Weekly digest: Oct 26

Hello again,

In the last couple of editions, I’ve talked about a number of meetings we’ve attended over the last couple of months.  So, this week’s update will focus on these meetings: past, present and phuture.

1. Meetings past I: Stakeholders

  • Oxalis Planning.
    • We’ve wanted to meet with Oxalis for a while and finally managed to catch up with them in mid-September. Oxalis represent the owners (Bloor Homes) of land to the east of Stapleford Lane: mostly to the north of the tram stretching up to Bramcote, but also a chunk of land south of the tram bordering Chilwell at Teesdale Court off Field Lane.
    • Oxalis recently responded to Broxtowe Council’s latest ‘call for sites’, an activity that kicks off the next Core Strategy planning process. It was good to meet them as they are looking to develop land either side of the tramline. At the moment, the north side is designated Green Belt, so they face a lengthy process to release this land for building.
    • However, given our Neighbourhood Plan stretches to 2040 (well beyond the current Local Plan end date of 2028) it is sensible to build a relationship with Oxalis and seek to work closely with them going forward.
  • Cllr Milan Radulovic MBE.
    • Milan is the leader of Broxtowe Council, following the elections in May. We met a couple of weeks ago mainly to introduce him to the Forum and our Neighbourhood Plan. Milan asked for our thoughts about the proposed new Development Corporation being set up in the Midlands (here’s a link to today’s Nott’m Post article). We explained that we hoped the Corporation will provide the ‘clout’ to deliver the overarching masterplan that is needed for our Area. We went on to share our main concern regarding the Dev Corp, which is the risk they will act as their own planning authority powers, which could result in our Plan having less ‘force’ than we expect to see.
    • We went on to explain our views on the importance of the Toton Delivery Board and the current decision-making powers they have. We said we believe the Forum should be a member of the Board. Milan agreed to look into it and see if he could arrange for us to become a member.  Overall, this was a very useful introductory meeting and we aim to meet on a regular basis to keep Milan informed of our plans.

2. Meetings past II: Council

  • Environment and Climate Change Committee.  
    • This a new committee which met for the first time earlier this month. The chair is Cllr Helen Skinner, who happens to be a founding member of the Forum and sits on our Steering Group. I attended the meeting to understand its priorities and it is welcome to see that included in its main aims is to develop an Energy Conservation Strategy along with generic energy policies. Of course, we need to be mindful of potential conflicts of interest but, with Helen in charge of the committee, it certainly helps our cause (which is embedded in our Plan) to promote leading-edge, energy positive housing built in our Area
  • Planning Committee.
    • Readers of past editions will know Peveril submitted a reserved matters application relating to their intention to build a small retail park on the west side of Stapleford Lane. We objected to the application on the basis that the layout of road access to the shops and pub/restaurant would be compromised when the tram was extended across Stapleford Lane. It was clear that the tram would severely curtail public space as well as make access to the retail units extremely difficult. I attended the meeting earlier this month and wasn’t surprised to see our objections overruled. To be honest it was a long shot expecting a different outcome. Despite this, we remain reasonably relaxed that this particular any further. This land is central to the Strategic Growth Area and so we expect to see a radically different proposal come forward in due course.

3. Meetings present

  • Steering Group.
    • We are meeting this week to review progress on updating the Plan based on consultation feedback. The more we work on the review the more we realise this is turning into an extensive piece of work that can’t be short-circuited. Our focus this week is on the Environment strand. We intend to ensure these policies underpin all development in the area, so it is critical to make them as fireproof as possible.
  • Locality: NDOs and CRtBOs.
    • NDOs (Neighbourhood Development Orders) and CRtBOs (Community Right to Build Orders) are planning tools that complement Neighbourhood Plans.  [This is not so much a meeting, more a lengthy teleconference with Locality, the organisation that supports Neighbourhood Forums.]  Neighbourhood Forums use these additional tools to help provide certainty on how development takes place on specified sites.
    • Locality are aware we have become frustrated with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO). We have been trying to meet the DIO for well over 6 months but keep getting stalled (at best) or else simply ignored. Locality suggested that if we are concerned the DIO are seeking to bypass the Forum, then the NDO option may be a route to better enforce our ambitions and aspirations for the site. Hence, we are organising this teleconference to understand the detail and pros/cons of these options. Watch this space….

4. Meetings planned

  • HS2 Ltd.
    • We are having one of our regular meetings with HS2 this week. We will, of course, be probing them for any ‘insider’ information regarding the review of the HS2 2b in general and the impact on the eastern leg in particular. I’m not sure we shall learn much about that, but we shall see. We’re are interested to find out about progress with the design of the station at Toton.
  • DIO.
    • Having said we’ve been frustrated at the lack of meetings with the DIO, they suddenly got in touch last week asking for a meeting in early November. The prime purpose of the meeting is to introduce us to their partners from Homes England who, we understand, will be taking a lead role in the development of the Barracks. We’ve not yet seen an agenda, but we are expecting this to be just a high-level introductory meeting. Nevertheless, it will be good to finally meet Homes England to both formally understand their role in the project and to establish ongoing contacts.
    • We will be asking them for an update on the Garden Communities bid that the Council (along with input from ourselves) submitted 12 months ago. It does seem as if it has disappeared into a government black hole. I also met with Anna Soubry earlier today (Saturday) at her surgery in Toton and asked for her help to resurrect the bid. Fingers crossed we can get the application reviewed and approved.  

And finally…… nope, not this week. This has turned out to be a longer report than normal (which isn’t good news) so I’ll stop now and look to prune a lot it away before publishing. See you next time.

Kind regards

Broxtowe Lotto: tickets available from our CTTC Forum page where you’ll find details of the scheme.

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