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Be Involved Blog

 

Bleadon Be Involved Blog is for anyone who would like to raise an issue about, affecting or concerning Bleadon Parish Area. Please send your information for a new blog item to us using the normal contact us page and we will add it as soon as possible then anyone can add comments to it. These comments can be made in your name or anonomously but we reserve the right to take down anything we consider inappropriate or likely to offend.

 

You may be interested in other Bleadon BOB pages: Parish Council , Parish Council Precept , Parish Plan and Issues. Also remember that historical posts can be viewed by selecting the drop down menu at the top of the blog home page. More Blogs on Whats New, Neighbourhood Watch, Events and Classified/Lost and Found. Also see new Action Group page

 

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Extra-ordinary meetings indeed

Posted on 24th December, 2017

 

It seems that the pantomime (or is it a farce) came early to Bleadon this year with BPC calling three meetings in one month, leading to four resignations offered … oh yes they did ... , oh no they didn't ..., oh yes they did.

 

More information is available but, in summary, we now have: 

5 parish councillors, after

4 resignations offered (Cllrs Hartree, Dobson and Strong & the Clerk), at

3 council meetings, leading to

2 confirmed resignations (Cllr Strong & the Clerk), leaving

1 council in disarray!!

.. not one partridge or a pear tree in sight, although BPC did finally get around to ordering a Xmas tree.

 

Be assured that BOB will continue to ask BPC to be open, honest and transparent in its actions and to ask them publish timely, accurate and accessible documentation to support their decision making process. We'll all have to wait and see what else the New Year brings (apart from the recently agreed 13% increase in BPC precept and who knows, even perhaps a Neighbourhood Plan).

 

Have a great Christmas, Chris & Jo

 

-----

 

BACKGROUND NOTES

 

At the beginning of November Cllr Hartree resigned as Chair (for the second time since his co-option Sept 15), the new Clerk resigned after 7 months (the fourth clerk resignation in three years) and Cllr Dobson offered his resignation (for the second time, after 6 months) (Min 301.26.4). By mid-November Cllr Hartree was again Chair (Min 302., Cllr Dobson had withdrawn his resignation but the Clerk unfortunately stuck to her word and had resigned (Min 302.8). This was all on top of various rumours of discord amongst councilors. By the beginning of December Cllr Strong had resigned (after 8 months) with reference to BPC's secret meetings, bullying and lack of transparency, these comments were not however minuted. (Min 303.6)

 

What is going on?

 

For the best local governance Councillors should be elected by members of the public. This process happens every four years with all BPC councilors up for election in 2019. In the interim BPC councillors can choose who to co-opt onto the council (as seen last month), and can also refuse to accept those that they do not feel would represent residents or compliment their BPC role and views (as seen in previous BPC minutes). Unfortunately, co-option can lead to reduced representation of residents, without diverse views and opinions being discussed or represented (e.g. the exclusion of residents concerns and views via BOB for over a year, until at least Feb 2018).

 

BPC seem unclear on their duties and powers, needing to result to legal advice (Min 301.10) discovering that “The Council cannot request any office holder to vacate office” and that if they submit a vote of no confidence to the Clerk they have “no authority to act” on the proposal. NB Councillors should be elected/not elected by residents via a democratic vote. BPC then proceeded to agree to exclude but then include an amendment to the BPC Standing Orders, perhaps we’ll find out if/when they publicly publish the documentation (Min 302.9). BOB will continue to ask BPC to state and clarify their powers, duties, roles and responsibilities.

 

BPC have informed residents many times that “the only opportunity during the meeting to speak regarding items on the agenda” (Min 296.4) is at the start of the meeting and that “it must be remembered that these are not public meetings, but are meetings which are held in public” (Min 295.2). This means that residents cannot interact with councilors in BPC meetings to clarify information and/or misinformation being discussed. The Chair/councilors can choose at their discretion to “suspend standing orders to allow further public participation” but they can also choose not to allow public discussion/interaction if they do not want to openly discuss a particular issue.

 

Currently BPC seems to be delegating to the closed Management Working Group, which in itself is not a problem except that its Terms of Reference, membership, decision making processes, etc. are undeclared and unminuted. This means that residents do not know who is influencing the decision making processes, when or how e.g. the undeclared projects (Min 301.14) including the Neighbourhood Plan.

 

NB Government guidance states "The relationship between any group and the formal functions of the town or parish council should be transparent to the wider public ... The terms of reference for a steering group or other body should be published and the minutes of meetings made available to the public". From recent minutes it's not clear whether we now have a Steering Group and another Working Group, none of these groups have published Terms of Reference or membership e.g. whether the influtential groups contain householders, landowners, developers, etc.

