Parish Council notes 2020

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!

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.

The PC meeting for April is cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Council now has virtual meetings. If you wish to listen in then please contact the PC Secretary. Details on the official PC website:

www.bunburyvillage.info

From our Parish Council correspondent:

Bunbury Parish Council Meeting – 14 October 2020

During the Open Forum two members of the public made representations to the Parish Council concerning a proposal to seriously prune one of the trees in the playground used by children to climb on. They felt it was an unfair and unjustified action with no consultation with children and families who use the playground. They expressed concerns that such a move could set a precedent for alterations to other parts of the playground to appease residents in close proximity.

The Chairman explained that initial discussions had determined to obtain a second opinion of this tree and other trees along the edge of the playground as part of maintenance of the area. The company Monkey Business had visited the site and advised that the tree in question only requires minor pruning and is suitable for climbing and other trees along the line will require just a general up-keep. The Parish Council has listened to all representations including consulting the Crime Prevention Officer following some anti-social behaviour in the evening on the Playground to inform a decision. Following discussion, the Parish Council agreed to accept the proposed maintenance pruning by Monkey Business both along the line of the Playground and in the car park and organise and inspection on an annual basis for the future.

Borough Councillor Report

The Borough Councillor gave an overview from Cheshire East Council:

The Hospitality and Event industry is taking a serious hit from the continuing restrictions due to Covid-19 with Cheshire being the ‘wedding capital’ of the UK. This also has an impact on the income of the Council with reduced fees from weddings and events.

Bunbury is in Tier 2 of the latest Restrictions with pubs still open but households unable to mix. The Borough Councillor has been speaking with landlords in the borough to canvass opinion on whether they would prefer to stay open with restricted attendance or move into Tier 3 with financial support. So far Pubs had declared that they preferred to stay open.

The future of Nantwich Show is in doubt now that the Cheese Show has moved to a different showground.

Any concerns for rural winter gritting routes around Bunbury to be notified. Also, an Area Highways Group is due to meet to review bids of less than £10K for small Highway Improvement works. Again, any potential works for Bunbury to be notified to the Borough Councillor.

Parish Councillor Reports

It was reportedthat 2 footpaths within the village have been lost in the recent ploughing of fields. The Footpath Officer from Cheshire East Council will be notified.

Residents have received a leaflet from the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire introducing the community policing team for Bunbury and Wrenbury of PC Martin Randle and PCSO Sharon Jones. They have a base at the Goodwill Hall, Faddiley and Sharon is a frequent visitor to the village, with particular focus around the playground and car park areas.

The Chairman reported that the Chairman’s Cup has been presented to Fiona Parker this year for her work on the COVID Support scheme. The Community Scheme is still running if residents need support during the latest Tier 2 restrictions.

The Chairman thanked Nick Parker for his tireless work on organising removing the rut within the football pitch on the Playing Fields. The area has now been re-seeded and Nick has been watering the area until it becomes established.

Planning Matters

Decisions made by Cheshire East for information

20/3555N 14/08/2020 South (CE) Delegated Agenda Bunbury (2011)

Decision: approved with conditions Decision Date: 16/09/2020

Location: Greenacres, Wyche Lane, Bunbury, CW6 9PS

Proposal Alterations to front elevation roofs, and new render finish throughout.

20/3647N 21/08/2020 South (CE) Delegated Agenda Bunbury (2011)

Decision: approved with conditions Decision Date: 16/09/2020

Location: Heather House, Bunbury Lane, CW6 9QU

Proposal: Infill existing covered car port with new dining room and build single storey utility room extension.

20/2497N 27/07/2020 South (CE) Delegated Agenda Bunbury (2011)

Decision: approved with conditions Decision Date: 15/09/2020

Location: The Cedars, Whitchurch Road, Bunbury, CW6 9SX

Proposal Erection of a detached family dwelling and Garage, new access and associated landscaping. (Approval of all reserved matters on application 14/2348N, 17/4186N).

20/2289N 05/06/2020 South (CE) Delegated Agenda Bunbury (2011)

Decision: approved with conditions Decision Date: 04/09/2020

Location: 6 & Land rear of no. 6 Bunbury Lane, Bunbury CW6 9QZ

Proposal Reserved matters application for approval for appearance, landscaping, layout and scale following outline approval

16/0646N – Outline planning application for the demolition of 1 bungalow and the erection of 15 dwellings, including associated access at land east of Bunbury Lane, Bunbury.

20/1474N 06/04/2020 South (CE) Delegated Agenda Bunbury (2011)

Decision: approved with conditions Decision Date: 10/09/2020

Location: Stoneleigh, Vicarage Lane, Bunbury, CW6 9PE

Proposal Proposed single storey rear extension and internal alterations.

New Housing Development in Bunbury

The Parish Council heard that the end Bungalow for the development by Duchy Homes of land rear of no. 6 Bunbury Lane has been demolished to allow access to land east of Bunbury Lane.

Bunbury Parish Council Meeting – 9 September 2020

An incomplete record this month due to a loss of phone link during the proceedings. Our apologies.

Borough Councillor Report

The Borough Councillor reported that Cheshire East Council is facing serious financial concerns with the extra expenditure due to COVID and a reduction in income from such sources as car park charges and business rates. Cuts are being looked at to fill the gaps and ‘Soft’ reminder letters have gone out for outstanding Council Tax payments. Council owned Gyms and Swimming Pools have resumed opening. Cashless car parking introduced in the borough during COVID has now reverted back to taking cash. Some of the travellers who had taken up residence on the outskirts of Bunbury have now moved on.

Parish Councillor Reports

A Police alert had been received about the theft of bikes and tips have been issued about keeping bikes safe. PCSO is visiting the village regularly particularly in the evening and can be seen around the Co-Op pop up shop and Hurst Close.

Residents had raised concerns about the state of the hedges along Birds Lane.

The Chairman reported that the Chairman’s Cup presented to a resident for services to the community was being awarded to Fiona’s Parker this year for her work on the COVID Support scheme.

Planning Matters

The Cedars, Whitchurch Road, Bunbury 20/2479N, Erection of a detached family dwelling and Garage, new access and associated landscaping. Approval of all reserved matters). No comment from the Parish Council.

Little Orchard, College Lane, Bunbury 20/3289N and 20/3290N. Listed building consent for two storey rear extension with minor alterations. No comment from the Parish Council.

Greenacres, Wyche Lane, Bunbury 20/3555N alterations to front elevation roofs and new finish render finish throughout. No comment from the Parish Council.

Heath House, Bunbury Lane, Bunbury 20/3647N, infill existing covered car port with new dining room and build single storey utility room extension. No comment from the Parish Council.

Rowton Cottage, Bunbury Lane, Bunbury 20/3641N, construction of windowless timber shed and garden studio and associated landscaping to include screening of existing oil tank and waste bins. No comment from the Parish Council.

Decisions made by Cheshire East for information

20/2307N South (CE) Delegated Agenda Bunbury (2011)

Decision: approved with conditions Decision Date: 18/08/2020

Location: Brantwood, School Lane

Proposal Listed building consent for partial removal of lower section gable wall to side of property forming part of internal partition following previous approval 0/0250N & 20/0251N.

