Our chairman, Richard, has had a busy week attending a couple of meetings with key stakeholders.
The Head of Planning at Broxtowe Borough Council asked him to present to a group of 50+ local council planners at an East Midlands regional planners event. He presented on the set-up and ambitions of our Forum and focussed on the benefits we have derived from our collaboration with the team of planners at Broxtowe.
He followed that up with a presentation at the end of the week to the George Spencer Academy ‘family’ of schools in the area. The theme this time was how we want to engage with all schools in our area and encourage the children to provide input. Again the presentation was very well received with all the schools ‘signing up’ to help the Forum.
As a result, expect to see the Forum represented at a couple of Christmas fetes being held at schools in the next few weeks.
On Monday 20th November 2017, members of the Steering Group as well as some community stakeholders attended the University to see the results of the students work over the last few weeks.
The results far exceeded expectations. The depth of analysis undertaken along with the imagination of ideas contained in their visions for our area was staggering. Yes, these are post graduates so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by the professionalism displayed in their work. Even so, it was very impressive!
We have received copies of their work – a total of almost 300 slides. We will now go through it in detail and condense key ideas into manageable chunks to display at future events. We have enough material to present a number of visions for you to consider and provide comments. I’ll aim to upload a flavour of their work on our website in the next couple of weeks.
This work will form the foundations for our Neighbourhood Plan. Of course we’ll build on it and refine it, not least when we receive feedback from local consultations. Nevertheless, we have been given a terrific start by the students.
On behalf of the Steering Group, I’d like to publicly acknowledge the work of the 23 men and women who took part and their course co-ordinator Graeme Barker.
Thanks a lot guys! It has been a pleasure to work with you and we truly appreciate your endeavours and the exceptional quality of your ideas & plans.
Toton & Chilwell Meadows CAT meeting
– a quick reminder!
The meeting takes place next Tuesday 28th Nov at 7.00pm at Toton Methodist Church, Stapleford Lane. This is a chance to meet Toton & CM councillors and raise issues with them. If you’re unable to make it but would like something raised, please let me know and I’ll ensure it is aired.
Friend of Toton Fields
Improvements to the paths on Toton Fields Nature Reserve.
The council has commissioned contractors to continue making improvements on the reserve. This work started last Spring (thanks, you’ll remember, to the grant from the Tesco ‘Bags of Help’ scheme) and the remaining work is now underway. This includes improving paths, some further tree felling and re-routing part of the bridleway up through some woods. The Friends are keeping an eye on activities to minimise disruption as much as possible.
After last week’s ‘special’ edition we are back to catching up with more regular fare. However, it was great to see the response to last week’s digest both in ‘hits’ to our website (to pick up the attachments) along with the feedback comments to me. Many thanks for the comments and suggestions, please keep them coming.
- School trips past and future.
- We (Richard and myself) were glad to accept an invitation to Bispham Drive Junior School last Monday. It was great to meet Andrea, Ian and Victoria and hear about their plans and ambitions for the School.
- We, in turn, explained some emerging thoughts for schools in our Area and especially the impact of the possible relocation of George Spencer Academy (GSA) across Stapleford Lane, should HS2 go ahead.
- We agreed to stay in touch and, indeed, Richard received an invitation only yesterday from the Head of GSA to attend a meeting next Friday to present to a meeting of the ‘family’ of feeder schools to the Academy.
- It’s important for us to build these links with schools. After all, it is today’s children who will be most affected by the development of our area. We want the children to get involved in decisions about their future.
- Catch up time #1 Comms subgroup
- We met a couple of times recently to discuss how to improve communications with you and the wider community. A couple of priorities identified are:
- improve our website by giving it more contemporary look and feel
- automate posts from the website to our facebook page to reach a wider audience
- advertise ourselves – and future events – in local free magazines (Grapevine, Breeze etc) so we can attract even more members and supporters
- We hope you’ll see these improvements over the next few weeks but, when it comes to the website, we find ourselves are on a steepish learning curve!
