Thoughts on the Pandemic

1. Do masks help?

Cultural differences are always interesting, and I’m defining culture as ‘the way we do things around here. One such difference that has leapt to the foreground during this pandemic is whether we wear masks or not. In many far eastern societies it is taken as normal that as soon as you have symptoms of a cold, flue, or something nastier you cover up with a mask when you go out. The reason is to stop infecting others it’s your responsibility to protect other people. But in the UK and Europe generally wearing masks is more likely to provoke staring and smirking. A visit to the Co-op this week had exactly that effect – although it was a minority of those present I’m pleased to say. Yes, I wear a mask when enter shops. To me its a no-brainer and I have been puzzled by the advice we have been given on the subject. Am I wrong?

What is the evidence on masks and does it square with the official advice? That advice has been pretty clear up to now – don’t bother with masks, just wash your hands and stay 2 meters apart.

WHOIf you do not have any physical symptoms, such as fever, cough or runny nose, you do not need to wear a medical mask. Masks alone can give you a false feeling of protection and can even be a source of infection when not used properly.” Dr. April Baller WHO Health Emergencies Programme (Ref 1).

CDC: “If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers” (Ref 2).

US Surgeon General: “Seriously people – STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!” (Ref 3).

UK Deputy Chief Medical Officer (Dr Jenny Harries): “If a healthcare professional hasn’t advised you to wear a face mask, it’s usually quite a bad idea. People tend to leave them on, they contaminate the face mask and then wipe it over something. So it’s really not a good idea and doesn’t help” (Ref 4).

The arguments against masks are:

1. A mask gives a false sense of security

2. Transmits infection by not being used correctly

3. Depriving medical staff of scarce resources

The evidence:

One of the best sources of evidence based medical research is the Cochrane reviews. These follow strict protocols looking at all the data available. Two reviews on masks have been undertaken in 2011 and 2020. In the 2011 (Jefferson et al. “Physical interventions to interrupt or reduce the spread of respiratory viruses. 2011” )(Ref 5) The key data is presented as a table shown below:

The Effect size is given as an odds ratio for 9 interventions. The smaller the number the greater the positive effect. All the interventions had a statistically significant result. The effect size indicates how low was the chance of infection. So, N95 masks – the ones used in hospitals came out best (0.17) and wearing a mask was also well worth it.. And wearing a mask is more effective than just washing hands (11 times a day!). Clearly the best strategy is to COMBINE these interventions – Gloves, mask, handwashing and eye protection.

The 2020 review was a follow up on the first metaanalysis. (Burch & Bunt. Can physical interventions help reduce the spread of respiratory viruses? 2020) This paper concluded

The best evidence (moderate certainty) was for handwashing plus masks.

Why wouldn’t the results show that mask are effective when they are taken for granted in a medical setting? The evidence then supports the wearing of masks as they provide real protection. Of course its not perfect protection but lets not allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good.

The second point is that you have to handle masks carefully or they spread infection. So we should wash our hands after taking the masks off? Of course Why is that a greater risk for members of the public compared to medical staff? Not clear. Take the mask off carefully lay it on a disposable paper towel. Use this to place it in the washing machine – Ill get to this in a moment – and wash your hands after putting the paper towel in an appropriate bin. Yes you can re-use masks if kept for personal use and washed after each use. Best washed at a high temperature.

Final question is about what mask to wear. This is irrelevant to the primary question of do masks work. If they do then we should use them. If you don’t wish to use medical masks because of the concerns over the supply chain then do as I do and make your own. Or just cover your face with a closely woven fabric yes its that simple and CAN cut transmission by up to 50% our way our of lockdown!

Here are some ideas:

My preferred option is made from a HEPA vacuum bag. The filtration is better than the N95 respirators (the ones used by the NHS):

However lots more options are available and a good place to start is #Masks4All (ref: 7) good luck and meet me (at 2m separation!) in the Co-op wearing your mask!

More to follow. Watch this space.

A recent update has begun to strengthen the case for wearing masks/face coverings in places where social distancing is difficult (public transport?) or places of work. A recent study from the University of Hong Kong has made a strong case for covering up to protect others and also ourselves. Have a look at this summary from Dr. John Cambell:

Ref 1: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/when-and-how-to-use-masks
Ref 2: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html?
Ref 3: https://twitter.com/surgeon_general/status/1233725785283932160
Ref 4: Dr Jenny Harries with the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, at 10 Downing Street, March 11th, 2020. https://twitter.com/10DowningStreet/status/1237760980450451456

Ref 5: Jefferson et al. Physical interventions to interrupt or reduce the spread of respiratory viruses. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21735402

Ref 6: Burch & Bunt. Can physical interventions help reduce the spread of respiratory viruses? 2020 https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cca/doi/10.1002/cca.2965/full

Ref 7: https://masks4all.org/story

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. Plans are being made to establish a remote or ‘virtual’ meeting in May. This requires government legislation.

From our Parish Council correspondent:

Bunbury Parish Council Meeting – 13 May 2020

NB. During the lockdown phase of he pandemic the Parish Council (PC) have been unable to meet in person. Instead they have held a phone based ‘conference call’ session. Our correspondent was able to listen in as can any member of the public if they contact the Clerk to the PC prior to the next meeting.

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.

