Digest 1 Jul 29th 2017

It’s over a month since we held our General Meeting and so it is time (overdue, really) to provide an update of our activities. One of the key messages from the Meeting was that the Steering Group (SG) need to improve on communications and that regular updates would be appreciated.

So, we thought we would introduce weekly digests to supplement our quarterly newsletters and our on-line communications via our website, Facebook page and twitter (more on these below). The objective is to provide short bullet point updates of our activities and provide links, where necessary, to further information. There may be some overlap with Facebook/online posts but the intention is to make sure we stay in touch with members/friends especially those who may not use online or social media.

Please let us know your thoughts on the usefulness (or otherwise) of these digests. Some weeks will be busier than others – some weeks may not generate enough information to send anything out.  We’ll see how things develop.

Special General Meeting: Sunday June 25th

  • Over 50 members attended our Meeting, unfortunately we had to delay the start a little until enough turned up to make us quorate so I’d like to thank all attendees for your patience.  The Forum has just over 500 members and, as per our Constitution, we need over 50 people (at least 10%) in attendance before we can make binding decisions.
  • The meeting was called to provide a general update of progress since our formal designation as a Forum in March and – specifically – to approve:
    • our modified Area – our western boundary now follows the line of the HS2 Safeguarded Zone
    • an amendment to our Constitution to clarify the accountabilities of the SG
  • After some discussion, both these proposals were agreed and the draft minutes from the meeting are attached for your information. These minutes will be formally discussed/approved at our next general meeting
  • We took away two questions from the meeting that needed specific answers: one related to the legal position of the ‘island’ zone to the west of the safeguarded zone; and the other related to the process used by Broxtowe Council when it assessed the application by Peveril to vary one of the conditions attaching to its plans for Toton Lane development.  We are still awaiting a definitive view of the ‘island’ query (so watch this space), but the council process is detailed as an appendix below.

Tesco Toton Fun Day: Saturday July 15th

  • This is the first time we have taken part in a community event in our Area so we were unsure what the reaction might be. We know we need to get out and about to raise awareness of the Forum and to start asking for views about Toton and Chilwell and what people like/dislike about where we live
  • Most members of the SG were on hand at the stall during the afternoon and we had about 35 people who came along to ask a variety of questions about HS2, the Peveril development on Toton Lane and the Barracks. We signed up a further 18 members/friends on the day so overall, we were very pleased and heartened by the turnout and interest shown. Comments captured on the day will be published in our next newsletter – due out soon!
  • We would like to attend further events over the next 6 months, so if you know of any suitable event taking place (either outdoors or indoors) please let us know and we’ll aim to come along.
  • Our next event is planned for Chilwell on Monday August 14th – although we still need to confirm with organisers if we can take part. More on this next week.

Peveril application for Toton Lane

  • Talking of Peveril, they submitted detailed plans to develop part of the land at Toton Lane to the council last week. We received notice of the application late last week and a formal letter from the council on Tuesday advising us that we have 3 weeks (until Tues August 15th) to respond to the application.
  • It is important to note that this application only covers part of their obligations for detailed plans, so further submissions are needed by them (and be approved, of course) before they can start work on the site
  • Nevertheless, these plans address several the conditions imposed on them at outline planning stage and so the Forum will be making a response to this application. If you haven’t seen the application yet the various documents can be found here on the council planning pages.  The key document – the Design and Access Statement – is the one to look at.
  • If you wish to make a formal response to the application, you can find an online response form on the council’s planning pages. Or else please feel free to send me your thoughts & comments and I’ll collate and summarise and include in our submission. Likewise, if you would like to meet to discuss this in detail, please get in touch and I’ll set something up for week commencing August 7th

Stapleford Neighbourhood Plan team

  • The chair of Stapleford Neighbourhood Plan team (Si Frost) invited us to meet them last Monday (July 24th) to discuss ideas for the land adjoining our two areas. Both Richard Hutchinson and myself went along and, besides Si, we met Dave Pearson (leader of the Town Council) and Margaret Downie (Town Clerk). We had a wide-ranging discussion mostly focusing (unsurprisingly) on the impact of HS2 Hub Station on the Sidings.
  • The Stapleford team are further ahead with development of their Neighbourhood Plan; they hope to have a draft document ready for formal consultation in the next few weeks.
  • Both sides found the meeting useful and we agreed to meet up again on a regular basis to share ideas and work together wherever possible to get the best result for both our Areas. We now want to touch base with the Bramcote Forum team to understand where they are with development of their Neighbourhood Plan.