 

Also, rather that holding announced two-way public discussion meetings BPC seem to be using the village market as a means of unannounced consultation with residents, as indicated by councilors referring to Road Safety on the A370 (Min 302.8) and the Neighbourhood Plan. “A Parishioner [not BOB] asked which meeting a request to discuss the Neighbourhood Plan in the public session should be addressed. The Chairman highlighted it should be addressed to the Planning Committee Meeting Agenda” (Min 302.7). The day after submitting the request BPC informed the resident that it had cancelled the Monday Planning sub-committee meeting “due to the lack of planning applications to be considered”, with no further planning date announced. Why is a Neighbourhood Development Plan discussion subordinate/dependent upon ad hoc developer’s application to NSC?

 

BPC's preference for a closed and unminuted approach to their public duties was again confirmed in Cllr Strong's resignation statement with her reference to BPC's secret meetings, bullying and lack of transparency (these comments were not however minuted).

 

Hopefully the pantomime will finish at the end of the Christmas season but be assured that BOB will continue to ask BPC to be open, honest and transparent in its actions and to ask them publish timely, accurate and accessible documentation to support their decision making process.

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

BELOW is email correspondence regarding Cllr. Strong public resignation statement and Cllr. Chinn reponse.

 

From: Bleadon BOB Community Website <bleadon@live.co.uk>

Sent: 13 February 2018 03:51

To: Bleadon Parish Clerk

Subject: Re: Publicly available response

 

Dear [BPC Interim Clerk],

 

Apologies for my delay in reply due to other circumstances but many belated thanks, a very interesting response considering BPC's approach to access to information over the last few years, hopefully access to crucial decision making information will now finally be accessible.

 

Please can you therefore send us, or point us to the place on the BPC website where all the Terms of Reference, Membership, Agenda and Minutes for all the working group meetings and sub-committees can be found, including those referred to by Cllr Chinn?

 

You may recall all the Parish Plan working and steering groups documentation was originally hosted on the BPC website (quite rightly), so it follows that residents would expect to also see similar documentation for ALL BPC working groups, that by Cllr. Chinn's statement, seem to clearly influence and steer BPC full council's decisions for the strategic direction, resourcing and finance of Bleadon. 

 

For example, as far as we are aware there is no publicly accessible information on the Council's proposed Neighbourhood (Development) Plan despite being asked several times in June/July 2017 when the BPC project started. We have previously asked for ALL information on the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group and Management Working Group(s) to be made available to the public from their inception, not just that produced from now onwards. This is particularly important as BPC's consultation strategy seems based on presumption that all of the Bleadon electorate (1000+ residents) attend the market, a local social interest group and/or BPC meeting (where the average attendance is less than 10 residents) which is clearly false. It has been noted that the whole of Bleadon Parish was asked about a Parish Plan, yet the NDP process appears to only be asking a subset of residents, why? BPC ultimately, incorrectly and inappropriately ignored the adopted Parish Plan and so many residents became disengaged; the secretive BPC approach to communication as voiced by Cllr Strong to date has not improved the situation, has not been inclusive and is not democratic.

 

People with extensive government experience, including us, know that public representatives should act in a fully open, honest and transparent manner in relation to their decision making and that also includes the parties involved in that decision making process, especially if they want public support. Unfortunately despite BPC stating that information is available, our requests for resident access to it have been deemed vexatious for over a year and ultimately the public still have had no access or information.

 

With this current BPC statement in mind we therefore look forward to this situation being rectified and prompt access to the documentation and information given accordingly to all via the BPC website. As recommended for ALL Parish Councils by the Information Commissioners Office 'Model Publication Scheme'.

 

Kind regards,
Chris Butler
twitter: @bleadon
facebook: BleadonBOB

 


From: Parish Clerk <parishclerk@bleadonparishcouncil.co.uk>

Sent: 24 January 2018 09:39

To: 'Bleadon BOB Community Website'

Subject: RE: Publicly available response

 

This is the statement made by Cllr Chinn at the last meeting.

 

Comments were made at the Parish Council meeting in December 2017 that require a response.