20/2304N South (CE) Delegated Agenda Bunbury (2011)

Decision: approved with conditions Decision Date: 18/08L/2020

Location: Brantwood, School Lane

Proposal: Non-Material Amendment to 20/0250N

20/1698N South (CE) Delegated Agenda Bunbury (2011)

Decision: approved with conditions Date: 26/08/2020

Location: The Old Coach House, Bowes Gate Road

Proposal: Conversion of redundant outbuilding to residential use and extension to existing dwelling linking the outbuilding and dwelling

Playing Fields

A wasps nest from the Pavilion roof has been removed. A playground safety inspection has been undertaken and a report recently received with a couple of recommendations. These would be considered by the Playground Committee and reported back to the Parish Council.

With regard to a donation to fund a second outdoor public access defibrillator, the Parish Council has agreed to contribute to the installation of one of the defibrillators on the outside of the Pavilion on the Jubilee Playing Fields.

Consultation – Government Planning White Paper

A consultation on the Government’s White Paper proposing reforms to the planning system in England has been issued. The deadline for comments is 29 October 2020 and the Parish Council agreed to form a sub team to consider the White Paper and formulate a response for consideration at October’s meeting.

Note: Loss of phone link at this point means we are unable to present details on the remaining agenda items.

Bunbury Parish Council meeting – 8 July 2020

A virtual meeting held on line. Unfortunately our correspondent was unable to listen in. The official (Draft) minutes are available here

Bunbury Parish Council meeting – 10 June 2020

Tribute to Eric Lord – former Parish Councillor

Members of the Parish Council paid tribute to former Parish Councillor Eric Lord who had died recently. Eric had served on the Parish Council for 14 years and had particular responsibility for preservation of footpaths and trees and identifying potential flood sites in the village. He was instrumental in drawing up the Village Design Statement which was in place before the current Neighbourhood Plan and used by Cheshire East Council when considering planning applications. His local knowledge, hard work and tenacity to complete tasks made him an invaluable Parish Councillor who made a difference.

Parish Councillor Reports

The Acting Chairman reported that the Bunbury Community Scheme supporting residents during the Covid-19 lock down period was continuing to support residents. The Village Hall will now become the permanent Food Bank collection point with a box for donations being located outside the Hall. A second box would also be added for books, DVDs and jigsaws as part of a community swop scheme.

A second Parish Councillor reported that the Police had sent out an alert to residents of scams in relation to Covid-19 testing warning against making any payments and giving personal details over the phone.

A couple of footpath issues were raised. The possible obstruction of a resident’s fence to the footpath across the field leading to Wyche Road. A Parish Councillor had checked the footpath and found that although the fence had bowed somewhat with the elements the footpath was currently still passable. Any future deterioration of the fence might require intervention should it interfere with the footpath. A second footpath issue relates to Birds Lane and concerns an unmarked footpath on 12 acres of land up for sale alongside Woodworth Green farm. A stile exists but Footpath 13 linking up to Haughton has been lost over the years and a resident has asked that it should be re-instated before the land is sold. Attempts to contact the Cheshire East Footpaths Officer had been unsuccessful. The Parish Council agreed that the footpath should be re-instated and agreed to contact the Borough Councillor for assistance with the matter.

At the last meeting, the Parish Council heard that the consultation on the Local Plan, Site Allocations and Development Policies (SADPD) which includes recommended housing numbers for Bunbury will be delayed due to Covid-19. The latest update is that 2,700 responses had been received to the publication of the draft SADPD and that these would be collated and reported on by September 2020.

A Parish Councillor reported that they had received complaints about people parking cars across residents’ driveways in order to walk their dogs in Saddlers woods; an associated problem was dog poo in the woods. The wider issue of dog poo in the village was discussed and the Parish Council agreed to look at increasing the frequency of collecting bins and putting up posters.

Affordable housing in the village was raised again; one local resident has been on a housing waiting list for two years. Home Choice is the organisation which Cheshire East Council uses for allocating social housing and it was agreed that the resident could contact the Clerk to the Parish Council for advice on how to apply. The Clerk also agreed to send a briefing note to new Parish Councillors about Home Choice.

Planning Matters

Land Adjacent to Woodworth House, Birds Lane, Bunbury, 20/1930N, Proposed small agricultural shed. No objection.

2 Swan Lane, Bunbury, 20/1964N, proposed garage. The Parish Council noted a comment from a neighbour that the garage should be moved slightly to allow for better access and splays and that Highways had no objection to the application. Discussion took place around the height of the garage to incorporate a studio and the fact the application does not mention a studio nor describe its purpose. The Parish Council agreed to object to the application on the grounds that Section 4 of the application does not reflect it as a two-storey building with a studio above the garage and asked that the views of the neighbour on the siting of the garage be taken into consideration.

Variation of condition 8 to allow residential use on existing permission 13/0193N: Conversion of Redundant Stable Block into One Holiday Let Unit, Brook House, Birds Lane, Bunbury, 20/2197N. No objection.

Decisions made by Cheshire East

20/1399N 31/03/2020 South (CE) Delegated Agenda Bunbury (2011) Decision: approved with conditions Decision Date: 15/05/2020. Location: Heath Croft, Whitchurch Road, Bunbury. Proposed Single Storey enclosed porch extension, single storey rear extension and associated internal alterations.

Housing Strategy Consultation

The Parish Council heard that Cheshire East Council has revised and updated its Vulnerable and Older Persons’ Housing Strategy. The document sets out the strategic direction and priorities which will ensure that vulnerable and older residents are able to access safe and suitable accommodation across the borough. The draft strategy and an online survey are available on the Cheshire East Council website. The closing date for comments is 5pm on Monday 13 July 2020.

Cheshire East Licencing Consultation – for comment

The Orchard, Whitchurch Road, Bunbury – Application for a Premises Licence: Licensing Act 2003

Notice is hereby given that Love Delivery Limited have applied on 20 May 2020 to Cheshire East Council in respect of the premises known as The Orchard, Whitchurch Road, Bunbury for a premises licence to provide the following licensable activities:

  • Late Night Refreshment and Sale and Supply of Alcohol (consumption off the premises) for online sales only: Monday to Sunday 12:00 noon to 3:00 am hours.

The Parish Council heard that concerns had been raised by neighbours about disruption to the local community and residential area of a business operating until 3am and agreed to make representations that the hours of business are unacceptable.

Requests from Retailers

The Parish Council received an application from the Bunbury Co-operative store who wish to place a ‘pop up shop’ on the car park whilst the permanent shop is refurbished. The plan is to close the shop from Monday 10 August for 11 weeks. They requested to site the pop-up shop on the Jubilee Fields car park against the hedge backing onto the bowling green to the left of the gate.

The Parish Council supported the application but made a request that the Post Office be included in the temporary arrangements and that the Co-Op should contribute to the Playing Fields in the form of a ground rent. Barriers would be erected to prevent out of hours cars onto the site and local residents would be informed of the arrangements.

Representation had been received from Nantwich Plant stall about selling plants from the Jubilee Car Park on a weekly basis. Currently they deliver but are looking to the future after Covid-19 and are asking the Parish Council to approve in principle and they will make a detailed proposal on timings if approved. Similarly, if the Ocean Wave fish van is not able to use the Nags Head car park once it re-opens then could this be considered in principle too.

The Parish Council felt that if such stalls were to go ahead some fundamental rules would have to be established, such as timing, nominal rent etc. Local residents might have a view and it was agreed to put more thought into such a move and discuss again at a future meeting.