A Non-Material Minor Adjustment

Bowes gate Development (20/1406N)

This is an application to make a ‘minor adjustment’ to the original application.(15/1666N). This application was for 11 dwellings to include affordable housing ‘on-site’. Now the developers wish to ‘transfer’ the affordable housing to the development next to the medical centre off Vicarage lane.

Let’s remind ourselves of the consent given to the Vicarage Lane site. The site has a longer than normal planning history that took the size of the development from 12 dwellings (3 affordable to 9 market) down to 7 that were eventually approved (4 ‘town houses’ (terraced), 1 pair of semi-detached & 1 detached) but no affordable housing. At the time of the original application the developer claimed

The ethos of this scheme has been to deliver new housing which reflects and respects Bunbury’s distinct historic character and appearance, whilst delivering a mix of houses which meets the needs of the community.

(Supporting Planning Statement – Land at Vicarage lane.)

Subsequently(19/0371N) the developers applied for 8 dwellings all to be town houses. It wasn’t clear why this adjustment had been made. The site did not at the time reach the threshold of 15 dwellings that would require the inclusion of 30% affordable housing. No mention was now made of affordable housing.

The original Bowes Gate application was proposed by the Rural Housing Trust Ltd who sought to build 11 dwellings, 4 socially rented, 4 shared equity, and 3 market houses. They have now sought to build 11 market houses on the Bowes Gate site and designate some or all of the Vicarage Lane dwellings as ‘affordable’ i.e. social renting or shared equity. The details have not been given as yet and technicaly neither site need deliver any afforable housing.

Comment:

Why would I oppose this move? Three reasons come to mind. First, eight affordable homes will be lost from the Bowes Gate Road development together with the original 3 from the vicarage Lane site. From a total of 11 affordable houses to some unknown number, if any. If the ‘transfer’ of all 8 affordables to the Vicarae Lane, we are still down by 3 from the original total that justifiably, it may be argues, helped get the developers the consent in the first place.

Essentially this is looks like an attempt to up the amount of profit that the developer can obtain overall. In itself, that would seem fairly normal. But from the villages point of view this may come at a cost.The Bowes Gate Road site has considerable ‘potential’ in marketing speak. It will have open view to the south in lies in a very attractive location in Upper Bunbury. Just as we saw in the two Duchy developments I have little doubt we shall see plans for large expensive properties.

We already have enough large expensive 4 – 5 bedroomed houses either built, building or due to start; the Grange has 9, Hill Close another 9, and east off Bunbury Lane , on the new Duchy site, another 9 are due, plus the 9 expected on the Oak Gardens development arriving some time in 2021.

Bunbury has more than delivered it fair share of the ‘executive’ housing and gone above and beyond on meeting its Local Planrequirement. Time to call a halt on this type of speculative land grab. And is it the role of a rural housing trust to deliver this type of property? I hope I am mistaken and they will produce something that meets the needs of the village and those seeking to gain a foothold on the property ladder in the area where they grew up and/or work. When need more semi-detached 3 bedroomed dwellings – an increasingly rare type of housing where the ‘executive’ house

Thirdly, this plan smells of socal ‘cleansing’. The Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan, in line with what I would say is the dominant British trend seeks to maintain a mix house types. With a mix of housing can come to some degree at least a socal mix. Perhaps its more an income mix but the two are related. In a number of reports on planning appications the Cheshire East Officers refer to ‘pepper potting’ of different houseing types and affordable homes across a given site. The Bowes Gate Road site had a large social housing element with a modest but appropriate market sector. Appropriate in the sense that Housing Associations need to self-fund their developments so each one must ‘seed’ the next. Now, the Bowes Gate Road site has the potential to become another Duchy style ‘mega bucks’ development. Nodoudt the land holders will reap a reward as will the rural trust IF they remain the developers and don’t also ‘transfer their interst to the Vicarage Lane site. Wheels and deals?

In the worse case senario therefore we will have a group of 11 market houses designed to generate considerable profit. To help ensure its commercial success, someone thinks it necessay that all social housing is now eliminate from the site. On the Vicarage Lance site, some at least of the dwellings will be reclassied as ‘afforable’. The effect of this shuffling about will be a form of ‘gettoisation’ or a complete lack of mixing. That is bad planning and is socially unhealthy. We don’t become a better society by livving apart, or allowing people to shut themselves away with other ‘People Like Us’.

Progress on Brantwood

Brantwood Applications: (20/0251N and 20/0250N

The Brantwood story continues with a couple of new applications (see above). This property has been a bit of a ‘rotten tooth’ stuck at the centre of the village. Their have been several attempts at getting this property upgraded to a standard that will make it saleable. Let us hope this version is successful.

Why two applications? Both contain much the same information but the second is in the form of an application for demolition of parts of the listed building. (Grade 2).

Successful applications were made (17/3559N & 17/3560) but the owners were unable to proceed at that time. It has now been decided to renovate the property for their own occupation. Many people would like to see a successful renovation and the occupation of Brantwood. But it is important that the village gains a good quality dwelling. So, what are the details?

Firstly, the demolish ion is of the wood store and outbuildings. These are recent (20thC) additions whose removal will not disturb anyone. In there place the plans envisage a separate garage and additional space amounting to 1.5 times the size of a single garage. A new Garden Room is added to the design that was given the go-ahead previously. The essential ‘historic’ part of the building is retained.