 

The comments related to:

 

Meetings

 

Decision making

 

Failure to utilise the local knowledge of long standing Councillors

 

The operation of the Council is not transparent to the public

 

Bleadon Parish Council holds regular public monthly meetings. Parish Council Committees also meet on a less regular basis. All meetings are subject to the setting of an Agenda which is publicised on the Council website, noticeboards and some village social media, in advance of the meeting. “The Parish Council welcomes and encourages public participation during a part of the meeting specified for that purpose. In order for the Parish Council to provide a full response where appropriate, a member of the public may only speak if prior notification has been given to the Clerk by noon on the Friday preceding the meeting. However, the Chairman has discretion to allow members of the public to speak without prior notification, if felt appropriate”.

 

This invitation is printed on all Agendas so that members of the public know ahead of the meeting how to bring questions. It is my experience, that the Chairman always allows discretion at each meeting to allow questions not previously notified. Furthermore, the Chairman frequently allows for a suspension of standing orders to allow for public comment and participation after the public session has ceased. Members of the public have a time limit to speak during the allotted section of the meeting of three minutes. Again, the Chairman is usually happy to allow more time than standing orders permits. This is in the interest of public inclusion and participation.

 

The meetings are all minuted and these minutes made available to the public for them to see what has been on the Agenda, discussed and agreed upon. The public can view the Minutes on the Council website or request a copy by email or mail. 

 

There are some areas of Parish Council business that are not open to the public at meetings. They form part of the agenda. Examples of such business are:

 

Discussions connected with employees of the Parish Council. Discussions connected with Confidential matters.

 

Councillors do meet outside of public meetings to work on specific projects or matters affecting the Parish, District and National matters, either in pairs or larger groups. They report back to committees or full Parish Council. Such meetings can involve just Councillors, members of the public, local businesses and professional advisors. Any recommendations that require Parish Council or committee decisions are taken back to those bodies.

 

Some examples are:

 

A group which meets with management representatives of a local business - Marshalls, Bridge Road, Bleadon. The review of  planning applications and to make some site visits ahead of planning committee or full Council meetings. To review publicly available consultation documentation upon which the Parish Council has been required to comment. Working groups to research subjects and to bring recommendations and proposals to committees or full Council meetings. E.g Neighbourhood Plan Attending advisory sessions arranged by the District Council or ALCA to provide training, specialist knowledge and briefings. Councillors then bring that information to committee and full Council meetings to advise before any decisions are made. These Committee and full Council meetings are publicly advertised, publicly open and minuted. Visits by Councillors who attend locations for fact finding and inspections. Examples include Access to footpaths and conditions of gates, stiles or stairways. Verification of unauthorised planning activity in support of referral to the relevant authority.  General reporting of matters affecting the Parish which come under the responsibility of other agencies or District Council departments. Confidential meetings – Examples can include a) short listing of job applicants; b) Councillor or Staff welfare or personal matters. Councillors can be pre-authorised by decisions made by full Council when attending meetings An example would include site visits at the Church Yard when work was needed on the crumbling wall.

 

In respect or taking into consideration Councillor’s  local knowledge, there are currently  two eminent Parish Council members who have many years living and working in the village. The remaining Councillors may have limited time as residents in the Parish but they have come forward in answer to public appeals of assistance to help as Parish Councillors. When decisions are made at Committee or full Council meetings, all Councillors present at the meetings provide guidance and points of view irrespective of their background. Members of the public also contribute either directly to Parish Clerk or Councillors before or at the meetings. All views are taken into consideration when decisions are made.

 

The Parish Council does acknowledge that the website should have better content. This would assist in improving the public view that more information should be made available.

 

The Parish Council also provides information during the year in a free magazine called the Village News. This media also has contribution from parishioners, local groups and businesses.

 

The Parish Council should have an operating strength of nine Councillors, in order to carry out the work needed by the Parish. Currently there are only five. This means that the Councillors have to undertake a greater responsibility each to try and keep on top of Council business. We do our very best under difficult pressures. We seek to become knowledgeable in the various aspects that affect the community and Parish. We do take into consideration advice and comments from Parishioners and groups that meet in the village and other agencies such as Police, District and neighbouring Parish Councils. Councillors have regularly attended the monthly village market to canvass views and pass on information.

 

During the course of each month Councillors make contact by email, telephone and personal visits in pursuit of these activities. The Chairman Steve Hartree reminds us that such contact is acceptable but that any decision making will be made by committee or full Parish Council. The Chairman has extensive experience in local Government and is the best person currently to lead the Parish Council. He is devoted to the Parish. He has my full support.