- Catch up time #2 Steering Group meeting
- We spent a lot of time at our last meeting discussing plans for the new year:
- Jenny (RCAN consultant) came along and we talked about holding 3 community consultation events in each of our sub-areas (Chilwell, Chilwell Meadows, and Toton) next February.
- The main focus of these consultations will be to capture key issues for members and residents in each sub-area. We agreed to set the ball rolling by coming up with our own ideas as a ‘starter for 10’
- We went on to discuss the work we’ve been doing to gather the data and evidence we’ll need about core statistics such as road traffic volumes, school numbers, local organisations. We’ve made good progress in some areas but more needs to be done.
- The university students have finished their project and will be presenting the results to a number of us next Monday. Early reviews indicate that we can expect to see a range of fantastic ideas. Some may prove to be unrealistic or too ambitious but I’m sure there will also be lots of useful stuff to take away and think about. More on this next week.
- If you’d like to ‘follow’ the meetings of the SG, copies of our agendas, minutes & financial reports (when approved) are all here on our website.
- And finally……
- The Case for Derby-Nottingham Metro report. Some of you will have seen reports during the week about a strategy document that recommends the creation of a new Metro council area combining the cities of Nott’m, Derby, and some local Boroughs, including Broxtowe.
- The key element underpinning the proposal is HS2 coming to Toton, so our Area is very much at the heart of this debate. It’s an interesting proposition and is already generating strong views. If you want a read, here is the report. We’d like to know your views so please email me or else leave a comment below.
This week’s edition is all about the Barracks. This is the first time we have concentrated on just one topic but the DIO kindly provided us with a copy of their representations, in response to the Local Plan, and it is worth sharing.
As reported last week, we met with the DIO on Thursday to reset our relationship and discuss initial thoughts for the site. This time the meeting was very cordial and productive. We explained our ‘big picture’ perspective to link the Barracks to the HS2 & Toton Lane developments . We impressed on them our view that a major access route into the Barracks from the north is critical to delivering this holistic vision across our Area. The DIO now understand our overall strategic perspective and will be considering the impacts on their initial thoughts and ideas for the site. In return, we also have a good understanding of the DIO position and their current thinking & expectations for the site – more below. We left feeling positive and look forward to building on the outputs of the meeting and further strengthening our relationship.
- Map of the Barracks development.
- Here is theDIO Barracks Map containing their initial thoughts on how the site might be developed. At this stage the map comprises a number of ‘blobs’ indicating potential locations of: housing (beige); green space (green); retail/community space (purple/pink).
- As you can see the map shows one primary road access point (Swiney Way), and secondary access points to the east (Chetwynd Road), west (Stapleford Lane) and north (near Field Lane).
- The map also indicates possible green corridors/pedestrian/cycleways (green) through the site.
- Finally, the black marks indicate the significant sites/buildings that could be retained: the WWI memorial is the dot next to the pink blob; the rest include the Officers’ Mess (far right) and next to it, interestingly, the tunnels that stretch under Hobgoblin Wood. More on this below
- We need to talk about Annington
- In 1996 the MoD sold all of its military houses to Annington Homes (on a lease back basis) making Annington the biggest residential property owner in England.
Here’s a link to a background story about Annington in the Guardian Apr 2017
- The red line ‘site’ boundary on the map excludes the 180+ houses – mostly at the top of the site – as they are owned by Annington.
This gives us a bit of a headache as some of these houses block the proposed northern access point.
- Furthermore, the DIO told us the MoD intend to retain these houses to be used by service families for a time after the sale of the Barracks.
- It’s only when the MoD end the lease by relocating these service families elsewhere, do the properties then become Annington’s to manage as they wish.
- So, we will need to engage with Annington at some point to understand their plans for their stock of housing on the Barracks
- Housing numbers – a total of up to 1,500 planned for the site.