Front elevation:

The side elevation shows the first floor extension at the rear as well as the garden room:

Here are the floor plans:

finally the site ‘bird’s eye view’:

On balance the applications are a good solution. We have the removal of some shabby outbuildings, the retention of the historic core of the property and some new additions that will make the place livable. Purists might complain about modern additions to a listed property. The price of leaving well alone would be more years of steady decay and possible neglect until some use is found for the site or even the total demolition if it becomes unsafe. This seems to be a workable solution.

Duchy have a new development (19/3767N)

Update January 2020

I regret this news has been delayed due to the website crash in December last year.

The Duchy has now been given the go ahead on this site. No changes to the application have been made and the dwellings will remain as:

2 x one bedroom bungalows

2 x two bedroom dwellings

1 x three bedroom dwelling

1 x four bedroom dwelling

9 x five bedroom dwellings

Much of the objection to this application focussed on the mix of housing. The original application that received consent proposed just 4 five bedroomed properties. The current proposal is to have 9 five bedroomed houses. Why were these objections ignored? Put simply there is no policy on mix of housing on new development. This what the PO has to say:

The Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan states within the consultation section that ‘all new housing developments shall provide a mix of size, design and type of dwellings including social, low cost market housing and starter homes’. The glossary to the BNP also includes reference to dwelling mix as ‘the mix of different types of homes provided on a site. A mix may typically include a range of house types from 2 to 5 bedroom houses’. Despite these references there is no specific policy relating to housing mix/sizes within the Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan. (My emphasis).

Officer‘s Delegated Report 19?3767N

Perhaps that is something to consider when we get to the time that the BNP is to be revised. It is not the only ‘gap’ in the ‘defence system’ that the BNP was to provide. But that is a topic for another day.

The Report goes on to reject the objection to this application on the grounds that the developer has not provided 30% of affordable housing. This debate centres round the demolition of the Retirement bungalow (No. 6) to improve access to the site. While the new build of affordable homes meets the 30% target the overall effect on the village is that we have a net gain of 4 not 5 affordable homes. If that calculation is done then the provision falls to 26.67%.

 Update September 30 th 2019

Land off Bunbury Lane: ( New Duchy Development)

My first observation about the progress on this site is what a contrast with the previous site off Oak Gardens. Duchy are experienced and know how to deal with the reserved matters, like it or not. This week has seen the arrival of application 19/4418D to discharge (most of ) the conditions laid down at the appeal 16/0646N . We have statements on construction and environment, drainage, ecological management, a topographical survey, traffic management and a Geotechnical Report on the site. Some of this work is new but others were clearly begun under the previous owner, Guinness Partnership. A couple of interesting points from the ecological work is that hedgehog gaps will be made to ensure they have free movement to the other fields around the site. As well as some planting along the eastern boundary the ‘ecological enhancement area’ on the northern edge of the site will be sown with wildflowers and native fruit trees.

The bulk  of the objections on this site point to the miss match between the original consent where the majority of houses were 4 bedroom properties and the move to 9 five bedroom dwellings. As I have pointed out elsewhere the problem with outline consents is that you just don’t know what you are going to get. Much of the material presented at this early stage can be window dressing much as we have seen in the struggles with the O ak Gardens development but also with the Saddlers Wells site that changed from the original consent. The trend is always to put in more houses and make them larger.

 

Original Comments:

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

What has emerged? Here is the proposed layout:

Layout of site to the east of Bunbury lane

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

Number Plots Type of homes Tenure
2 4 & 5 1 bedroomed 2 person Bungalows Affordable rent
1 3 2 bedroomed 4 person house Affordable rent
1 1 3 bedroomed 5 person houses Shared Ownership
1 2 2 bedroomed 4 person house Shared Ownership

Next is the  market orientated housing plans :

Number Plots Type of homes Tenure
1 6 4 bedroomed Freehold
9 7 – 15 5 bedroomed Freehold

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

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

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

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

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

Why we should object to the proposal in the new Duchy Home application.

A perpetual problem with developers is their unwillingness to to provide the sort of homes that are needed by the community. This problem brought about the requirement of developers to provide a specific number of affordable houses if the size of the development exceeds a certain level. The original act in 1990 was seen by the current government as a barrier to building new homes. Developers were, apparently reluctant to build because of the burden of the affordable housing requirement specified by the act and negotiated with the local authority. The new act in 2013 gave developers the ability to question the ‘viability’ of any affordable housing requirement. The result has been a significant reduction in the number of affordable houses being built.(Homes England – Housing Statistics).

The Duchy Development off Bunbury lane is pretty typical of the allocation of housing types we have seen in the village. While the building of 5 new ‘affordable’ homes appears generous we should remember that it is only a net addition of 4 homes as one of the retirement homes on Bunbury lane is being demolished to improve access to the site. That is 26% of the site allocation of 15 homes. The bare minimum .

The remaining 10 houses also reflect the market driven approach of development these days. One 4 bedroomed house and 9 five bedroomed homes . Given the evidence of the The Grange development and the prospectus provided by Duchy Homes this are set to sell at premium prices. Apart from the possibility of purchases by retired couples, the majority of houses will attract working couples and families commuting in and out of the village.

The village doesn’t need more of these large houses. The current housing needs survey(2013) did not show anything more than the addition of 1 four bedroomed per year. What it did show was the need for many single and double bedroomed houses and that scarce commodity the 3 bedroomed semi-detached house. The development next to the medical Centre offers some relief for people wishing to stay in the village, both downsizers and first-time buyers with 7 affordable homes available. A further 20 (including both Duchy sites) affordable homes are completed or due to be built from existing planning consent. That is out of a total over 100 houses built in the village since 2010.