 

Regards

 

Interim Parish Clerk

Bleadon Parish Council

Coronation Hall

Coronation Road

Bleadon

BS24 0PG

 

Email:  parishclerk@bleadonparishcouncil.co.uk

 

Tel: 07453 358 318

 

Website: www.bleadonparishcouncil.co.uk

 

 

This e-mail and any files transmitted with it are intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. It may contain unclassified but sensitive or protectively marked material and should be handled accordingly. Unless you are the named addressee (or authorised to receive it for the addressee) you may not copy or use it, or disclose it to anyone else. If you have received this transmission in error please notify the sender immediately.

 

 

From: Bleadon BOB Community Website [mailto:bleadon@live.co.uk] 

Sent: 23 January 2018 19:24

To: parishclerk@bleadonparishcouncil.co.uk

Subject: Publicly available response

 

Hi [BPC Interim Clerk],

 

As per the BPC January minute 304.6, please can you send me a copy of the publicly available response given by Cllr Chinn to Cllr Strong's resignation statements.

 

Kind regards,

 

Chris Butler

twitter: @bleadon

facebook: BleadonBOB

 

 

BPC, NDP and BOB ...

Posted on 11th December, 2017

 

As another year of actively campaigning for access to public information draws to an end BOB would like to clarify a few things regarding the rumours about Bleadon Parish Council's duties, powers & responsibilities, both in general and more topicly in relation to the Neighbourhood Development Plan, and BOB's view of them.

 

It would help if people keep the following in mind when reading any correspondence from BPC and/or BOB:
  • BPC is residents' elected/co-opted representative and Statutory Consultee. In order to carry out these roles they need to actively communicate and engage with all residents, including access to documented information. The Government has produced best practice guidance documents and model advice to advise all councils how best to do this, which BOB is asking BPC to follow and deliver.
  • Government has reiterated, especially in relation to the NDP process, "The relationship between any group and the formal functions of the town or parish council should be transparent to the wider public ... The terms of reference for a steering group or other body should be published and the minutes of meetings made available to the public" (e.g. BPC Management Working Group, Steering Group, etc.).
  • On average, 97% of residents do not regularly attend BPC meetings. This makes access to documented information regarding councillors' actions and decisions, taken on behalf of residents, essential if BPC truly want to represent residents.
  • BPC demand an annual precept, stated to be £44k (an increase of over 13%) for 2018/19. Access to information is required for the public to understand how this is being spent on their behalf whether through the purchase of assets or employing staff, etc. Also, whether money is coming from precept or reserves, and why.
  • Residents are aware of how, at times, BPC negatively speak about each other and the public, and so some people ask BOB to raise their concerns and questions indirectly. In response BPC has invoked a policy stating they will not answer any communications from residents via BOB for over a year, until Feb 2018. Therefore BPC has a communication issue with all concerned residents, not just BOB.
  • BPC started the NDP process in July 17, yet there is no publicly accessible information. BPC "look to hold" the first public discussion meeting "early next year", i.e. 6 months after the project began. They are currently discussing whether to take money from BPC financial reserves to start financing a NDP, without any NDP costs yet being publicly declared.
BOB is not asking for any special treatment. BOB has been asking for many years, on behalf of residents, for BPC to be open, honest and transparent in its actions and decision making (Nolan Principles of public office); asking for simple access to timely and accurate public information; and for BPC to hold interactive public meetings on large projects such as NDP. BOB has been asking BPC to actively communicate and engage with all residents not just a select chosen few..

 

So, to reiterate, BOB is not necessarily against a Neighbourhood Plan but with no/little publicly accessible information from BPC, nor its aims or its decision making processes, it will be very difficult for residents to make any informed decisions of their own on the matter.

 

To help clarify information on the NDP we have been collating a variety of information as summarised on the BOB Neighbourhood Planning and Planning Policies pages. Also Public Representation.

Are the Bright Quarry Lights a Problem to You?

Posted on 11th December, 2017

 

Quarry Lights at Night 3 Dec 17

 

Please see below a message BOB received regarding the very bright Quarry lights affecting our wonderful dark skies:

"I have contacted North Somerset Council about this issue with the quarry lights and have today received a call from a local environmental officer. It seems there's little we can do ourselves as the legal position seems to be based around intrusive light into the home. As we in our location ... don't have these terrible lights beaming directly into our house then our hands are tied somewhat. Do you know if anyone else in the village nearer to the quarry has raised the issue? If so, if we can get further calls into NSC to complain then I think there's a decent chance of getting a result based on what I've been told today."

These lights can also affect our wildlife like Bats too, so is your environment/home/garden adversely affected at all by the bright quarry lights and if so, would you be willing to complain to NSC directly or alternatively, for BOB to pass on your name and details to be contacted with further details?