Bunbury Parish Council Meeting – 13 May 2020

Borough Councillor Report

Issues raised by the Borough Councillor:

  • During the Covid-19 pandemic Cheshire East Council is focusing on support and recovery for the local economy and has been lobbying for local business and directing them to any grants and funding that is available. Vital public services such as bin collection has been maintained throughout the period. For the recovery period, safe work practices are being devised; first virtual Cabinet meeting has taken place and this will be extended to other Council meetings such as Planning so that business can continue. Support has also been provided to Care Homes, Care Leavers, Schools and Childcare Providers.
  • Borough Councillor reported that she is mayor elect for the borough and assured the Parish Council that she would be continuing with her ward council duties.
  • A Parish Councillor asked about the type of affordable housing (for sale, rent or combination of both) on the newly developed site at Hill Close, Bunbury Lane. The Borough Councillor agreed to investigate and report back at the next meeting.

Parish Councillor Reports

The Acting Chairman referred to the Bunbury Community Scheme supporting residents during the Covid-19 lock down period which would continue until lock down is eased. The Parish Council thanked the Chair for organising the scheme. The Playing Field remains open but the play equipment is closed.

A second Parish Councillor reported that she had been approached about the Muller milk tanker using the canal bridge to visit the local farm in contravention of the allowed weight limit. The Parish councillor agreed to contact the company to point this out.

Planning Matters

Stablecroft, School Lane, Bunbury, 20/1403N, To erect an oak framed implement store on a concrete raft under a slate roof. Comment had been raised on the website with regard to the location of the store. No objection was raised by the Parish Council but they supported the comments already raised.

Stoneleigh, Vicarage Lane, Bunbury, 20/1474N, Proposed single storey rear extension and internal alterations. Concerns were raised about the potential loss of car parking space if the extension proceeds. No objection in principle but asked that the car parking issue be reviewed as part of the application.

Land at Bowes Gate Road, Bunbury, 20/1329N, Amendment to the Section 106 Agreement relating to planning approval 15/1666N for 11 dwellings including affordable housing. The Parish Council heard that this application was related to a second application alongside the Medical Centre, whereby the Land Agent for both sites has requested that the affordable housing on the Bowes Gate site be moved to the Medical Centre site which has no allocation of affordable housing due to its size. There are no physical changes to both applications other than the request to move the affordable housing element. The Land Agent is trying to appoint one developer to manage both sites to ensure the affordable housing is delivered.

The Parish Council heard that there was some confusion over the amount of affordable housing contained within the 106 Agreement (8 houses) and the amount proposed by the revised proposal (4 houses). The Borough Councillor agreed to obtain further information from Cheshire East Officers on the position regarding the 4 shared ownership homes that had been in the original application, in addition to the remaining 4 affordable rented properties. Based on the information available at the meeting the Parish Council resolved to object to the homes being moved and the reduction, in number of the 8 homes in the original approved application.

Wyche House, Wyche Lane, Bunbury, 20/1551N, First floor rear/side extension replacement of single storey rear lean-to extension. No comment.

New garage outbuilding, Robins Croft, School Lane, Bunbury, 20/1462N. No comment.

The Old Coach House, Bowes Gate Road, Bunbury, 20/1698N. Conversion of redundant outbuilding to residential use and extension to existing dwelling linking the outbuilding and dwelling (all to become enlarged single dwelling house). No comment.

Decisions made by Cheshire East

19/5534N 29/11/2019 approved with conditions. Decision Date 17/04/2020. Land at Oak Gardens, Bunbury. Reserved Matters

19/5489D 27/11/2019 approved with conditions. Decision Date: 14/04/2020. Land off, Oak Gardens, Bunbury. Proposal Discharge of conditions 6, 7, 9, 12, 13 and 14 of existing permission 16/2010N: Residential development of 15 dwellings with associated works at land at Oak Gardens, Bunbury.

Neighbourhood Plan

The Parish Council heard that the consultation on the Local Plan, Site Allocations and Development Policies (SADPD) which includes recommended housing numbers for Bunbury will be delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The original number of additional houses contained in the Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan was 80; the SADPD identifies a recommendation of 105 with houses already built or proposed currently standing at 107. The Parish Council recommended that the figure of 105 should be considered as part of updating the Neighbourhood Plan in due course.

The Acting Chairman reported that there had been a meeting with Fisher Germain via Zoom at their request about a possible future housing application; no site identified. The Parish Council referred to the content of the Neighbourhood Plan and the SADPD.

Bunbury Parish Council Meeting – 11th March 2020

Public session:

One resident spoke during the public session before the formal commencement of the PC meeting. He addressed two issues. Road Traffic speeds and what could be learnt from recent planning decisions that need to be considered during the review of the Bunbury Neighbourhood |Plan.

Traffic Speeds in Bunbury:

A recent survey of traffic speeds in Bunbury noted that average speeds on the three routes monitored, Bunbury Lane, Vicarage Lane and School Lane, all showed mean speeds under 30mph. Did the speed data meet the criteria set out by Cheshire East for the introduction of 20mph zones? Can we see the data? The Cheshire East policy is stated in the document ‘Speed management Strategy’ (2016). The criteria reflect the ‘car centric’ view that has dominated thinking for many years. But things are changing. In the Stockholm Declaration a British Government Minster signed up to a statement along with 129 Minters from other countries. The local authority needs to update its approach and place more emphasis on the protection and encouragement of ‘active’ transport – walking and cycling.

Secondly the speaker address two points that have emerged from recent planning decisions that should be addresses during the forthcoming review of the Neighbourhood plan (BNP). The Oak Gardens (the field adjacent to Oak Gardens is more accurate but not often used) appeal succeeded because the planning Inspector was able to exploit some degree of confusion over the definition of co-location and the ‘start date’ from when the policy should apply. Secondly in the new Duchy development off Bunbury Lane, The Planning Office rejected the objection to the mix of housing on the basis that the BNP contained no explicit policy on what a ‘suitable mix’ of housing means. It has to be spelt out. Likewise with the need for ‘buffer zones’ to protect wildlife corridors as in the case of Oak Gardens again. No policy no protection.

Agenda items:

1 – 3 standard admin items.

4. Borough councillor’s Report: Cllr. Sarah Pochin absent due to illness.

5. Parish councillor Reports:

(I) Cllr. Leila potter:

PC heard of plans to celebrate 700 years of the village Church. (Check for current status)

The retirement of Dr. Helen Black and the presentation of a memento to express the great appreciation for her work in Bunbury Medical Practice.

Spring Fayre on the 28 of this month (cancelled)

Commemoration of VE Day on 9th May (Please check current status)

(ii) Cllr. Ron Pulford:

The forthcoming review of the BNP was discussed and how that process was to managed.

(iii)Cllr. Nick Parker:

A number of points were raised by the Playing Fields representative. The removal of flying tipping items has been carried out. The two fridges have been disposed of appropriately at a cost of £40 to the PC. Discussions followed on how to deter future tipping in the car park using the large bins used by the pavilion users and the field linesman. They could be place in a ‘cage’ but this must be negotiated with the collection service as they would need a key or combination.

