Weekly digest: May 5th

Hello everyone

Picking up from last week’s digest I said I’d like to spend time this week providing updates on the various meetings we’ve attended recently.

  1. Summat about Meeting #1: Blueprint
    • Blueprint is a developer, based in Nottingham, that specialises in regenerating brown field sites and developing low energy, sustainable homes. We met the CEO Nick Ebbs a couple of weeks ago to find out more about their ideas in designing sustainability into new homes. We want to incorporate sustainability into our housing policies in our Neighbourhood Plan
    • We had a look around their current development site at Trent Basin in Nottingham and Nick explained their solution to storing solar energy in giant batteries before being ‘drawn-down’ by individual dwellings registered to the scheme. Here’s a link to the project.  If you are interested in this scheme, there is an Open Day next Sat 12th at Trent Basin
    • Nick also told us about a radical new development taking place near Bicester: an eco-town. He suggested we have a look at their ideas for development. Here’s a link to the website and it does look interesting. A couple of us plan to have a trip down there over the summer to have a closer look.
    • We agreed to stay in touch with Nick whilst we develop our ideas and convert them into workable, practical policies. Nick was interested in our Area and thought the Barracks site lends itself very well to exploiting sustainable solutions.
  2. Summat ab…. Meeting #2: Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO):
    • We met with the DIO (sellers of the Barracks on behalf of the MoD) on Monday. The aim was to update each other on recent activities with a focus on master planning for the site. In particular we were interested in their thoughts on the ideas presented to us by the university students. And the verdict was largely complimentary, albeit they pointed out that some of the ideas were a little ‘left field’.
    • Overall it was a productive meeting. We met a consultant who has been tasked with undertaking a consultation exercise on behalf of the DIO. We arranged to meet with him to share the work we have done thus far and help where we can with his plans. At this stage the thinking is there will be a series of exhibitions over the summer period (July/August). We’ll keep you updated as things develop but expect to be asked more questions about your thoughts for the Barracks.
    • We talked about the work – a Heritage Character Assessment – we have commissioned from AECOM. Given the history of the Barracks a lot of the work will naturally focus on the site, so we wanted to ensure the DIO were geared up to allow access to our consultants. We hope the assessment will take place over the next 3 or 4 weeks so watch this space….
    • Further meetings with the DIO are planned so we can talk through the research underpinning their idea that the site is capable of 1500 dwellings. In particular we want to focus on road/traffic infrastructure. That is a key concern raised in our consultation exercise
  3. Summa……… Meeting #3: Locality/AECOM
    • Not a meeting but a telephone conference with AECOM last Tuesday to talk over our request for further technical support to help us develop our Plan. We have requested assistance in 2 key areas:
      • Evidence gathering and policy development. The help we need here is how best to formulate key policies in our Plan. There are a number of policies that need to be tightly worded and justified with strong evidence to ensure they pass through the examination process unaltered. For instance, we believe a new road is needed that runs up through the Barracks (exiting near the tram terminus) to help relieve congestion on Stapleford Lane. How do we phrase a policy (with supporting evidence) to ensure this road is built?
      • Housing design and design codes. The assistance we are looking for here builds on the sustainability point noted above with Blueprint. How can we encourage developers to design sustainable (and affordable) solutions into new dwellings in our Area?
    • We made good progress on this call and AECOM are now going back to government to get approval to fund these tasks for us. They said this is (normally) a formality, and they hope to assign consultants to us in the next few weeks.
  4. Su…………… Meeting #4: Broxtowe Borough Council
    • On Wednesday we met with the Head of Planning at Broxtowe Council. Again, this is one of a series of meetings we have to keep abreast of latest thinking and activities.
    • The main output this time was to get ready for the publication of the Local Plan Part 2. You will recall we consulted on this last autumn and submitted our ideas to the council for consideration. We were told that the majority of our ideas have been accepted but there are a couple where there remains a difference between us. We have the opportunity to comment on the final Plan before it is formally submitted to external examination, but we don’t believe there will be any ‘show stoppers’.
    • It was explained the rough timetable going forward for the Local Plan is:
      • Late June: Plan published and reviewed by Jobs and Economy committee
      • Jul: Plan discussed and approved at Full Council
      • Aug: Plan submitted to government for external examination
      • Sept- Dec: External Examination takes place and recommended changes published (there are always recommended changes!).
      • Jan-Mar 2019: Depending on scale/severity of recommendations, further consultation may be required. Recommendations discussed, and modifications made.
      • Apr-Jun 2019: Local Plan Part 2 finally agreed and adopted.
    • This schedule spookily follows a similar timeline we expect our Neighbourhood Plan to take. We expect our Plan to be submitted by the end of 2018; examined in spring 2019, before final changes and adoption in summer 2019.
    • We will attend the Jobs and Economy Committee in June so will report back then on the final form of the Local Plan and what it means for our Area
  5. ………………… Meeting #5: Peveril Homes
    • Later that afternoon (Weds) we met up with James Smith, a director at Peveril Homes. This meeting formed part of our plan to meet and engage with all major landowners in our Area. It follows on from our meetings with Heart Church and UKPP (Toton) Ltd
    • James reiterated Peveril’s position that they have planning permission for 282 houses on the land to the west of Toton Lane and they are looking to start work on site in the next few months. They do not view the advent of the HS2 station as a ‘given’; that it may be stopped before it receives Royal Assent – expected in 2022. Peveril cannot afford a ‘wait and see’ stance since their current permission expires before then. Hence their focus to start work on building houses
    • This position is not surprising and reinforces the views expressed by both Heart Church and UKPP(Toton) Ltd. Our view remains the same: that discussions need to take place to ensure current landowners are not disadvantaged by waiting for the HS2 decision and, if it receives Royal Assent, the subsequent impact on development in our area.
    • We agreed to stay in touch with James as we develop our Plan. We next plan to meet with Oxalis Planning, who act as an agent for some land around Wheatgrass farm – both north and south of the tram line bordering Field Lane/Inham Road
  6. And finally…
    • You may have seen Richard and Anna Soubry on local BBC EMT news last week (Thurs 3rd) talking about our concerns over the poor state of the memorial on the Barracks. We are not prepared to let this matter quietly drop and we are still pressing the DIO to confirm they will properly restore the memorial and not just clean it. We are grateful for Anna’s support and fingers crossed the DIO will see sense.
    • The Steering Group is meets again next Thursday (10th) and the main item is to finalise preparations for the formation of the new CIC (Community Interest Company). If you have any matter you’d like raised at the meeting, please let me know.

Phew, a long edition this week, the longest ever I think. But there was a lot to catch up on relating to these meetings, so I hope you’ll understand. I’ll make sure it is back to normal length next week!

Kind regards

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