- We knew from the Local Plan that the Council expects to see 500 dwellings built, along with some retail/community development on the site by 2028
- The submission from the DIO states they want to build ‘up to an additional 1,000 dwellings’ after 2028. These additional numbers will need to be discussed & agreed with the planning authorities but it is useful to know the ambition. Of course, the DIO are duty-bound to maximise the value of the site so it is not surprising they want to build a lot of houses.
- And after walking around the site, this figure may not be as outrageous as it first appears – there is, after all, an awful lot of land available. But we plan to do our own research (and commission reports) before accepting any proposed numbers. So the question of overall housing numbers will run and run for a while yet.
- Here’s a link to the DIO submission, on our website, relating their ideas to develop the site so you can see the full details.
- Designated Barracks assets
- The DIO have acknowledged that only the memorial is listed as a designated heritage asset on the site. They have identified other potential heritage assets on the map, such as the Officers’ Mess etc.
- We are concerned that only the memorial is protected and that the DIO have asked the Local Plan to set a clear distinction between designated and non-designated assets and how they are treated. Here’s a link to this representation.
- We believe there is more than the memorial that warrants designation, so this is something we intend to pick up on in the next few weeks. We need advice on the best approach to take so we’ll speak to the Beeston Civic Society. If you have any knowledge in this area, please get in touch so we can have a chat.
- Next Steps……
- The Council will review the DIO submission, along with the Forum’s and all other submissions sent in regarding the Local Plan. It will likely take several weeks for the Council to decide whether to accept/reject representations made to them and for us to know the resultant impact on the Local Plan.
- We will take forward the issue with designated assets asap as we want to ensure appropriate buildings/areas are protected from development. We may be overly sensitive on this point as we know the DIO themselves are keen to protect certain buildings along with the memorial. But best to be clear.
We’ll also be asking the council for copies of other representations made about developments planned for our Area.
- And finally……
- Remember these DIO submissions are current thoughts, so nothing is cast in stone at this stage. We don’t intend to set any hares running……
- The SG still needs to review and consider these representations, but we didn’t want to hold off from letting you have early sight – hence this ‘special’ edition.
- The DIO documents & map are on our website. Please take time to review them & let us have your thoughts. Leave comments on line or else via email to me
A lengthy digest this week but I’m sure you can understand why. Last week I said I’d provide an update on a Comms subgroup mtg, & we’ve also just had a SG meeting but, again, I’ll hold outputs from both to next time.
I can imagine you are now getting pretty tired hearing about the Local Plan consultation exercise and perhaps also about the University project. Both topics have dominated the digests over the past few weeks but…… no more or, rather, not so much this week! The Local Plan exercise is now completed and the University work is entering the home stretch. So time to focus attention elsewhere….
- Your views matter!
- We are planning a further series consultations in Jan/Feb across our patch to gather your thoughts. I know you are probably worn out with consultations but this time will be different.
- Up to now we’ve asked you to comment on proposed developments at HS2/Toton Lane or the Barracks. But what else is important to you? We need our Neighbourhood Plan to include everything that is important to you relating to Toton and Chilwell West.
- So for instance & I’m being deliberately provocative here….
- “it’s time for yellow lines on stretches of roads in Chilwell Meadows”
- “let’s introduce a one-way traffic system in Woodstock Road/Banks Road area and make space for wider pavements/dedicated cycle tracks.”
- “get rid of the speed humps on Inham Road/Field Lane. Find a better way to stop cars speeding”
- “replace turf football pitches with artificial all-weather pitches”
- “plant more trees”
- “time to compulsory purchase the old garage at Manor Corner and redevelop”
- “we need a shoe shop at the West Point Centre!”
- Okay, you get my point. We are interested in your ideas, big or small, for our Area. They may not all be relevant for our Plan, but let’s get everything ‘on the table’ and see how best to tackle them.
- We’ll be covering this again in the New Year, but never too soon to start thinking and jotting down some thoughts
- Spring time activities:
- I mentioned last week that we have been giving more thought to our next set of tasks. And, as well as doing lots of listening, we need to gather basic information and facts about our Area to use as evidence to back up our ideas.
