Chairman's Report for 2017 AGM
At last year’s AGM there was considerable discussion on planning issues and planning has again been high on the agenda in the last twelve months. Geoff Hammond continues to respond to CDC and the Town Council on their respective plans for the period to 2031 as well as reviewing new planning applications. He will give his report later.
During the year we had two well attended talks. The first was from the Business Forum outlining their work in promoting business in Campden and District. The second was by Charlotte and Peter Friel talking about their background in design authorship and their work in compiling a design brief for Campden as part of the neighbourhood plan.
I mentioned last year about increasing communication with members and a wider audience through greater use of social media. Barry Eckersley Hope is leading this work and we hope to have a website operational later this year.
Among other things it will enable us to make available to a wider audience some excellent papers by David Atkinson on the historical background to the Society and the Trust.
We held an open evening in October to hear from members their views on how the Committee could take the Society forward. There was a good turnout and it was interesting that after concern was expressed on the problems with retail shops in the high street, the discussion concentrated on what can the Society do to help create a new car park.
Let me recap. Since the nineties Wolds End has been identified by CDC as a possible site for a car park.
When the Society bought Wolds End Orchard it was on condition we obtained planning permission for a car park. This we did and we have carried out sufficient work to protect the planning permission for the future.
To-date no one has come forward with funding to enable the car park to be built. CDC have recently reiterated that no funding for car parks is available.
Some five years ago, at the request of the surgery owners, we took part in a review by external consultants of potential sites for a new surgery. Work progressed to a draft layout encompassing a new surgery and a public car park. However the project stalled as a result of NHS cutbacks and the future intention of the doctors for a new surgery is unknown.
The draft Neighbourhood Plan for Campden is now available for comment. In it two possible sites for car parks are identified – Wolds End and the Recreation Ground. We have been invited by the Town Council to have discussions with their sub-committee looking at what is needed to create a car park at Wolds End.
As you know there was a parking summit in February this year which sought to achieve momentum in resolving the long standing issue of car parking. There was enthusiasm that this time something must be done.
However we keep coming back to the thorny issue of money to build the car park. The Town Council could borrow money but it is anticipated that the annual cost would mean a substantial increase on the rates
What could the Society do to raise the money for a car park?
In two separate meetings with parties in the town it has been put to us that one solution could be a development of Wolds End involving the public car park, a new surgery and some housing to provide the finance.
There are two points to consider with this proposal. First it could depend on the decision to site a new surgery at Wolds End and secondly the type of housing. Campden does not need any more large housing. As a Society we continue to make the point to the planners that Campden needs houses that Campden workers can afford and houses that enable older people to downsize but still retain their independence. Whether this type of housing would be able to provide the money to make the overall scheme viable is unproven and would need much more investigation.
I have been fortunate to have the support of the same Committee throughout the year and I thank them for their work. Judy Lusty has now decided the time has come for her to retire. Judy came forward to join the Committee at a time when there was a serious risk the Committee could fold and we are very grateful for her support. As a long term resident she has the interests of Campden very much to heart and she has assured me she will continue to help the Society whenever she can. Thank you Judy.
Planning Report for Annual General Meeting
It has been a busy year keeping up with events including Proposals for the new Local Plan 2011-2031 promoted by CDC and preparation of the Neighbourhood Development Plan promoted by the Town Council on behalf of the local community.
In April 2016 we reported that The Society had objected to the second planning application at Aston Road for 40 houses. This was approved by Committee in June 2016 on a split vote 8/6 subject to a S. 106 Agreement being entered into. To date that decision has not been confirmed . It is understood that a local resident has appealed the decision to the Local Authority Ombudsman.
At the same time The Society objected to an application to build 30 houses at the Leasows , Dyers Lane which was delegated for officer decision and refused by CDC on the grounds that the site lies within the AONB with no exceptional circumstances; no s.106 agreement was offered; the proposal was considered MAJOR;
In May 2016 CDC was directed by central government to increase the housing requirement for the District from 7400-8400 houses in the period to 2031, having approved 5000 already.
In June 2016 The Regulation 19 Submission Draft Local Plan was put out for consultation. The Society maintained its objection to the inclusion of sites 23B and 23C (Aston Road) to accommodate 114 houses, as it favoured organic growth on smaller sites rather than large developments .It was also suggested that WEO could provide an alternative convenient location for a new Surgery.
I n July 2016 CDC approved the Submission Draft Local Plan stating that it was intending to seek Planning Inspectorate review in Spring 2017.However it is clear that changes were necessary which needed further consultation particularly the amendment of development boundaries following multiple objections.
This was undertaken in January /February 2017 under the heading of Focussed Changes. The Society commented on four areas; to accept boundary changes to The Craves Field; Badgers Field(south east); areas to the north of Hoo Lane; the Allotments and Berrington Mill site ,all to now be outside the development boundary and objecting to CDC proposal to retain inclusion of Sites 23B and 23C for housing to accommodate in excess of 100 houses thereby attempting to circumvent the basis of earlier refusal (as a MAJOR development) for 90 houses.
In October 2106 The Society held an ‘open meeting’ to seek members views on its activities and to seek new thoughts. However the discussion quickly focussed on the weakness of the town economy as several shops had closed with others rumoured. The reasons given being primarily the town’s parking difficulties and the effect on shoppers.
In October 2016 the Town Council approved formation of a working party to look at all details of providing more parking at its two preferred sites ie, the Recreation Ground and Wolds End.
On 30thDecember 2016- an appeal was lodged against the decision by CDC to Refuse the Leasows , Dyers Lane application to build 30 houses. Grounds for Appeal being stated as ;
no S.106 Agreement offered and the definition of ‘ Major’ development;Feb 2017- Resulting from concerns over economic effect to the town of shortage of parking, the owner of Molemi shoe shop, Dale Fletcher, aided by Campden Business Forum promoted a ‘Summit ‘ meeting of County, Town and District Council representatives together with The Local MP, traders and other interested parties to review how to address the situation. Tony and I attended on behalf of Cam Soc. The problem was acknowledged and all agreed to urgently address a solution.
March 14 2017 – the town council approved the Draft Neighbourhood Plan for consultation with CDC and to be publicised on-line ,by mail drop, copy in the public library and by public presentation. The complementary Design Statement is still being finalised. The presentation to the public and referendum is to be organised by CDC and is a further step towards achieving review by the Planning Inspectorate as soon as possible.
A broad Overview-of Housing supply for the CDC area is now quoted as 7.5 years supply.
CDC state that that they now expect to submit the Local Plan for examination by the Planning Inspectorate in May 2017.
The Town Council are seeking meetings with The Society to examine ways in which the parking project can be brought to fruition.
I realise that i have so far concentrated on major issues as they have taken up the majority of our time but there has been a steady stream of other applications to note including the normal works to trees but also the following applications;
Bathing Lake Broad Campden-has been approved for 7 houses (4market -3 affordable)
Victoria Cottages Leysbourne-retrospective application for garden studio approved by CDC against our objection and comments.
Orchard House Calf Lane amendments to approved scheme for flat above retail. We objected to the rear terrace overlooking Calf Lane but this is now approved by CDC.
Alvewood ,Paxford Road- applications continue for sizeable accommodation increases- approved with the request to CDC that these spaces should be only for uses ancillary to the main house.
Hillbarn Cottage Westington- a current application for 5 bed house on part of garden .The Society has objected.
The above should bring you up to date but it is a changing scene.