6. Planning:

(i) Deed of Variation of Land adjacent to Oak Gardens planning consent. This relates to the changes in the nature of the affordable homes under the 106 agreement with the developers, Crabtree Homes. The application now included 4 one-bedroomed apartments located in the NE corner of the site. These are all rented properties and the option for shared ownership has been lost as a result. This lack of appropriate mix may be contrary to the BNP. In addition the wording of the amendment was considered so open ended as to give the developer ‘carte Blanche’ to make changes to the plans without public consultation. The PC will object to the changes.

(ii) 20/0857N. Resubmission for an extension at the rear of a property. No objections.

(iii)20/0963N Extension at rear in Acreage – no objections.

6.2 Decisions made by Cheshire East:

20/0432N 30/01/2020 South (CE) Delegated Agenda Bunbury (2011)Decision : refused Decision Date : 20/02/2020Location : 4, QUEEN STREET, BUNBURY, CW6 9QYProposal Non-material amendment to application 16/5185N -Proposed rear extension and internal modifications19/5671N09/12/2019 South (CE) Delegated Agenda Bunbury (2011)Decision : approved with conditions Decision Date : 10/02/2020Location : 12, DARKIE MEADOW, BUNBURY, TARPORLEY, CHESHIRE, CW6 9RBProposal Proposed Single storey side extension to form extra living accommodation

6.4 New homes at Bowes Gate and medical practice – no progress on the issues related to these sites.

The council will send representative to a meeting requested by a new developer. |It was emphasised that the PC uses the BNP at these meetings and points to the current situation of housing supply target in the village and Local Plan.

7. Local Policing:

A meeting with the local police team for Bunbury was attended by 1 person despite widespread advertising of the event around the village. Another ‘open’ session in may is planning using the new Police van.

8. Highways and pedestrian issues:

(I) No profess on Cheshire East Sustainable modes of travel to schools Strategy. Concern was expressed at the slow rate of progress.

(ii) The PC is looking at ways in which satellite navigation companies can be informed that the lock bridge is unsafe for heavy goods vehicles and that their software systems may need to be update to avid such vehicles coming through the village.

(iii) Training will be offered on the village sprees camera

9. Footpaths & Rights of way:

Complaints were made about the state of Footpath 17 (near the Yew Tree off Bunbury lane). The muddy conditions were made worse by the vehicles used to access the sheep in the adjacent field. The CE Footpath Officer attended and met the owner of the sheep and requested the path be repaired. It was found to have been improved on a subsequent visit by the same officer. It may be that there is private access rights along part of the path.

11. Playing Fields:

Replacement of the Pavilion building was mentioned but not discussed at this meeting as further reports awaited.

See notes above in Cllr. Reports for details of Fly Tipping.

It was agreed that the Salvation Army clothing collection facility will have to be rejected due impossibility of finding a save location. It was also felt that adequate alternative recycling schemes existed.

Bunbury Parish Council Meeting – 12 February 2020

Two residents who live in the newly completed Grange Homes that sit alongside the playground area on the Playing Fields on Wyche Lane addressed the Parish Council to express concerns about the number of youths (30-40 one Friday evening) that are congregating post daylight hours and engaging in anti-social behaviour – bad language, smoking and possible drug taking. The incidents are being reported to the Police 101 service but have not been deemed a priority for Police attendance. Incidents have also been reported to the PCSO, Sharon Jones who has visited the residents but not at a time when the youths congregate. Cheshire East Council has also been contacted concerning intimidation of residents and the health issue of some of the rubbish being left behind. The Parish Council had also been contacted and would discuss ways of working together to solve the issue. The Borough Councillor suggested that if such a number of intimidating youths turned up again that the resident should call 999.

A resident from School Lane had previously e-mailed the Parish Council with regard to traffic speeding on School Lane and attended the meeting to hear the results of the autumn speed survey. The Borough Councillor reported that the results on the three areas surveyed in the village, i.e. Bunbury Lane, Vicarage Lane and School Lane showed that traffic speed on average was below the speed limit in all three areas. This gave no leverage to take further action at a Borough Council level. Discussion took place on where the survey was undertaken on School Lane as it was felt speeding occurs nearer the junction as further along the Lane traffic is calmed by parked cars. Signage including a flashing warning 30 mph sign, the potential for ‘sleeping policemen’ and the use of the Parish Council speed gun closer to the junction on School Lane were discussed.

Borough Councillor Report

Issues raised by the Borough Councillor:

  • Interviews are nearly complete for the new Chief Executive for Cheshire East Council and full Council on 20 February will vote for a new mayor.
  • Council Land Housing Supply as part of Local Plan has been re-assessed and demonstrates a seven-and-a-half-year supply well above the requirement of five years. This is good news for preventing speculative housing development.
  • A Brown Field land register is now compiled for Cheshire East area to encourage more use of such sites for development.
  • Site Allocations and Development Policy document which forms part of the continuing Local Plan work has completed its consultation phase with 2,700 responses. These will be worked through. Potential ratification of the process could be during summer 2020.
  • Cheshire East Council has secured £430,000 Government funding for homelessness and prevention work, including supporting offenders released from prison.
  • Cheshire East launched Nominated Neighbour Scheme to support and look after vulnerable neighbours. A Parish Councillor also pointed out that the British Legion has two posts to keep in touch with lonely and vulnerable residents in Bunbury.
  • Two new grant schemes from Cheshire East Council – ‘Bright Ideas’, fund of £250 for an individual to drive an idea forward and ‘Our Bright Idea’, fund for organisations with appropriate governance in place.

Parish Councillor Reports

A Parish Councillor had heard from a resident of Saddlers Wells about the use of the unmade path/road by school traffic explaining that this was not a public road. The Borough Councillor agreed to make enquiries about erecting a ‘Private’ sign on the unadopted road.

Anchor

A second Parish Councillor reported that she had attended the quarterly Police Cluster meeting where no crimes were reported for the autumn period for Bunbury. Speed camera data was also shared. A new Rural Crime Team has been established and the Parish Council wondered if this could assist with anti-social behaviour around the playground area. It was also suggested that the PCSO visit local secondary schools to discuss the issue.

The request to turn a number of stiles into kissing gates on a couple of the village footpaths was discussed again after the failure to gain permission from the land owners. The Parish Council agreed to write to the Walking for Health Club to explain the situation and the Borough Councillor agreed to contact one of the landowners again.

The removal of a fridge and freezer that had been fly tipped on the car park would cost £40 to remove. Other fly tipping had been reported down Birds Lane. The locks on the two black bins used by the Lengths Man had been damaged. It was suggested that the bins be placed into a cage and this would be discussed at the next Council meeting. A Salvation Army recycling bin will be placed in the car park shortly on a three-month trial.

Two trees were reported to have fallen in the recent windy conditions – an Oak with a Tree Preservation Order between Oak Gardens and Wakes Meadow and one along Vicarage Lane.

Planning Matters

Brantwood, School Lane, Bunbury, 20/0251N, Listed Building Consent for demolition of outhouses to the rear and replacement with two-storey outrigger and Garden Room. Two public responses had supported the proposal and the Parish Council agreed not to object to the proposal, but pointed out that the guttering should be cast iron and not plastic, also there appeared to be a discrepancy in roof heights on the plans that need clarification.

The Old Post Office, Bunbury Lane, Bunbury, 20/0492N, change of use of an ancillary building to back of house retail. No objection to this application by the Co-Op to provide more storage space.

