management Report is good in my inexpert opinion, although one must add the usual caveat that it does have to be implemented.

However as the updated impact assessment on protected species is missing the application is still fundamentally flawed. Furthermore, the revised layout plan does not show any buffer zone to protect the wildlife zone. Without such a zone will the ecology of the corridor be safe? It is also in contravention of the Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan (BNP) Policy ENV7-Buffer Zones and Wildlife Corridors. This was the subject of several comments in the public submissions on the application. It has been ignored so far. Also the BNP Policy ENV3-Woodland, trees, hedgerows, etc., requires that :

all new development close to existing mature trees will be expected to have in place an arboriculural method statement to BS5837 standard….

(BNP page 24 )

At present I can find no such statement. Another ‘satelite‘ application may address these deficiencies we live in hope, I suppose.

Duchy have a new development (19/3767N)

At long last we have details of the development behind the retirement homes along Bunbury Lane. This site shares a bit of history with the Hill Close development. The original application was made by Wulvern Housing Association just after the afore mentioned site. The concensus at he time was broadly in favour of the site and opposed to the Hill Close development. However,  Hill Close application was, after a number of permutations, approved before the Wulvern. The original Wulvern application was then refused  on the grounds of co-location (see Policy H2a in the Neighbourhood Plan) with the Hill Close site. A battle then ensued over this application with much discussion of the meaning of ‘co-location’;.It went to appeal and the Inspector came down on the side of the developers and defined ‘co-location’ as being next door to another site and agreed that a small paddock was sufficient distance to meet the requirements of the policy. A serious blow to the ‘co-location’ principle. That was in 2016 and since then the Wulvern has become the Guinness Partnership and they have now sold the site to Duchy Homes. It they that have put in the application (19/3767N)

What has emerged? Here is the proposed layout:

Layout of site to the east of Bunbury lane

What we have then is a site dedicated to the construction of large 5 bedroomed properties squeezed into about two-thirds of the site. Four ‘affordable ‘; dwellings are planned in the least favoured part of the site where else?- directly behind the retirement homes. Here are the details of the affordable housing planned.

Number

Plots

Type of homes

Tenure

2

4 & 5

1 bedroomed 2 person Bungalows

Affordable rent

1

3

2 bedroomed 4 person house

Affordable rent

1

1

3 bedroomed 5 person houses

Shared Ownership

1

2

2 bedroomed 4 person house

Shared Ownership

Next is the  ‘market orientated‘ housing plans :

 

Number

Plots

Type of homes

Tenure

1

6

4 bedroomed

Freehold

9

7 – 15

5 bedroomed

Freehold

The space at the end of  plot is described as a ‘retained ecological area..‘ and ‘..This is an important feature for the local residents and has been retained in order to strengthen links to the existing PROW while retaining the rural character.’

That is a welcome feature but also exists as a potential area of expansion for a further  6 to 7 additional houses at some point in the future. Will it have a legally binding covenant protecting it from development rather like, we are told, the paddock to the south of the site?

How has the application changed from the one presented in 2016?

It is perhaps worth looking back at the application that was given consent and looking at the allocation of housing types then envisioned.

The affordable houses were 5 in total although with the loss of the retirement bungalow on Bunbury Lane this was a net of 4 dwellings. No change. These smaller properties are sorely needed in Bunbury, a situation reflected in the most up-to-date housing needs survey completed in 2013. People want to stay in the village but down size and thereby free up family accommodation for other villagers and new comers. The real shift in provision comes in the ‘market sector’ of the  application. The original application only provided for four 5 bedroomed houses not the 9 we now have. That is a massive shift in the target market the developers are aiming at

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The Phasing of Housing in Bunbury

In a discussion on a recent application (19/0803N) to build 7 more houses on a greenfield site in Wyche Lane, the issue of phasing arose. It was not then seen as a major issue but I think it deserves greater prominence.

Our Neighbourhood Plan was ‘made’; ,as the silly phrase goes, in March 2016. It will run until the current Cheshire East Local Plan expires in 2030. It is in effect part of that Local Plan. To get ‘made’ it had to go through a length process of development, consultation, and scrutiny, by both Cheshire East itself and a HM Planning Inspector. So our neighbourhood plan is a real document that must be taken into consideration. Or it should be, as long as Cheshire East has a workable Local Plan that includes what the national government considers an appropriate housing target and the available land on which to build those houses. But ever since our Plan was made back in 2016 that is exactly what the council has not had. It does have that Plan in place now. But during the time it did not (2010-2018) all polices related to housing supply were deemed ‘out-of-date’ and could be ignored. It was up to the Planning Offices, Planning Committees, and on appeals the HM Inspectors how much weight they gave to these ‘out-of-date’ policies.

One of the policies contained in the Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan (BNP

Policy H6 – Phasing of Housing

Cheshire East Council’s Local Plan relates to 2010 to 2030 and we are required to accommodate 80 new houses over that period. Between April 2010 and March 2015, 19 new houses have been completed in Bunbury and these have been discounted from the 80 new homes required by the Local Plan. To ensure an appropriate phased delivery of housing over the Neighbourhood Plan period, 2015 to 2030, the 61 remaining new homes proposed should be delivered against the following indicative schedule, unless any demonstrable increase in local housing need is identified by the local planning authority.

Phase 1: 2015 – 2020 – 21 homes

Phase 2: 2020 – 2025 – 20 homes

Phase 3: 2025 – 2030 – 20 homes

The reality is quite different. While Cheshire East failed to deliver an appropriate Local Plan the developers were given priority and there was no question of phasing housing.

In the new era where the BNP matters the current situation and plans for housing supply for the future are discussed in the latest ‘Bunbury Settlement Report’ (draft):

In Paragraph 3.7 of the Bunbury Settlement Report (“BSR”) [FD25] it is stated:

3.7 There were 21 housing completions (net) in Bunbury between 1 April 2010 and 31 March 2017, and 0 ha employment land take up. Commitments as at 31 March 2017 were 39 dwellings and 0 ha of employment land

In Paragraph 3.11 it is stated:

Bunbury has 50 dwellings left to find before the end of the Plan period. However, as detailed in Table Bunbury 2 (below) it is recognised that a number of other applications have been granted planning permission after the base date (31/03/17).

The table (2) referred to is now out of date through additions and amendments

Ref No

Site name

Type

No. of Dwellings

Valid Date

Approval Date

16/0646N

6 & Land rear of no.6 Bunbury Lane

Outline

15

12.02.16

06.07.17 (appeal)

16/2010N

Land off Oaks Gardens, Bunbury

Outline

15

13.05.16

31.05.17 (appeal)

16/5637N

Land adjacent to Bunbury Medical Practice, Vicarage Lane

(CFS 507)

Full

8

20.12.16

26.04.17

15/1666N

Land at Bowe’s Gate Road, Bunbury

(CFS 519)

Full

11

10.04.15

27.09.17

18/3389N

Mayfield House, MOSS LANE, BUNBURY, CW6 9SY

Full

1

09-Jul-2018

11-Sep-2018

18/2655N

Holly Mount, WHITCHURCH ROAD, BUNBURY, CW6 9SX

Outline

1

31-May-2018

10-Jul-2018

17/6227N

Heath Farm, WHITCHURCH ROAD, BUNBURY, CW6 9SX

Full

2

21-Dec-2017

19-Apr-2018

17/0396N

The Outspan, Sadlers Wells, Bunbury, CW6 9NU

Full

1 (5th dwelling added to consent for 4)

24-Jan-2017

28-Mar-2017

total

   

54

   

The Planning applications granted and inclusive of amendments has now reach 54. If granted the application the subject of this objection would mean that Bunbury village has exceed the number of dwellings allocated to it in the Cheshire East Plan by 13 dwellings. This is before the completion of Phase 1 in the Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan.

That policy can ONLY be implemented by Cheshire East Council who endorsed this policy and has included it as part of the current Local Plan. I therefore respectfully ask you to implement this policy according to your requirement to uphold policies you have legally endorsed.

Parish Council Notes 2019

 

Please note that the agenda for each Parish Council can be viewed on the official PC website here  The minutes of each meeting are also available on the same web page. Our service is ‘unofficial’ but much quicker!
From our Parish Council correspondent:

Please note that each month the latest update will appear at the top of this post:

N.B. The parish council does not hold a meeting during August.

