New Housing site identified for development.

Update September 30th 2019

No progress on this development. While only a small site of 7 proposed dwellings, it has provoked a considerable number of objections. The original decision date has moved away the last being in July although the date for last comments was August. Odd. Nonetheless we are left in the dark as to what the issues are that are delaying the decision. It may be good news but I would be cautious in coming to any conclusions.

Wyche lane Application 19/0803N

A new application for 7 dwellings has been lodged with East Cheshire Council for a site located off Wyche Lane.

Site Location of proposed Wyche Lane development

This application is, regrettably, for outline permission so we will not really know what is going to be built there during this stage of the planning process. All matters are reserved or as the ‘Design statement’ somewhat ominously states:

1.7……Access, appearance, landscaping, layout and scale are reserved for future determination. (my emphasis)

Planning, Design and Access Statement (Land at Wyche Lane, Bunbury) Savills

What that means is that the applicants want consent with minimal restrictions on what they eventually build. There is some reasonable commercial logic in that as it does not tie the hands of the developer who remain able to respond to market trends. However they claim the site lies in ‘..a strong market area and as such if successful the scheme will be brought forward in 2020, subject to planning.’ (1.8)

This would suggest they must already have a clear idea of what would best sell in this location. Housing trends do not change in little more than year, but given Brexit who knows!

Indicative Layout of 7 dwellings on the site.

Unlike the recent Oak Gardens application all the basic material is present on the Cheshire East Planning website HERE

We knew that the Parish Council have held discussion with two potential developers – Fisher German and Savills. Confidentiality has meant only now have Savills plans been revealed. I have my suspicions about the Fisher-German site but that’s just a guess.

What does surprise me is the summary of what advice was given and discussed between the developers and the PC. Here is what Savills say :

1.11 The Parish Council viewed the proposals in the context of the adopted Neighbourhood Plan, in particular Neighbourhood Plan Policy H2 which supports small scale development of greenfield sites which are
located immediately adjacent to the village and below 15 units in scale

1.12 The pre-application advice also provided the following comments:

  • There would be no policy conflict with the Neighbourhood Plan in Principle;
  • There is a need for intermediate/ small scale housing which the illustrative layout shows can be delivered on site;
  • Access and highways would need to be reviewed in detail; and,
  • Whilst a number of other sites have been approved and the housing need is considered generally met,

Firstly, the BNP states that Bunbury has to provide space for at least 80 new house between 2010 – 2030. We have exceeded that minimum target by over 30 homes. So far as we know that figure has not been increased in the new approved Local Plan. Phasing is also required so that the community facilities can cope (BNP p11). Acceptance of this recent application therefore suggests there is no limit to the expansion of Bunbury, no phasing in any meaningful sense, and ever elastic boundaries to the village.

Secondly, while the developer suggests a mix of housing would be their intention, we have no guarantee that this is what will emerge after outline consent is granted. Experience suggests that the outcome of a development is often very different from that proposed before consent is given.

Below are the comments made during the Parish council Meeting 13th March 2019

Comments on Planning, Design and Access Statement – Savills

  1. 1.10. Savills met with the Parish Council on the 10th October 2018 to discuss the development proposals prior to the submission of this application. At the meeting, the Parish Council expressed their general support for the principle of the development.
  2. 1.11. The Parish Council viewed the proposals in the context of the adopted Neighbourhood Plan, in particular Neighbourhood Plan Policy H2 which supports small scale development of greenfield sites which are located immediately adjacent to the village and below 15 units in scale.
  3. 1.12. The pre-application advice also provided the following comments:
    • – There would be no policy conflict with the Neighbourhood Plan in Principle;
    • – There is a need for intermediate / small scale housing which the illustrative layout shows can be
    • delivered on site;
    • – Access and highways would need to be reviewed in detail; and,
    • – Whilst a number of other sites have been approved and the housing need is considered generally met, this should be seen as a minimum figure and new sites can be supported commensurate with the size of the village to support its long term sustainability.

1.13. In conclusion, during the pre-application discussions, the Parish Council regarded the proposed development favourably, noting how in principle it would be supported by Neighbourhood Plan Policies.

1.14. In short, there were no insurmountable issues raised which would prevent the principle of developing the Land at Wyche Lane, Bunbury.

Object to 1.10 – 1.14 as this is a mis-representation of the meeting as per EMail from our Chair

In this case the broad outline we were given did comply with the main provisions of the Neighbourhood Plan. We also emphasised the need for intermediate/small scale housing that would be more affordable. This provides more opportunity for young people who have grown up in the village and wish to purchase a house here. It also provides opportunities for existing residents to downsize and for young families who would not normally be able to afford to live in Bunbury, to move to the village. On small developments of this type there is no obligation on a developer to provide this type of housing but we strongly emphasize the need for it.

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. When Councillors consider this application, at our meeting on 13th March, we will do so with open minds and will only make a decision after we have listened to anything that residents have to say and after we have debated the issue.

2.2 The site is currently undeveloped and has no planning history.

Object as this statement is incorrect, planning has previously been refused in 1965 4/5/5020 and 1989 7/16940.

2.7. Splays

Object as per comments on the Optima report (below).

2.8 Bunbury, a Local Service Centre, is considered to be a sustainable location for development, with a range of services and facilities to meet the needs of local people, including those living in nearby settlements. Bunbury benefits from a supermarket, a post office, a church and a number of coffee shops, all located within a 400-800m walking distance of the site.

Object: There is nothing within 400M, there is only one coffee shop and the distances are 700-800m

2.11 Bunbury is located directly east from the A49, meaning it is accessible by public transport links. To detail the site’s closest bus stop located circa 0.5 miles from the site. The existing number 70 provides sustainable travel options to Nantwich with a frequency commensurate with its rural location.

Object as the A49 is 0.9 miles away and there is no accessible public transport on the A49. See https://www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/pdf/public-transport/cheshire-east-borough-public-transport-map-29th-october-2018.pdf. You would need to walk to the Red Fox, 3 miles and 1 hour walk to access a bus.

Regarding the bus service see comments on Optima Transport policy (below) where Service 70 does not offer sustainable travel options.

2.13. To detail, the local Co-Op store, butcher and fish and chip shop are located 750m from the site, the local primary school (Bunbury Aldersey Church of England Primary School) is located within 1km of the site and is accessible by foot and by cycle, and the nearest bus stop is located 700m from the site.

Object the wording should read: ..the only accessible bus stop which only has buses on 3 days a week.

4.18 Neighbourhood Plan Policy H1 seeks to accommodate a minimum of 80 new homes in Bunbury over the Plan period. The same policy outlines that development in the Neighbourhood Plan Area will be focussed on sites within or immediately adjacent to Bunbury Village, in order to achieve the aim of enhancing its role as a sustainable settlement whilst also protecting the surrounding countryside.

Object: We ask CE to consider that they have already approved 108 properties and this is to cover the period up to 2030 and this should have been referred to in the Design Statement.

4.21. The Emerging Local Plan Site Allocations and Development Policies document is currently being prepared by Cheshire East Council. The Local Development Scheme suggests that it may be adopted in early 2020. The council consulted on their first draft Site Allocations document until October 2018. Whilst the scheme has been considered in the context of this emerging document where appropriate, it is considered that given its early stage of development, limited weight will be attributed to any policies or allocations within this document.

4.22. Within the Adopted Local Plan Strategy, Local Service Centres such as Bunbury are expected to provide 2,500 houses through the plan period as whole. Within draft policy PG8 this equates to a minimum of 110 properties in Bunbury over the years 2010 to 2030, taking into account completion rates.

We object as this is not a minimum, but the number allocated so as CE meet their national target and we have 108 already built or in plan. The period runs until 2030 so we ahead of the plan and this should be taken in to account.

4.29. Paragraph 73 of the NPPF states that housing delivery figures should be considered as a minimum and there should be no cap on sustainable development.

Object to term ‘no-cap’ as this infers to there is no upper limit. The minimum of 80 was considered to be a number that was consistent with national and local plans and allow reasonable growth, no-cap implies this number has no validity, currently 108 have been approved and we ask CE to consider this in their deliberations.

5.5 Object as this repeats the number of 110 see response to 4.22

5.6. With their being no ceiling figure to each of these policies the proposals would be in accordance with this need, subject to it not impacting the core shape and form of the settlement. Further, discussions with representatives of the Parish Council made clear that this development could be in direct response to Bunbury’s housing need, with the applicant working with the Parish Council to revise the illustrative layout and demonstrate a greater proportion of smaller / intermediate scale units to meet the specific housing need of the Parish.

Object as this is we do not believe there is ‘No ceiling’. It is also “misunderstanding” as the PC does not work on layout, this is CE Planning responsibility and if we worked with the developer it would not enable us to give a judgement without pre-determination.

5.23 Object see comments on Optima report 2.1.10 (width of road)

5.26. The site is in a sustainable location, within close proximity to existing shops and services within Bunbury. The development of this site would achieve strategic Priority 4 by reducing the need to travel by building homes that are close, or easily accessible to where people work, shop, and enjoy recreational activities.

Object as the site is not within walking distance of where people work and as shown elsewhere there is no viable public transport. The only accessible employment is in retail or pub/restaurants e.g. Co-op or a small number of family retail outlets or the local pubs. There is no commercial land identified in Bunbury for future commercial development. There are limited recreational facilities within walking distance e.g. there is no swimming pool, fitness club, cinema or theatre.

Comments on report from Optima, document titled Wyche Lane, Bunbury Proposed Residential Development Transport Note

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.

Object as this is incorrect, the width narrows to 3.2M in places, and this should be taken into account, not just the road at its widest point.

2.2.5 Table 2.1

Object as this implies 2 buses a day to and from Nantwich, it is one bus a day leaving at 10.27 and returning at 14.22

2.2.8 and 2.2.9

The nearest rail station is Nantwich, which is 13km from the Site. Nantwich Station can be accessed via the bus service shown in Table 2.1 or via the dial a ride services.

Transport for Wales provides services to Manchester, Stockport, Crewe, Shrewsbury and South Wales. Major interchange opportunities are available at Crewe, which is located on the West Coast mainline and enjoys services to most areas of the country.

Object as this statement is untrue. Nantwich station is not accessible via the bus service. Buses only run 3 days a week, one per day and it is 1/2m walk from the bus to the train station. You can’t get to and from anywhere since you only have 3 hours in Nantwich.

For example to get from Bunbury to Crewe, take the 10.27 bus on a Tuesday, the 13.05 train and arrive in Crewe at 13.15, you then have to spend 2 nights in Crewe, on Thursday take a train back to Nantwich and the 14.22 bus back to Bunbury, at total of 52 hours.

The Little Bus service is only for older/disabled people not the general population. Quote from Cheshire East website: Flexible transport is a ‘demand responsive’ transport solution which provides an alternative means of travel for older and disabled people. All journeys must be pre-booked so that routes can be planned efficiently. The service works on a demand responsive basis.

