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JCS and Neighbourhood Development Plan

This page will be used to post information about the Joint Core Strategy and the Neighbourhood Development Plan

Response to JCS Inspector’s Interim statement regarding “at least 750 dwellings at Twigworth”.

Briefing from the Parish Councils of Down Hatherley, Norton, Twigworth
The three Parish Councils are shocked and alarmed at the JCS Inspector’s 31 May statement proposing "at least" 750 dwellings at Twigworth.

The Parish Councils highlight the following points:

The JCS examination has not examined Twigworth. Yet the Inspector makes a remarkable claim that Twigworth is an “obvious choice”. Such wording should not be part of an Inspector’s vocabulary. There appears to be no evidence from the Examination to justify this assertion.

No engagement has occurred with the Parish and community representatives of Twigworth, despite their approach to the JCS Secretariat in autumn 2015, to explain the Neighbourhood development Plan in preparation for this area, and a pledge that this would be scheduled.

The three Parish Councils have worked with Tewkesbury Borough Council for over three years preparing a Neighbourhood Development Plan which is soon to emerge for public consultation. The JCS Inspector has completely overlooked an emerging Neighbourhood Development Plan but has taken notice of a developer’s speculation in the Green Belt.

Tewkesbury Borough Council emphatically refused a speculative application for 725+ dwellings on the land in February 2016.
The JCS Inspector made an interim announcement in December 2015, which included the possibility of land at Twigworth being considered for inclusion in the JCS. The statement said she looked for the local authority to respond with a view on this. The February 2016 refusal from TBC gave the JCS Inspector a formal and decisive response.

There is demonstrable flood risk in the area proposed in Twigworth, especially from pluvial flooding along the lip of the flood plain. Houses adjacent to the proposed development have been flooded in recent heavy rain events, with houses vacated for several months as a result of pluvial flooding. It is ironic that proposed land for housing at Leckhampton has recently been refused on appeal largely on the grounds of traffic impact and flood risk. The demonstrable traffic impacts and flood risk at Twigworth are significantly more severe.

Twigworth development would create traffic chaos along the the A38, at Longford Roundabout, and at key junctions in Churchdown. It would make the areas rural roads unviable. The area’s rural roads would be unviable, and nearby villages including Down Hatherley and Sandhurst would be even more prone to rat-running, endangering walkers, cyclists and horse riders. The JCS Inspector refers to traffic modelling which is 4 years out of date. Updated traffic modelling and forecasts are due in September 2016 to properly inform the JCS.

See the Parish Council Page for additional recent correspondence and the NDP Facebook page for more informal conversations about what is happening

You can submit comments and photos to DHNT_devplan@yahoo.co.uk

Following a series of events and preparations over the past year, the proposed Vision and Objectives for the Neighbourhood Development Plan for the three parishes have now been established in draft as attached here.

The Vision and the Objectives are general rather than long and detailed. The Neighbourhood Development Plan will address the topics in more detail.

There will be a full consultation stage on the draft NDP itself, once it is concluded, and we will be in touch again at that stage. Meanwhile, any feedback on the proposed Vision and Objectives is welcome and can be emailed to Rick Minter at the adress below by 5pm on 27 November.

Many thanks

Graham Garbutt
Chair of the Down Hatherley, Norton, and Twigworth NDP

Rick Minter
Down Hatherley, Norton, and Twigworth NDP steering Group
Rickminter@easynet.co.uk

Vision

This Plan is designed to improve environmental quality and people’s wellbeing in the three parishes, by ensuring:

A. The open character of this part of the Severn Vale landscape is retained.
B. Development and change reflects the identity of existing settlements and the area’s rural character.
C. The landscape is better protected from flooding and water runoff.
D. The local road network provides accessibility for all users without creating overwhelming traffic impacts and traffic congestion.