Decisions made by Cheshire East

19/0803N Decision: Withdrawn Decision Date: 23/01/2020. Location: Land adjacent to Wyche House, Wyche Lane (Outline permission for 7 houses).

19/5060N Decision: Withdrawn Decision Date: 13/01/2020. Location: Church Bank, Wyche Road. Proposal Listed Building Consent for new vehicular access on to the highway.

New Housing Developments in Bunbury

Strutt and Parker are still in discussions with the Council about the division of the affordable houses between the proposed sites by the Church and Bunbury Surgery. Drainage issues are still outstanding for the Oak Gardens site and building is unlikely to start this year.

Highways Issues

The use of the Parish Council speed gun was discussed which would result in police writing a warning letter to those found to be driving over the speed limit. The Parish Council agreed to put a plan together to undertake speeding surveillance in the future.

Seasonal Events

The Parish Council heard that the church would be celebrating its 700 years anniversary this year and discussed how it could contribute. It agreed to offer the playing fields and pavilion free of charge for any events.

Anchor

VE day will be celebrated on Friday 8 May with a 3pm toast to veterans by the three village pubs as part of a community celebration. A church service will also take place over the weekend.

Bunbury Village Website

The Parish Council will be taking on the website from the previous volunteers and

Bunbury Parish Council Meeting – 9 January 2020

The Chairman is currently unwell, so the Vice-chairman will be chairing meetings for the time being.

Before the meeting proceeded, representatives from the Royal British Legion attended the meeting to mark the 26-year contribution of Councillor Nick Parker to the organisation of the annual Remembrance Sunday Commemoration. The Chair of the local British Legion made a presentation to Councillor Parker as a thank you for all his work over the years.

Borough Councillor Report

The Borough Councillor presented her report and received questions from parish councillors, as follows:

Cheshire East is to commence a kitchen waste collection service from 6 January 2020. All households will receive a caddy with biodegradable bags for the collection of the waste which can then be put in the green/brown garden waste bin. This will then be collected and taken to the new food processing plant at Leighton to be turned into compost. The service will only work for those residents who have a garden waste bin. The Ward Councillor suggested a Bunbury Ward visit to the Plant to understand the processes and end product to report back to residents.

The state of Brantwood was raised again and the Borough Councillor agreed to contact a family member of the owner for an update on the sale of the property.

The request to turn two stiles into kissing gates along two footpaths to aid wider access for walkers was raised as no progress had been made. This would be looked at again. In addition, progress would be checked on the painting of the ‘dropping off bay outside the school, including the cutting back of nearby tress; and the potential for a strip of land on school lane to be made into a footpath for families walking to school.

A resident had raised the issue of speeding along School Lane; the results of the Autumn speed survey in the village are awaited and would be reviewed when received. The Council heard that Cheshire West and Chester Council has adopted a policy of 20mph within all village locations, but that Cheshire East has not adopted this policy and given the closeness to the border of the two councils this maybe causing confusion.

The state of the local highways, particularly the number of potholes, road sweeping, and gully emptying was raised. With regard to potholes, people were advised to report them on the council website as this would raise t he council awareness of the most offending areas. The Borough Councillor agreed to check with Cheshire East Council with regard to frequency of road sweeping within the village.

Parish Councillor Reports

A Parish Councillor referred to social media feedback via the Bunbury Journal website concerning the erection of the P parking sign at the entrance to the playing fields. Whilst some of the comments were negative about the need for a sign, the majority were supportive of it encouraging people to use a car park and avoid parking on the village lanes.

A second Parish Councillor had been contacted by the PCSO for the village with regard to a complaint she had received from a resident about the anti-social behaviour by a number of youths in the play area late at night over the Christmas period. The PCSO had met with the resident and given her number should this continue to be a nuisance in the new year. It is hoped that a police surgery event could be held in the Pavilion soon so that residents can discuss issues occurring in the village direct with representatives from the Police.

Consultation

Cheshire East Council has been running a survey for the public and Parish Councils to respond to a Community Governance Review. The Parish Council offered feedback to the question of Parish Councils being ‘effective and convenient Local Government? Feedback included the use of the adopted Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan as a framework for considering planning applications, public meetings as necessary, good contact with Police and an active full membership council. Another question referred to the interface between the Parish Council and Cheshire East Council – some members of the Parish Council felt that the pace of progress at the borough council sometimes reflected badly on the work of the Parish Council. Boundary issues was also a question and the Parish Council discussed the fact that the Yew Tree and nearby houses were actually in Spurstow although from a community point of view the Yew Tree is regarded as a village facility.

Decisions made by Cheshire East

19/3767N Decision: approved with conditions – 6 and land rear of 6, Bunbury Lane, Bunbury. Proposal Reserved Matters – Erection of 15 Dwellings

The Parish Council heard that several objections had been made to the application against the number of large houses being proposed (9 five bed homes). The Planning Officer explained that the Neighbourhood Plan only refers to a mix of houses and as there were smaller houses included in the overall figure of 15 there was no basis to refuse the application.

19/4983N Decision: approved with conditions – Brook View, Sadlers Wells, Bunbury – Single storey rear extension, single storey link and partial garage conversion with associated alterations.

Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan

Notification had been received from Cheshire East Council that modification to the Neighbourhood should be considered. This is a long-term process that would be considered over the next one to two years.

Correspondence

Mid-Cheshire Grounds Maintenance Company have written to the Parish Council offering to continue with the current grounds maintenance work for the village at the current price fixed for the next two years. The Parish Council agreed to accept the offer.

A request had been made for permission to sweep the playing field with a metal detector following the loss of a medal on the field. The Parish Council agreed but asked that if any significant digging was required Councillor Nick Parker be contacted in the first instance.

Christmas

Good weather on Christmas Eve aided a good turn-out for carols round the Christmas tree and £307 was raised for Tarporley Hospital.

Planning for the Future

White Paper on proposed changes to the planning system

The White paper put out for consultation proposes a radical change to the planning system. That consultation ends on the 29 October.

First you can read the White Paper by clicking here

However a summary of the 84 page pdf file may help.

This is the HM Government version:

The current planning system is complicated, favours larger developers and often means that much needed new homes are delayed.

We’re proposing a new system which is easier for the public to access, transforms the way communi-ties are shaped and builds the homes this country needs.

The changes will mean more good quality, attractive and affordable homes can be built faster – and more young families can have the key to their own home.

In the new system local areas will develop plans for land to be designated into three categories

:• Growth areas will back development, with development approved at the same time plans are pre-pared, meaning new homes, schools, shops and business space can be built quickly and efficiently, as long as local design standards are met.

• Renewal areas will be suitable for some development – where it is high-quality in a way which meets design and other prior approval requirements the process will be quicker. If not, development will need planning approval in the usual way.

• Protected areas will be just that development will be restricted to carry on protecting our treasured heritage like Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks.

Communities will be consulted from the beginning of the planning process and help shape the design codes to guide what development can happen in their local area.

The reforms will mean:

Much-needed homes will be built quicker by ensuring local housing plans are developed and agreed in 30 months down from the current 7 years it often takes.

Every area to have a local plan in place currently only 50% of local areas has an up-to-date plan to build more homes.

The planning system will be made more accessible, by harnessing the latest technology through online maps and data.

• Valued green spaces will be protected for future generations by allowing for more building on brownfield land and all new streets to be tree lined.