Oak Gardens Development

Yes another update on oak Gardens! When will it end.

Having been refused on several reserved matters , Crabtree are back in double quick time with a new applications (19/5534N and 19/5489D).

What Crabtree has now created is four 1 bedroomed apartments. These replace the two two bedroomed semi-detached properties as shown on this site plan:

It has long been argued that the site was overcrowded. This was due primarily to the desire of the developer to build as many 4 and 5 bedroomed ‘Executive’ homes as the site could bear. The Planning Officer has clearly been at work and made it clear that Crabtree must respond seriously to the issues raised by Cheshire East Officers and members of the public in the comments made on previous plans. In the latest iteration they have made a number of important changes:

1. The number of houses across the western boundary has been reduced from 6 to 5

2. We have more 3 bedroomed (shown in yellow) properties

3. The 4 affordable homes have been converted to single bedroomed apartments.

Extra room has been created by the reduction in space allocated to the ‘affordable homes’ and the introduction of ‘market’ directed semi-detached homes next to those affordable dwellings. This has allowed the developers to give the required space to the veteran ash tree and as noted above, put in few houses in the west

The Parish Council remains concerned about the change to the affordable houses. Here are its latest comments:

Bunbury Parish Council objects to the application on the grounds that the four affordable homes that are mentioned are not clear from the diagram or the design statement. It is believed that the original application may have contained a different mix of affordable housing. The detail needs to be more specific

The design statement attached the application is noteworthy for saying very little of substance despite looking a bit more professional. Again, the contrast with the Duchy Homes statement on the site they have acquired off Bunbury Lane is a sharp lesson in how to do it right first time. That said the need for single bedroomed homes in Bunbury is clearly evidenced. Likewise we have to be pleased to see more three bedroomed properties as these are often in short supply in Bunbury but in strong demand.

Full report by the Planning Officer is available here:

report on refusal of reserved matters _ Oak Gardens

In Summary:

The layout does not make adequate provision for the veteran Ash tree.

The layout would be dominated by parked cars at the entrance of the site.

Hence, it fails to comply with policy SE1 of the Cheshire East Local Plan and policy H3 of the Bunbury neighbourhood Plan and the Cheshire East Design Guide.

The separation distances are in places below the recommended distances set out in the adopted guidance.

Those houses numbered 10-14 on the plan would be 1 metre above houses in Wakes Meadow. ‘;This would exacerbate the impact of the development.(Properties 5 – 7 Wakes meadow are identified).

Again this would be contrary to policy BE1 of Nantwich & Crewe Local Plan and BNP policy H3.

How long this refusal will delay matters is difficult to estimate. The developers need to come up with a site layout that deals with all the issues identified in the Planning Officers report. To me, the underlying issue that emerges once again,  is that the plan to put 15 dwellings on this site is just not achievable if all you want to build is 4-5 bedroom detached ‘executive’ style properties. Fewer, smaller houses of the type needed in the village would not be such a problem but potentially less profitable.

Latest Update October 29th 2019:

Cheshire East has refused reserved matters consent on the land at Oak Gardens!

Announced yesterday the planning officer has refused to discharge the reserved matters conditions 6, 7, 9, 12, 13, & 14 listed in application 19/3992N The reason given by the planning officer, Simon Greenland, is that no agreement has been made on an acceptable layout of the site. It is clear from the comments made on each of the conditions that they were close to agreement but continue to be held up by the lack of details on the floor and ground levels so that a proper evaluation of the site layout can be made. This is of key importance to local residents impacted by this development. From the start there has been concern of the height ad proximity of the dwellings on this site relative to existing properties and trees. It was a point made by the HM Inspector in her report on the appeal:

Condition 14

No development shall take place until the following information has been submitted to, and approved in writing, by the local planning authority:

i) a full site survey showing: the datum used to calibrate the site levels; levels along all site boundaries; levels across the site at regular intervals; levels of adjoining gardens; and floor levels of adjoining buildings.

ii) full details of the proposed finished floor levels of all buildings and hard landscaped surfaces

Appeal Decision APP/R0660/W/16/3165643

The department at Cheshire East raising this objection was Heritage & Design – Forestry. Their comment was :

The condition requires a full site survey and datum, levels across all site boundaries and across the site and adjoining gardens including floor levels of adjoin buildings. As far as I can ascertain all that has been provided is finished floor levels. Given the topography of the site, the provision of existing/proposed levels are critical to enable assessment of the impact on existing site constraints.

I am assuming that a new application will be presented shortly to cover this refusal. Time is starting to become an issue however. The Appeal result is dated 31st May 2017 and the developers have until the 31st of may 2020 to resolve all matters. If not the process will start have to be restarted with a fresh application. However, it is important to remember this is effectively the last condition, a really key one, and while  details on condition 6, 7, 9, 12 and 13 are refused along with condition 14 the real issue is the later.

 

The original comments:

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.

November Parish Council Notes 2019

Bunbury Parish Council Meeting – 13 November 2019

A member of the public thanked the Parish Council for the superb organisation of the bonfire and firework display on 5 November.

Policing Issues

The Chairman reported that the future policing for the village on Remembrance Sunday is under threat due to resourcing issues. The Chief Police Officer has given notice that this will be the last year but the Police Commissioner has stated that he is keen to see such police support continue.

The Parish Council had received a list of police surgeries for the area; all held outside the village with the nearest being at Calveley.