3.2.2 Drawing 18128/GA/01, contained in Appendix C, illustrates the most desirable access option onto Wyche Lane. (Splays)

Object as this drawing only references the road access, the 2 drives at either end of the frontage are not accommodated and the splays cannot be adequate without significant removal of further hedging in front of Wyche House and the proposed garden/planting area.

3.3.4 Table of traffic based on TRICS

Object as these numbers seem to be wrong, but there is insufficient detail in Appendix D to challenge these conclusions and we request that CE ask for further backup.

The low number may be due to the assumption that people can walk or take public transport to work, see 4.1.4.

4.1.4 This report has provided a commentary on the existing Site and its conditions. It has demonstrated that the Site is in a relatively sustainable location, given its rural setting and that there is access by appropriate public transport and sustainable links to some services. This provides future residents with opportunities to travel via alternative modes of transport and minimise trips by the private car.

Object as this untrue, it is not possible to use public transport to commute to work outside Bunbury and as has been demonstrated there is no link to other services such as the train. You cannot access public transport on 4 days of the week.

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.

Pressure grows for better provision for pedestrians

The last few Parish Council meetings have witnessed some strong words over the lack of proper provision for pedestrians in Bunbury. The last meeting in February saw a large (for PC meetings) number of residents attending along with the Head of the Primary School in Bunbury. Their complaint was that it was difficult and dangerous for children and parent to get to school and generally to walk around Bunbury.

The evidence presented by the public was anecdotal and necessarily subjective. However, how safe you feel and your perception of traffic speed is a very big influence on how willing you may be to walk the streets of Bunbury or to allow your children to do so. Any walker knows that close passing cars traveling at or near to 30 mph feels uncomfortable. The closer the car, the more ‘uncomfortable one feels. At least that is my experience.

Cars dominate our way of life in ways that it is not always possible to fully appreciate. Huge sums are spent on enabling people to speed more easily from place to place. The current government is (or claims to be) spending £23 billion on road schemes. A further £7.1 billion was also going to Local Government by 2021 for road maintenance and improvements. In contrast, the expenditure on walking and cycling is tiny. The government’s plans an extra £1 million to improve the number of children walking to school. Just stop and compare those numbers. Over £30 Billion for roads and £1 million for helping children walk to school. That’s a 30 thousand times greater expenditure on roads. While there are a number of inexpensive ways to encourage children (and parents) to walk to school rather than drive, I somehow doubt that that one million will buy many extra pavements or 20 mph zones across the entire country.

Some argue that to keep the essential nature of Bunbury it is necessary to retain the open roads with pavements. We can share the space with cars. The village has had no accident that has involved pedestrians over the last 10 years. Furthermore, in the recent survey of traffic speeds in the village there were few incidents of speeding. All good arguments for leaving things alone. The implication being that nothing has really changed so nothing needs to be done. But something has changed.

Before starting school, I was inclined to wander off to the local shops now and again. I liked a 2p Lolly in the summer, (yes it was a long time ago!). By the time I was ready to start school, I knew my neighborhood pretty well. The woods, and rough open ground were we could play out of sight of grown-ups, the stream where we messed about with dams, etc. This was all common knowledge to the local children from about 5 yrs. or earlier.

How many 5 or 6 year olds get to walk to the shops these days, let alone to school. Certainly my older brother and I walked the 2 miles to school from the moment I started. He was just under 7 years old when I started school just before my 5th birthday. We were not exceptional. All the children arrived the same way. Some parents did bring their offspring but the vast majority came on foot. Cars and trucks were about in the mid-1950’s but they were not as common as they are today and most families did not have one let alone 2.

Does that happen today? I do not see children of that age range out and about except with parents. Perhaps my parents and the rest of that generation were wrong to allow such freedom. But maybe it taught us independence, and resilience. Modern parents want their children to grow up as independent and resilient young people. But many would be appalled at the idea their pre-school could walk to the shops to buy a comic!

We can help those parents and therefore the children by reducing some of the perceived risks around the village.

1. Slow the traffic down inside the residential core of the village. Impose 20 mph speed limits. They will take time to bed in with only a slow decline in car speeds at first. But in time people will come to expect slower speeds and most drivers will respond. Maybe even come down to 10 mph around the triangle at the centre by the co-op and butcher’s.

2. Put in pavements where necessary or where that is not allowed (the road is ‘too narrow’ for 1.2m pavements) put up caution signs and if not already part of the 20 mph scheme then include these roads, e.g. Wyche Lane and Wyche Road.

3. At the centre of the village the route too and from school needs to be protected. There should be no parking at the junction of School land and Bunbury Lane. Parking must be illegal here even if it outside their house. it blocks this route if the vehicles are parked during the time for pupils to walk too and from school.

4. Give thought to restricting parking along side the triangle down School Lane. This would give more space for pedestrians even if a pavement cannot be installed. How about a painted area down the left-hand side with pedestrian symbols on the road surface and signage. Perhaps time restricted parking.

5. Parking for staff at the school needs to be sorted. The solution was to be the car on the opposite of the road next to the cricket ground. That has gone into ‘suspended animation’ as the development is stopped for up to two years. The school itself may have space. But one the staff are able to park off street then parent who must drive their children to school will have more space.

I could go on and on … But enough. More action and fewer words are what are needed.

 

Resolution of Development next to Medical Centre

It looks as if all parties have now agreed to a way forward on the site next to the Medical Centre. Application 16/5637N has been through a number of revisions that saw the total number of dwellings reduced from 12 to 7 and now back to 8. The doctors objected to some of the features of the development as presented in the last version but are now happy and have given the proposals their go-ahead.

The latest layout on the field next to the Bunbury medical Centre

The main revisions are

Firstly, the land directly in front of the Medical Centre, shown on the plan as the hashed area, will become the property of the Medical Centre, (or more accurately the Landlord of the Medical Centre). This is designed to provide space for any later expansion or changes to the Centre.

Secondly,  the access road has now been moved to provide the additional land requested by the Medical Centre discussed above.

Thirdly, they have now altered the mix of houses on the site:

2 Bungalows, 2 Dorma-bungalows, 4 three bedroom  houses. 

 

Comment:

Now that the issues with the Medical Centre are resolved we can look forward to this site delivering a number of benefits to the village. The problem with manymarket orientated’ developments, e.g. the Grange development, the Hill Close site and it would appear the Oak Gardens field development, is that they wish to cram as many large (4 – 5 bed-roomed properties on the site as possible. Often these do not meet the needs of many people living in the village as recognized in the 2013 housing survey.

What the local needs are is well established. Some, want to downsize, perhaps to bungalows. With children off on their own life journey the older parents may wish to economize on space and expense and move into a home that is easier to manage.

At the other end, many of those same children may well want to find a home in Bunbury. For them the choice is limited to a few affordable homes or the executive style 4 bed-roomed property. Many affordable homes are not offered with shared equity and are rarely larger than two bedrooms. Now with the Medical Centre development they have the option to find a three bed-roomed home offered by the Rural Housing Trust on Shared Equity. For many this will be a very attractive step on the rung to full ownership. For staff at the medical Centre and teachers at the school who wish to work closer to their place of work this will also be very attractive.

Great!, at last a development we can (nearly all) agree adds something to the life of the village.

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 been 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.

Parish Council Monthly Update 2018

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 – 12 December 2018

A resident made representations with regard to the recommendations of the Cheshire East Nature Conservation Officer to the Planning Inspectorate to allow a 2 metre undeveloped boundary between the hedgerows and footpath diversion of footpath Bunbury 14 as a result of planning being granted on the land off Oak gardens. This is to allow preservation of hedgerows and provide foraging and habitat for wildlife. The Parish Council later in its meeting agreed to support the request to the Inspectorate to maintain a width of land alongside the hedgerows alongside the footpath.

A second resident raised potential road safety issues in the village and asked the Council to look at parking restrictions and pavement extensions. The Chairman explained that this issue is constantly monitored by the Parish Council (previous minutes would be sent to the resident). A car park for teachers is being addressed which might help with congestions round the school and the Parish Council is working with the School to potentially bid for funding under Cheshire East’s Sustainable Modes of Travel to Schools Strategy. Uninterrupted pavements have been considered in the past but would potentially lose the country feel to the village and Highways had recently advised that a pavement on Wyche Lane was not viable. It was agreed that the item would be placed on the January agenda for further discussion.

It was reported that Cheshire East is currently consulting on household waste re-cycling with the potential for introducing collection of food waste and longer hours of collection.

Planning application 18/5857N extension to 15 Sadlers Wells received no objections. Three planning applications had been refused by Cheshire East Council – 18/5193N The Briars, School Lane; 18/5247N Land adjacent Rowton Cottage, Bunbury Lane and 18/4718N Lyndren, Wyche Road. Application 18/4902N was approved with conditions to protect residential amenity of adjoining resident. The Parish Council heard that alterations to the entrance at the proposed development of 8 houses (to include low cost, rental, shared equity) adjacent to Bunbury Medical Practice would constitute a material change and would thus require further planning permission.

The Parish Council reported that Duchy Homes had agreed to fund 22 woodland trees for the land off Wyche Lane owned by the Parish council on behalf of the community.

Preparations for Christmas Eve carols round the tree were discussed with funds raised going to Tarporley Hospital.

Deadlines for submission of projects for the New Homes Bonus Fund close on 31 December 2018. Bunbury has put in a shared application with other parish councils for a project for a disabled toilet in the Pavilion. Further funding will be available in next year’s budget and traffic calming is a potential project for discussion.

The Playing Fields committee had received a request from the Salvation Army to place a clothing re-cycling bin on the new car park. The Parish Council was broadly in favour of allowing this but suggested the Playing Fields Committee ask for further information on size of bin and space required for location before making a final decision.

The Borough Councillor reported that a grant application to the PCC charity had been successful in funding new mats for the jujitsu club in the village hall. The representation from a resident at last month’s Parish Council meeting concerning disabled access along pavements within the village will be considered at the Cheshire East Southern Highways Committee.

Issues still exist with regard to roots growing through pavements around Wyche Lane. Previous representations had been made to Muir Homes but with no success. It is not clear if the pavement was adopted by Cheshire East council. The Borough Councillor agreed to find out.

Budget setting including the amount of precept required by the Parish Council would be discussed at the January 2019 meeting.

Parish Council Meeting 14 November 2018

Representations from an interested party in the adjacent property were made to the Parish Council concerning planning application 18/4902N Greenways, Wyche Road. This was heard at the last meeting and no objections raised. Concerns over issues such as, no Internet access  and lack of notice of the application in time to raise objections were heard. The Chairman advised that unfortunately they were unable to re-visit the application but noted that the Ward Councillor was assisting the resident and advised that representation be made to Cheshire East, Head of Planning.

A disabled resident from Bunbury Lane spoke about the inaccessibility of pavements within the village for wheelchair access because of lack of drop kerbs. The Parish Council agreed to ask the Ward Councillor who was unable to attend the meeting to visit the resident.