Objectives

This Plan reflects the vision and objectives of the wider area’s Joint Core Strategy and the Plan’s Vision is supported by the following objectives:

Support sound planning

Support and amplify planning policies for the three parishes, as set out in the area’s Joint Core Strategy and the Tewkesbury Borough Plan.

Maintain rural character

Safeguard the rural and agricultural character of the three parishes.

Maintain the valued openness of the landscape.

Reinforce the Green Belt status of land within the three parishes.

Reinforce the Tewkesbury Borough Plan’s Landscape Protection Zone in Norton.

The three parishes retain their rural identity and the locations do not become suburbanised in character or absorbed into suburban infrastructure and development.

Ensure that the rural features, character and openness of the A38 corridor are all maintained and not despoiled.

Ensure that modest new developments which are linked to Service Village status in Norton and in Twigworth reflect the identity of existing settlements and the area’s rural character.

Where a need for affordable local housing is demonstrated, planning and development is implemented according to the objectives and criteria set out in this Plan.

Flood protection and water management

Promote flood prevention through resisting developments which displace flood water onto nearby land.

Water management features will be integral to any new development and planned and installed as priority components.

Promote the use of agricultural land for water management

Natural environment

Important and valued landscape features, wildlife features and open spaces are protected, and efforts to improve them are supported.

A road network which is accessible, safe and environmentally sound

The area’s road network provides accessibility for all types of user.

The area’s road network does not degrade people’s quality of life through speeding traffic, congestion and pollution.

Vehicle traffic does not impede or endanger other road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.

Safety and accessibility is improved for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.

People needing community or public transport have better access to these services.

Local livelihoods

Support and endorsement is offered to measures which help:

-Rural and specialist economies which contribute to the wellbeing and character of the area, being enabled to flourish.

-Businesses which contribute to the wellbeing and character of the area, being enabled to flourish.

Vibrant and adaptive communities

Support and endorsement is offered to:

-Management and improvement of community buildings, venues, and meeting places which help meet the needs of the community

-Management and improvement of open spaces, and natural assets of the area which are important and valued.

-New or additional services and facilities which help to meet identified needs of local people and which conform to planning and environmental conditions set out in the NDP.

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Neighbourhood Development Plan
6 March workshop, Norton Village Hall, 7.15-9.30pm
Flood and water management & Traffic and Transport

Everyone is welcome to this NDP workshop. It will be a chance to hear early progress with the Neighbourhood Development Plan and to discuss the above two topics. The meeting will be run so everyone can be involved and have a say, or just listen to the briefings and discussion – you do not need any special skills. Tea/coffee will be provided

7.15pm
Progress briefing on the NDP work so far
Update on the Joint Core Strategy
Update on the Tewkesbury Local Plan
Briefing on housing applications affecting the 3 parishes
What does all this mean for our Neighbourhood Development Plan?
7.45pm: Flood and water management
Briefing on the evidence collected to date
Briefing on main messages from the consultancy work on this topic
Discussion on implications of evidence and consultancy work
Identify next steps for NDP work on this topic
8.30pm: Traffic and transport
Briefing on the evidence collected to date
Briefing on the consultancy work on this topic
Discussion on implications of evidence and consultancy work
Identify next steps for NDP work on this topic
9.15pm: Announcements on other NDP activity and next events
AOB

Letter sent to Borough and City Councils regarding flood concerns and plans

To:
JCS Steering Group
Chief Executive, TBC: Mike Dawson
Chief Executive, GCC: Julian Wain
Chief Executive, CBC: Andrew North

cc:
Laurence Robertson MP
Councilor Bill Whelan
Councillor Phil Awford

From:
Chair of Down Hatherley Parish Council, David Joy
Chair of Innsworth Parish Council, Pat Austin
Chair of Longford Parish Council, Pete Gough
Chair of Norton Parish Council, Geoff Pollard
Chair of Sandhurst Parish Council, Rob Davies
Chair of Twigworth Parish Council, George Sharpley

JCS Draft – Flooding in area A1 Innsworth and Twigworth

As Parish Council Chairs in and around area A1 of the draft JCS, we write to express our grave concerns about flooding in this area.