Highways

The wording for marking on the road outside the school to identify a bus/taxi bay is still under discussion at Cheshire East Council. The erection of the parking sign for the village is also still with Cheshire East Council.

Planning Matters

19/4983N Brook View, Sadlers Wells, Bunbury CW6 9NU

Single storey rear extension, single storey link and partial garage conversion with associated alterations – Proposal for the current large garage next to the house to have a 2-bedroom extension plus a garden room at the rear. The Parish Council noted that this is a proposed extension to a recently built house and questioned the conversion of a garage to accommodation. The Parish Council did not object to the proposal but agreed to draw the Planning Officer’s attention to a recently built separate garage being linked to the main house with the addition of 2 bedrooms.

Decisions made by Cheshire East

19/3985D 21/08/2019 South (CE) Delegated Agenda Bunbury

Refused Decision Date: 29/10/019

Land off, Oak Gardens, Bunbury

Proposal Discharge of conditions 6,7,9,12,13 &;14 of existing permission

16/2010N approved under appeal; Residential

Development of 15 dwellings with associated works at Land at Oak Gardens, Bunbury, CW6 9QN

The Parish Council heard that most conditions had now been met with the exception of Condition 14 – site levels to include a full site survey across site and adjoining gardens – still remains outstanding.

New Housing Development in Bunbury

Strutt and Parker had contacted the Parish Council to update them on the two approved housing developments at Vicarage Lane and Bowes Gate Road. They are currently in consultation with Cheshire East Council concerning their proposal to move all the social housing element from the Bowes Gate Road development to Vicarage Road with the potential for the whole development at Vicarage Road to be affordable housing. The Parish Council agreed to ask the Ward Councillor to obtain more information from the Planning Officer involved and report back.

Pedestrian Issues within the village

A proposal for a pavement on a current strip of land on School Lane is under consideration following the offer of the land by the owner. The Parish Council is still awaiting advice from Cheshire East Highways on the feasibility of constructing a pavement in that location.

Playing Fields Report

The recently repaired ceiling following a water leak was showing signs of further leakage and the builder would be contacted. The Wednesday Club has asked if it will be possible to site another bench near the Pavilion for elderly walkers to sit on. The Village Day Committee had agreed to fund the bench. The potential for the replacement of the Pavilion building in the long term was discussed and initial research work would be done, including costing and funding of other village buildings such as at Eaton/Cotebrook.

Brantwood, School Lane

The Borough Councillor had spoken to a family member of the owner of Brantwood in the centre of the village and been advised that the property had now been sold subject to contract. The person also undertook to contact Environmental Health to look at the pest infestation that had been reported.

Parish Councillor’s report

A Parish Councillor had been contacted about the development at Greenway, Wyche Road not complying with planning requirements concerning the erection of screened glass and had used plain glass instead. The Parish Clerk agreed to obtain the details and contact Cheshire East Planning to clarify the situation.

Large pot holes were reported outside the new Duchy development on Wyche Lane with the suggestion that the developer should re-instate the road. The Parish Council would contact the developers direct to raise the issue.

Cheshire East Council is undertaking a consultation on its proposed 4-year budget proposals – 2020-2024 and the Parish Council agreed to respond to the consultation.

Correspondence

An e-mail has been received about a drainage problem outside a house in Wyche Lane. The Ward Councillor was investigating the problem.

Bonfire Night

The successful Bonfire Night made an income after expenditure of £1,117.

Christmas

The Christmas tree would be erected on 1 December. Crewe Brass band had confirmed that they would be attending the carols round the tree and an extra speaker was being purchased for the event.

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.

Further Developments on Oak Gardens

Up da te September 30th 2019

A pplication 16/2010N continues to struggle with the reserved matters. These are being dealt with under application 19/3992N and 19/3985D . A number of reports from CE officers have been added during September.

1 . PROW troubles continue with several errors and corrections being made to get the design and maintenance of footpath 14 and 15 to a satisfactory level. We are still awaiting the outcome of HM Inspectors report on the diversion o FP14 and condition 9 cannot be met until that decision is made. However the PROW officer is still unhappy with the FP as they do not include the buffer zone between the hedge and the path as recommended by the Nature Conservation officer.

2 Nature Conservation officer :

This report, although not wholly supportive, does make the point that a number of residents and PC have also done that current site layout does not allow room for the ‘buffer zone’ between the woodland wildlife corridor and the gardens of houses 1 – 6 identified on the new layout. I quote from James Baggaley’s report:

The application site also falls within an indicative wildlife corridor, as shown in the neighbourhood plan, associated with the adjacent stream corridor. The neighbourhood plan recommends a 15m non-developer able buffer zone adjacent to the wildlife corridor. The currently proposed buffer is reduced to 7.5m at its narrowest and therefore is not in accordance with the Neighbourhood Plan policy.

Other concerns refer to the fact that the veteran ash tree supports a bat roost and lighting on the site must be of a type and duration not to interfere with their habits. That means low level lighting in all senses and with an appropriate ‘lighting regime .

3 . Principle landscape Architect’s report:

Again the Officer starts by making the same point about the 15m buffer zone… ‘

The layout appears to have changed significantly from the Revised Indicative Layout drawing (Ref B050-160831-7022 ) submitted as part of the outline planning permission 16/2010N which provided a 15m non-developable buffer zone, as recommended in the Neighbourhood Plan and also specifically referred to by the Appeal Inspector (Appeal Decision APP/R0660/W/16/3165643 , para 28). This boundary buffer now appears to have been significantly reduced. (my emphasis)

They are listening or at least seeing what we are seeing !