The planning process to be overhauled and replaced with a clearer, rules based system. Currently around a third of planning cases that go to appeal are overturned.

A new simpler national levy to replace the current system of developer contributions which often causes delay this will provide more certainty about the number of affordable homes being built.

• The creation of a fast-track system for beautiful buildings and establishing local design guidance for developers to build and preserve beautiful communities.

• All new homes to be ‘zero carbon ready’, with no new homes delivered under the new system needed to be retrofitted as we achieve our commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

A Response:

As part of the White Paper a series of questions is put to the reader with a request to respond. These can be posted or email to in the following ways:

  1. Go to the website https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/planning-for-the-future

2. Alternatively you can email your response to the questions in this consultation to planningforthefuture@communities.gov.uk.

3. If you are responding in writing, please make it clear which questions you are responding to. Written responses should be sent to:

Planning for the Future Consultation,

Planning Directorate, 3rd Floor, Fry Building, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF.

My Response:

NB. Each question comes with some possible response options.

1. What three words do you associate most with the planning

system in England?

!

2(a). Do you get involved with planning decisions in your local area?

[Yes / No]

Yes

2(b). If no, why not?

[Don’t know how to / It takes too long / It’s too complicated /

I don’t care / Other – please specify]

3. Our proposals will make it much easier to access plans and contribute your views to planning decisions. How would you like to find out about plans and planning proposals in the future?

[Social media / Online news / Newspaper / By post /

Other – please specify]

Planning applications and all relevant details should appear on the public planning authorities website. It is inappropriate to outsource such information to private company facilities whose continuity is uncertain, whose objectives are not aligned with public service and which are NOT inclusive. Surprisingly 33% of the population are not on any form of social media and 4% do not have access to the internet (ONS 2020).

Email could be offered as an additional service alongside the continued use of the postal service to ensure complete inclusion within a neighbourhood.

Much disparagement is made of notices on lampposts, etc. Their function is to aleft other interested parties to what is happening in their area, many people are interested in developments that do not directly impact on them. They have a broad concern for the town\village where they live. How will they be informed?

Build on firm foundations rather than scrap everything unless it can be distributed over the internet.

4. What are your top three priorities for planning in your local area?

[Building homes for young people / building homes for the homeless /

Protection of green spaces / The environment, biodiversity and action

on climate change / Increasing the affordability of housing / The design

of new homes and places / Supporting the high street / Supporting the

local economy / More or better local infrastructure / Protection of

existing heritage buildings or areas / Other – please specify]

1. Increasing the affordability of housing

2. More and better local infrastructure

3. Protection of green spaces, biodiversity and the environment

5. Do you agree that Local Plans should be simplified in line with our proposals?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

No

They do not make sense in our area or, I would suggest in most rural areas. These would be designated as either ‘renewal’ where ‘small sites within or on the edge of villages’ would be developed – on what basis? Or as ‘protected’.The only difference between a renewal zone and a growth zone appears to be scale. Does that mean any plot that comes available could be built on as long as the development criteria in the Local Plan are met? Local communities would have no ability to either plan where sites should and should not be developed only their scale and design.

In Bunbury we are surrounded by open countryside that currently is protected from development. Where development does take place is identified and agreed through consultation with the local Planning Authority. (Cheshire East). Under these proposals no such ‘protection’ is available to ‘open countryside and farmland. Only in ‘Protected Zones’ is there any possibility of building into a local plan the option of saying NO to development. As the white paper states “There would be a statutory presumption in favour of development being granted for the uses specified as being suitable in each area”. The ‘uses’ are of course defined tin the new ‘Use Classes’ none of which cover open spaces or open land. They are Use Classes of buildings (commercial or Public). The Local Plan can only specify use in terms of those ‘Use Classes’ and cannot protect any land from development outside of Protected Zones.

The White paper does mention in the definition of ‘Protected Zones’ “ areas of open countryside outside of land in Growth or renewal area.” Who makes that decision? What consultation will be held on open countryside question? These are critical questions in our village that the Local Plan would not be able to answer. If the Local Plan, with local consultation, can decide to place open countryside into the protected zone with much reduced development objectives then villages may be protected from cherry-picking developers and productive farmland can be retained.

Where is the parallel discussion about the protection of farmland from development and the need to maintain our own food supply? Not a word.

Who gets to make these ‘zonal’ decision? Yes the Local Authority in the first place in consultation with the public (Stage 1) but the HM Inspector can simply override that decision (Stage 4).

The suggested Alternative of combining Growth and Renewal Zones is much worse. Such an approach is highly threatening to the retention of village character.

The other suggested Alternative of limiting automatic permission to land in the Growth Zone while retaining the power of the local authority to identify where and what permitted development may take place in the renewal zone, is acceptable. As long as it retain the current feature to allow citizen representation as part of that decision-making process.

6. Do you agree with our proposals for streamlining the development

management content of Local Plans, and setting out general development management policies nationally?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

I agree that repeating Government policy in Local Plans is a waste of time

But Local Authorities should retain a level of flexibility to set development management policies that do not duplicate NPPF policies.

7(a). Do you agree with our proposals to replace existing legal and policy tests for Local Plans with a consolidated test of “sustainable development”,which would include consideration of environmental impact?

No.

The inadequate detail provided makes it very unwise to go down this path. The UK is the most environmentally impoverished country in Europe. (On target? Five environmental challenges for 2020 and beyond – HoC report 2020)

‘Sustainable Development’ can become meaningless without a clear definition that has teeth. Currently it is little more than a ‘catch phrase’ trotted out to justify yet another development in ‘walking distance’ of ‘facilities’ (a shop and bus stop).

7(b). How could strategic, cross-boundary issues be best planned for in the

absence of a formal Duty to Cooperate?

Restore the duty to co-operate.

8(a). Do you agree that a standard method for establishing housing requirements (that takes into account constraints) should be introduced?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

No

1. The problem in our village is delivery and provision of affordable housing. Only 50% of the houses with permission to build in the last 5 years have been built. Make it hurt to cling on to land that has been granted permission and not used. This is the cause of house shortages. Developers do not want to build affordable houses in our village to meet real need. Their objective is maintain the profitability of the development. That means NOT building if it impacts on market prices.

More details needed on the Housing Delivery Test to make any judgement. Why? Delivery is OUR problem, in the South you may have other issues.

2. Centralisation of housing need calculation into one algorithm is inappropriate. Needs vary across the country and this approach is just unnecessary in Cheshire. We have land supply.

3. Preferred option is:

It would be possible to leave the calculation of how much land to include in each category to local decision, but with a clear stipulation in policy that this should be sufficient to address the development needs of each area (so far as possible subject to recognised constraints), taking into account market signals indicating the degree to which existing needs are not being met’

8(b). Do you agree that affordability and the extent of existing urban areas are appropriate indicators of the quantity of development to be accommodated?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

No

‘Affordability’ is yet another weasel word in the lexicography of development. It just means small houses that get smaller as the local house prices rise. We have ended up with some of the smallest houses in Europe. In Bunbury we have ‘affordable’ houses that have a smaller ground floor footprint than the garage space on adjacent ‘market’ properties.

‘Urban area’ as a criteria for permitting more development? Big gets bigger? I’ll leave that to the residents of towns to explain.

9(a). Do you agree that there should be automatic outline permissionfor areas for substantial development (Growth areas) with faster routes for detailed consent?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

A cautious yes.