Bunbury Parish Council – 10 July 2019

The Parish Council thanked Peter Gorman who was present at the meeting and the Village Day Committee for the excellent organisation for the successful 50th anniversary Bunbury Village Day. Peter agreed to pass on the Parish Council thanks to Committee members. He also expressed thanks to the PC for their support of Village Day  over the years, and in particular the sponsorship of the creative workshop at the school lead by Russell Kirk.

Peter Gorman made representations to the Parish Council with regard to the latest Discharge of Conditions to the Land at Oak Gardens. Many of the conditions such as the 15m Buffer Zone and arboriculture requirements have still not been addressed. He agreed to e-mail his comments to the Clerk of the Parish Council.

Co-options of Members of the Parish Council

Three applications for co-option to the Parish Council had been received but none of the co-optees were able to attend the July meeting.

Local Policing Issues

  • A member of the Parish Council had attended a Police Crime Commissioner meeting where road safety and an increase in the number of PCSOs across the borough were the main topics of discussion.
  • The Parish Council had received reports about gas canisters being found in Saddlers Wood which had been passed onto local police who would give the area some attention. The Bunbury local paper would also include an article on Nitrous Oxide abuse.
  • A burglary had occurred on Tweddle Close and police presence would be increased.
  • Speeding incidents along Bunbury Lane had been witnessed and reported to the Parish Council. The Council agreed to use their speed camera to assess the scale of the problem.

Highways Issues

A new parking sign is to be erected at the end of Hurst Close and a ‘Box’ is to be painted outside the school to replace the current coned area for school bus drop off and pick up.

Planning Matters

Application 19/2914N 4 Queen Street, Variation of condition 2 (approved plans) to planning application 16/5185N – proposed rear extension and internal modifications – No objection (same application as previous but smaller).

Application 19/2568N Land off Hill Close, Bunbury Application from Muir Housing – Variation of Condition relating to s.106 Agreement on Approval 15/5783N for residential development for 15 dwellings.

Variation of the s. 106 agreement to enable the properties to be charged at the higher valuation of MV-STT (‘Market Value, subject to tenancies’) as opposed to EUV-SH (Existing Use Value for Social Housing). The Parish Council heard that this issue had become a national problem whereby mortgage lenders had ceased lending in certain circumstances where 106 conditions were present. The variation would still see the same number of houses built but would enable applicants to secure finance to build affordable houses. Cheshire East Council Planning and Legal services supported the variation and the Parish Council raised no objections.

Application 18/6356D Land at Oak Gardens Discharge of Conditions 6, 7, 9, 12, 13 and 14 on approved application 16/2010N – In addition to the objections that Peter Gorman would provide in writing to the Parish Council an objection would be made that no environmental assessment of the river Gowy and the wildlife that runs through the site had been received as required by the Neighbourhood Plan.

In terms of the site allocation work currently being undertaken by Cheshire East Council, the Chairman reported that the 6 week consultation which would include the total number of homes requested for Bunbury had been delayed.

Tweddle Grove – Land off Wyche Lane owned by the PC on behalf of the Community

The Parish Council heard that tender requests for the maintenance of both Tweddle Grove (public green space designated as a woodland) and the car park were outstanding.

Pedestrian Issues within the village

Development of a footpath along a part of School Lane outside the Cottage would be considered for funding from the New Homes Bonus with the permission of the owner of the Cottage. The Ward Councillor had sent source of funds information to the school for consideration as part of developing a school car park.

The Ward Councillor confirmed that she is the Chair of the Cheshire East Footpaths and Rights of Way Committee. The Parish Council confirmed that it pays an annual subscription of £8 to the Mid-Cheshire Footpath Association.

Playing Field Report

The litter bins in the play area have rotted in a short time span and the Parish Council agreed to investigate if they could be replaced under warranty.

Borough Councillor Report

Sarah Pochin, Ward Councillor reported that the hedges around Brantwood property in the centre of the village had now been cut. Concerns were raised again about the general state of repair of the building and the container located in the garden. A resident had queried the delays in street cleaning/weed spraying in the village. Some delay had occurred due to bad weather and flooding earlier in the year but would be carried out. Gullying cleaning on School Lane would take place in the school holidays due to issues of cars parked during term time.

Parish Councillor Reports

A Councillor reported that the support straps on trees on the playing field were now cutting into the bark and that some weeding was required. The Chairman agreed to arrange a site meeting with the Contractor. 

 

Bunbury Parish Council – 12 June 2019

Planning Matters

Application 19/2557N Firbank House, Whitchurch Road – Proposed outbuilding to provide leisure facilities to private dwelling – No objection

Cheshire East Site Allocations: 

In terms of the site allocation work currently being undertaken by Cheshire East Council, the Chairman reported that a 6 week consultation would appear on the Council website on 19 June which would include the total number of homes requested for Bunbury. Also included will be information on areas excluded from the settlement boundary such as the playing fields and the paddock alongside the Hill Close development.

Tweddle Grove – Land off Wyche Lane owned by the PC on behalf of the Community

The Parish Council heard that the maintenance of both Tweddle Grove (public green space designated as a woodland) and the car park were out to tender.

Playing Field Report

General maintenance issues for the Pavilion were discussed, including the repair underway of the ceiling and essential work to the veranda to the bowling green. Further work will be investigated to the surface of the playing field itself.

Borough Councillor Report

Sarah Pochin, Ward Councillor was unable to attend the meeting but reported through the Chairman that she had spoken to the owner of Brantwood property in the centre of the village and he had agreed to cut the hedges. Concerns were raised about the general state of repair of the building and the container located in the garden.

Parish Councillor Reports

The Chairman reported that he had received a number of complaints about the uncut hedge where Willow Drive meets School Lane making the footpath difficult to walk along. After raising the issue the hedge is now due to be cut.

A Councillor asked for clarification of the policy for the allocation of low cost homes in the village. Residents have to apply and register with the Housing Association – Home Choice, who will then go through the process. The Parish Council is following one such application to check that the process is working properly. Assurance was given that local connection is one of the criteria used in the allocation process.

Bunbury Parish Council – 8 May 2019

A resident raised the issue of an updated species report not being made available to the public or Parish Council in connection with the planning application on the land at Oak Gardens, Bunbury. The Parish Council reported that this had been raised with Cheshire East Council with a response that certain protected species reports are kept out of the public domain in order to avoid the location of specific species being identified.

Highway Issues

The Chairman reported that he had met with the Headteacher of the Primary school on 23 April. The School are looking to fund a bus/taxi bay marked area to replace the cones currently in use on the road side. The Parish Council have been asked to help with any suggestions on how to raise £20,000 to develop a school staff car park in order to remove vehicles currently parking on the road. Sarah Pochin, newly elected Ward Councillor offered to make enquiries with a school in her previous ward who had secured grant funding for a car park and report back.

A Cheshire East Traffic and speeding survey will be carried out in certain locations within the village in June e.g. Bunbury Lane, School Lane and Vicarage Lane. In addition a Department for Transport traffic census will be carried out on School Lane on 12 June.

Planning Matters

There were no new planning applications to report this month.

A Parish Councillor reported that Cheshire East Council Officers and the Developers of the Land at Oak Gardens, Bunbury had met on-site and had discussed protecting the area around the veteran Ash tree. Officers had stated that they were not prepared to compromise on the area around the tree and the two parties had agreed to work together to resolve the issue. Generally further work is required to satisfy conditions of development.

In terms of the site allocation work currently being undertaken by Cheshire East Council a total of 110 homes is the request for Bunbury with a current 108 homes built or with planning permission granted.

Tweddle Grove – Land off Wyche Lane owned by the PC on behalf of the Community

A number of enquiries had been received from residents on the use of and clearing of the land off Wyche Lane now named Tweddle Grove. The Parish Council confirmed that this is a public green space designated as a woodland (not a recreational area). A regular maintenance contract would be pursued for the future.

Footpaths/Public Rights of Way

It was reported that the Townfield footpath had been ploughed up and covered in manure. Strutt and Parker, agents for the land owner have been made aware and local residents have walked the footpath to flatten it. Ward Councillor agreed to pass the issue to Cheshire East Council Footpath Enforcement Team.

Requests for a number of stiles to be changed to Kissing Gates to allow less able people to walk the footpaths have been made, with one land owner refusing permission. Ward Councillor and Parish Councillor responsible for footpaths would liaise on the matter.

Playing Field Report

General maintenance issues for the Pavilion were discussed. A fire safety audit on the Pavilion has been undertaken with a number of minor recommendations made e.g. checking of fire exits and batteries in smoke alarms every three months.