Planning application 18/5193N The Briars, School Lane was heard and no objection raised by the Parish Council; although checks would be made on the website to ensure all surrounding properties had been informed.

The Parish Council had now had full sight of the Cheshire East Site Allocation and Development Policies – Bunbury Settlement Report which details the additional houses required for Bunbury as part of the adopted Local Plan. The figure has been set at 110 to include all houses built from 2010 onwards. Considering all houses already built and that approved of, Bunbury has 2 dwellings left to find before the end of the Plan period. However, this has yet to go out to consultation and it could be sometime before the figures are ratified.

The Parish Council had met two agents seeking information about the Neighbourhood Plan for potential residential dwellings on a Greenfield site adjacent to the development limits in Lower Bunbury and land north of Oaklands, Bunbury Lane. The Parish Council had listened and advised on the principles contained within the Neighbourhood Plan but at this stage there was no further requirement of the Parish Council.

Planning application 18/5111N a request from Strutt & Parker to vary the route of entrance road into the site, off Vicarage Lane adjacent to the Medical Practice received no objection from the Parish Council.

Footpath orders for land off Oak Gardens were discussed. Developers had asked for the diagonal footpath across the field to be extinguished and this had been granted at appeal. They had also asked for diversion of footpath 14 around the edge of the site and the Cheshire East Principal Nature Conservation Officer recommended that there be an undeveloped strip near the hedgerow thus widening the footpath to allow for biodiversity and wildlife. There is an opportunity to make representations or objections to the amended diversion order between 15 November and 13 December. The Parish Council would seek further information and consider this at its next meeting.

Bonfire night had been a successful evening with good feedback and had raised £717. Preparations were now being made for Christmas with the tree being delivered on 25 November and Crewe Brass Band booked to play at carols round the tree on Christmas Eve.

Under the New Homes Bonus Fund the Parish Council were pursuing a project for disabled toilets in the Pavilion with the associated car parking. Interest in the re-printing of footpath information was still being gauged with other Parish Councils to form a joint project.

The WI has requested permission to plant a tree on the Playing Fields to commemorate 100 years since the First World War. A suitable location has been identified. The Parish Council heard that this year’s village day will be the 50th anniversary of the event and special celebrations are being planned.

At the last Police cluster meeting a presentation was made to parish councils on Operation Shield, a unique DNA marking system on personal goods should they subsequently be stolen from households to trace them back to the owners. Kits can be bought and parish councils were asked to consider buying kits together for residents to use to reduce the price. The Parish Council agreed to look scheme.

Parish Council Meeting 10 October 2018

The meeting heard that the Cheshire Police Alert website which details issues occurring in the area had warned of a cold calling scam relating to HMRC. The Parish Council agreed to put the warning on its website.

The Chairman and Vice Chairman reported that they had received a briefing from Cheshire East Spatial Planning Team regarding the number of additional houses required for Bunbury as part of the adopted Local Plan. The figure has been set at 110 to include all houses built from 2010 onwards. The Parish Council calculated that 103 had already been built, were currently under construction or had received planning approval, Cheshire East Council were quoting 60 dwellings completed. The Parish Council would be responding to the consultation quoting their statistics for further clarification with Cheshire East. As part of the same work the settlement boundary around the village has also been slightly amended mostly to rectify minor historical anomalies.

The Parish Council had received requests from two agents wishing to meet the PC at pre-planning stage for development principles for residential dwellings on a Greenfield site adjacent to the development limits in Lower Bunbury and land north of Bunbury Lane. At this stage the Parish Council were unaware of the exact locations but the Chairman and Vice Chairman agreed to meet the representatives.

Planning application 18/4684N The Willows, Whitchurch Road and 18/4902N Greenways, Wyche Road was heard and no objections were raised by the Parish Council.

The take up of land off Wyche Lane is now complete and the Parish Council owns the land. The contractor has been asked to schedule the clearance and preparation of the land for the planting of the community woodland. Duchy Homes has agreed to buy trees and plant them once the ground has been made ready.

Preparation for Bonfire night on Monday 5 November was discussed with the entrance set at £4 for adults, £1 for 5-15 year olds and under 5s free. Burrows Butchers and Tilly’s Coffee shop would provide the catering with Scouts and Brownies selling toffee apples and sweets.

This year is the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War and arrangements were discussed for the Remembrance Sunday Service which would include a large number of uniformed young people parading from the Nags Head and refreshments being served after the Service in the Scout Hut. Correspondence had been received from the WI requesting permission to plant a tree on the playing field to commemorate the anniversary and the Chairman agreed to meet the Chair of the WI to discuss.

The band and Christmas tree have been ordered for the Christmas Eve Carols around the tree event. The Chairman agreed to write to the church choir to ask if they would be able to attend to support the singing. Father Christmas will be at the event.

The Chairman updated the Parish Council with regard to the New Homes Bonus Fund. Bunbury has been included in the Nantwich sub area which has been allocated funding to spend on initiatives to assist areas following the building of new homes. This is funding for capital projects with a lower limit of £10,000 and the Parish Council discussed some initiatives that they would like to put forward that would benefit Bunbury. These included a disabled toilet for the Pavilion, Highways signage for car parking and white lines for the new car park (old playground area), additional planting for the community woodland and re-print of footpath information. The lower spend limit necessitates collaboration with other parish councils to form one contract for works.

Work to convert the old playground into a car park will start on Monday 15 October and will result in some disruption to parking at the Pavilion. Interested parties have been notified.

Representation had been received about the state of the surface of the playing field for football. Work had been agreed to remove the ridge on the playing field to improve the surface for playing football but this would not be undertaken until the current football season ends.

Representation had been made to the Borough Councillor about the current state of Brantwood property in the centre of the village. Cheshire East were looking at enforcement powers to try to improve the current state of the property.

Parish Council Meeting 12 September 2018

The meeting opened with the presentation of the Chairman’s Cup to Amanda Harris, Group Scout Leader in recognition of her services to young people in the community through the scouting organisation.

This was then followed by a presentation by the Vice Chairman on the consultation for Transport Plans for the whole of the North Region. The aim is to set an ambitious Transport Strategy up to 2050 and include all modes of transport from the strategic road network including the A51 as a priority route for review, Rail including HS2 Crewe Hub and the potential for re-opening the station at Beeston, buses and cycling and walking. Parish Councils present at the consultation made strong representation for investment in bus routes in rural areas.

The Police Cluster meeting held over the summer and attended by a Parish Councillor heard of the Cheshire Police Alert website which details issues occurring in the area. Over the summer bicycle thefts and burglaries around the Ridley and Bulkley area had been posted.

The Chairman and Vice Chairman had attended the Site Allocation and Development Policies consultation at Cheshire East Council as part of the on-going work to set the number for houses required for Bunbury as part of the adopted Local Plan. One planning application was heard for 3 new detached houses within land adjacent to Clay Farm House (18/4015N). The Parish Council raised no objections but supported the Public Rights of Way Team’s report.

The take up of land off Wyche Lane had been subject to a number of delays but the exchange of contracts is imminent. Duchy Homes has agreed to buy trees and plant them once the ground has been cleared and prepared.

Following representation to Cheshire East Council regarding a local resident’s request to provide a pavement on Wyche Lane, a reply had been received stating that such a scheme is not feasible due to the narrowness of the available land. A letter explaining the logistical restrictions would be sent to the resident. A private resident’s objection to the diversion of Public Footpath 14 on the field behind Oak Gardens had gone to Appeal with an Inspector visiting the site over the summer. No news on the outcome had been heard.

The Chairman had attended the New Homes Bonus Fund meeting and heard that Bunbury had been included in the Nantwich sub area which has been allocated over £150,000 this financial year and the same amount next year to spend on initiatives to assist areas following the building of new homes. This is funding for capital projects with a lower limit of £10,000 and the initial thinking is that the money should be spent on 4 to 5 initiatives for the whole of the Sub-area. The Parish Council will be making representation on behalf of Bunbury. Some early suggestions include car park and changing rooms at the Pavilion.

Work to convert the old playground into a car park will start during the autumn funded from Parish Council funds. A quote for work to remove the ridge on the playing field has been sought to improve the surface for playing football. The finance for this was approved but work would not be undertaken until the football season ends.

The Borough Councillor reported that the Area Local Transport Plan has a £80,000 budget to fund traffic safety issues. The piece of pavement missing on School Lane was raised as a potential project to improve the safety of children walking to school.

The Parish Council are to consider how to update the information and photographs associated with footpaths in and around Bunbury which are now out of date. These are a valuable aid to walkers and visitors to the area.

Parish Council Meeting 11 July 2018 5:30 at the Pavilion.

The council has announced that the Chairman’s Trophy this year is awarded to Amanda Harris, Group Scout Leader.

5. Highway Issues

5.1 Parish Council Highways Review

The review has recommended that the PC should fund the Pavilion car park extension. This involves the conversion of the old playground at a cost of £19,970 + VAT. The PC is able to fund this from its reserves. Income for the year is £68k and expenditure is calculated at £28k leaving a balance of £40k. On the basis of these calculations the PC will go ahead with the conversion.

The PC has made a number of attempts to gain external funding. It may be possible to access a new source via the Cheshire East “New Homes Bonus” initiative. This is available to areas that have seen significant new builds.

Some research need to establish whether the conversion requires Planning permission.

5.2 Dates for training on the Parish Speed Gun will be circulated to volunteers.

6. Consultations:

The PC will not respond to the current consultations on the Cheshire East Website. Individual resident responses are more appropriate.

7. Planning matters:

Application 16/2372N

Originally objection by PC to the plan for 3 houses on the site (garden). Now reduced to 2 houses with a ‘Street View’ that shows the ridge heights are in keeping with the neighbouring properties.

Application 18/2776N

Approved by Cheshire East

Application 18/2303N

Approved with conditions.

No new housing developments in Bunbury.

8. Muir Land Purchase.

Price agreed at £1. Date to meet solicitor to sign contract to be agreed.

Possible source of support for the woodland noted by the Chair.

9. Pedestrian issues within the village.

9.1 Sustainable travel to School initiative is being worked on and an update will be made in September.

9.2 Pavement in Wyche Lane.

Still no response from Cheshire East although they claim to have sent one via email. Clerk to investigate.

10 Cards for residents reaching 100 years.

Possible designs to be shown in September.

11 Playing Fields:

11.1 Conversion of playground (see 5.1 above)

11.2 No playing field report to absence of Councillor due to medical appointment.

12. Borough Councillor’s report:

Road sweeping in village carried out. Pot holes are being worked on with some patching and identification of others. New food waste composting facility soon to be offered. CE recycling rate has now reached 55%. In the last year CE has received 6500 planning applications. Second highest in the UK.

13. Parish Councillor’s reports:

Mrs. Potter reported that the Link Parish Magazine was having considerable problems finding a new editor. If anyone is interested in helping please get in touch.

No other reports from councillors.

14. Correspondence:

Nothing to report.