He continues by pointing out a number of problems on the site layout with missing hedges and the fact that the red line outlining the site is not accurate – a point I have mentioned before as it strays into peoples properties at times. It also appears that the gap between Plot 9B and the site boundary is less than 2m while not showing the hedge at that point. And having footpath 14 running along this strip.

4. Strategic Housing Officer’s report:

Object to this application’

The problem here is that the site shows only 4 affordable properties and the officer says that it should be 5! he points out that Bunbury has a waiting list of 28 (18x 1 bedroom, 8x 2 bedroom and 2 x 3bedroom dwellings). Three units should be for rent and 2 for ‘intermediate tenure’ code for shared ownership. And where is the affordable housing statement!

So this development is not going to progress until all these issues are dealt with and resolved.

 

Update August 28th 2019

A new reserved application ( 19/3985D ) has been lodged with Cheshire East Planning Dept. The documents deal with a series of conditions laid down by the HM Inspector namely 6, 7, 9, 12, 13, 14. Perhaps of immediate interest to residents is the changes in the site layout. While no formal document is titled ‘New Layout’ i is quite clear that some note has been taken of the objects to the layout given in previous versions of the application. The best way I can illustrate this is through a direct comparison of the new layout and the previous version.

1 . Vesrion issued in 18/6338N


 

New layout in 19/3985D

The first change that pops out of the new documents is the alterations to the site layout. They are not dramatic. Adjustments might be a better expression of what they show. 

A major concern was the proximity of house 6 to the rear of No. 9 Wakes Meadow. It is now shown moved back from the rear fence creating more separation space. This has been partly achieved by moving the house westward so that the planned rear garden is reduced and the space at the front increased. Number 6 also appears to have lost a separate garage while the new dwelling to the east , number 7 on the plans, has gained a garage. House 6 and 5 are now fully aligned while house number 4 has been moved forward and the hard standing has switched sides.

The next important change is the space given to the root area around the vintage ash between houses 7 and 10. The tree survey (see below) indicated that the original plans had reduced the protection afforded to the tree with both properties intruding into the ”protected root area. This has been achieved by pushing house number 7 westward and reducing space between the house and the garage it has now acquired. It also appear that number 7 has also have been moved forward toward the fence separating it with No. 8 Wakes Meadow. This would mean the major part of its garden would lie under the canopy of the oak tree T2 shown in the tree survey. Apart from the obvious objection I can anticipate considerable struggles to get the canopy reduced if not the felling of the tree.

 

Update  August 10th 2019:

Application 18/6338D withdrawn.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Included in the policy are the statements:

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

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

Missing :

Future Growth Potential (Crown height and spread).

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

Stem Diameter

Documenting health and any defects

Preliminary management recommendations

Remaining useful life of the tree etc.

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

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

 

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

>

Upd ate July 10th 2019

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

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

Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction

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

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

2 , Soil Assessment:

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

3 . Tree Survey

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

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

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

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

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

C: Tree of low quality

 

It states:

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

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

  • Height
  • Stem diameter
  • Branchspread
  • He

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

  • Life stage ( e.g. young , mature, etc )

    •  

     

  • Preliminary management recommendations
  •  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Update: April 23rd 2019

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

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

Disappointing.

Update May 1st

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

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

 

Original Comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(BNP page 24 )

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

Parish Council Notes 2019

 

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

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

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

Bunbury Parish Council Meeting – 9 October 2019

Policing Issues

The Parish Council heard the latest statistics for static speed cameras in the locality.

Crime figures for the locality had also been released for period July to September 2019 and included the theft of two vehicles and a bicycle. An alert was also raised about several reports of people selling at doors with no ID and people were urged to report such instances to the police. Parish Councils were reminded of the requirement to have a safeguarding representative who receives continual training.

Highways

The creation of a painted bus/taxi bay outside the school is imminent and cutting the hedge by the bay outside the school is being pursued in order for a sign to be seen, for any parking infringement to be enforceable.

Planning Matters

19/4408N Meadow Bank, Bunbury Common Road, Bunbury, CW6 9QD

Alteration to existing single porch and entrance area and construction of new two storey porch and entrance – No objection by the Parish Council

Decisions made by Cheshire East

19/3460N 12/08/19 South (CE) Delegated Agenda, Bunbury, approved with conditions 19/09/2019 Willowbank, Willow Drive, Bunbury, CW6 9NY Existing detached double garage. Convert half of the garage into an office. Condition is for ancillary use only.

19/3535N 31/07/2019 South (CE) Delegated Agenda, Bunbury negative certificate 18/09/2019 Homeland, Whitchurch Road, Bunbury CW6 9SX Proposed Certificate of lawfulness for proposed garden buildings – refused on the grounds that one building contained a bedroom.

19/1582D 28/03/2019 South (CE) Delegated Agenda Bunbury

Approved 16/09/2019 Land Off, Oak Gardens, Bunbury

Discharge of conditions 10 & 11 on approved application 16/2010N – Outline application for proposed residential development for 15 dwellings with associated works.

19/3644N 01/08/2019 South (CE) Delegated Agenda Bunbury

Refused 24/09/2019 2, Wythin Street, Bunbury, CW6 9NS

Proposed hardstanding to provide private car parking for 2 Wythin Street – reason for refusal – domestic development in open countryside.