- So (another) for instance, not so provocative this time
- how many doctors/dentists do we have covering our Area? Do we need more?
- what’s the current capacity of our schools? Do we need to expand existing ones or build new ones?
- what is the true traffic situation on Stapleford Lane? We know it’s congested a lot of time and we all mutter expletives under our breath when held up. But, what are the facts?
- what type of housing stock do we have? What sort do we need to see more of?
- We have started to work on elements of this – we are building a good picture of our schools and their current situation. But we need to do a lot more.
- The Steering Group will focus on this topic – and the consultations mentioned above – at our meeting next week.
- Some stakeholder meetings coming up:
- Besides our forthcoming Steering Group meeting we are also seeing some key stakeholders in the next couple of weeks.
- DIO (the MoD organisation selling the Barracks). I reported a couple of weeks ago that we’d held a fairly tense meeting with them. We asked for a quick follow-up to explain why we think it better to share ideas to produce a plan that works for us all. So we’re meeting again next week to discuss our response to Local Plan relating to the Barracks and to understand their thoughts.
- D2N2 (local business enterprise body). We met this group in July and were invited to meet again with ideas/suggestions that they would be interested in supporting. We know we need more technical consultancy to help us with our evidence gathering phase, so we plan to make a pitch for a grant to help fund it
- We have already built a good relationship with the HS2 Growth Partnership (the organisation looking at the commercial developments around the station hub). But we have been invited to meet with HS2 Ltd themselves to talk about the development of the actual station. We still need to finalise a date with them, but it should be in the next 2 weeks.
- And finally……
- Local Plan response. Our final mention of this topic (at least for a while). Our response to the consultation can be found here and it has now been submitted to the Council
If you would like to see the comments we gathered from our sessions, here is a summary report. Many thanks, again, to all who took part
- University project. This work is now entering the final stages. The students were very pleased with all who took part last Monday at Tesco – they gathered more information than they were expecting. They are now preparing to present back to us in mid-November with their initial thoughts and plans. We hope to have something to show you by early December.
- Toton & Chilwell Meadows CAT meeting scheduled for Tues Nov 28th at 7pm at Toton Methodist Church. Our local councillors have asked us to let you know of this meeting at the end of Nov. We will attend and pass on some of the comments received in our consultation that need to be handled by the councillors.
Come along and meet Steffan Saunders, Head of Planning at Broxtowe Council, and ask him questions about the Local Plan.
Review the Forum’s draft response and provide further comments
This week’s edition is decidedly short as I’m in the middle of drafting our response to the Local Plan consultation ready for Monday evening’s final session. So a couple of reminders for 2 Forum events taking place on Monday…..
- University project update:
- The community consultation event at Toton Tesco’s has been rescheduled for next Monday 30th between 10am to 5pm
- Apologies for the last minute postponement of last week’s event but we have been in discussions with managers at the local store & they have kindly agreed to host the event early next week.
- As per the request last week, we’d like to see lots of people coming along to take part. The more involvement, the greater the impact/validity of the results.
So please do all you can to visit Toton Tesco on Monday and take part.
- Our final session to discuss the Local Plan Part 2….
- ….also takes place next Monday 30th at the Village (in a meeting room on the 1st floor) between 6pm and 9pm. It’s all happening on Monday isn’t it!
- The submission needs to be with the Council by next Friday 3rd so we have a small window next week to make further additions to our response. I’ll bring along copies of the draft for review and further input.
- We have received 34 comments/suggestions from our first 3 sessions as well as those submitted on line and via email. This is a good level of response.
It was great to see that comments covered a wide range of policies contained in the Plan. It demonstrates a depth of interest in policies affecting the whole Borough as well as those in our immediate Area.
- Thanks very much to everyone who came along and talked to us about hopes for the future, as well as concerns.