I want Growth areas clearly defined with a focus on brownfield sites and protection of green spaces and avoidance of massive ‘monochrome’ sterile environments.

9(b). Do you agree with our proposals above for the consent arrangements for Renewal and Protected areas?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

Yes

But only if ‘Open Countryside’ is included in the Protected Areas.

9(c). Do you think there is a case for allowing new settlements to be brought forward under the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects regime?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

YesBut these are the exception not the norm, provided legislation is clear that they can’t be used to override local planning decisions or to build in areas of open countryside.

10. Do you agree with our proposals to make decision-making faster and more certain?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

Appropriate speed is good. But it is not the most important requirement of a planning process. An open democratic process is more likely to yield a good decision. It is the quality of the decisions that emerge that is the criteria to judge the system. Speed is easy if you ignore everybody. Authoritarian governments claim speed is a virtue of their approach but end up with corruption and terrible decisions.

It is not the local authorities that are to blame to the degree the White Paper suggest. From my experience it is just as frequently developers errors, changes of mind, lack of experience, etc. that slows and delays the system.

11. Do you agree with our proposals for accessible, web-based Local Plans?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

Yes

Cheshire East has offered web based access to all planning information for sometime. You seem to suggest that this is a rare experience. Really? No recognition of what Local Authorities have already invested in their systems despite dramatic reductions in their budgets.

I have never heard of ‘PropTech’ before and as you don’t really explain what it is or its putative role I cannot comment. However experience of government involvement with IT firms and projects is not encouraging. Caution should be your watchword and my advice is to stay away from things you don’t really understand.

12. Do you agree with our proposals for a 30 month statutory timescale for the production of Local Plans?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

No

Again you are blaming the Local Authorities for the delays in the system. It is true the Local Plan takes about 7 years to complete but that is entirely due to to the heavy burden placed on the LA in terms of the work needed to meet all the criteria set by the Government policies, unclear methods of housing need, and meeting the demand of HM Inspectors. In your attempt to sort this mess out you are also throwing out the part of the process – making decisions on individual planning applications – out as well. It is that part of the process the citizen engages with as it represents his/her right to participate in decision-making that directly impacts her/his life.

Stage 1 represents the only stage at which citizens might get some say. Their expertise and motivation is often limited to the immediate area where they live. Will they engage with such broad based planning? In Bunbury the strongest engagement derives from residents impacted by the planning applications. Outside that ‘zone of impact’ other citizens do engage but at a less frequent level. This suggest that the particular rather than the general is what engages the citizen. And (s)he has only 6 months to engage and then his/her role has ended.

Stage 4 – It seems that the Inspector has too much power – “all at the inspector’s discretion”. This is likely to lead local resident’s losing faith in the system as the Inspector can simply choose not to listen to their concerns. The choice of inspector will therefore be key and this process needs to be defined. An inspector with political links or strong links to developers will lack credibility

This White paper represents an attempt to remove the citizens meaningful participation in planning decision-making just where it matters most.

13(a). Do you agree that Neighbourhood Plans should be retained in the reformed planning system?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

Yes
We have a Neighbourhood Plan in place that has served us well. We should make it clear that the Number 1 issue from residents is the number of houses being built followed by the housing mix. This section implies that NP’s will be limited to the design style which while a priority issue, is further down the list given below.. It is hard to reconcile the top down approach of this White Paper with the ability of a locality to influence how it is developed.

A NP that only addresses design style will be viewed as ineffective and no amount of digital tools will compensate for the disillusionment of 100 new homes being built on a greenfield site where we can only influence how they look. Clearly the government view NP’s as a mistake and the interference of citizens in the development of where they live is no-longer to be tolerated.

With our NP Bunbury has controlled the size of developments and their proximity to each other. Developers have respected the size constraint but with the support of inspectors attached and undermined the wishes of Bunbury citizens to avoid the formation of large conglomerations of new houses on the edge of the village. Active citizens were able to take their concerns to open planning meetings where with councillors and developers a democratic and open process was seen in action. That is real engagement

The White paper will strip away any pretence of serious involvement in local planning through the means of the creation of the NP – powerful motivating experience for the whole village -, automate consent on applications. Leaving the citizen devoid of democratic powers to influence anything but the choice of brick colours and style of roof.

If the White Paper seeks to engage the local population on a street by street basis then it will need to address the means by which the citizen can participate in decision about

  1. Housing numbers
  2. Housing mix
  3. Local infrastructure
  4. As well as Quality of Design

13(b). How can the neighbourhood planning process be developed to meet our objectives, such as in the use of digital tools and reflecting community preferences about design?

‘Digital tools’ is a vague term. We have websites with clickable maps, access to digitised plans and documents. Yes I am sure they can be enhanced. They do not however take the place of real democratic participation in making decisions. That is what engages citizens.

Of course citizens want to see what proposed developments might look like but more importantly the want a say in the number , distribution and type of those dwellings near them that directly affect their lifestyle.

14. Do you agree there should be a stronger emphasis on the build out of developments? And if so, what further measures would you support?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

YesThis really applies to larger developments but the principle of engaging a wide range of developers is one to be supported

15. What do you think about the design of new development that has happened recently in your area?

[Not sure or indifferent / Beautiful and/or well-designed / Ugly and/

or poorly-designed / There hasn’t been any / Other – please specify]

Locally we have small (15 or fewer homes) developments, they are very specific to the actual developer but largely they have been accepted by the local community. The houses are unremarkable but perfectly adequate and inoffensive, utilising the space allocated as well as can be expected.

16. Sustainability is at the heart of our proposals. What is your priority for sustainability in your area?

[Less reliance on cars / More green and open spaces / Energy efficiency of new buildings / More trees / Other – please specify]

So what does ‘Sustainability’ mean? Apparently it could be ‘ more trees’ or ‘less reliance on cars’. Did I miss the definition? So once again we meet one of those weasel words that people use to get round having to specify real things. What do I think it means in a partical way in Bunbury:

A decent public bus service that offers a real alternative to cars. That means serall journeys everyday that would enable travel to local towns and back again to support workers and shoppers, as well as recreational users. Rural concern are ignored by the urban focussed writers of this paper.

Children should be able to walk or cycle to and from school an other facilities in the village, in safety. Adults should also feel safe and encouraged to walk and cycle as government papers have indicated is their goal That means suitable pavements and speed limits (20mph) on cars that are enforceable. No on street parking, cycling parking facilities

A serious move to enable rural areas dependant on carbon fuels (oil boilers are common in Bunbury as we have no gas pipe to the village) to move to sustainable energy sources.

The encouragement of home based working where possible and consideration given to ways of reducing developments that simply increase traffic through the village to the detriment of the environment (noise and air pollution).

‘Best in Class’ broadband provision and appropriate levels of accessible computer terminals in local cafes or village halls.

Within the residential zones around the centres of villages the emphasis must move away from the domination of vehicles to prioritise walking and cycling in clean air and quiet movement.

17. Do you agree with our proposals for improving the production and use of design guides and codes?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

YesIn principle these codes are a good idea if the stimulate high standards. But as is common in the White Paper the focus is urban not rural. I propose that rural developments have a separate code. As mentioned previously most rural housing developments are small in size (less than 50 houses), we need cycle and walking routes within villages in order to access facilities such as GP surgeries, schools and shops. The code should therefore extend to linking a development with these facilities and not be limited to within the actual development itself.