Pedestrian Issues within the village

Parish Council heard that the Headteacher of Bunbury Primary school is still working on the Sustainable Modes of Travel to Schools Strategy application; which if successful could release some capital money to improve the infrastructure travel to school, which could include pavements. A proposal for a pavement on a current strip of land on School Lane is under consideration following the offer of the land by the owner. The Parish Council agreed to ask Cheshire East Highways to confirm ownership and the feasibility of constructing a pavement and at what cost.

Footpaths/Public Rights of Way

A number of stiles have been identified where a kissing gate would be preferable to enable disabled access. Permission from the land owner is required and Strutt and Parker have been written to as the agent for Peckforton Estate. A response is still awaited and the Parish Council would approach Strutt and Parker again.

Playing Fields Report

A request has been received from the Chair of the Bowling Club for consideration of funding to replace the tall standard lamps with LED fittings at a cost of £4,500 and repair to wood work on the canopy. There is also water leakage around a lamppost which appears to be caused by blocked guttering.

The Parish Council asked the Bowling Club to obtain additional quotes for the light work with any grants approved and make a formal application to the Parish Council for a contribution to the works. Queries were raised about the number of Bunbury residents who are members of the Bowling Club. A breakdown of electricity use-age by different parties using the playing fields was also requested, if this is available. It was agreed to engage someone to clear the gutters. Longer term a member of the Parish Council asked whether the replacement of the Pavilion should be considered and it was agreed to put it as an item on a future agenda.

Brantwood, School Lane

It was hoped that the Borough Councillor would speak about the condition of Brantwood and discuss possible solutions but was unable to attend the meeting. The latest issue is the reporting of rats going in and out of the premises. Environmental Health has been contacted to confirm their presence and the owners will be contacted to ensure treatment is undertaken.

Parish Councillor’s report

A Parish Councillor had been contacted about the removal of established hedging and replacement with fencing at the new build houses on Whitchurch Road in contravention of Reserved Matters planning approval. The Parish Council agreed to ask the Borough Councillor to take up the matter through member enquiry service at Cheshire East Council.

Correspondence

An e-mail has been received from The Store, Nantwich which is an organisation avoiding using plastic. They asked if they could park a vehicle on the Playing Fields car park for residents to bring their own containers to purchase goods. The matter was referred to the Playing Fields Committee for consideration.

Keep Britain Tidy

Posters have been received and will be laminated and posted at agreed sites, for example round Tillys Coffee shop.

Remembrance

Arrangements are in hand, including the ordering of a wreath.

Bonfire Night

The metal enclosure used for the fire would need bringing from storage to the playing fields. A request was made for pallets/clean timber for the fire. Entry fees were agreed.

Christmas

Christmas tree has been ordered. A reminder would be sent to Crewe Brass band.

Financial Matters

The External Audit report has been received stating that all information in the report is in accordance with proper practice and nothing is outstanding.

 

 

 

Bunbury Parish Council Meeting – 11 September 2019

A member of the public spoke about the further reserved matters and discharge of conditions planning applications for Land Off, Oak Gardens, Bunbury citing that a number of issues still remained outstanding including addressing the buffer Zone between the houses and the woodland. A Disposal of Sewage Report also appeared absent from the latest application.

Representation was also heard from a member of the public with regard to the planning application for 6 and land rear of 6, Bunbury Lane stating that the previous application approved at appeal for 15 houses only provided for four 5 bedroomed houses, but that this latest detailed application was now proposing that nine out of the ten market sector houses be 5 bedroomed properties. It was felt that this was not what was required in the village as reflected in the most up-to-date housing needs survey of 2013.

No further information had been received to date about the objection to the planning application for 7 proposed houses in Wyche Lane .

Co-option of Members of the Parish Council

The Parish Council considered two further applications to co-opt new members to the Parish Council and duly adopted Graham Melia and Joan Gillon.

Policing Issues

The Parish Council heard that Nicky Berry was standing down as the local constable and until replaced Sharon Jones would stay as the local PCSO supported by Sergeant Ian Bennett. The police are also asking residents to be diligent in locking up bicycles as there have been a number of thefts in the village.

Highways

Speed survey points in the village are currently recording speeds and results will be published when the exercise is completed. The parking sign for the end of Hurst close is still awaited as is the painted bus/taxi bay outside the school. The Ward Councillor pointed out that cutting the hedge by the bay outside the school would be required in order for a sign to be seen for any parking infringement to be enforceable. This was being pursued.

Planning Matters

>

19/3767N 6 and land rear of 6, Bunbury Lane, Bunbury, CW6 9QZ

The housing mix has been substantially changed in this latest application. Whilst the mix of rent and types of ownership of the affordable housing was welcome the remaining housing mix was not as originally approved; now with nine 5 bed houses and one 4 bed house which is contrary to the Neighbourhood Plan and the Local Needs survey. One member of the Parish Council pointed out that a precedent had been set in another Cheshire East Planning application that a replacement should be provided for the bungalow being knocked down to allow access to the site, thus allowing for a sixth affordable property. With regard to Footpath No 16 Public Rights of Way (PROW) have asked for a condition for a maintenance contract and the Parish Council supported this. An objection would be submitted against the number of 5 bedroomed properties, requesting an additional affordable property and supporting the condition for the footpath.