Borough Councillor Report

Sarah Pochin as newly elected Ward Councillor introduced herself and asked the Parish Council to consider what their priorities would be for her as ward councillor going forward. She herself raised concerns about isolation and public transport. The Parish Council referred to the New Homes Bonus Fund scheme which they had been unsuccessful at gaining any funding for a disabled toilet in the Pavilion. The scheme will be opening again and the Ward Councillor agreed to support the Parish Council in re-submitting the scheme.

Parish Councillor Reports

The Chairman reported that he had been approached by a Production Company wanting to film around the Church and Dysart Arms in September for 4/5 days. The Chairman and another Parish Councillor had met the producers to discuss issues which had arisen during the filming of Home Fires such as communications about disruption. The Production Company are keen to ensure any disruption to village life is kept to a minimum.

8th May 2020 will see the 75th anniversary of VE day and pubs in Bunbury will be encouraged to raise a glass at 3pm as part of a national celebration with bells rung at the church at 6pm.

Correspondence

A complaint had been received about too many building contractors parking on the car park. The Parish Council heard that permission had been temporarily granted to Duchy Homes to keep congestion off Wyche Lane as road safety had to be a priority.

END

Parish Council Notes for April are unfortunately unavailable. We will post a copy of the official minutes as soon as they are available. We apologias for this  tempory loss of service.

Parish Council Notes 13th March 2019

1. Open Forum:

Standing orders were suspended to allow an extend public forum to discuss the application for new houses in Wyche lane (application ref:19/0803N). A number of people spoke against the application. The main points.

1. Traffic issues. Wyche lane is much narrower in places than indicated in the evidence supplied by the developer. In the transport report presented the road width are given as:

2.1.10 The carriageway on Wyche Lane measures between 4.8m and 4.9m in width. With reference

to Manual for Streets, this is wide enough for two cars to pass and a car to pass an HGV.

(Transport report Optima Highways and Transportation Consultancy Ltd)

However this is only partly true as in places the road narrows to 3.2m in width. This is below the current permitted width for roads to new sites. The report only identifies the widest parts of the road and ignores the hazards posed by the very narrow section. These ‘narrows’ represent one vehicle at a time sections and could well represent a serious problem for heavy site vehicles.

Pedestrians attempting to walk along the lane are also placed at increased risk. It shoud be borne in mind that the lane together with the footpaths adjacent ot the site represent are a popular walking route round the village. It is used daily by many people who do not live along the lane. The lane is well recognised as requiriing care to navigate due to its restricted widths.

It was also noted that while the speed limit is 30mph along Wyche Lane within 30m of the site the entry of Birds lane has a national speed limit of 60mph.

2. The splays and indicative design: From the indicative display it is not clear how the splay lines indicated would be achieved given this inclusion of drives tot he houses fronting the site. It is clear that these would have to be extended in to the adjacent property if they are to meet current regulatory standards.

3. Destruction of open countryside: The application would result in the loss of further agricultural land. Hedges will be remove along the frontage and it is not clear that the hedge along the south border will be protect once include in the gardens of the new dwellings.

The PC meeting then began with the usual

1. Apologies for absence

2. Members Declaration of Interests and requests for dispensation

3. To sign as a correct record, the minutes of the Parish Council Ordinary Meeting held on 13 February 2019.

4. Local Policing Issues – To receive an update from local police if available. Not available.

Agenda item 5: Highways issues

Firstly the status of the Highways sub-committee was discussed. The sub-committee only makes recommendations to the full PC. The Parish Council is the only decision making body. It was agreed that in future the Highways Sub-committee would be described as a ‘working group.

The chair indicated that they had met with a Cheshire East (CE) official from the Highways Department to clarify a number of issues that are of current concerns to residents (see Feb Notes). Given the length of the Public forum the Chair proposed leaving his report on the meeting until the next meeting in April.

Agenda item 6: Consultations

None

Agenda Item 7: Planing

1. 19/0371N Revised Description – Erection of x8 dwellings and revised access following approval ref 16/5637N Land at VICARAGE LANE, BUNBURY for comment by 6 march (planning has given the PC an extension for comments)

Minor change in wording that did not require further comment by the PC.

2. 19/0803N Outline application seeking the erection of up to seven residential dwellings (Use Class C3) on Land at Wyche Lane. All matters reserved for future determination Land adjacent Wyche House, WYCHE LANE, BUNBURY, CW6 9PS

This item took up much of the PC time and followed on from the Public Forum comments.

Councillor Mark Ireland-Jones presented an analysis of the application to the PC. The analysis pointed out a series of flaws in the two key documents submitted by the developers. Firstly, the Optima Transport Report was inaccurate in its account of the sustainability of the transport links from Bunbury. It failed to make clear that the village only has ONE bus service a day leaving 10:27 and returning at 14:22. NOT a commuter service.

The report also claims the road width is 4.8 -4.9m when in fact the width narrows to 3.2m in places.

Comments on the Planning Desig and Access Statement – Savills:

the PC were at pains both in the public forum session and during councillor Irland-Jones’s analysi to point out the mis-representation of the PC’s given in the document. The quote from an email sent by the PC Chair to Savills expresses their rejection of the iterpretation present in the report n the consultation held between members of the PC and Savills:

I can assure you that the words used in the application, i.e. “the Parish Council regarded the proposed development favourably, noting how in principle it would be supported by Neighbourhood Plan Policies” is an interpretation that I do not agree with. We would never use the word “favourably,” or anything like it because that would imply that we may have predetermined our support for the application.

It is not possible to do full justice to the critical comments made during the meeting. They will form the basis of the the PC’s comments on the proposd development which can be read on the CE planning website. Full details of the analysis given during the meeting can be found HERE.

Further Agenda items under Planning with brief comments:

7.2 Decisions made by Cheshire East – None

7.3 New Housing Developments in Bunbury – Duchy confirms their expected completion date still to be in April. Concern expressed about traffic still using School lane. Developer not able to control behaviour of all contractor accessing the site. Collect time dte and names of firms breaking rules and sent to PC.

7.3.1 General update from Cllr Pulford None in addition to those listed above.

7.3.2 Cheshire East Local Plan – Site Allocations and Development Policy Next meeting in Spring with draught figures.

Agenda item 8: Land off Wyche Lane owned by the PC on behalf of the community – meeting with Duchy development team who have agreed to plant trees in the area. A landscape consultant has selected trees and suggested a suitable layout to the sight. Some soil testing will be necessary to ensure the choice of trees is appropriate. If necessary additional top soil will be brought to the sight.

The PC made the decision to ban dogs from the sight. If dogs were allowed provision for waste would be necessary and if not used appropriately contaminate the site. It was also pointed out that the adjacent field was used as a horse paddock and the presence of dogs may be disruptive.

Agenda item 9: Pedestrian issues within the village

9.1 Cheshire East’s Sustainable Modes of Travel to Schools Strategy No progress to report.

9.2 Footpaths/Public Rights of Way

Appeal on Footpaths 14/15 Currently in final stage of appeal with HM Inspector.

Agenda item 10: Parish Council Election 2 May 2019

Clerk to the PC notified the public and Councillors that they must put in application to stand in the forthcoming elections by 4pm the 3rd April. All councillors must apply if they wish to stand.

No elections for the PC will take place if the number of applications is less or equal to the number of places (10).

Agenda item 12: Playing Fields – Report from Playing Fields Committee

Held over until next month.

13 Borough Councillor’s report

During the public Forum the Ward Councillor had agreed to ask the CE Planning Committee (south) chair to ‘call-in’ the application 19/0803N for consideration by that committee. He pointed out that this was not certain as the committee had over 6000 applications to consider annually and some had therefore to be delegated to Planning officer.

No other matters were mentioned.

Agenda Item 14: PC’s reports

Due to pressure of time no matters were reported.

Agenda Item 15: Correspondence

Not reported

Agenda item 16: Finance matters

16.1 Village Day – Request for funds . The Bunbury Village Da committee had requested funds for:

1. A workshop to be held at the school (£300)

2. The design and construction of large puppet as a feature in the parade (£500)

Both items were art of the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Village Day.

It was pointed out that the Village Day usually makes a number of donations to village organisations each year. This was a first time application for a special occasion beyond the current finances of the BVD committee.

The PC agreed to finance the school one day workshop.

Part Two of the PC meeting was to discuss confidential matters that cannot therefore be reported.