15. Finance matters:

Funding request from the Bowling Club for £200 agreed. This together with the monies from sponsors and the Clubs reserves will be used to replace the sodium lights with more energy efficient LED units. The PC will not be out of pocket as the VAT return will pay for the amount given.

Apart from items of clerks’ expenses that concluded the meeting.

There is no meeting in August. The next meeting will be the 2nd Wednesday in September.

6. PC Meeting 13th May 2018

The Parish Council met on 13 June 2018, a number of residents were in attendance to express objections to a planning application at 2 Wythin Street. The Parish Council listened to the objections and discussed the application during the main part of the meeting. They agreed to object to the application on the grounds of the proposal being undeliverable because of the lack of vehicular access, lack of parking availability in Wythin Street, elevation of the storeroom causing loss of daylight to the resident opposite and potential damage to the ancient cobbled right of way.

The Council also heard a number of small planning applications received from Cheshire East Council and a re-submission of an outline application (infill) for a new dwelling with access on land adjacent to Holly Mount, Whitchurch Road and raised no objections.

The Chairman reported that he and other members of the Parish Council are due to meet representatives from a company called Step Forward Homes who will be managing the affordable homes on the Duchy housing development on Wyche Lane. Discussion will be centred on helping local people file their applications for the 3 one bedroom and 1 two bedroom properties.

The Parish Council discussed how to recognise the growing number of residents in the village reaching their 100th birthday and agreed to look at designs for a Parish Council card of congratulations.

The Borough Councillor reported that pot hole improvement work in and around the village is now underway and the Council gutter cleaning machine had been to the village.

The Vice Chairman reported that he had attended a meeting of local Parish Councils looking to put together a Transport Plan as part of the wider Transport Plan for the region. The Parish Council agreed to discuss how they could influence the Plan, particularly around the A51 at a future meeting.

The Royal British Legion was granted £200 towards financing World War One commemorations; details of spends was requested. A contribution of £350 towards funding the cost of updating the lighting of the Bowling Club was agreed in principle but more information was requested.

5. PC AGM and Meeting 9th May 2018

The Parish Council met on 9 May 2018, firstly for its AGM followed by its normal monthly meeting. The AGM saw Ron Pulford appointed to continue as Chairman with a new Vice Chairman of Mark Island-Jones.

AGM:

Ron summarised the year of the Parish Council pointing out that there had been no personnel changes in terms of parish councillors during the year but that the previous Ward Councillor had resigned and a recent local election had seen the appointment of Chris Green as the new Ward Councillor for Cheshire East Council. In terms of Planning issues, two Appeals had been lost for developments of 15 houses each but that the refusal of 2 larger applications had been successful in the Appeal process in previous years. House building had now begun in the village. The total number of houses completed, under construction or approved now totals 100 from 2010 to the present day. The bonfire night had been successful and had raised £700 and the carols round the tree had been very enjoyable with the addition of Crewe Brass Band this year. Two other notable issues for the Parish Council had been the take up of land from Muir Group Housing Association off Wyche Lane for conversion to a community woodland and pending is the conversion of the old playground into a car park when funds allow.

Public Meeting:

A resident informed the Parish Council that a Certificate of Lawful Use has been granted to delay the development of the car park for 38 cars and 2 houses in front of the cricket field.  This gives the developer up to 2 years grace before any further building work is required. The Council noted the information.

A concern was raised about the future possible impact of housing development in Alpraham on the Highway infrastructure and traffic management within the village. The Ward Councillor agreed to raise at Cheshire East Council and the Parish Council agreed to hold a meeting of the Highways Sub-committee to discuss the effects of developments outside the village on the village infrastructure and highways and consider possible mitigating measures.

The Chairman reported that he had attended a meeting at Cheshire East on the next stage of the Local Plan which looks at Site Allocations and Development policies. The 13 Local Services centres of which Bunbury is one will be required to accommodate a further 3,500 houses divided by aggregation up to 2030. The exercise will look at Bunbury settlement boundary only and will include a definitive number of additional houses for Bunbury and will adjust the settlement boundary where anomalies occur. Early indications are that the current and proposed number of houses mentioned above (100 since 2010) will meet their anticipated requirement for Bunbury to 2030.

The Vice Chairman had met the Headteacher of Bunbury school to discuss Cheshire East’s Sustainable Modes of Travel to Schools Strategy consultation. If the school publishes a travel plan it will be eligible to apply for capital funding for potential projects such as pavement improvements. The Vice Chairman is working with the School to help develop a travel plan.

The Parish Council heard that following representation to Cheshire East the Pubic footpath off Wyche Road (No.11) had been replaced but issues still remained concerning the state of the footpath through the ploughed field in the village; although the Parish Council acknowledged that the minimum requirement had been met. Other issues raised by councillors included the on-going issue of the state of repair of the Old Bakery – another letter would be sent to Cheshire East concerning enforcement and the state of the pavement in front of Tweddle Close; this had been reported.

The Parish Council had received correspondence advising that the residents of Hope Cottage were seeking a diversion of Public Footpath No.12 which currently goes through a piece of land they wish to include as garden. The Parish council agreed to object to the proposal.

The Tennis club has been granted an Alcohol License with terms and the Parish Council agreed to invite a representative from the Tennis Club to the next meeting to hear how they plan to run a bar.

Residents are being advised to lock cars, garages, doors and windows following thefts within the village.

4. PC Meeting 11th April

Parish Council Report Wednesday 11th April 2018

Numbers refer to agenda items:

PC = Parish Council CE= Cheshire East Local Authority

1. Public Session:

Concern was expressed that road sweeping promised for the village had not happened. It was suggested that the new Ward Councillor might follow this up as a number of areas in the village were in need of a visit from the sweeper.

2. Congratulations on behalf of the Parish Council were expressed by the chair on the election of Chris Green as Ward Councillor in the recent by-election. Currently Mr. Green is standing as both a Parish and Ward Councillor as is entitled to remain in those capacities. He will notify the Parish council if he should wish to resign as a PC Councillor.

Councillor Nick Parker has sent his apologies as he is unable to attend due to fracturing a number of ribs while chopping wood.

5. Crewe has now been confirmed as a Hub for HS2. This may have implications for road and infrastructure developments. Councillor Ireland-Jones reported on the possible changes to the A51 either on a new route to Chester or the upgrading of the existing route with bye-passes (around Alpraham?) These changes might also impact on decisions to re-open stations in Beeston and .

6. Cheshire East is currently seeking to consult on:

a) Bin Collections and replacement of ‘missing’ bin. It is suggested that if the bin goes missing more than twice residents may be charged. New bins will have the address stamped on them.

b) Support for Carers. A number of CE respite care centres are not being used to capacity. In Bunbury it was suggested most residents in need of respite look to the Tarporley memorial Hospital. Do residents know of the choice available.

7. Planning matters:

a) No objections to the Chantry House repair and maintenance application.

b) The properties on the site next to the medical Centre will have larger chimneys so that firs and log burning stoves can be fitted.

c) Update: The PC will shortly be informed of any change in the number of new dwellings it is expected to ‘deliver’ during the current housing plans for CE. As a Service Centre the area to be considered is larger than the Parish and includes, for example Alpraham. The Chair pointed out that he had learned from the chair of Alpraham PC that they agreed to 70 new dwellings. Together with the 100+ in Bunbury since 2010 the target of ‘at least 80’ new dwellings by 2030 has been well and truly exceeded.

8. Muir land: No progress

9. GDPT policy. No progress but the clerk said a draft (generic) policy will be available for the next meeting.

11. The Chair said that discussions had been held with the charity responsible for the playground to resolve issue over authorisation of purchases for new items. The PC is the responsible body and must authorise such expenditure for which it has a budget. The situation was now clear to all parties.

The playground charity ‘Anyone can Play’ has a budget which can only be spent on the promotion of the playground, playing fields though such activities as the Fun Run, Walking for Health, Buggy Fitness, etc. Their budget cannot be used to maintain or enhance the playground facilities. The PC has funds for that purpose.

3. PC Meeting 14th March

The meeting began as usual with comments from the public. Firstly a member of the public asked if the PC should not advocate more robustly for a better balance between the demands of road traffic and those of pedestrians and cyclists. It was pointed out that at present there was no safe route for a school age child to walk from Upper Bunbury, Lower Bunbury and the Bunbury Lane end of the village to school. A pavement did not connect these parts of the village and only children from the School Lane end of the village could walk to school on their own.  This encourages more traffic and congestion round the school. The chair respond by linking comments to two items on the agenda and suggesting additional agenda items could be added at subsequent meetings if Councilors were agreeable.

The second comment from the public related to the large driveway work being undertaken on the A49 just north of the village on the left. The chair said he had not  found any  planning application on the Chester and Cheshire West website.

Please note the numbers refer to agenda items. Numbers 1 – 4 are administrative and therefore ignored.

5: Highways:

Plans in the ‘Transport for the North’ were discussed as they related to the A49 and A51. This was a document produced by Highways England and may result in years to come in a major route alteration to the A51. The new route would cross country to Chester to the west of the current road taking much of the heavy traffic away from the villages along the current route.

It was noted that the village school had issued warning to parents about illegal parking when dropping off and picking up children. Residents are being asked to collect car registration numbers of such vehicles. These will then be displayed on the school website and reported to the police.

6. Planning:

Only one small planning application had been received. No objections were raised to application 18/1003N.

It was noted that Brantwood (the old building in the centre of the village) was up for sale now it had planning permission.

The development at Beeston next to the A49 had received permission to build 88 more houses less than the originally planned 104.

The PC was still waiting to hear from all developers for money to help cover the costs of the new car park on the old children’s play area. Members of the PC were hoping to meet with the CEO of Duchy Home soon. Further suggestions were made of other possible sources of finance to help with the scheme.

7. Muir Land:

The exact boundaries have been established . The legal transfer of ownership is continuing.  It is planned to plant the woodlands in the autumn. Plans are being prepared by a local arboreal company.

8. Pedestrian issues with in the village:

Cheshire East has produced a new draft policy for discussion – Sustainable Modes of Travel to Schools Strategy –  The PC felt that it was the school that would be the appropriate body to respond. It was noted that where a school had an established ‘Travel Plan’ it was possible that additional funds might be available for pavements, etc.

Cheshire East has not yet responded to the request to looking the possibility of a pavement from The Grange along Wyche Lane.

9. General Data Protection Regulation:

The clerk said she will prepare an appropriate questionnaire  for consideration of Councilors.

10. Playing Fields:

The PC is still looking for funds to help with the old playground conversion to a car park. It is a job for the summer so the search for additional finance is becoming urgent if the work is to be undertaken on time.

The Playing Field AGM will be called shortly once dates are agreed.

The Village Hall has suffered serious damage from flooding due to the cold weather. User groups are being reallocated to the Pavilion and Scout Hut.

2. PC Meeting  14th February

The Parish Council met on 14 February 2018. For the first time in a long time there were no Planning Applications on the agenda. The Parish Council noted that clearance of the entrance to Hill Close had begun in readiness for development to commence.