 

Residents in the immediately vicinity have already started to respond to NSC but would like your support, so please reply and I will pass on the message as appropriate, it would also be very helpful if you could also inform your friends and neighbours too.

 

-------------- Further related information below --------------

 

BOB 08/12/2017 email to NSC Development and Environment Department:

 

We have been passed your contact details with regard to the above issue.

 

As you maybe aware many Bleadon residents have noticed that the Bridge Road, Bleadon (Marshalls) Quarry 'yard lights' are now very much noticeably brighter, possibly because they have been 'upgraded' to LED lamps. Apart from the increased intrusive 'light pollution' into neighbouring properties (I understand some residents have already made complaints), and the loss of our valued 'dark skies', many other Bleadon nature lovers are also concerned about the effect on wildlife, particularly nocturnal mammals like Bats.

 

We believe that the Quarry is within a known feeding habitat range of legally protected species of Bats. See http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/protectedsites/sacselection/sac.asp?EUCode=UK0030052

 

Also see attached information from Bat Conservation Trust and according to North Somerset Council Local Plan (Core Strategy) Development Management Policy DM8 "Development proposals should ensure that, where appropriate, provision is made for: any lighting scheme to avoid adverse impacts on light averse wildlife"

 

Please can you confirm that the original quarry lighting scheme was approved under relevant past and present NSC Local Plan policies and also if the Quarry lighting 'system' has subsequently been upgraded or changed, and whether this should also need NSC approval?

 

If this is not a responsibility or concern of Environmental Protection, please can you forward/advise to whom this should be referred E.g: Planning Policy Enforcement or perhaps another relevant NSC or public service department?

For reference: North Somerset Council Local Plan (Core Strategy) Development Management Policy DM8 is here https://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Sites-and-Policies-Plan-Part-1-Development-Management-Policies-July-2016.pdf

 

 

Below is information received from Bat Conservation Trust.

 

Thank you for contacting the Bat Conservation Trust about bats and lighting. We are a small charity and regrettably cannot get involved in individual cases. We therefore rely on concerned residents like yourself to help us protect bats by bringing matters such as this to the attention of relevant authorities.

 

Bats are amazing animals that are important to ecosystems in the UK and worldwide. As natural roosting sites have become scarce so the number of artificial roost sites has increased in the form of houses, bridges, barns etc. We have 18 species of bat in the UK, all of which are protected under UK and European law such that it is illegal to damage, destroy or disturb any bats or roosts. A roost is defined as any place that a wild bat uses for shelter or protection, and the roost is protected whether bats are present in it or not. The ‘Supporting Legislation’ section in ‘The planning system’ leaflet attached provides a more in-depth overview of bats and the legal system.

 

Bats and lighting

 

Bats are nocturnal animals that have adapted to low light conditions. Therefore the artificial lighting of bat roosts, access points and foraging pathways can be disturbing to bats and should always be avoided as much as possible. Artificial light falling on or close to a bat roost can delay or prevent the bats’ emergence, resulting in reduced foraging time and missing the peak time of insect abundance (just after dusk). As all bats in the UK feed on insects this missed opportunity can have a serious impact on their survival.

 

Artificial light falling onto roost access points can in some cases lead to bats abandoning the roost, which is likely to be considered a breach of legislation as both bats and their roosts are protected by law.

 

Artificial lighting has also been found to affect the feeding behaviour of bats away from the roost. Slower flying species (lesser horseshoe, greater horseshoe and the 6 Myotis species) avoid illuminated areas and therefore lose foraging grounds if they are lit. This results in slower flying species having to use poorer quality foraging sites and losing out on prey, which are attracted to the surrounding lit areas. Unfortunately these light-avoiding species include all of the UK’s rarest bat species. However, even our faster flying species recorded more widely (noctule, Leisler’s, serotine and pipistrelle bats) can be impacted by artificial lighting. Some may feed under streetlamps, as insects are attracted to the short wave length light they emit (UV), but suitable commuting and foraging routes have been shown to be avoided if there is artificial light spill onto these areas.

 

It is very important to take bats into account when planning to light an area they are known or suspected to use. There are a number of factors that will need to be considered under expert guidance, such as:

  • Which species are present?
  • How are they using the habitat – roosting, commuting, foraging, etc.?
  • What are the existing light levels?
  • Have the principles outlined in the attached lighting guidance been applied? (e.g. Minimising spread of light, considering height of lighting columns, using appropriate lighting sources, minimising amount of space and time lit, using fencing to protect dark areas etc.)