And finally…. a couple of members of the SG met yesterday afternoon to start planning activities for the new year. We have, of course, our AGM scheduled for January but we wanted to sketch out some ideas and tasks to build on the work we’ve done this autumn – more on this next week. I’ll stop now to finish the draft response. Hope to see you on Monday at either (or both?) Tesco during the day or at the Village later on.
This week has seen further activities with both the University and the Toton Local Plan consultation. We have also held a further meeting with the DIO (Defence Infrastructure Organisations), the MoD organisation selling the Barracks.
- University project update:
- This week the graduates have been preparing for Monday’s community consultation taking place at Toton Tesco between 10 -5. Our RCAN consultants provided valuable insights to the group as they put together their questionnaires
- We’d like to see lots of people to come along & take part in this exercise. The more involvement and input, the greater the impact/validity of the results.
So please do all you can to visit the store on Monday and take part.
- Most questions will be short and sweet to avoid delaying you too long, although if you can spare longer (up to an hour?), that will be great as it will allow detailed questions to be asked and in-depth feedback gathered
- Whilst I’m talking about these in-depth questionnaires, I’d like to say ‘thank you’ to those members who got in touch following last week’s request for volunteers. 13 people offered to take part and 8 were able to attend the interviews held yesterday (Friday) following on from the 5 Steering Group members interviewed earlier in the week. All enjoyed taking part and said it was an interesting exercise.
- Local Plan road show reaches Toton:
- We are now on the home straight with these consultations. Last Wednesday was another miserable, drizzly evening so it was good to see around 15 people come along to have a chat and share with us their views and concerns.
- Not surprisingly, a lot of the views related to traffic congestion we experience on Stapleford Lane day after day. But we also captured thoughtful comments about possible housing designs & the wildlife corridors we’d like to see on the Toton Lane site. All comments have been collated & added to the growing list here on the website.
- Our final consultation is back at the Village Hotel on Monday 30th. So if you haven’t been able to make one of the previous events, there is still time to let us know your thoughts. Steffan Saunders (Head of Planning at Broxtowe Council) will be attending to answer queries and we hope to have a draft response prepared for review before formally submitting it to the council later in the week.
- DIO meeting:
- We held our 2nd meeting with the DIO and their Nott’m based consultants JLL Ltd during the week. This followed on from our first meeting back in early July.
- It is fair to say we were disappointed with the outcome. There was confusion on their side with the DIO and JLL having different expectations from the meeting. One side expected feedback from us concerning documents which the other side had explicitly told us to keep confidential.
- For our part, we highlighted the ongoing struggle to obtain access to the Barracks to enable us (& the university) to get a better understanding of the layout and consider potential future development
- Some forthright views were exchanged between us with the upshot being that access has now been agreed for a site visit for us & the university. It was acknowledged we need to improve communications between us so we expect a follow-up meeting in the next few weeks.
- In the meantime, we know the DIO will submit a response to the Local Plan relating to Chetwynd Barracks; we intend to closely examine their proposals.
- And finally…….
- To incorporate or not to incorporate, that is the question…
- A small subgroup of the Steering Group (including Ben, our legal counsellor) met with a Forum member experienced in governance to discuss options relating to incorporation. You will recall from previous editions that we have been mulling over the need to incorporate. We think it lends greater credibility & legitimacy when it comes to dealing with some organisations (such as the DIO) as well as increase options when it comes to fundraising.
- We discussed options of becoming a charity, or a CIC (Community Interest Company), or just a standard Limited Company. There are pros and cons to each. We will summarise our thoughts and formally discuss it at our next full Steering Group. Should that meeting decide incorporation is the best option then we will submit a recommendation at our AGM for members to vote on.
- An approach from HS2 Ltd
- We received an invitation during the week from HS2 Ltd to meet with their Engagement and Stakeholder Manager for Notts and Derbys
- Our previous contacts with HS2 have been via their ‘Growth Partnership’ company, so we welcome the opportunity to establish and develop a direct relationship with the parent organisation. We hope to set something up in the next couple of weeks and plan to start off with a tour of the site.