As discussed at the January meeting Solicitors have been instructed to draw up a contract to take up the option of land from Muir Group Housing Association off Wyche Lane and this meeting looked at the detail of the land the Parish Council will be taking up. Following consultation with residents the land will be converted to a community woodland with mixed trees including fruit trees. Representatives of the Parish Council had met with a local Arboriculture company on the site to plan the planting. The aim is to plan for the development of a natural woodland over time with longer undergrowth, woodland flowers and mixed tree planting. The poor state of the footpath outside Muir Homes was raised as a potential trip hazard and it was agreed to raise the issue with Cheshire East Council.

In January the Parish Council considered a request from a resident to look at the feasibility of providing a pavement on Wyche Lane now that Duchy Homes are building on the Grange site. It was reported that the Parish Council had written to Cheshire East Council for a view and had received an acknowledgment but no formal response as yet. A reminder would be sent if no response were received before the next meeting.

Developers have been approached by the Parish Council to fund the conversion of the old playground to car parking. Whilst it is hopeful that some contribution will be forthcoming only two acknowledgments have been received to date. This would continue to be pursued.

Details of the Cheshire East Council Supported Bus Service for Bunbury are about to be published following a review which the Parish Council lobbied hard to retain services for the village. A new No.70 bus will operate three times a week on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, although the Council recognised they had only partially been successful in their lobbying as the village has lost its bus connection to Chester.

Residents should have received a leaflet about opportunities to rent or buy homes through shared equity schemes as affordable homes are built within the village.

The Parish Council heard that as part of planning for future transport for the North a number of national consultations are out which include the future of the A51 which is seen as an important part of a major route network and could be eligible for national funding. Parish Councils in and around the A51 have formed a Co-ordination Group to keep up to date with developments and report back to their respective councils.

The Chairman and Vice Chairman had met two contractors; both local companies to pick up the maintenance of the Playground area which forms part of the Playing Fields estate from 1 April 2018. This would be discussed further at the next meeting.

1. PC meeting 10th January 2018

The Parish Council held its first meeting of 2018 on 10 January. Only one Planning Application was on the agenda; a proposal for change of use of two existing barns to form two residential units at Heath Farm, Whitchurch Road, Bunbury. The Parish Council had no objections to the proposal. Solicitors have been instructed to draw up a contract to take up the option of land from Muir Group Housing Association off Wyche Lane. Following consultation with residents the land will be converted to a community woodland with mixed trees including fruit trees.

The Parish Council considered a request from a resident to look at the feasibility of providing a pavement on Wyche Lane now that Duchy Homes are building on the Grange site. Concerns were raised about the narrowness of the road to allow a pavement of regulation width but it was agreed to write to Cheshire East Council for a view as this is a Highways responsibility.

Developers have been approached by the Parish Council to fund the conversion of the old playground to car parking. Two acknowledgments have currently been received and it was agreed to send a reminder to the Developers.

The Cheshire East Council Supported Bus Service proposals were approved by Cabinet and the procurement of services and appointment of bus operators for each route should be complete by Spring 2018. Bunbury has kept its number 56 and 83 bus but without the connection to Chester.

Around 200 people turned out for Carols around the Christmas tree with the excellent Crewe Brass Band and visit by Father Christmas. Sealed collection buckets provided by Tarporley Hospital have been handed back to the hospital and final collection amount will be reported at the next meeting.

Purchase of maintenance equipment for the upkeep of the bowling green (part of the playing fields estate) was agreed with assistance from the Bowling Green Club and a grant from Tesco.

Finally, the Parish Council heard that one resident was soon to celebrate her 100th birthday and one had just been awarded a BEM in the new years honours list and the Parish Council agreed to send cards of congratulations to the individuals.

 

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 – 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

Bunbury Parish Council – 12 December 2018

A resident made representations with regard to the recommendations of the Cheshire East Nature Conservation Officer to the Planning Inspectorate to allow a 2 metre undeveloped boundary between the hedgerows and footpath diversion of footpath Bunbury 14 as a result of planning being granted on the land off Oak gardens. This is to allow preservation of hedgerows and provide foraging and habitat for wildlife. The Parish Council later in its meeting agreed to support the request to the Inspectorate to maintain a width of land alongside the hedgerows alongside the footpath.

A second resident raised potential road safety issues in the village and asked the Council to look at parking restrictions and pavement extensions. The Chairman explained that this issue is constantly monitored by the Parish Council (previous minutes would be sent to the resident). A car park for teachers is being addressed which might help with congestions round the school and the Parish Council is working with the School to potentially bid for funding under Cheshire East’s Sustainable Modes of Travel to Schools Strategy. Uninterrupted pavements have been considered in the past but would potentially lose the country feel to the village and Highways had recently advised that a pavement on Wyche Lane was not viable. It was agreed that the item would be placed on the January agenda for further discussion.

It was reported that Cheshire East is currently consulting on household waste re-cycling with the potential for introducing collection of food waste and longer hours of collection.

Planning application 18/5857N extension to 15 Sadlers Wells received no objections. Three planning applications had been refused by Cheshire East Council – 18/5193N The Briars, School Lane; 18/5247N Land adjacent Rowton Cottage, Bunbury Lane and 18/4718N Lyndren, Wyche Road. Application 18/4902N was approved with conditions to protect residential amenity of adjoining resident. The Parish Council heard that alterations to the entrance at the proposed development of 8 houses (to include low cost, rental, shared equity) adjacent to Bunbury Medical Practice would constitute a material change and would thus require further planning permission.

The Parish Council reported that Duchy Homes had agreed to fund 22 woodland trees for the land off Wyche Lane owned by the Parish council on behalf of the community.

Preparations for Christmas Eve carols round the tree were discussed with funds raised going to Tarporley Hospital.

Deadlines for submission of projects for the New Homes Bonus Fund close on 31 December 2018. Bunbury has put in a shared application with other parish councils for a project for a disabled toilet in the Pavilion. Further funding will be available in next year’s budget and traffic calming is a potential project for discussion.

The Playing Fields committee had received a request from the Salvation Army to place a clothing re-cycling bin on the new car park. The Parish Council was broadly in favour of allowing this but suggested the Playing Fields Committee ask for further information on size of bin and space required for location before making a final decision.

The Borough Councillor reported that a grant application to the PCC charity had been successful in funding new mats for the jujitsu club in the village hall. The representation from a resident at last month’s Parish Council meeting concerning disabled access along pavements within the village will be considered at the Cheshire East Southern Highways Committee.

Issues still exist with regard to roots growing through pavements around Wyche Lane. Previous representations had been made to Muir Homes but with no success. It is not clear if the pavement was adopted by Cheshire East council. The Borough Councillor agreed to find out.

Budget setting including the amount of precept required by the Parish Council would be discussed at the January 2019 meeting.

Parish Council Meeting 14 November 2018

Representations from an interested party in the adjacent property were made to the Parish Council concerning planning application 18/4902N Greenways, Wyche Road. This was heard at the last meeting and no objections raised. Concerns over issues such as, no Internet access  and lack of notice of the application in time to raise objections were heard. The Chairman advised that unfortunately they were unable to re-visit the application but noted that the Ward Councillor was assisting the resident and advised that representation be made to Cheshire East, Head of Planning.

A disabled resident from Bunbury Lane spoke about the inaccessibility of pavements within the village for wheelchair access because of lack of drop kerbs. The Parish Council agreed to ask the Ward Councillor who was unable to attend the meeting to visit the resident.

Planning application 18/5193N The Briars, School Lane was heard and no objection raised by the Parish Council; although checks would be made on the website to ensure all surrounding properties had been informed.

The Parish Council had now had full sight of the Cheshire East Site Allocation and Development Policies – Bunbury Settlement Report which details the additional houses required for Bunbury as part of the adopted Local Plan. The figure has been set at 110 to include all houses built from 2010 onwards. Considering all houses already built and that approved of, Bunbury has 2 dwellings left to find before the end of the Plan period. However, this has yet to go out to consultation and it could be sometime before the figures are ratified.

The Parish Council had met two agents seeking information about the Neighbourhood Plan for potential residential dwellings on a Greenfield site adjacent to the development limits in Lower Bunbury and land north of Oaklands, Bunbury Lane. The Parish Council had listened and advised on the principles contained within the Neighbourhood Plan but at this stage there was no further requirement of the Parish Council.

Planning application 18/5111N a request from Strutt & Parker to vary the route of entrance road into the site, off Vicarage Lane adjacent to the Medical Practice received no objection from the Parish Council.

Footpath orders for land off Oak Gardens were discussed. Developers had asked for the diagonal footpath across the field to be extinguished and this had been granted at appeal. They had also asked for diversion of footpath 14 around the edge of the site and the Cheshire East Principal Nature Conservation Officer recommended that there be an undeveloped strip near the hedgerow thus widening the footpath to allow for biodiversity and wildlife. There is an opportunity to make representations or objections to the amended diversion order between 15 November and 13 December. The Parish Council would seek further information and consider this at its next meeting.

Bonfire night had been a successful evening with good feedback and had raised £717. Preparations were now being made for Christmas with the tree being delivered on 25 November and Crewe Brass Band booked to play at carols round the tree on Christmas Eve.

Under the New Homes Bonus Fund the Parish Council were pursuing a project for disabled toilets in the Pavilion with the associated car parking. Interest in the re-printing of footpath information was still being gauged with other Parish Councils to form a joint project.

The WI has requested permission to plant a tree on the Playing Fields to commemorate 100 years since the First World War. A suitable location has been identified. The Parish Council heard that this year’s village day will be the 50th anniversary of the event and special celebrations are being planned.

At the last Police cluster meeting a presentation was made to parish councils on Operation Shield, a unique DNA marking system on personal goods should they subsequently be stolen from households to trace them back to the owners. Kits can be bought and parish councils were asked to consider buying kits together for residents to use to reduce the price. The Parish Council agreed to look scheme.

Parish Council Meeting 10 October 2018

The meeting heard that the Cheshire Police Alert website which details issues occurring in the area had warned of a cold calling scam relating to HMRC. The Parish Council agreed to put the warning on its website.

The Chairman and Vice Chairman reported that they had received a briefing from Cheshire East Spatial Planning Team regarding the number of additional houses required for Bunbury as part of the adopted Local Plan. The figure has been set at 110 to include all houses built from 2010 onwards. The Parish Council calculated that 103 had already been built, were currently under construction or had received planning approval, Cheshire East Council were quoting 60 dwellings completed. The Parish Council would be responding to the consultation quoting their statistics for further clarification with Cheshire East. As part of the same work the settlement boundary around the village has also been slightly amended mostly to rectify minor historical anomalies.

The Parish Council had received requests from two agents wishing to meet the PC at pre-planning stage for development principles for residential dwellings on a Greenfield site adjacent to the development limits in Lower Bunbury and land north of Bunbury Lane. At this stage the Parish Council were unaware of the exact locations but the Chairman and Vice Chairman agreed to meet the representatives.