 

In the first instance we would recommend that the owner of the property is informed of the presence of bats and the potential for lighting to affect them. As bats and their roosts are protected by law if bats are known or suspected to roost in an area that needs to be illuminated a survey will need to be completed prior to work being carried out. The owner is welcome to contact our helpline on 0345 1300 228 for more information and help ensuring the bats are not affected.

 

If the council is involved (e.g. if planning permission is required) we would suggest that you contact the local council planning authorities and alert them to the presence of bats and the need for a survey before works proceed. The most effective way to contact your local authority is in writing, but we advise that you follow this up with a phone call to ensure your enquiry is on record. Where possible we would also encourage you to send the letter to the applicant making them aware of possible bat presence.

 

To ensure your letter is taken seriously we recommend you:

·         Don’t include hearsay or information you are unsure about.

·         Don’t include unsubstantiated criticism of the property owner, e.g. personal circumstances or character.

·         Don’t exaggerate your claims.

·         Don’t include information unrelated to the issue of the lighting.

·         Don’t make reference to the effect of the lighting on property values.

 

If your enquiry relates to pre-existing lighting you may be directed to Environmental Health (who deal with disturbance to people). In that case, you will need to make it clear that your enquiry relates to the impact on wildlife and needs to be directed to the appropriate person.

 

If you witness an offence being committed (e.g. bats being disturbed or a roost entrance being illuminated) please inform the Police Wildlife Crime Officer in your local area by calling 101 or calling the local Police Force directly, mentioning ‘Operation Bat’ and request an incident number. (If the Wildlife Crime Officer is not available it should not affect the reporting of the incident, please do so anyway). Please also report this incident along with the incident number obtained from the Police to the Bat Conservation Trust so we can follow this up. If you are aware of a licence breach in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland this should also be reported to the police in the same way. If the licence breach is in England however, then the matter should be reported to Natural England’s Wildlife Enforcement Specialist on 0300 060 1099.

 

The documents attached (Artificial Lighting WildlifeHelping to Protect Bats and Living with Bats) provide more information on bats and lighting in the UK. I also recommend visiting the lighting section of our website: http://www.bats.org.uk/pages/bats_and_lighting.html

You can also find information from our 2014 Artificial Light and Wildlife Symposium, including video clips of talks on our website: http://www.bats.org.uk/pages/artificial_light_and_wildlife_symposium_determining_solutions_for_practitioners.html

I hope this information is helpful for you. If you have any further questions please contact the National Bat Helpline on 0345 1300 228.

 

Kind regards,

Bat Advice Officer

 

Out of Hours project coordinator

 

Lot coordinator for East Midlands and Yorkshire

 

National Bat Helpline, Bat Conservation Trust, Quadrant House, 250 Kennington Lane, London SE11 5RD

Helpline: 0345 1300 228 - Please note that the helpline number has changed

Office (9am – 5:30pm): 020 7735 6663

Fax: 020 7820 7198

-----------------------------

Above response to email below from BOB 15/12/2017

I hope you can advise me, our local quarry (Marshalls in Bridge Road, Bleadon adjacent to South Hill SNCI) has recently changed it's 'yard' lights to LED and now, in the dark longer nights,  locals have noticed that they are now extremely bright and seemingly on 24/7. Some neighbours have already complained to North Somerset Council Environmental Protection due to the intrusion of light into their homes and some have complained about the affect on their astronomy hobbies.
However, my further concern is the effect on our wildlife. I know the quarry is located in a North Somerset and Mendip Bats SAC 5km 'bat habitat' consultation area, for any lighting scheme designs on 'new' developmentbut I also wondered if there was any legislation for existing development and management of the effect of their (new)lighting schemes? 
I have read http://www.bats.org.uk/pages/bats_and_lighting.html and North Somerset Council policy DM8 from https://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Sites-and-Policies-Plan-Part-1-Development-Management-Policies-July-2016.pdf but we would appreciate some further specialized guidance on who best to contact for 'pressure' in this regard to reduce/remove the light pollution and rectify the situation?

 

Public Consultations ending Jan 2018

Posted on 11th December, 2017

 

BPC are residents' Statutory Consultee and so are automatically informed of any consultations that may affect our community. Since April 2016, BPC decided to remove the Correspondence section from their published Agenda, so residents can no longer see who is requesting information and/or consultation from BPC on our/residents' behalf.