Bunbury Parish Council – 13 February 2019

Two residents presented an update on the ALIVE project aimed at addressing loneliness and isolation in the village. A request was made for funding from the Parish Council to support the setting up of a community library. Other activities of the Project include an afternoon social on a Tuesday at the Medical Centre and lunch at the Nags Head.

A resident asked the Parish Council to object to planning application 18/6338N Land at Oak Gardens, Bunbury, Reserved Matters. Objections included failure to meet a number of conditions laid down by the Inspector following an appeal, failure to meet a number of policies contained within the Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan and failure to meet the Nature Conservation Officers requirement of a nature/wildlife buffer zone.

A number of residents/parents of children at the primary school and the Headteacher of the school attended the meeting to raise concerns over road safety and the provision of pavements throughout the village. The Headteacher had provided a letter to the Parish Council that had been sent to parents outlining road safety issues and actions that are being taken to mitigate these. The Vice Chairman of the Parish Council is working with the Headteacher on an application under Cheshire East’s Sustainable Modes of Travel to Schools Strategy which includes possible funding if the school has a travel plan.

Parents raised issues such as 20 mph speed restriction on school lane, increase in signage of speed restrictions, zebra crossing outside school, speeding within the village and how speed limits can be enforced and extension to pavements around the village.

The Chairman explained that the Highways Sub-Committee of the Parish Council had met on 24 January and discussed the following issues:

1. Pavements – recognise the requirement for pavements and would request the input from a Cheshire East Traffic Engineer to see what is possible/practicable

2. Shared space concept was discussed – how to manage traffic and pedestrians sharing the same space.

3. Parking signs – agreed to provide signage to extended car park by playing fields.

4. Parking restrictions – had previously discussed the provision of double yellow lines outside the school but the issue of displacement of cars remained. Car parking for school staff would help to alleviate the problem and one was agreed as part of the planning approval for development at the front of the cricket ground but this development has yet to progress. Developing a car park on the school site is also being explored. Parking restrictions around the village triangle had previously been dismissed by Cheshire East Council but would be re-visited with the Highways Engineer.

5. Speeding – the Parish Council does have a speed gun and will be using this in the coming weeks. Other traffic calming suggestions will be explored with the Highways Engineer.

6. Accident statistics – there were no records of personal injuries following road traffic accidents within the village.

The Chairman assured residents that the Parish Council would do everything that it could to promote and improve road safety but would need professional advice from a Highways Engineer in order to proceed.

Planning Matters

Planning application 19/0371N Land at Vicarage Lane, revision to access road and plots 5, 6 and 7 as consented in application 16/5637N – the Parish Council heard that the number of houses has increased by 1 from 7 to 8 and the access has been diverted from in front of the Medical Practice to diagonally across the field. In addition, the Rural Housing Trust has agreed to take over the site and 4 of the properties would be offered as shared equity; the first in the village. Councillor Green reported that he had called the application in, to ensure it was discussed at Planning Committee to allow representations of support to be made. No objection to the application was made by the Parish Council.

Planning application 18/6338N Land at Oak Gardens, Bunbury, Reserved Matters – the Parish Council agreed to object to the application on the grounds raised earlier in the meeting by a local resident and those raised by the Public Rights of Way Officer detailed on the Cheshire East Planning website.

Land off Wyche Lane owned by the PC on behalf of the Community

The Chairman reported that he was in touch with Duchy Homes following the appointment of a new Managing Director to ensure that the trees promised for the community woodland would be planted before the end of March.

Parish Council Election 2 May 2019

Elections across the borough for both Borough Council and Town and Parish Councils will take place on 2 May. The Parish Council currently has 10 places and 10 councillors and is open to anyone to apply through the Parish Clerk.

Playing Field Report

The Salvation Army request to site a clothes bank on the playing fields car park has been approved on a trial basis.

Parish Councillor Reports

A resident had reported that most of the gullies appear to be blocked. Site traffic on Wyche Lane had caused increased traffic and a worsening of the road surface; the road would need to be re-instated once the development was complete and the Building Control Officer would be contacted. Some grit bins were empty during the recent ice/snow weather conditions.

Finance Matters

Alive Project Awarded £250 towards the Library Project

Village Day request for funds – agreed to ask for additional information of requirements

Sandstone Ridge Festival – request for funds – refused.

Grounds Maintenance contract renewal – Agreed to continue the contract with Mid-Cheshire Grounds Maintenance to provide ground upkeep of the Playground. Representatives of the Parish Council agreed to visit the Playground to look at the general appearance.

Bunbury Parish Council – 9 January 2019

The President of Bunbury WI attended the meeting to seek confirmation of location on the Playing Fields of a tree to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War. The Parish Council confirmed that a site had been earmarked and a tree of reasonable size would need planting before the spring.

A representative of a new committee working under the umbrella of St Boniface church to alleviate isolation at home invited the Parish Council to attend an information event on 23 March 2019. A request for a grant to help launch the initiative was also made. Specific amounts for the project were asked to be sent to the Clerk and the item placed on the agenda of the next meeting.

Potential road safety issues in the village, parking restrictions and pavement extensions were raised for a second time by a resident. The Vice Chairman explained that he had had 2 meetings with the Headteacher of the school regarding drawing up a travel plan under Cheshire East’s Sustainable Modes of Travel to Schools Strategy. If approved possible funding for pavement improvement could be available. He agreed to contact the Headteacher again to check on progress and offer support. Any forthcoming proposals for footpath extensions would be subject to approval by Cheshire East Highways Department. A Highways Sub-committee of the Parish Council is to be convened to discuss the issues further; to also include speeding information gathered during the 2016 speed monitoring exercise conducted in the village.

It was reported that Cheshire East Council is currently consulting on Police funding and Adult Social Care.

Planning application 18/6026N infill at Ivy House, Whitchurch Road and18/6123N The Briars School Lane (18/5193N previously refused) received no objections. It was reported that the expected completion date for Duchy Homes on Wyche Lane is April 2019 and water infiltration testing on the Oak Gardens site had taken place. The Parish Council had received a letter of thanks from a resident for supporting the retention of a wildlife buffer zone alongside the hedgerows alongside the footpaths on the proposed Oak Gardens development site.

Christmas Eve carols round the tree event had been very well attended with £342 raised for Tarporley Hospital. The Borough Councillor thanked the Parish Council for their hard work in putting up the tree and organising the carol event. It was agreed to buy another sound speaker for next year’s event.

The Playing Fields Committee had organised more bark to be laid in the play area following a report of worn areas. Monthly inspections are in place.

The Borough Councillor reported that Cheshire East is supporting Domestic Abuse survivors in such areas as trauma training and refuge housing. The Local Plan is starting to make its presence felt with 6 out of the 8 last planning appeals being dismissed by the Inspectorate.

Budget setting including the amount of precept required by the Parish Council was discussed. The Parish Council reserves are low and in order to be able to respond to projects that require a budget the precept would have to be raised. A £4,000 rise in the precept to £25,000 was agreed.

Oak Gardens Development

Many of you will now have had notification of the developers plans for the field next to Oak Gardens

Development plans for the field next to Oak Garden have be lodge with Cheshire East planning department. They can be viewed on their website here. If you wish to do your own search the planning reference is 18/6338N.

This is part of the ‘reserved matters’ relating to the outline planning permission granted to Crabtree Homes on 31st May 2017 at appeal. Under the schedule laid (Appeal Decision on Application 16/20210N) down by the HM Inspector in Item 1:

Details of the appearance, landscaping, layout, and scale, (hereinafter called “the reserved matters”) shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority before any development takes place and the development shall be carried out as approved

Here is the proposed layout of the site (updated 29/01/2019):

Amended Layout of Oak Gardens development showing distances to points on adjoining properties. (NB ‘OG’ indicates obscure glass.

The Existing Site:

Without wish to alarm residents I do wish to draw your attention to the Existing Site Plan submitted with application 18/6338. You can see this just below:

Existing Site Plan for application 18/6338

The red line defines the site, or does it? The line is a series of straight lines drawn on the plan that ‘roughly’ marks out the site. But it does not follow the boundary fences. It cuts across some gardens and in places locates substantial trees in peoples gardens as being in the site. Probably just a draughting error. May be not. We must speak to the developer to clarify this one.

The Proposed Layout plan (1418-P005):

This plan shows a number of radical changes to the one submitted as part of the original 16/2010N application.