Ongoing floods and their pervasive affects
Many objections to this site have already been made, and both national and local media have challenged the logic of major development in this flood-prone area. The arguments are far from parochial in nature, as people can see that flooding and water run-off are not site-specific. Development and major infrastructure in this location will exacerbate existing flooding and waterlogging, and the displaced water is likely to create new tracts of flooding across nearby communities.

The current flooding is not a one-off, it follows several previous episodes since the 2007 flood. The dislodged jet stream is a key reason for the prolonged wet and stormy episodes we are now seeing, and this is not just a winter feature.

Facing the evidence before us
The JCS decisions should focus on robust evidence. Nature is providing very robust and worrying evidence at present, with floods and super-saturated ground across and abutting the draft A1 area. The consequences are readily apparent: roads have been closed, transport disrupted, schools shut, people distressed, and businesses suffering.

The claims from developers about permeable surfaces are inevitably ambitious. Such claims and pledges should not constitute sound evidence. In addition, models of flood forecasting are not actual evidence, they are abstract. Reality on the ground which people see and experience is the tangible evidence which should be informing your decisions.

Major risks
Avoidance of risk should also be informing your decisions. The risks here are ominous – they are environmental, social and financial for the immediate and surrounding areas. Holistic planning, including working with nature in flood plains, is something we appreciate and endorse, and three of our Parishes will address this in our emerging Neighbourhood Development Plan. However, major infrastructure as suggested by the A1 proposals, is counter to such planning and wise land use.

As voices of our communities, we stress to you that the scale of risk we all face is not something we can tolerate. In the strongest possible terms, we request you revise your approach on the JCS, and omit area A1.

Yours sincerely

Chair of Down Hatherley Parish Council, David Joy
Chair of Innsworth Parish Council, Pat Austin
Chair of Longford Parish Council, Pete Gough
Chair of Norton Parish Council, Geoff Pollard
Chair of Sandhurst Parish Council, Rob Davies
Chair of Twigworth Parish Council, George Sharpley

and watch out for our new facebook page

Neighbourhood development plan update 27 November 2013

Three parishes unite to plan their future

Neighbourhood Development Plan for
Down Hatherley, Norton & Twigworth

The three parishes of Down Hatherley, Norton and Twigworth have joined forces to prepare a Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP). Representatives from the three Parish Councils have formed a steering group for the Plan, along with volunteers among local residents.

Down Hatherley, Norton and Twigworth are adjacent parishes all with a distinct rural character. They enjoy close links with nearby settlements, especially Tewkesbury and Gloucester, and they are affected by the transport and development pressures resulting from these and other nearby centres.

The three parishes’ Plan will identify what matters about the environment and quality of life in the area, and set out how other plans and policies should take note. It will also steer and influence any future changes which do take place within the three parishes.

The area’s sensitive environment

The river Severn and local streams are major features affecting the three Parishes. Flooding has occurred in recent years at a much greater frequency than official models predicted. Stringent safeguards on flood water are likely to be a core theme in the three parishes’ Plan.

Challenges for the Plan

The three parishes’ Plan is being prepared while other important plans are also being devised. The Joint Core Strategy will allocate housing and development generally across the districts of Cheltenham, Gloucester and Tewkesbury. The separate Tewkesbury Borough Plan, which will be more detailed, is also being prepared to update Tewkesbury’s planning policies. The JCS and the Tewkesbury Borough Plan will be finalised later in 2014. By preparing a Neighbourhood Development Plan the three parishes will have the best chance to influence the Joint Core Strategy and to make positive links with the Tewkesbury Borough Plan.

Funds and resources

Funds to help prepare the Plan have been secured from planning organisation Locality, as well as from Tewkesbury Borough Council. The steering group are undertaking much themselves to compile the Plan and to run events with local people. Funds will be used to deploy consultants who can offer expertise in specific areas to give the Plan more weight and influence.