Forum online sites: stay in touch

  • We are revamping our main website by adding new pages and functions (such as adding documents) and restructuring the look & feel. Once it has been updated – in the next few weeks – we’ll let you know so you can use that site to access more information about the Forum and our activities.
  • We also have a Facebook page so if you haven’t already ‘liked’ us, please follow this link and sign up to receive information/updates from there
  • Our Twitter account is @CTTCForum so please follow us and we’ll start to post more items there as well

I think that is enough for now – we don’t intend the digest to be overlong or it may not get read!  But please keep a look out for future editions of this digest and, again, let us know your thoughts/ideas and what you would like when it comes to hearing from us.

Appendix:
We’ll use this mechanism when there is need for more detailed information on a topic

Response to a question raised at our General Meeting regarding the Council’s process in considering applications to modify conditions. As a quick refresh: Peveril submitted an application a couple of months ago to amend Condition 20 of their outline planning application. Condition 20 referred to changes they were expected to make to improve both Bardills Island and the slip road from the A52 to MI Junction 25 island before the first house was occupied on the site. They asked to delay making these changes until the 200th house was occupied. Their application was approved – despite our strong objections.

The extract below is from an email I sent to/received from Broxtowe Council in response – their comments in red italics – to our requests (which included a conversation held within a separate meeting), for more clarity about the approval process:

<extract start>

….. I agreed to get in touch to ask for more details about this decision and the process in general. Specifically:

  1. What is the process when it comes to making decisions to amend planning conditions? What meetings take place and who with? It seems from what you say below [referring to a separate email], that Mark reviews the application and makes a recommendation and then you review to confirm (or challenge) Mark’s recommendation.

The case officer (in this case Mark) co-ordinates various meetings and discussions to enable him to come to a clear view as to an appropriate recommendation. This will vary on a case by case basis but in this instance the main focus was on highways issues and as you will see from the responses (and explained in more detail below) the relevant highway authorities were content with the application. You are right in that once he is content that he has the necessary information to make a recommendation, then this comes through to me to check and sign the decision if I’m in agreement with it.

  1. Regarding this application to Condition 20, who else provided a response to the consultation process. Can we please have copies of their contributions so we can review?

The responses are summarised in the officer report and the highways comments are in the bundle I left with you this morning.

  1. Can you provide a little more detail explaining the rationale for the decision? I appreciate Highways England had no objection regarding A52 corridor but what about Toton Lane access (from both sides) to Bardills Island. Does this road come under Highways England jurisdiction or Notts CC and if the latter, what was their view of the amendment? As we stated in our submission the key issue is turning right from Toton to Nott’m at this island and the lack of ‘holding’ space on the island when demand is high.

The main issue was that of highway safety and in this regard the most significant point in play is that of the original application including transport modelling work (and therefore mitigation) for up to 1000 homes whereas the final number of homes was reduced to 500. The applicants transport consultants raised the reasonable point that as the scale of the consented development is significantly reduced it would therefore generate less traffic and have a reduced impact when compared to the scheme for which the traffic impact assessment was undertaken for the original application. They point out that this reduced impact would not be ‘severe’ in NPPF terms and therefore no mitigation works would be required at M1 J25 and the trigger of 200 homes was appropriate for the Bardills works, points that were accepted by Highways England.

  1. Finally, is there an appeal process in place regarding these decisions? If so can you please advise what we need to do (and by when) should the Forum decide to appeal this particular decision?

As we discussed there is no third party right of appeal. The only right of appeal is with the applicant.

<extract end>

The main lesson I take away from this is to make sure our responses to consultations are accurate and compelling as we won’t get a 2nd bite of the cherry. And given we only get 3 weeks to respond to consultations, it is clear that we (all responders, actually) will always be on the back foot given we won’t have time to put together a detailed, persuasive rebuttal using technical expertise and advice.

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