 The important changes that I have noted are:

a) The location of the houses on the western border has increased to 6 properties with No 6 coming very close to the back garden of No 9 Wakes Meadow. Such a location must seriously reduce the privacy of the existing and future residents. I would think this gable end must be within 2 or 3m at best (guesstimated until I can measure the plan). Is it not normal to allow 10m to preserve privacy and existing resident amenity?

A similar problem occurs at the other end of the site where the affordable homes now encroach on the amenity of the three homes that front onto Bunbury Lane at this point to the north of the access road.

The Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan (BNP) states under Housing Policy H5 Design:

Demonstrate that the amenities of neighbouring dwellings will not be adversely affected through overlooking, loss of light or outlook, over dominance or general disturbance.

This point is emphasised by BNP Policy LC1 – Built environment:

..demonstrate a high quality of design and a good standard of amenity for existing and future occupiers of the proposed development, at the same time ensuring that the amenities of neighbouring properties will not be adversely affected.

These plans therefore pose a serious loss of privacy and amenity to existing residents. It is not beyond the wit of skilled architects to solve this problem.

In her report on the appeal of application 16/2010N on the land off Oak Gardens, the Inspector laid down a series of conditions. This forms the schedule at the end on the document and stipulate what MUST be done and in what order. A number of these conditions have relevance to any of our objections to these plans. The inspector identifies condition 1, 8, 10, 11 and 13 as pre-commencement conditions as they cannot be satisfactorily dealt with any other way

Condition 1: requires the developer to submit ‘Details of the appearance, landscaping, layout, and scale, (hereinafter called “the reserved matters”) shall be submitted

That would appear to have been fulfilled by the plans currently on display on the Cheshire East (CE) website. Click here to view

Condition 8 of the schedule:

No development shall commence until the public right of way through the site has been diverted as shown on the approved Footpath Plan.’ (Schedule 8)

While the appeal against the original path orders was rejected, a new appeal against the subsequent amendments to those orders is still ongoing. It is good to note that the Cheshire East Footpath Team are on the job , spurred on by Susie Reed -and have already lodged an objection to the application.

Their comments are worth attention because the project must stop until the issues are dealt with:

We wish to object to the Reserved Matters planning application (18/6338N) as the developers Landscape Plan does not reflect the proposed widths of FP14 Bunbury as recorded in the Footpath Diversion Order and previously agreed with the developers.

FP14 runs from the gate into the field to the kissing gate in the middle of the southern boundary (and onwards over the next field), near to the west end of Oak Gardens. Footpath 15 the runs from the kissing gate along the southern boundary to the style leading to the small bridge over the Gowy brook. the Footpath team comment:

Public Footpath No.15 – although this section of public footpath has not required a diversion, it has previously been mentioned that as it is proposed to enclose the path a minimum of 2.5 metres for the footpath would be required. However as this footpath also follows a existing hedge to the southern boundary of the site, it is assumed the Nature Conservation Officer will be recommending that a buffer is also required for this section. Therefore a greater width would be required.

Condition 10:

Before the approval of the final reserved matters application, an updated protected species impact assessment and mitigation strategy shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. Development shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details.
No such updated impact assessment or mitigation strategy has been forth coming.

Condition 11 is addressed further down the page.

b) Secondly are concerns related to the proposed gardens of these houses and the extent this poses a serious threat to the local ecology and an attack on the BNP Landscape and Environment Policy.

In outlinning its polcy toward the environment the Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan (BNP) states that one of the key issues it wishes to address is:

To continue to protect wildlife, especially those endangered species such as great crested newts, birds of prey and owls. (BNP p22)

The specific policies that it uses to enforce this are:

Policy ENV3 -Woodland, Trees, Hedgerows, Sandstone
Banks, Walls, Boundary Treatment and Paving

Incuded in the policy are the statements:

All new developments should seek to protect local woodland, trees, hedgerows, wide verges, sandstone banks, walls, boundary treatment

All new development close to existing mature trees will be expected
to have in place an arboricultural method statement to BS5837
standard or equivalent before any work commences. This will detail
tree protection policies to be employed during construction.

No such statement has been made.

Policy ENV7 – Buffer Zones and Wildlife Corridors opens with the statement:
The existing woodlands, wildlife sites, drainage ditches, brooks and culverts
will be maintained and enhanced and, where appropriate, new buffer zones and wildlife corridors will be created to increase the biodiversity of the plan area.

The western border of the site backs onto a stream – a tributary of the River Gowy. This is designated in the Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan (BNP) as a Wildlife corridor in Policy BIO 1 – Bunbury Wildlife Corridor ( Map Reference Appendix C Map 1 BNP).

A key passage in the Justification of this policy is

The designated area should incorporate all semi–natural habitat along the river corridor and include a non–developable buffer zone to protect the corridor from issues such as ground water and light pollution, and the spread of invasive garden species.

This is specified in the CE Principle Nature Conservation Officer and repeated by HM Inspector in giving her consent to the development at appeal.

I understand that the application site falls within an indicative wildlife corridor as shown in the NP. The NP recommends a 15m non-developable buffer zone adjacent to the wildlife corridor. The Council has acknowledged that this appears to have been achieved in the indicative layout and I have no reason to find otherwise.

Now the proposed site and landscape plan show the ‘buffer zone’ has gone and gardens appear to extend to the banks of the stream. The developer has even indicated a gate is to be provided to better access the wildlife corridor! If the corridor and its protective buffer zone are subsumed into the gardens we can clearly see the dangers to the wildlife and the environment. Undergrowth will be cleared, trees will be cut back ‘the threat of falling branches poses a danger both to my house and children cut them down!’, people will invade this quiet area and drive out the wildlife. This amounts to a cynical rejection of the BNP polices designed to protect these essential environments. It is also a complete reversal of the plans presented that can be seen below comparing the landscape plans before and after planning consent has been granted.

 

 

Here is the current proposal for landscaping the site:

New landscape plan of site showing position of houses and some limited planting of hedges.

Here is the amended version that now puts back many of the mitigation features originally proposed. Why did we not get this plan first time ?

Latest landscape plan (29/01/19) showing restoration of many of the ecology mitigation features not included in the first version shown above.

It is interesting to view the original layout and features to support the ecology of the field. Here is the original plan:

Indicative layout of site showing position of houses roads and ecological enhancement items required.
Original Landscape plan submitted with application 16/2010N

The latest landscape plan now shows the pond, the Hibernacula Mounds, Habitat Mounds, Wooden Compost Bins, and apart from some planted fence lines no additional planting round the pond or the old ash tree. Much of the area behind the row of house adjacent to the brook still is incorporating the 15m buffer zone required by the Nature Conservation Officer and shown on the original landscape plan. This has now been included within the gardens. The ‘buffer zone’ protecting the wildlife corridor has gone. the wildlife corridor on this side of the brook has also effectively gone.

Condition 11 specifies:

Before the approval of the final reserved matters application a habitat management plan to cover the life of the development shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. From the day of commencement of development, the management plan shall be adhered to thereafter.

No such plan has been submitted.

These matters will be decided by the assigned Planning Officer, Simon Greenland. It is important to register your concerns about these proposals by the 13th February. I will make available some of my concerns as soon as possible but numbers and specific concerns about the plans really do matter. It is pointless to rehash points made in the original debate about this development. The focus has to on these particular plans, such as impact on existing dwellings, privacy, protection of landscape as specified in the various environmental assessments and agreements. More on this soon.

This application is therefore incomplete and cannot be considered as it does not comply with the conditions laid down by the inspector. Both conditions 10 and 11 come with the preamble:

Before the approval of the final reserve matters application…

Neither have met. The Planning Officer assures me that the information is on its way. But the point is, it is not available now for proper scrutiny. The clock is running and unlike council officer members, the public need time to check the website, think, and marshal their comments. Presenting critical information late in the day is just another variant of the ‘A good Day for bad news’ strategy that governments, corporation and businesses are inclined to use when they do not want the hassle of accountability.

New National Planning Policy Framework – first thoughts.