18. Do you agree that we should establish a new body to support design coding and building better places, and that each authority should have a chief officer for design and place-making?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

Not Sure

Another quango stacked with political appointees to be the government bidding? Would we end up with better design or ‘Poundsbury style’ and fake Costwold? Appointments should be made by appropriate bodies and not the Minister. Unrealistic? Yes probable but on can hope that politisationn of our world has its limits.

19. Do you agree with our proposal to consider how designmight be given greater emphasis in the strategic objectives for Homes England?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

Yes

But it need to reflect both the wide variety of vernacular styles across England and the need to blend new and traditional and develop new styles. Beautiful can be modern.

20. Do you agree with our proposals for implementing a fast-track for beauty?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

No

Automatic consent is not a good principle in a democratic society where the outcome impacts directly on peoples quality of life. What is the style that Cheshire would go for anyway? We have a considerable diversity. Victorian polychromatic brick work, sandstone lintels, slate roof tiles, stone walls, carved soffits etc. Different villages have different mixes dependent on their history e.g. Historic estates have particular styles.

From the White Paper this sentence stands out as one I can support: To enable further tailoring of these patterns to local character and preferences, we also propose that local planning authorities or neighbourhood planning groups would be able to use local orders to modify how the standard types apply in their areas, based on local evidence of what options are most popular with the wider public.

21. When new development happens in your area, what is your priority for what comes with it?

[More affordable housing / More or better infrastructure (such as transport, schools, health provision) / Design of new buildings /More shops and/or employment space / Green space / Don’t know /Other – please specify]

In Bunbury the housing needs are for 2/3/4 bed homes and not the 5/6 bed executive house that dominate the developments. Currently we cannot get housing needs met.

The affordable housing that is built gets ever smaller in an attempt to make them actually affordable. They still remain unattainable on a mean salary of 25k. I know you are concerned about this but political ideology dominates thinking.

Redefine affordable housing in a meaningful way:

Rentable or shared ownership housing through (Housing Associations)

Mixed Housing with a range of need appropriate sizes

Infrastructure requirements are a function of size and social progress. The issue needs to be dealt with in its own right independent of the mix or ‘affordability’ of the development.

The Tory government under Harold MacMillan managed 300,000 houses a year under the 1947 housing Act that you so readily condemn. They did it with a massive expansion of Local Authority building as well as private developers each focussed on what they saw as their priority. But you will not do that and why? Perhaps a discussion with the ghost of Margaret Thatcher will explain.

22(a). Should the Government replace the Community Infrastructure Levy and Section 106 planning obligations with a new consolidated Infrastructure Levy, which is charged as a fixed proportion of development value above a set threshold?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

No

Certainly the 106 Levy needs reform as it fails to deliver what communities want and they are too easily excluded from any benefit. However the proposed ‘reform’ is naive at best. As we have seen over the affordable housing debacle, developer will wriggle their way out of their obligations if at all possible. The number of affordable houses built has therefore fallen dramatically (CPRE 2019).

So no do not allow developers a way out of their obligations once agreed. Yes include the land value uplift as this will discourage ‘land banking’ but I remain concerned over that ‘threshold level’. Who sets that level? Where is the detail needed to make an informed judgement? So much here can be turned against the benefit of the community and used by the developer to avoid their social responsibility and enhance their profitability while claiming the opposite with evidence from cunning accounts that know the loopholes buried in the detail.

I also suspect the threshold would remove any levy to many rural communities from the small developments they may encourage.

22(b). Should the Infrastructure Levy rates be set nationally at a single

rate, set nationally at an area-specific rate, or set locally?

[Nationally at a single rate / Nationally at an area-specific rate / Locally]

Nationally at an area specific rate.

22(c). Should the Infrastructure Levy aim to capture the same amount of value overall, or more value, to support greater investment in infrastructure, affordable housing and local communities?

[Same amount overall / More value / Less value / Not sure.

Please provide supporting statement.]

More value

Evidence (see above) shows that the provision of ‘affordable.’ housing in rural areas has declined while profit (until the pandemic) have risen. Many developers also provide shoddy ‘little boxes’ and pay massive increases in ‘compensation’ to their CEO (Persimmon and others). So, yes we should expect more and make sure there are no loopholes or ‘tax breaks’ they can use to avoid them.

22(d). Should we allow local authorities to borrow against the Infrastructure Levy, to support infrastructure delivery in their area?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

No.
Councils should not be taking all the risk, it should be risk sharing with developers. The White paper proposes to collect on sale of the development, this favours the developer over the local community and the developer is taking no risk. I suggest that the infrastructure levy should be collected at a number of stages, i.e. on planning consent, during development and the end. You could incentivise developers to complete on schedule to avoid unnecessary delay.

23. Do you agree that the scope of the reformed Infrastructure Levy should capture changes of use through permitted development rights?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

Yes

All should contribute and thereby lower the burden on all.

24(a). Do you agree that we should aim to secure at least the same amount of affordable housing under the Infrastructure Levy, and as much on-site affordable provision, as at present?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

Not sure

As discussed above many developers are claiming they cannot deliver the affordable housing that was agreed at consent. Too often LA’s acquiesce in this to avoid the battle of accountants and lawyers with the resultant delays. This, as mentioned above, has resulted in a crash in the provision of ‘affordable’ and social housing especially in rural areas (CPRE survey 2019).

Seeking to maintain that situation is not want we want and one I am sure the White paper seeks to remove and return to the actually agreed provision at base.

However more affordable and social housing is an urgent matter in Bunbury and many other rural communities. The fail to provide adequate housing of this sort means local communities suffer a number of consequences. The forced dispersal of family generation, the inability to downsize in later life and the lack of accommodation for all the key workers who then have to live miles away and travel in causing additional traffic, pollution and expense.

24(b). Should affordable housing be secured as in-kind payment towards the Infrastructure Levy, or as a ‘right to purchase’ at discounted rates for local authorities?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

No

Another loophole to attract cunning developers and their accountants.

Build Affordable house to a set standards and targets based on need surveys in each area.

24(c). If an in-kind delivery approach is taken, should we mitigate against local authority overpayment risk?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

Yes

Share the risk

24(d). If an in-kind delivery approach is taken, are there additional steps that would need to be taken to support affordable housing quality?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

Yes, yes, yes!

We must have better standards in all housing but especially in social and affordable housing. The lack of proper enforceable standards is a disgrace and has resulted in the smallest houses in Europe.

25. Should local authorities have fewer restrictions over how they spend the Infrastructure levy?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

Not sure

Currently Bunbury does not directly benefit from the 106 Levy as Cheshire East takes the money and uses it on affordable housing and infrastructure. Moe push on infrastructure would benefit communities generally.

25(a). If yes, should an affordable housing ‘ring-fence’ be developed?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

Yes

Critical to all rural communities.

26. Do you have any views on the potential impact of the proposals raised in this consultation on people with protected characteristics as defined in section 149 of the Equality Act 2010?

Community engagement is complex. Why you believe some sort of digital revolution is going to improve matters is the sort of lazy, cheap idea that people without real knowledge of community come up with. Direct personal involvement where opinions are sought and responded to in meetings exhibitions. Social media used by activist to engage might have some impact with some sections of society but not all.