19/3992N and 19/3986D Land Off Oak Gardens, Bunbury

There does not appear to be a Disposal of Sewerage Report (a condition) and there are still issues pertaining to tress and the buffer zone/ecological site. In addition, a written objection had been received from a resident stating that the houses were too close to their property on Bunbury Lane and would cause loss of light. An objection had also been placed from Strategic Housing Section stating that there is no clear evidence which of the dwellings are to be affordable and under what tenure. An objection would be submitted with details.

19/3460N Willowbank , Willow Drive, Bunbury – Existing detached double garage. Convert half of the garage into an office. No objection.

19/3644N 2, Wythin Street, Bunbury – proposed hardstanding to provide private car parking for 2 Wythin Street

The Parish Council had received 3 objections to the application for hardstanding for two cars to allow access to their property. The objections covered provision of a small car park adjacent to a listed building, the existence of newts and the potential opening up of a site for further development. The Parish Council noted the objections and asked Cheshire East Council to take them into consideration , including adjudicating on whether the application has an impact on the street scene adjacent to a listed building.

Decisions made by Cheshire East

19/2557N Firbank House, Whitchurch Road, Bunbury – approved with conditions 21/08/2019.

Cheshire East Local Plan – Site Allocations and Development Policy

The Site Allocations and Development Policies Document will set non-strategic and detailed planning policies to guide planning decisions and allocate additional sites to meet the overall development requirements set out in the Local Plan Strategy. It has been prepared to support the policies and proposals of the Local Plan Strategy by providing additional policy detail and is out to consultation with all representations to be received by 30 September, with a timescale for adoption of Autumn 2020. For Bunbury it recommends spatial distribution for development in the order of 105 houses and the Parish Council heard that Bunbury has already met this target with the current schemes planned or built in the village. The Parish Council agreed to write a response to the consultation supporting the input for Bunbury. Members of the public can also respond.

Tweddle Grove ( Land off Wyche Lane owned by the PC on behalf of the community)

The Parish Council heard that the contractor responsible for maintenance of the playground has been asked to look after land off Wyche Lane until April 2020, including the cutting of grass. The planting of further trees on the site is being looked at through a Tree Trust.

Footpaths/Public Rights of Way

The Parish Council agreed to the extinguishment of Public Footpath No.20 as it cuts through a resident’s garden and is not used as there are alternative footpaths available. In addition, a number of stiles have been identified where a kissing gate would be preferable to enable disabled access. Permission from the land owner is required and Strutt and Parker have been written to as the agent for Peckforton Estate. A response is awaited.

Correspondence

A letter has been received from CB Homes, the developer of Hill Close, seeking support from the Parish Council to remove the requirement of a pond in the landscaped area. The Parish Council had received no objections from the public and agreed not to comment.

Keep Britain Tidy

Posters have been received and will be laminated and posted at agreed sites.

Financial Matters

The internal auditor’s report has been concluded, with finances agreed and proper accounting systems used. The Parish Council thanked the Clerk for her assistance in bringing this to a conclusion . The papers for the external audit have now been submitted.

Bunbury Parish Council – 10 July 2019

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

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

Co-options of Members of the Parish Council

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

Local Policing Issues

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

Highways Issues

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

Planning Matters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pedestrian Issues within the village

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

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

Playing Field Report

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

Borough Councillor Report

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

Parish Councillor Reports

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

 

Bunbury Parish Council – 12 June 2019

Planning Matters

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

Cheshire East Site Allocations: 

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

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

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

Playing Field Report

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

Borough Councillor Report

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

Parish Councillor Reports

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

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

Bunbury Parish Council – 8 May 2019

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

Highway Issues

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

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

Planning Matters

There were no new planning applications to report this month.

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

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

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

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

Footpaths/Public Rights of Way

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

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

Playing Field Report

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

Borough Councillor Report

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

Parish Councillor Reports

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

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

Correspondence

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

END

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

Parish Council Notes 13 th March 2019

1 . Open Forum:

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

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

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

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

( Transport report Optima Highways and Transportation Consultancy Ltd )

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

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

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

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

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

The PC meeting then began with the usual

1 . Apologies for absence

2 . Members Declaration of Interests and requests for dispensation

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

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

Agenda item 5: Highways issues

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

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

Agenda item 6: Consultations

None

Ag enda Item 7: Planing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comments on the Planning Desig and Access Statement – Savills:

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

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

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

Further Agenda items under Planning with brief comments:

7.2 Decisions made by Cheshire East – None

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

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

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

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

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

Agenda item 9: Pedestrian issues within the village

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

9 . 2 Footpaths/Public Rights of Way

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

Agenda item 10: Parish Council Election 2 May 2019

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

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

Agenda item 1 2: Playing Fields – Report from Playing Fields Committee

Held over until next month.

13 Borough Councillor’s report

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

No other matters were mentioned.

Agenda Item 14: PC’s reports

Due to pressure of time no matters were reported.

Agenda Item 15: Correspondence

Not reported

Ag enda item 16: Finance matters

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

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

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

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

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

The PC agreed to finance the school one day workshop.

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

Bunbury Parish Council – 13 February 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Planning Matters

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

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

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

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

Parish Council Election 2 May 2019

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

Playing Field Report

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

Parish Councillor Reports

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

Finance Matters

Alive Project Awarded £250 towards the Library Project

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

Sandstone Ridge Festival – request for funds – refused.

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

Bunbury Parish Council – 9 January 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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