On the last day of the Parliamentary year – always a ‘good’ day for bad news – the government published the new National Planning Policy Framework. This is the set of rules that defines where houses are built, what type and how affordable. It sets the agenda for planners, Local Councils and developers. And most of the rule book is bad news for the countryside:

  • All developments are effectively sustainable – that criterion has gone. Only if they cause ‘unnecessary harm’ are they unsustainable and they cannot cause harm if they are meeting the needs for development.
  • Land has now become space awaiting development. It is not a precious landscape, an essential part of the social and environmental well-being of our lives, no, it is just a gap waiting for buildings.
  • A philosophy that means that we will get a planning regime that will result in outcomes that look very similar to those would get if there were NO planning system. One based on theoretical calculations of ‘demand’ based on market prices resulting in houses of the type wanted by developers being built in places where landowners want to sell.
  • Communities are disempowered from getting homes they need and that people can afford. The Government uses the ‘housing delivery test’ to set high targets for local councils to meet. If they fail to do so then local controls over planning will be removed. Almost all local plans will become out of date within two years. We have seen what that can mean for Bunbury where the lack of a local plan meant the neighbourhood plan was deemed out of date. Hill Close, Bunbury Lane (behind the retirement homes) and the field off Oak Gardens all were granted on the basis that Local plans were ‘out of date’ and therefore development must be permitted.

One important improvement is the reduction in harm of the ‘viability loophole’. This was a legal loophole that many developers saw fit to exploit. If they paid a high price for land they could claim exemption from the rules related to affordable housing by showing that profits would be uncompetitive. In many areas this resulted in affordable housing being squeeze out and a significant reduction in the numbers built. All part of the ongoing housing crisis!

Now the NPPF is saying that developers can no-longer use the high price of land as an excuse for not building affordable housing. Instead they must show what has changed since local plans were put in place that threatens the viability of any scheme. The onus of proof is on the developer not the local authority.

The CPRE sums this up as:

Without a local plan, councils and communities have little control over the location and type of developments that take place. This results in the wrong developments in the wrong places local communities’ needs are ignored and valued countryside destroyed for no good reason.’

All quiet on the planning front?

View of removed hedge from Hill Close site.

It has been a little quiet on the planning front for a bit now. According to the Parish  Council (PC) Chair Ron Pulford,  it’s been a year since the village ‘welcomed’ an application to build another 15, or so homes.  Since 2010 the village has seen the addition of 100 new homes. The developments include Tweddle Close, Oak Gardens, the Outspan and The Grange  as either built or building. To come are Bowes Gate, Hill Close, the sites off Oak Gardens and Bunbury Lane, behind the retirement homes, and next to the medical Centre. All of these sites are within the maximum size of 15 dwellings specified in the Neighbourhood Plan (NP). That last point is something of a victory for the NP.  In the same period plans to build 52 houses behind Bunbury Lane (west side) and 36 house on the Hill Close site have been rejected after going to appeal.

 

The original target for Bunbury was to provide room for at least 80 dwellings. This was allocated in the previous Cheshire East (CE) Local Plan and came as a result of the village being designated a Local Service Centre. That allocation is now under review as the authority  has a new Local Plan.  Cheshire East has to deliver  around 39,000 homes by 2030. It has the sites, and some, to do that. But what we would like to know is what its plans are for Bunbury.

 

In a few weeks time we will see the new allocations part of the consultation process. By late summer that will be finalised and agreed. Early, and I stress informal comments, suggest that Bunbury is seen as having ‘done its bit’ and no further allocations will be made in this planning cycle (2010-2030). If that becomes reality then it is great news for the village. Of course small one-off developments (called ‘windfalls’ in planning jargon) will continue. However larger scale developments, should be a thing of the past at least until after 2030. It may be that some developers will try their luck but the balance of probability they will succeed is firmly against them if CE does as we hope and not allocate further development to Bunbury.

Review of 2017

We have had a busy year again. The first change to mention is that we are now the Bunbury Action Group. Why the change? Often particular groups emerge to fight a given development but disappear as soon as the application is decided. It is to be hoped that with one organisation we can maintain the watching brief on a wide range of concerns about the village. Secondly what we learn from each struggle with developers, enhancement of the environment, etc. will build our ability to be more effective. As we accumulate resources people will be able to find useful material more quickly and therefore be more effective in their struggle against inappropriate developments. Thirdly, one organisation keeps the village united. We must avoid parts of the village feeling that their loss is somehow others’ gain, or vice-a-versa ..’if they build over there then they might not build next to us…’ That breeds fragmentation. And while those directly affected will be most likely to lead the examination of the application, we must all feel included in the debate to protect and promote our village.

The new Friends of Bunbury website also seeks to encourage both easy access to the debates about housing developments but also the wider life of the village. Many of our struggles with developments have attempted to point to the damage to the environment, the loss of amenity and the threat to our wildlife. I hope this new website will give greater prominence to these aspects of our concern with our lives in the village.

1. What has  happened to housing developments in 2017

This year the number of applications for 2 or more properties increased to a peak. Please note these are my personal calculation and may not be error free. They also do not include single dwelling construction or applications.

Decisions granted:

                                                       Total Dwellings                     Affordable/Intermediate

Land off Oak Gardens                                 15                                                 4

Land off Bunbury Lane (Wulvern)               15                                                  5

Land next to Medical Centre                        7                                                   ?

Land off Bowes Gate Road                           11                                                8

Land around Bunbury Heath (4 sites)            8                                                0

Sub-total                                                     56

Planning Condition applications granted (Reserved matters and other conditions)

Hill Close                                                      15                                               5

Sites building:

The Grange (building)                                  14                                               4

The Outspan                                                  5                                               0

School Lane (Inc. Car Park)                            2                                               0

Totals                                                          92            of which                     26 are affordable in some way

Analysis by Type of Dwelling:

                                                                     1 Bed                  2/3 Beds          4/5 Beds

                                                                         2                   33                    53 (plus 4 undecided or unclear)

The 2013 housing survey of Bunbury identified 1 bed dwellings as being in strong demand. Developers want to build the ‘executive’ home but unlike elsewhere we are getting the 30% of affordable and intermediate (shared equity) housing.

2. What we learnt from Appeals:

During the year three applications went to appeal and we had the result of two during the year. The first up was the appeal on the land off Oak Gardens. This came through in mid June with the decision to allow the appeal. What did we learn?

  1. 1. Very little will protect a site if the local Plan cannot ‘demonstrate’ an adequate supply of land for development. Without the local plan all policies related to housing are deemed to use that strange phrase ‘out-of-date’.The Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan (BNP) was therefore, at the time, ‘out-of-date’. Six weeks later Cheshire East had a Local Plan and was able to demonstrate the required supply of land.
  1. 2. The ‘Co-location Policy’ contained in the BNP was open to different interpretation. The ‘local’ thought it applied retrospectively to the previous Local Plan (2010-2030) period. The inspector said the definitions were ‘contradictory’ and could only refer to houses built after it was ‘made’ i.e. became a legal policy in March 2016. The BNP development group had foreseen the problem if the policy were not retrospective. Adjacent sites given planning permission days apart in the spring of 2016 could deemed not to be co-located. Absurd.

Perhaps, as I have heard, some in the Government are troubled by the widespread adoption of the co-location policy. Designed to block the emergence of large estates it was being considered by many groups developing their own Neighbourhood Plans. This decision has damaged the policy and reduced its effectiveness. From now on the policy can only stop co- location of sites built with the period 2016-2030

Next the Wulvern appeal on the site east of Bunbury Lane behind the retirement bungalows. This application became controversial to many because of it linkage with the Hill Close battle. The granting of permission to the Hill Close site created a protracted struggle over access. Wulvern Housing Association (now part of Guinness Partnership) had an application on a site a field away. On the same day that Hill Close (CB Homes) got the go-ahead Wulvern was turned down. Most wanted it round the other way. Wulvern appealed.

1. The same point was used here as above. All housing policies are deemed ‘out-of-date’.

2. The co-location policy is also subject to a thorough ‘pounding’ by the inspector. The inspector agues that the development      of both these sites does not conflict with the policy as they are ‘visually separated’  (by the paddock) and it is: is:

inevitable that it seems to me, that some of the new housing would have to be located within the same geographical area of the village’.

She then suggests the field off Oak Gardens, that has just been given the go-ahead, illustrates her point very well! So the co-location policy is yet further reduced in scope. Anyone would think the inspectors have an agenda.

The final appeal was on the footpath diversions across the field off Oak Gardens. No word yet.

Let us hope 2018 will be a quiet year on the  planning front.

The Footpaths across the field next to Oak Gardens

Update:

All submissions (all objections) on the removal and diversion of the footpaths across the field next to Oak Gardens have now been made and this  part of the process is closed. The inspector will shortly visit the site.  (S)he will not talk to you about the appeal! But we will hear the result soon afterwards.