 

The following public consultations will be running over the Christmas and New Year period and are due to close in January 2018, is this deliberate?:

 

  • Bristol Airport Expansion consultation is open to the public 16 Nov 17 - 28 Jan 2018. Additional information can be seen on the Kingston Seymour Parish Council website. BOB can find no reference to this consultation in BPC published information, so is unsure whether BPC was requested to comment on our behalf.

     

 

  • The NSC Local Plan 2036 - Generating Ideas is open to public consultation from 21 Nov 2017 - 10 Jan 2018. BOB can find no reference to this consultation in BPC published information, so is unsure whether BPC was requested to comment on our behalf.

 

To see the relationship between some of the policies above see the Planning Policy Heirarchy page on BOB.

 

Celtic Way Stable to Dwelling Aerial Map

 

A new application on land adjacent to Rivermead, Purn Way, Bleadon. "Outline application for the erection of a single dwellinghouse and garage, with matters of access and layout to be considered. Matters of appearance, landscaping, and scale reserved for subsequent approval". Another application on a green field site outside the Settlement Boundary.

 

Comments deadline is 24 Oct 2017. Here is the link to the application 17/P/2278/O on North Somerset Council Planning website.

 

If you prefer to post your comments then the postal address is:  

North Somerset Council

Development Management

Post Point 15

Town Hall

Weston-super-Mare

BS23 1UJ 

If you do make comments on this BOB blog (below), please also make sure that they are made to, and appear on, the North Somerset website link as above. As otherwise they will be ignored by NSC.

 

Major Developments in and around Bleadon

Other Information

Link to Major Developments Map

 

Link to NSC Environmental Policies

 

 

The NSC Planning Application website states that the Consultation Expiry date for this application is 24 Oct 17 but BPC have just published their 9 Oct 17 minutes to residents on 21 Oct 27, stating: 

  • (Min 300.11) "It was agreed for the Clerk to contact North Somerset Council Planning Department, to inform them that the Parish Council has been unable to discuss the application at the meeting as relevant documentation was not placed onto the NSC Planning portal for Cllrs to review. The Clerk to request an extension to the submission dates to after the next parish council / planning committee meeting to allow Cllrs to review the application in detail"

Can the residents/public also have an extension, as they too could not access the information for the full consultation period? This shows the importance of timely public minutes as the majority of non-attending residents will only just be receiving this information and may want to comment.

 

 

 

Caravan Expansion Approved

Posted on 22nd October, 2017

 

Touring Caravans

 

The applicant originally put in a high number of units, 90, then subsequently reduced the number to 40, and NSC Granted Consent on 20 Oct 17. See BOB for previous site information.

 

BPC published their 9 Oct 17 minutes to residents on 20 Oct 17, the same day as NSC had granted consent to the application, stating: "It was agreed that the initial decision and comments of no objection to the planning application  ...  still stands" (Min 300.13). This shows the importance of timely public minutes as the majority of non-attending residents will only just be receiving these disappointing BPC and NSC decisions.

 

The application for an expansion of 40no. static and touring caravans to the existing site was still on a green field site, outside the Settlement Boundary, affecting a Site of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI) and contrary to residents' views as indicated in the 2009-2029 Parish Plan; so residents would have expected BPC to have 'objected' or at least stated why it was not objecting.

 

NSC's Delegated Report makes reference to "Reasons for Over-riding comments from Bleadon Parish Council" regarding their comment that " the developer should contribute to the general improvement of traffic issues likely to be caused by the development, particularly at the junction of the A370". How does this now affect any traffic improvements in Bleadon in that area, especially as the Wake Park S106 payment for traffic improvements was asked to be delayed

 

The report also makes reference to transport and parking; and 'A5 Bleadon Moor', anyone heard of this before? 

 

Although the NSC Delegated Report makes reference to the 'pond' it doesn't mention the fact that its own designated SNCI seems to have disappeared with no public disussion or consultation, even though this issue was raised during the consultation and asked of BPC and NSC last year, 2016, when pond works were being undertaken (which was initially highlighted by a BPC Councillor, supplemented by photos from BOB as seen on the original wildlife blog?) The Site History section of the report indicated from the applicant that "this area comprised a pond for many years." The collated correspondence on this site from September 2016, but not yet answered, can be seen here.

 

See Google Maps Satellite Imagery of the site before it was a pond (apparently last updated by Google August 2016). It can clearly be seen as an 'inlet' from the River Axe, which was said to be from ancient times when the River Axe was navigable to Glastonbury and then silted and overgrown over the years and used as a haven for wildlife. Hence presume its NSC designation as a SNCI. The 'withies' site certainly looks very different now as a 'balancing pond' for housing development!