Planning application 18/4684N The Willows, Whitchurch Road and 18/4902N Greenways, Wyche Road was heard and no objections were raised by the Parish Council.

The take up of land off Wyche Lane is now complete and the Parish Council owns the land. The contractor has been asked to schedule the clearance and preparation of the land for the planting of the community woodland. Duchy Homes has agreed to buy trees and plant them once the ground has been made ready.

Preparation for Bonfire night on Monday 5 November was discussed with the entrance set at £4 for adults, £1 for 5-15 year olds and under 5s free. Burrows Butchers and Tilly’s Coffee shop would provide the catering with Scouts and Brownies selling toffee apples and sweets.

This year is the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War and arrangements were discussed for the Remembrance Sunday Service which would include a large number of uniformed young people parading from the Nags Head and refreshments being served after the Service in the Scout Hut. Correspondence had been received from the WI requesting permission to plant a tree on the playing field to commemorate the anniversary and the Chairman agreed to meet the Chair of the WI to discuss.

The band and Christmas tree have been ordered for the Christmas Eve Carols around the tree event. The Chairman agreed to write to the church choir to ask if they would be able to attend to support the singing. Father Christmas will be at the event.

The Chairman updated the Parish Council with regard to the New Homes Bonus Fund. Bunbury has been included in the Nantwich sub area which has been allocated funding to spend on initiatives to assist areas following the building of new homes. This is funding for capital projects with a lower limit of £10,000 and the Parish Council discussed some initiatives that they would like to put forward that would benefit Bunbury. These included a disabled toilet for the Pavilion, Highways signage for car parking and white lines for the new car park (old playground area), additional planting for the community woodland and re-print of footpath information. The lower spend limit necessitates collaboration with other parish councils to form one contract for works.

Work to convert the old playground into a car park will start on Monday 15 October and will result in some disruption to parking at the Pavilion. Interested parties have been notified.

Representation had been received about the state of the surface of the playing field for football. Work had been agreed to remove the ridge on the playing field to improve the surface for playing football but this would not be undertaken until the current football season ends.

Representation had been made to the Borough Councillor about the current state of Brantwood property in the centre of the village. Cheshire East were looking at enforcement powers to try to improve the current state of the property.

Parish Council Meeting 12 September 2018

The meeting opened with the presentation of the Chairman’s Cup to Amanda Harris, Group Scout Leader in recognition of her services to young people in the community through the scouting organisation.

This was then followed by a presentation by the Vice Chairman on the consultation for Transport Plans for the whole of the North Region. The aim is to set an ambitious Transport Strategy up to 2050 and include all modes of transport from the strategic road network including the A51 as a priority route for review, Rail including HS2 Crewe Hub and the potential for re-opening the station at Beeston, buses and cycling and walking. Parish Councils present at the consultation made strong representation for investment in bus routes in rural areas.

The Police Cluster meeting held over the summer and attended by a Parish Councillor heard of the Cheshire Police Alert website which details issues occurring in the area. Over the summer bicycle thefts and burglaries around the Ridley and Bulkley area had been posted.

The Chairman and Vice Chairman had attended the Site Allocation and Development Policies consultation at Cheshire East Council as part of the on-going work to set the number for houses required for Bunbury as part of the adopted Local Plan. One planning application was heard for 3 new detached houses within land adjacent to Clay Farm House (18/4015N). The Parish Council raised no objections but supported the Public Rights of Way Team’s report.

The take up of land off Wyche Lane had been subject to a number of delays but the exchange of contracts is imminent. Duchy Homes has agreed to buy trees and plant them once the ground has been cleared and prepared.

Following representation to Cheshire East Council regarding a local resident’s request to provide a pavement on Wyche Lane, a reply had been received stating that such a scheme is not feasible due to the narrowness of the available land. A letter explaining the logistical restrictions would be sent to the resident. A private resident’s objection to the diversion of Public Footpath 14 on the field behind Oak Gardens had gone to Appeal with an Inspector visiting the site over the summer. No news on the outcome had been heard.

The Chairman had attended the New Homes Bonus Fund meeting and heard that Bunbury had been included in the Nantwich sub area which has been allocated over £150,000 this financial year and the same amount next year to spend on initiatives to assist areas following the building of new homes. This is funding for capital projects with a lower limit of £10,000 and the initial thinking is that the money should be spent on 4 to 5 initiatives for the whole of the Sub-area. The Parish Council will be making representation on behalf of Bunbury. Some early suggestions include car park and changing rooms at the Pavilion.

Work to convert the old playground into a car park will start during the autumn funded from Parish Council funds. A quote for work to remove the ridge on the playing field has been sought to improve the surface for playing football. The finance for this was approved but work would not be undertaken until the football season ends.

The Borough Councillor reported that the Area Local Transport Plan has a £80,000 budget to fund traffic safety issues. The piece of pavement missing on School Lane was raised as a potential project to improve the safety of children walking to school.

The Parish Council are to consider how to update the information and photographs associated with footpaths in and around Bunbury which are now out of date. These are a valuable aid to walkers and visitors to the area.

Parish Council Meeting 11 July 2018 5:30 at the Pavilion.

The council has announced that the Chairman’s Trophy this year is awarded to Amanda Harris, Group Scout Leader.

5. Highway Issues

5.1 Parish Council Highways Review

The review has recommended that the PC should fund the Pavilion car park extension. This involves the conversion of the old playground at a cost of £19,970 + VAT. The PC is able to fund this from its reserves. Income for the year is £68k and expenditure is calculated at £28k leaving a balance of £40k. On the basis of these calculations the PC will go ahead with the conversion.

The PC has made a number of attempts to gain external funding. It may be possible to access a new source via the Cheshire East “New Homes Bonus” initiative. This is available to areas that have seen significant new builds.

Some research need to establish whether the conversion requires Planning permission.

5.2 Dates for training on the Parish Speed Gun will be circulated to volunteers.

6. Consultations:

The PC will not respond to the current consultations on the Cheshire East Website. Individual resident responses are more appropriate.

7. Planning matters:

Application 16/2372N

Originally objection by PC to the plan for 3 houses on the site (garden). Now reduced to 2 houses with a ‘Street View’ that shows the ridge heights are in keeping with the neighbouring properties.

Application 18/2776N

Approved by Cheshire East

Application 18/2303N

Approved with conditions.

No new housing developments in Bunbury.

8. Muir Land Purchase.

Price agreed at £1. Date to meet solicitor to sign contract to be agreed.

Possible source of support for the woodland noted by the Chair.

9. Pedestrian issues within the village.

9.1 Sustainable travel to School initiative is being worked on and an update will be made in September.

9.2 Pavement in Wyche Lane.

Still no response from Cheshire East although they claim to have sent one via email. Clerk to investigate.

10 Cards for residents reaching 100 years.

Possible designs to be shown in September.

11 Playing Fields:

11.1 Conversion of playground (see 5.1 above)

11.2 No playing field report to absence of Councillor due to medical appointment.

12. Borough Councillor’s report:

Road sweeping in village carried out. Pot holes are being worked on with some patching and identification of others. New food waste composting facility soon to be offered. CE recycling rate has now reached 55%. In the last year CE has received 6500 planning applications. Second highest in the UK.

13. Parish Councillor’s reports:

Mrs. Potter reported that the Link Parish Magazine was having considerable problems finding a new editor. If anyone is interested in helping please get in touch.

No other reports from councillors.

14. Correspondence:

Nothing to report.

15. Finance matters:

Funding request from the Bowling Club for £200 agreed. This together with the monies from sponsors and the Clubs reserves will be used to replace the sodium lights with more energy efficient LED units. The PC will not be out of pocket as the VAT return will pay for the amount given.

Apart from items of clerks’ expenses that concluded the meeting.

There is no meeting in August. The next meeting will be the 2nd Wednesday in September.

6. PC Meeting 13th May 2018

The Parish Council met on 13 June 2018, a number of residents were in attendance to express objections to a planning application at 2 Wythin Street. The Parish Council listened to the objections and discussed the application during the main part of the meeting. They agreed to object to the application on the grounds of the proposal being undeliverable because of the lack of vehicular access, lack of parking availability in Wythin Street, elevation of the storeroom causing loss of daylight to the resident opposite and potential damage to the ancient cobbled right of way.

The Council also heard a number of small planning applications received from Cheshire East Council and a re-submission of an outline application (infill) for a new dwelling with access on land adjacent to Holly Mount, Whitchurch Road and raised no objections.

The Chairman reported that he and other members of the Parish Council are due to meet representatives from a company called Step Forward Homes who will be managing the affordable homes on the Duchy housing development on Wyche Lane. Discussion will be centred on helping local people file their applications for the 3 one bedroom and 1 two bedroom properties.

The Parish Council discussed how to recognise the growing number of residents in the village reaching their 100th birthday and agreed to look at designs for a Parish Council card of congratulations.

The Borough Councillor reported that pot hole improvement work in and around the village is now underway and the Council gutter cleaning machine had been to the village.

The Vice Chairman reported that he had attended a meeting of local Parish Councils looking to put together a Transport Plan as part of the wider Transport Plan for the region. The Parish Council agreed to discuss how they could influence the Plan, particularly around the A51 at a future meeting.

The Royal British Legion was granted £200 towards financing World War One commemorations; details of spends was requested. A contribution of £350 towards funding the cost of updating the lighting of the Bowling Club was agreed in principle but more information was requested.

5. PC AGM and Meeting 9th May 2018

The Parish Council met on 9 May 2018, firstly for its AGM followed by its normal monthly meeting. The AGM saw Ron Pulford appointed to continue as Chairman with a new Vice Chairman of Mark Island-Jones.

AGM:

Ron summarised the year of the Parish Council pointing out that there had been no personnel changes in terms of parish councillors during the year but that the previous Ward Councillor had resigned and a recent local election had seen the appointment of Chris Green as the new Ward Councillor for Cheshire East Council. In terms of Planning issues, two Appeals had been lost for developments of 15 houses each but that the refusal of 2 larger applications had been successful in the Appeal process in previous years. House building had now begun in the village. The total number of houses completed, under construction or approved now totals 100 from 2010 to the present day. The bonfire night had been successful and had raised £700 and the carols round the tree had been very enjoyable with the addition of Crewe Brass Band this year. Two other notable issues for the Parish Council had been the take up of land from Muir Group Housing Association off Wyche Lane for conversion to a community woodland and pending is the conversion of the old playground into a car park when funds allow.

Public Meeting:

A resident informed the Parish Council that a Certificate of Lawful Use has been granted to delay the development of the car park for 38 cars and 2 houses in front of the cricket field.  This gives the developer up to 2 years grace before any further building work is required. The Council noted the information.

A concern was raised about the future possible impact of housing development in Alpraham on the Highway infrastructure and traffic management within the village. The Ward Councillor agreed to raise at Cheshire East Council and the Parish Council agreed to hold a meeting of the Highways Sub-committee to discuss the effects of developments outside the village on the village infrastructure and highways and consider possible mitigating measures.