 

This is the submission  I made  to Cheshire East in  objection to their order to divert footpath 14 and extinguish the Unrecorded Footpath that crosses the land off Oak Gardens. This Order is now going to appeal and those of you that put in objections and have not withdrawn them will have been notified of the procedure. Others can still put in objections in writing to :

Jean McEntee, 3G Hawk, Temple Quay House, Bristol, BS1 6PN

Email:jean.mcentee@pins.gsi.gov.uk

Reference all communications: ROW/3187612
Footpath Orders relating to planning application 16/2010N

From:

Peter Gorman

 

I would like to object to the above path orders on the following grounds:

1. The orders do not satisfy the criteria under section 257 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 that: ‘Subject to section 259, a competent authority may by order authorise the stopping up or diversion of any footpath [F2, bridleway or restricted byway] if they are satisfied that it is necessary to do so in order to enable development to be carried out— (a) in accordance with planning permission granted under Part III [ section 293A] , or (b) by a government department.’ Since only outline planning has been granted with all matters other than access reserved, such as housing type, design and layout then15 dwellings could be provided on this site without diversion or extinguishment of the footpaths, using different housing type and layout.

2. It would be pre-emptive to lose and alter these rights of way before full planning permission hasbeen granted on this site, because there are a number of conditions that need to be met before development can commence and these could prevent development taking place or plans to be altered compared to the illustrative plans submitted.

3. The proposed alternate route is damaging to biodiversity and contrary to duties under section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006.

4. The Statement of Reasons states: ‘An assessment of the proposal has been carried out by the Borough Council’s Nature Conservation Officer and he has no objection to the proposals.’ However, having spoken to him he was not explicitly aware of the path order details until I drew them to his attention and now has recommendations to make.

5. Planning permission has been granted by considering the Neighbourhood Plan as out of date, since Cheshire East could not agree a 5 year housing supply, however, the Neighbourhood Plan was not out of date according to the recent ministerial statement and Cheshire East has now a Local Plan and 5 year housing Plan so it and the Neighbourhood Plan should be given more weight when deciding reserved matters, which is likely to change the design.

6. If the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is to be considered then the loss of amenity value of these footpaths, particularly in the context of enjoyment of the countryside, should be considered along with loss of historic village character, loss of biodiversity, potential damage to protected species and the lack of sustainability of the proposed site, being in open countryside in an area with very limited public transport and no mains’ gas, as damage to noted interests which outweigh any presumption in favour of development. So in relation to carrying out the footpath orders and the illustrative plan the ‘adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits when assessed against the policies in this Framework taken as a whole’ contrary to the NPPF.

Background

I live next to the field in question, across which the paths are designated. I have enjoyed using the three footpaths that cross the site of planning application 16/2010N, Bunbury FP14, Bunbury FP15 and the claimed diagonal path subject of a Definitive Map Modification Order Application, for nearly 3 years, because of the lovely views of open countryside, mature woodland, an ancient ash tree and associate wildlife, including many protected species. I see the frequent use of these footpaths were, by many people including, dog walkers, children using them as safe walking routes to and from school, rambling groups, locals and visitors.

The diagonal claimed path over the open field is the historic link between Bunbury and Spurstow and is the route used to connect to the Sandstone Trail, popular with tourists, so is important to tourists visiting Bunbury’s historic attractions, and therefore important to the local economy.

Bunbury FP 14 is used to connect Lower Bunbury to Long Lane and provides a pleasant walk over open fields with views to the protected Biodiversity Action Plan Priority Woodland to the south of the site. It connects to Bunbury FP15 along the south of the field, which then meets the claimed diagonal path at the bridge over the tributary to the River Gowy, to join the footpath to Spurstow.

All these attractive open rural footpaths, as well as providing useful practicable routes, are important to historic village character, enjoyment of the countryside and associate wildlife, health and social wellbeing and to the tourist economy.

Details of Objections

1. The orders do not satisfy the criteria under section 257 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 that: ‘Subject to section 259, a competent authority may by order authorise the stopping up or diversion of any footpath [F2, bridleway or restricted byway] if they are satisfied that it is necessary to do so in order to enable development to be carried out— (a)in accordance with planning permission granted under Part III [For section293A] , or (b) by a government department.’ Since only outline planning has been granted with all matters other than access reserved, such as housing type, design and layout and that 15 dwellings could be provided on this site without diversion or extinguishment of the footpaths.

Appeal Decision Ref: APP/R0660/W/16/3165643 states:

‘ 1. The appeal is allowed and planning permission is granted for a residential development for 15 dwellings with associated works at Land at Oak Gardens, Bunbury, CW6 9QN, in accordance with the terms of the application, Ref 16/2010N, dated 21 April 2016, subject to the conditions in the attached Schedule.

Procedural Matters

2. The application was submitted in outline. Whilst the application form indicates that layout is applied for, the Planning Statement and the Appeal Statement say that only access is for consideration and that the layout is for indicative purposes only. The layout plan is also marked “indicative”. I have dealt with the appeal on the basis that all matters are reserved except for access.’

This shows that planning permission is only outline with all matters reserved except for access.

You can see from the revised illustrative plan from the developer available at: http://doc.cheshireeast.gov.uk/NorthgatePublicDocs/07819545.pdf the area the 6 affordable 2 bedroom houses in Oak Gardens (south-east of the site) take up, so that 15 one bed apartments, for example, would not take up a much larger footprint and would leave space for the existing footpaths.

2. It would be pre-emptive to lose and alter these rights of way before full planning permission hasbeen granted on this site, because there are a number of conditions that need to be met before development can commence and these could prevent development taking place or plans to be altered compared to illustrative plans being submitted.

There are 14 conditions attached to the appeal decision planning permission and conditions 1, 8, 10, 11, 13 and 14 are pre-commencement conditions.

Under condition 1 ‘the appearance, landscaping, layout, and scale’ of the development need to be approved. This means diversion and extinguishment of footpaths in these orders may not be necessary.

Under condition 10 ‘Before the approval of the final reserved matters application, an updated protected species impact assessment and mitigation strategy shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority.’

Condition 11 states: Before the approval of the final reserved matters application a habitat management plan to cover the life of the development shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. From the day of commencement of development, the management plan shall be adhered to thereafter.’

Cheshire East’s Nature Conservation Officer (NCO) in his submission to planning application 16/2010N available at http://doc.cheshireeast.gov.uk/NorthgatePublicDocs/07835630.pdf states in relation to great crested newts:

It should be noted that since a European Protected Species has been recorded on site and is likely to be adversely affected the proposed development the planning authority must have regard to whether Natural England would be likely to subsequently grant the applicant a European Protected species license under the Habitat Regulations. A license under the Habitats Regulations can only be granted when: • the development is of overriding public interest, • there are no suitable alternatives and • the favourable conservation status of the species will be maintained. Details of how the Habitat Regulations ‘tests’ were considered must be recorded within the committee/delegated report. Please refer to guidance issued by CE legal in respect of this issue. I advise that the proposed outline mitigation and compensation is acceptable and is likely to maintain the favourable conservation status of the local newt population. If planning consent is granted I advise that a condition must be attached requiring any future reserved matters application to be supported by an updated protected species impact assessment and mitigation [and] compensation strategy.’

Since this development is not of overriding public interest, there are suitable alternative sites for development in Bunbury (in fact with developments built and given planning permission since the start of the plan period in 2010 already exceed the target of 80 dwellings for the period 2010 to 2030) and the conservation status may not be maintained a license may not be forthcoming.

As you will also see from the NCO submission this site is rich in protected species including badgers, great crested newts, toads, grass snakes and many species of bats. The site is also used by many birds, including protected species such as buzzards and woodpeckers.

The NCO admits the illustrative plan does not have a scale so does not necessarily guarantee the required 15 m buffer to protect the wildlife corridor to the west of the site and therefore also makes it difficult to judge distances from the hedges and their undeveloped edges, which are important to wildlife and provide insects for bats, who use the hedgerows as foraging corridors. Loss of the grassland itself has an adverse impact on wildlife, but the corridors of uncut grassland bordering the hedges, trees and woodland are very important to biodiversity and this should be recognised at the reserved matter’s stage and suitable changes made to the illustrative application.

Condition 13 states: ‘No development shall take place until a Construction Method Statement has been submitted to, and approved in writing by the local planning authority.’ It then gives details of what needs to be covered.

Condition 14 states: ‘No development shall take place until the following information has been submitted to, and approved in writing, by the local planning authority: i) a full site survey showing: the datum used to calibrate the site levels; levels along all site boundaries; levels across the site at regular intervals; levels of adjoining gardens; and floor levels of adjoining buildings. ii) full details of the proposed finished floor levels of all buildings and hard landscaped surfaces. The development shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details.’