Timescale and tasks

Through the autumn of 2013 the steering group has identified the main topics for the Plan to address and has benefited from introductory advice from Gloucestershire Rural Community Council. A public workshop has already been held to assess existing proposals affecting the area and how the three parishes could influence these in the Neighbourhood Development Plan.

As well as using specialist consultants, the Plan will take shape after a range of meetings, workshops and possibly some surveys during the first half of 2014. These exercises will consider the pressures on the area, its range of assets to be protected and enhanced, and the opportunities for the area to achieve more potential without compromising people’s quality of life. The draft and then the final Neighbourhood Development Plan will come together during the summer and early autumn of 2014.

Communication

Both the public and local organisations, stakeholders and residents will be briefed on progress and on forthcoming events through newsletters, emails and on the Down Hatherley and the Norton village web sites:
www.down-hatherley-village.moonfruit.com
www.nortonglos.btck.co.uk

For further information
David Joy
davidjoy99@hotmail.com

Update 1 October 2013

Neighbourhood Development Plan for
Down Hatherley, Norton & Twigworth

What’s happening: The three parishes of Down Hatherley, Norton and Twigworth have got together to prepare a Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP). Representatives from the three Parish Councils along with some local residents have formed a steering group to oversee this. Some modest funds have been secured and bodies like Gloucestershire Rural Community Council are advising us. Everyone will be kept informed of progress and we will make sure that everyone has the chance to consider and influence the draft Neighbourhood Development Plan when it is ready in 2014.

Why all these plans - and where ours fits in? Two major plans are being prepared which will influence new housing, development and traffic in the area. The Joint Core Strategy will allocate housing and development generally across the districts of Cheltenham, Gloucester and Tewkesbury. The separate Tewkesbury Borough Plan, which will be more detailed, is also being prepared because Tewkesbury’s Plan needs updating. The JCS and the Tewkesbury Borough Plan will be finalised later in 2014. The current planning regime, especially the Localism Act, allows for Neighbourhood Development Plans to be produced. By preparing a Neighbourhood Development Plan we have the best chance to influence the Joint Core Strategy and to link and add detail to the Tewkesbury Borough Plan. Our NDP could also influence other policies and plans which affect this area in the future, so it is a chance for us to say what matters about the environment and quality of life in this area, and how we think other plans and policies should take note.

Preparing our Neighbourhood Development Plan
We need to keep step with the timetable of the JCS and the Tewkesbury Borough Plan to influence them as best we can and to be in line with their emerging policies. During 2014 we will assemble evidence and then develop our own ideas on the pressures and the opportunities for this area, especially covering major planning issues such as housing, Green Belt, flood and water management, traffic, and the character of our buildings and our landscape that we wish to see protected and reflected in any changes. This will mean several meetings, workshops, and specific groups of people tackling these different topics, and we will bring them together for the draft and then the final Neighbourhood Development Plan during the summer and early autumn of 2014.

Would you like to help?
We’d welcome additional help from anyone in the three parishes.
Your input could be in the form of…

- Participating in meetings. These will be run so everyone can be involved – you don’t need any specific knowledge or experience.

- Contributing to tasks on the major issues for the Neighbourhood Development plan.

- Helping us keep organised, such as maintain an email list, distribute newsletters.

- Prepare refreshments for meetings!

Keeping in touch
We will keep everyone posted on progress by newsletters, emails and on the Down Hatherley and the Norton village web sites:
www.down-hatherley-village.moonfruit.com
www.nortonglos.btck.co.uk

Forthcoming meetings
During November we will hold at least one workshop to scope out our early work, and to consider how we should respond to the consultation on the Joint Core Strategy. Anyone is welcome to this event on
14 November, 7pm - 9.30pm, Norton Village Hall.

If you’d like to help, or want updates on progress please email or phone David Joy:
davidjoy99@hotmail.com
01452 731732