The Chairman reported that he had attended a meeting at Cheshire East on the next stage of the Local Plan which looks at Site Allocations and Development policies. The 13 Local Services centres of which Bunbury is one will be required to accommodate a further 3,500 houses divided by aggregation up to 2030. The exercise will look at Bunbury settlement boundary only and will include a definitive number of additional houses for Bunbury and will adjust the settlement boundary where anomalies occur. Early indications are that the current and proposed number of houses mentioned above (100 since 2010) will meet their anticipated requirement for Bunbury to 2030.

The Vice Chairman had met the Headteacher of Bunbury school to discuss Cheshire East’s Sustainable Modes of Travel to Schools Strategy consultation. If the school publishes a travel plan it will be eligible to apply for capital funding for potential projects such as pavement improvements. The Vice Chairman is working with the School to help develop a travel plan.

The Parish Council heard that following representation to Cheshire East the Pubic footpath off Wyche Road (No.11) had been replaced but issues still remained concerning the state of the footpath through the ploughed field in the village; although the Parish Council acknowledged that the minimum requirement had been met. Other issues raised by councillors included the on-going issue of the state of repair of the Old Bakery – another letter would be sent to Cheshire East concerning enforcement and the state of the pavement in front of Tweddle Close; this had been reported.

The Parish Council had received correspondence advising that the residents of Hope Cottage were seeking a diversion of Public Footpath No.12 which currently goes through a piece of land they wish to include as garden. The Parish council agreed to object to the proposal.

The Tennis club has been granted an Alcohol License with terms and the Parish Council agreed to invite a representative from the Tennis Club to the next meeting to hear how they plan to run a bar.

Residents are being advised to lock cars, garages, doors and windows following thefts within the village.

4. PC Meeting 11th April

Parish Council Report Wednesday 11th April 2018

Numbers refer to agenda items:

PC = Parish Council CE= Cheshire East Local Authority

1. Public Session:

Concern was expressed that road sweeping promised for the village had not happened. It was suggested that the new Ward Councillor might follow this up as a number of areas in the village were in need of a visit from the sweeper.

2. Congratulations on behalf of the Parish Council were expressed by the chair on the election of Chris Green as Ward Councillor in the recent by-election. Currently Mr. Green is standing as both a Parish and Ward Councillor as is entitled to remain in those capacities. He will notify the Parish council if he should wish to resign as a PC Councillor.

Councillor Nick Parker has sent his apologies as he is unable to attend due to fracturing a number of ribs while chopping wood.

5. Crewe has now been confirmed as a Hub for HS2. This may have implications for road and infrastructure developments. Councillor Ireland-Jones reported on the possible changes to the A51 either on a new route to Chester or the upgrading of the existing route with bye-passes (around Alpraham?) These changes might also impact on decisions to re-open stations in Beeston and .

6. Cheshire East is currently seeking to consult on:

a) Bin Collections and replacement of ‘missing’ bin. It is suggested that if the bin goes missing more than twice residents may be charged. New bins will have the address stamped on them.

b) Support for Carers. A number of CE respite care centres are not being used to capacity. In Bunbury it was suggested most residents in need of respite look to the Tarporley memorial Hospital. Do residents know of the choice available.

7. Planning matters:

a) No objections to the Chantry House repair and maintenance application.

b) The properties on the site next to the medical Centre will have larger chimneys so that firs and log burning stoves can be fitted.

c) Update: The PC will shortly be informed of any change in the number of new dwellings it is expected to ‘deliver’ during the current housing plans for CE. As a Service Centre the area to be considered is larger than the Parish and includes, for example Alpraham. The Chair pointed out that he had learned from the chair of Alpraham PC that they agreed to 70 new dwellings. Together with the 100+ in Bunbury since 2010 the target of ‘at least 80’ new dwellings by 2030 has been well and truly exceeded.

8. Muir land: No progress

9. GDPT policy. No progress but the clerk said a draft (generic) policy will be available for the next meeting.

11. The Chair said that discussions had been held with the charity responsible for the playground to resolve issue over authorisation of purchases for new items. The PC is the responsible body and must authorise such expenditure for which it has a budget. The situation was now clear to all parties.

The playground charity ‘Anyone can Play’ has a budget which can only be spent on the promotion of the playground, playing fields though such activities as the Fun Run, Walking for Health, Buggy Fitness, etc. Their budget cannot be used to maintain or enhance the playground facilities. The PC has funds for that purpose.

3. PC Meeting 14th March

The meeting began as usual with comments from the public. Firstly a member of the public asked if the PC should not advocate more robustly for a better balance between the demands of road traffic and those of pedestrians and cyclists. It was pointed out that at present there was no safe route for a school age child to walk from Upper Bunbury, Lower Bunbury and the Bunbury Lane end of the village to school. A pavement did not connect these parts of the village and only children from the School Lane end of the village could walk to school on their own.  This encourages more traffic and congestion round the school. The chair respond by linking comments to two items on the agenda and suggesting additional agenda items could be added at subsequent meetings if Councilors were agreeable.

The second comment from the public related to the large driveway work being undertaken on the A49 just north of the village on the left. The chair said he had not  found any  planning application on the Chester and Cheshire West website.

Please note the numbers refer to agenda items. Numbers 1 – 4 are administrative and therefore ignored.

5: Highways:

Plans in the ‘Transport for the North’ were discussed as they related to the A49 and A51. This was a document produced by Highways England and may result in years to come in a major route alteration to the A51. The new route would cross country to Chester to the west of the current road taking much of the heavy traffic away from the villages along the current route.

It was noted that the village school had issued warning to parents about illegal parking when dropping off and picking up children. Residents are being asked to collect car registration numbers of such vehicles. These will then be displayed on the school website and reported to the police.

6. Planning:

Only one small planning application had been received. No objections were raised to application 18/1003N.

It was noted that Brantwood (the old building in the centre of the village) was up for sale now it had planning permission.

The development at Beeston next to the A49 had received permission to build 88 more houses less than the originally planned 104.

The PC was still waiting to hear from all developers for money to help cover the costs of the new car park on the old children’s play area. Members of the PC were hoping to meet with the CEO of Duchy Home soon. Further suggestions were made of other possible sources of finance to help with the scheme.

7. Muir Land:

The exact boundaries have been established . The legal transfer of ownership is continuing.  It is planned to plant the woodlands in the autumn. Plans are being prepared by a local arboreal company.

8. Pedestrian issues with in the village:

Cheshire East has produced a new draft policy for discussion – Sustainable Modes of Travel to Schools Strategy –  The PC felt that it was the school that would be the appropriate body to respond. It was noted that where a school had an established ‘Travel Plan’ it was possible that additional funds might be available for pavements, etc.

Cheshire East has not yet responded to the request to looking the possibility of a pavement from The Grange along Wyche Lane.

9. General Data Protection Regulation:

The clerk said she will prepare an appropriate questionnaire  for consideration of Councilors.

10. Playing Fields:

The PC is still looking for funds to help with the old playground conversion to a car park. It is a job for the summer so the search for additional finance is becoming urgent if the work is to be undertaken on time.

The Playing Field AGM will be called shortly once dates are agreed.

The Village Hall has suffered serious damage from flooding due to the cold weather. User groups are being reallocated to the Pavilion and Scout Hut.

2. PC Meeting  14th February

The Parish Council met on 14 February 2018. For the first time in a long time there were no Planning Applications on the agenda. The Parish Council noted that clearance of the entrance to Hill Close had begun in readiness for development to commence.

As discussed at the January meeting Solicitors have been instructed to draw up a contract to take up the option of land from Muir Group Housing Association off Wyche Lane and this meeting looked at the detail of the land the Parish Council will be taking up. Following consultation with residents the land will be converted to a community woodland with mixed trees including fruit trees. Representatives of the Parish Council had met with a local Arboriculture company on the site to plan the planting. The aim is to plan for the development of a natural woodland over time with longer undergrowth, woodland flowers and mixed tree planting. The poor state of the footpath outside Muir Homes was raised as a potential trip hazard and it was agreed to raise the issue with Cheshire East Council.

In January the Parish Council considered a request from a resident to look at the feasibility of providing a pavement on Wyche Lane now that Duchy Homes are building on the Grange site. It was reported that the Parish Council had written to Cheshire East Council for a view and had received an acknowledgment but no formal response as yet. A reminder would be sent if no response were received before the next meeting.

Developers have been approached by the Parish Council to fund the conversion of the old playground to car parking. Whilst it is hopeful that some contribution will be forthcoming only two acknowledgments have been received to date. This would continue to be pursued.

Details of the Cheshire East Council Supported Bus Service for Bunbury are about to be published following a review which the Parish Council lobbied hard to retain services for the village. A new No.70 bus will operate three times a week on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, although the Council recognised they had only partially been successful in their lobbying as the village has lost its bus connection to Chester.

Residents should have received a leaflet about opportunities to rent or buy homes through shared equity schemes as affordable homes are built within the village.

The Parish Council heard that as part of planning for future transport for the North a number of national consultations are out which include the future of the A51 which is seen as an important part of a major route network and could be eligible for national funding. Parish Councils in and around the A51 have formed a Co-ordination Group to keep up to date with developments and report back to their respective councils.

The Chairman and Vice Chairman had met two contractors; both local companies to pick up the maintenance of the Playground area which forms part of the Playing Fields estate from 1 April 2018. This would be discussed further at the next meeting.

1. PC meeting 10th January 2018

The Parish Council held its first meeting of 2018 on 10 January. Only one Planning Application was on the agenda; a proposal for change of use of two existing barns to form two residential units at Heath Farm, Whitchurch Road, Bunbury. The Parish Council had no objections to the proposal. Solicitors have been instructed to draw up a contract to take up the option of land from Muir Group Housing Association off Wyche Lane. Following consultation with residents the land will be converted to a community woodland with mixed trees including fruit trees.

The Parish Council considered a request from a resident to look at the feasibility of providing a pavement on Wyche Lane now that Duchy Homes are building on the Grange site. Concerns were raised about the narrowness of the road to allow a pavement of regulation width but it was agreed to write to Cheshire East Council for a view as this is a Highways responsibility.

Developers have been approached by the Parish Council to fund the conversion of the old playground to car parking. Two acknowledgments have currently been received and it was agreed to send a reminder to the Developers.

The Cheshire East Council Supported Bus Service proposals were approved by Cabinet and the procurement of services and appointment of bus operators for each route should be complete by Spring 2018. Bunbury has kept its number 56 and 83 bus but without the connection to Chester.

Around 200 people turned out for Carols around the Christmas tree with the excellent Crewe Brass Band and visit by Father Christmas. Sealed collection buckets provided by Tarporley Hospital have been handed back to the hospital and final collection amount will be reported at the next meeting.

Purchase of maintenance equipment for the upkeep of the bowling green (part of the playing fields estate) was agreed with assistance from the Bowling Green Club and a grant from Tesco.