Condition 5 refers to the proposed access and is a condition before the occupation of dwellings rather than commencement, however, it would seem more sensible to check that these access arrangements could be made before dwellings are built, given disputes over ownership of access in similar village developments.

Condition 8 states: ‘No development shall commence until the public right of way through the site has been diverted as shown on the approved Footpath Plan.’

I believe this should state until there is a fully approvedFootpath Plan, as the footpath diversion has not been fully approved and should not be changed until a detailed development plan has been approved and the need for footpath changes are shown to be necessary and that any changes take into account duties to conserve biodiversity and NPPF guidance.

Given all the conditions on this outline planning permission, it cannot be deemed ‘necessary’ under section 257 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to make these path orders. This situation could be reviewed after conditions 1,10, 11, 13 and 14 have been met, as well as confirmation that the proposed access arrangements are possible and that if any path alterations are required it is made sure they meet the criteria in section 257 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, duties under section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, where there is a duty to conserve biodiversity and ‘in particular have regard to the United Nations Environmental Programme Convention on Biological Diversity of 1992’ and also follow NPPF guidance.

3. The proposed footpath diversion and alternate route to the extinguished path is damaging to biodiversity.

The proposed footpath diversion uses a compacted stone surface immediately adjacent to hedgerows and destroys the uncut grassland at the edge of the field, which is important to biodiversity, by providing higher diversity plant species than the cut grassland and homes and foraging for wildlife, including protected species like grass snakes, toads and great crested newts and is especially important to provide insect food for bats using the hedgerows as foraging corridors.

Under Section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 there is a duty to conserve biodiversity and ‘in particular have regard to the United Nations Environmental Programme Convention on Biological Diversity of 1992.’ Where

‘Conserving biodiversity includes, in relation to a living organism or type of habitat, restoring or enhancing a population or habitat.’

These path orders do not, therefore, meet the duty to conserve biodiversity.

4. The Statement of Reasons states: ‘An assessment of the proposal has been carried out by the Borough Council’s Nature Conservation Officer and he has no objection to the proposals.’ However, having spoken to him he was not explicitly aware of the path order details until I drew them to his attention. He has now advised me as follows: I have asked for the route of the diverted footpath to allow for a two meter undeveloped buffer from the hedgerow. I can also ask for this to be provided as part of the detailed design at the reserved matter’s stage.’

This suggests that there is much to be decided in relation to nature conservation at the reserved matter’s stage of this outline planning application and that path orders should not be made until a final plan is available and only if it shows footpath orders are needed and that any alterations to footpaths properly take in to account nature and biodiversity conservation should they be made.

7. Planning permission has been granted by considering the Neighbourhood Plan as out of date, since Cheshire East could not agree a 5 year housing supply, however, the Neighbourhood Plan was not out of date according to the recent ministerial statement.

Appeal paragraphs 7 and 8 states:

7. On 12 December 2016 the Planning Minister, Gavin Barwell, published a Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) concerning neighbourhood planning. This requires that, where there are relevant policies for the supply of housing in a recently made neighbourhood plan, these policies should not be considered out-of-date unless there is a significant lack of supply and if a specific set of circumstances occurs at the time of decision making. These are that the WMS is less than 2 years old, or the NP has been part of the development plan for 2 years or less; the NP allocates sites for housing, the LPA can demonstrate a  3-year supply of deliverable housing sites. All these circumstances must occur together.

8. The Council reject the WMS relevance as they claim the criterion for maintaining the currency of the NP is not met. I dispute this. The Council has confirmed that it cannot demonstrate a current 5 year housing land supply (HLS) and that its current supply is 3.96 years. The figure of 3.9 years agreed exceeds the 3 years required by the Minister. The Bunbury Neighbourhood  Plan (BNP) was ‘made’ in March 2016 and therefore meets the time period criteria. The central weakness of our case the council claim is that although the boundary of the NP takes in land which has planning permission for housing..it does not specifically allocate sites for housing. Therefore, given the absence of allocated sites in the NP and the lack of a 5 year HLS, according to the WMS, the relevant policies for the supply of housing are out of date.’

r. The ministerial statement does not say the NP needs to allocate specific sites for housing just that it ‘allocates sites for housing.The  BNP Policy H1 makes this clear. I quote:

The Neighbourhood Plan proposes a Settlement Boundary for Bunbury based upon the existing defined Settlement Boundary in the Crewe and Nantwich Local Plan 2005. The purposes of the Settlement Boundary are:– A. Directing future housing, economic and community related development in the Neighbourhood Plan Area to the village of Bunbury, to enhance its role as a resilient and sustainable community and to protect the surrounding open spaces and countryside. B. Containing the spread of the village, by reinforcing its core area and maintaining an effective and coherent built up–rural edge. C. Proposals for housing development outside the Bunbury Settlement Boundary will only be granted where they comply with the criteria set out in Housing Policy H2 (Scale of Housing Development), or in exceptional circumstances; such as any new dwelling required for the essential need of an agricultural worker to live permanently at or near their place of work in the countryside

Bunbury NP clearly designates sites available for housing adjacent to the existing boundary as well as within it   otherwise it would not be exceeding its target for the period to 2030 already so the NP should have been given weight.

Cheshire East have a Local Plan and 5 year supply of housing so it and the Neighbourhood Plan should be given more weight when deciding reserved matters, which is likely to change the design.

5. If the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is to be considered then the loss of amenity value of these footpaths, particularly in the context of enjoyment of the countryside, should be considered along with loss of historic village character, loss of biodiversity, potential damage to protected species and the lack of sustainability of the proposed site. The site is in the open countryside in an area with very limited public transport and no mains’ gas. So in relation to carrying out the footpath orders and the illustrative plan the ‘adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, when assessed against the policies in this Framework taken as a whole’ contrary to the NPPF.

Section 17 of the NPPF includes as ‘Core planning principles’ :

be genuinely plan-led, empowering local people to shape their surroundings, with succinct local and neighbourhood plans setting out a positive vision for the future of the area.

● take account of the different roles and character of different areas […] recognising the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside and supporting thriving rural communities within it;

contribute to conserving and enhancing the natural environment and reducing pollution.

● promote mixed use developments, and encourage multiple benefits from the use of land in urban and rural areas, recognising that some open land can perform many functions (such as for wildlife, recreation, flood risk mitigation, carbon storage, or food production);

● conserve heritage assets in a manner appropriate to their significance, so that they can be enjoyed for their contribution to the quality of life of this and future generations;

● actively manage patterns of growth to make the fullest possible use of public transport, walking and cycling, and focus significant development in locations which are or can be made sustainable; and

take account of and support local strategies to improve health, social and cultural wellbeing for all, and deliver sufficient community and cultural facilities and services to meet local needs.

Section 69 of the NPPF states: ‘The planning system can play an important role in facilitating social interaction and creating healthy, inclusive communities.’ Section 73 states: ‘Access to high quality open spaces and opportunities for sport and recreation can make an important contribution to the health and well-being of communities.’

These footpaths are important to walkers to have a pleasant place to enjoy the intrinsic beauty of the countryside and its wildlife and a place where people meet others out walking, so are important to healthy activities, social interaction and the well being of the community. They should be valued and protected.

Conclusion

These path orders are not ‘necessary’ under section 257 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as only outline planning has been granted with all matters, other than access reserved, such as housing type, design and layout yet to be decided.

It would be pre-emptive to lose and alter these rights of way before all other pre-conditions to development are met and a final design plan agreed, as there is no guarantee when and what plan will be able to go ahead.

The proposed alternate route is damaging to biodiversity and contrary to duties under section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. I understand the Nature Conservation Officer is asking for changes to the proposed path orders and will be asking for changes to the layout at the reserved matters’ stage also, so no path orders should be made until all reserved matters are settled.

The NPPF ‘Core Planning Principles’ include taking ‘account of the different roles and character of different areas’ and ‘recognising the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside and supporting thriving rural communities within it’ and should ‘contribute to conserving and enhancing the natural environment.’ Losing these paths would harm historic village character, harm the enjoyment of the countryside, harm healthy and social pursuits, potentially harm tourism, would damage the natural environment and potentially harm protected species.

For all the reasons given please refuse both the above path orders, so that people can continue to use these attractive rural footpaths to enjoy the countryside and associate wildlife.

Thank you for considering my objections.