Finally, the Parish Council heard that one resident was soon to celebrate her 100th birthday and one had just been awarded a BEM in the new years honours list and the Parish Council agreed to send cards of congratulations to the individuals.

 

First signs of work in Oak Gardens Field

This morning (09/01/2019) we saw action in the field adjacent to Oak Gardens. As you see in the photo below a JCB type digger plus vehicle and water tank arrive on site about 9:00am.


On investigation I was able to find out that this is a ‘water infiltration testing’ team. They did not appear to know who the client was (Crabtree Homes) but were just there to carry out some basic drainage tests.
The testing will relate to the management of surface drainage over the site. Several test holes were excavated across the field to a depth below the soil horizon down to the clay and sand level. Into these ‘pits’ water was added from the tank. I assume was timed until it emptied or until the drainage rate from the pits could be calculated.
We know that drainage issues do exist in the field along the western boundary of the site. The land here can become saturated. So, poor drainage may be a problem. Indeed this was pointed out by residents when objecting to the original application.
The pits are deep (4-5ft) and would be a hazard to dogs and walkers. I will check that they are filled in (as I anticipate they will be) and if not inform the Parish Council promptly.

Decision made on Footpaths across Oak Gardens field

Appeals on Footpaths Fail.
We now have a decision on the appeals against the diversion of footpath 14 and the extinction of the diagonal unregistered footpath (UFP) across the field next to Oak Gardens. Both appeals have been rejected by the inspector.
To permit the orders made by Cheshire East on these two paths the LA must prove they are ‘necessary’ to permit the development to proceed. The inspector emphasises two main points:
1. The inspector refers to the report that upheld the original application to build the 15 houses. She argues that the indicative plan the developer’s suggestion of the layout shows that the footpath orders are indeed necessary for the development to proceed. While these ‘plans’ were excluded from the consideration and reserved for future agreement, this fact appears to have little weight for the appeal on the footpaths. The report actually says the permission site is ‘not a blank sheet of paper’ and goes on the say
“With no evidence to the contrary , I find it unlikely that the indicative layout could be altered at the reserved matters stage so that none of the permitted houses would be built over FP14 or the UFP on their existing lines.”
Really? The indicative plan has no status. It is just the developers’ initial ideas. If you follow developments through the stages you know that plans are being altered by developers all the time. For example the development next to the Medical Centre went from 12 units to 7 units. The opposite is true. On the Sadler’s Wells development they went from two semi-detached houses plus two detached to an eventual 5 detached dwellings. This development through which these paths pass could be developed with an initial 15 house squeezed into a smaller space and a further application for an additional 5 on the remaining space. How does the inspector know? She of course can’t know. So how come it is legitimate to refer to the indicative plan as a piece of convincing evidence to justify the abolition of one path and redirection of the other? The report actually says the permission site is ‘not a blank sheet of paper’
Essentially the inspector is saying, ‘you have one footpath and that will do. Scrap the UFP.’
to ensure that a public right of way remains in the vicinity of the site”
Don’t even try to find a way through-which in my opinion would not be difficult. The one modification the inspector suggest is to retain the existing entrance of both footpaths to the site.
2. The inspector’s report goes on the say that the inspector does consider the harm done to the environment is outweighed by the benefit gained from the additional housing. This is pretty typical as environmental objections are rarely upheld except in extreme cases where English Nature is the objector.

 

A. Plan shows the route for FP14 round the edge of the site to the gate to the next field. Note the small change from A to X the inspector recommends

Footpath FP14

The extinguished footpath

B.  Plan above shows the route of the path to be extinguished.

 

A Review of the New National Planning Policy Framework

This is my analysis of new NPPF published on 24 July 2018.  You can find my first thoughts on this menu. Since then I have taken a bit more time to think through some of the implications. The NPPF  is now the policy that all planning application are judged against, together with appropriate Local plans.  I hope this is informative and a shorter read than the whole document that can be found here.

The final version of the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was published on 24 July 2018, on the very last day before summer Recess and avoiding Parliamentary debate. In contrast, the draft version (published in March for consultation) had been announced by the Prime Minister Theresa May at a dedicated launch event.

Much has changed in the make-up of Government in the four months since the consultation started (not least, the Housing Secretary and Housing Minister); however, and notwithstanding the huge amount of responses received (almost 30,000), changes made to the final version of the revised NPPF focus on clarifications and re-wording, with very few more significant amendments.

Naturally, wider implications and potential impacts of the new policies will become clearer over time; for now, we have identified eleven points where changes have been made following the draft NPPF’s consultation and which are worth bearing in mind.

1. Using design policies as a key to boosting house building

The revised NPPF gives greater importance to design policies, as they should ensure the standard of housing is improved. Housing Secretary James Brokenshire said:

… Critically, progress must not be at the expense of quality or design. Houses must be right for communities. So the planning reforms in the new Framework should result in homes that are locally led, well-designed, and of a consistent and high quality standard.’

Chapter 12 ‘Achieving well-designed places’ is the place where we get more detail. Poor design is grounds for refusal for development. Good news. Developers have to make effective engagement with local communities. Local Planning authorities are also told to ensure that all those ‘non-material alterations’ application that we so often see from developers after the permission is granted does not result in a lowering of design standards.

2. Planning application viability assessments as exception to be justified

One of the problematic features that has developed in the housing market is the trend by developers to claim the viability of their scheme is worse than originally assessed. They then demand a reduction in the number of ‘affordable housing’ they are required to build as part of the deal. This has led to drastic reductions in the number of such social housing across the country. The cost of this ‘reassessment’ was placed on the Local Authority.

The NPPF now puts the burden on the developer to demonstrate that circumstances have changed after the grant of permission. Furthermore the decision is given to the Local Authority to make on the evidence available not the developer. The cost of any reassessment is placed on the developer.

This is clearly aimed at making sure developers can’t wriggle out of obligations they agreed to at the application stage.

3. Standardised methodology and Housing Delivery Test confirmed (for now)

Two new key features of the new NPPF are the new standardised methodology to assess housing needs and the Housing Delivery Test. The Standard Method baseline should be based on the projected average annual household growth over a 10-year period (step 1|), with the current year on the date of the calculation being the first year.  The step 2 calculation should be based on the most recent median work-place affordability ratios (2017) Together these two calculations give us (the government) the figure of 300,000 homes per year. Clear?

In addition, we have a new Housing Delivery Test (HDT) that measures each local authority’s performance in delivering new houses. If the HDT show a significant under delivery (>85%) over the last three years the LA must include a 20% buffer of deliverable sites to meet its 5 year supply of building land. If the HDT test fall to >75% things get grim again. Much of the planning protection goes and we are back in the situation we experienced when Cheshire East (CE) could not establish a 5-year supply of land.

4. Lower requirement for small (and medium) sized sites

The NPPF wants more houses built on small sites of 1 hectare or less. The target is set at 10% and LA’s must have strong reasons for failing to meet this level.

5. More clarity on strategic and non-strategic policies

The draft NPPF’s reference to ‘strategic’ and ‘local’ policies which caused confusion in relation to spatial development strategies, and appeared to undermine the need for local plans has been clarified.

The final revised NPPF now distinguishes between strategic policies (which should look over a minimum of a 15-year period) and non-strategic policies (included in local plans, when these are not considered strategic policies, and in neighbourhood plans).

6. Town centre diversification promoted

The NPPF sees the future of towns through greater diversification. The range of uses permitted in town centres needs to reflect this need for greater diversification if they are to survive and flourish long term.

7. Land assembly and compulsory purchase

LA’s will have more power to bring together larger assemblies of land for development. If they can secure better outcomes thencompulsory purchase of land should be used.

8. Green Belt: of course it’s here to stay

Of course the Green belt isto stay! Except when the LA has examined all other ‘reasonable‘ options for meeting its identified housing needs. Sounds stringent but this could be a more flexible ‘gateway’ than at present through which the LA and developers can get hold of more green belt sites. A bit of a worry. Time will tell – but by then it will, of course, be too late.

9. Heritage policies retained and restored

LA’s are expected to have access to or keep historic environment records. Great weight should be given to historic assets conservation. However, it goes on to say that where development proposals would cause ‘less than substantial harm’ this should be weighed against the public benefits of the proposal including where appropriate ‘securing optimal viable use’.

That looks like a ‘gateway’ for getting round some conservation sites.

10. A change to transition

The new NPPF must be used for all planning decisions from the date of its publication (24 July 2018). Any applications made before that date are to be evaluated against the previous (2012) NPPF.

11. ‘Social rent’ back in and starter homes loosen up

The revised version of the glossary at Annex 2 includes reference to social rent again, as an ‘affordable housing for rent’ product rather than in its own right; any reference to social rent housing was previously deleted from the draft revised NPPF’s definition of affordable housing.

Further amendments have been made to the definition of ‘affordable housing’, particularly about starter homes. Interestingly, previous reference to the maximum annual household income of eligible buyers (£80,000, or £90,000 in London) has now been removed and left as a matter for secondary legislation; this is to reflect that the Housing and Planning Act 2016 does not explicitly refer to those income thresholds.

Might this signal the ‘resurgence’ of starter homes? Unlikely.

Overall, the impression is that the process of updating and reviewing the 2012 NPPF has been more complicated than many expected it to be, and the continuous changes in the Department and the Ministry surely have not helped (five Housing Ministers and threeSecretaries of State since the NPPF review was first announced).

Clearly the housing crisis – if that is what it is- is now a central concern of the government. Has it struck the right balance between developer and local communities. Time will tell. But as the government becomes more agitated over housing the pendulum swings toward the developer and increased measures to push LA’s to get more house built.

Manifesto for Wildlife

Chris Packham has with a group of scholars and experts published a manifesto on behalf of wildlife. It is a call to action informed action. It is best to quote Chris himself:

I believe that conservation and environmental care should be wholly independent from any party politics.
I believe we need a greater political consensus on what needs to be done for nature – saying ‘we care’ is not enough – we need informed action.
I believe conservation policies should be informed by sound science and fact but also motivated by the desire to be kinder and fairer to the living world.
I think that lobbying from vested interest groups working to discredit such facts should be terminated immediately.
I believe that an independent public service body should be established to oversee all conservation and environmental care and that it should receive significant, long-term, ring-fenced funding, so that it is independent from the whims of party politics and different periods
of government.
That body – LIFE UK – would thus address issues from climate change, biodiversity loss, landscape and conservation management through to wildlife crime, all of which (and more) are discussed in this manifesto.
As the UK’s nations have devolved government, LIFE UK could be publicly funded with an independent tax akin to the BBC licence fee, payable by all UK adults and similarly scaled. We want and need our wildlife back – so we will all have to pay fairly for it. But we want results too – so its conservation must be independent, informed, efficient and deliver real benefits in real time.
We should all invest in our wildlife.

 

The manifesto is available below: this is the long version that lacks any of the illustrations of the main public version. It is too large for the website to handle. However, it can be found here .