 

So it seems that the apparent destruction of this Site of Nature & Conservation Interest is not important enough for NSC or BPC to protect or explain to residents. What was the purpose of this SNCI, was it to provide a marshy habitat to wildlife, if so, why is it not being reinstated? The SNCI is still visible on NSC online mapping, but if it was removed, what was the reason? Whatever the reason it seems that it has been destroyed and has been currently replaced by a commercial balancing pond, plumbed straight into the River Axe.

 

The reason we feel SNCI and PROW issues are important is that if residents are going to try and protect and defend our rural environment, identity and community on environmental issues (one of the three sustainability strands the others being economic and social) NSC/BPC need to support their own policies and not allow economic/commercial/tourism development to take priority on these sites. Other sites that are 'protected' by environmental policies include:

  • South Hill - SNCI with PROWs (PROWs have previously been re-directed and a route lost with little/no complaint from BPC/NSC)
  • Purn Hill - SNCI, SSSI PROWs, Wildlife Trust
  • Hellenge - AONB, SSSI, SNCI and PROWs, Wildlife Trust
  • Shiplate Slate SNCI, SSSI, ANOB
  • Coombe Farm - SNCI
  • Bleadon Hill Fields - SNCI

SNCI Before balancing pond

Aug 16

During Pond Construction & connection to River Axe

Nov 16

Afterwards/Now Oct 17

Googlemap of Purn Caravan SNCI Aug 16

 

Link to Purn caravan construction of pond

 

Balancing Pond Photo submitted to application by Developer

Link to NSC Purn Caravan SNCI

Pond to River Axe Construction Nov 16

Link to NSC Purn Caravan SNCI

School and 250 Houses Planned - Update

Posted on 6th September, 2017

UPDATE 21 Nov 17 - It seems the developer has being trying for sometime to get this site (2+? fields) included in the NSC SAP list of suitable sites for approved development and shows the importance of consistency needed in dealing with ALL planning applications by BPC/NSC. See the developer's letter in relation to the Sites Allocation Plan (SAP) Modification consultation during 18 Sep - 30 Oct 2017. All responses can be found on the NSC consultation page including BPC's response.

 

UPDATE 17 Nov 17 - Revised proposal received from Sutherlands Plc

 

NB: Residents have asked us to reiterate their previous comment below including it would be worth everyone who wants to, commenting back to Amanda Sutherland, and the developers, with the same objections as before.  Just to reinforce the point and make it clear to the developers how unhappy everyone is.  Also inform North Somerset elfan.ap.rees@n-somerset.gov.ukterry.porter@n-somerset.gov.uk

 

Updated proposal for Bridge/Bleadon Road fields

 

Email from Amanda Sutherland 17 Nov 17. NB Sutherland's. NB The resident petition of over 500 signatures has been ignored in favour of other feedback/comments made directly to them that they have not yet shared. (Sutherlands did previously say they would share them with our Parish Council. However, BPC appear to have withdrawn from the informal public consultation process at present as the email appears not to have been copied to them). NB: Just because a health centre is proposed and potentially granted, it does not mean the government (NHS) will support and fund it. It is possible to end up with the houses but no facilities as has happened with other housing developments.

 

"Dear All

 

Following the well attended community consultation event at the Parish Hall, we have received over a hundred sets of comment and feedback about our proposed redevelopment scheme.

 

Although the key matter raised was a refusal in principle to see growth in the village, there were some other more proposal specific comments and we have had a substantive rethink of the scheme.

 

We had considered that the provision of a school in the village to meet an already identified need would be a positive contribution to the community through close provision and the opportunities for shared community sport facilities. However, there was only one supporter of this approach. The majority of residents do not want a local school as it would mean they lose the choice to place their children out of county in what are perceived as better schools than those available within the North Somerset catchment.This was a surprise to us.

 

However, what residents did want to see if development goes ahead are;

- highways improvements to the main A road accesses

- highways safety and improved bus services to the village

- a health centre / doctor surgery

- a local shop that stays open longer hours than the current farm shop in the village

 

As a result, we have significantly redrawn the proposed scheme, reducing it in size, removing the proposed school and adding health centre, shops and offices for start up businesses. The scheme will have a reduced housing number and the highway arrangement will link through the village providing a safe alternative to existing access ways. Although further detail of the revised scheme will need to be considered, we felt it would be useful to gain feedback from the community as to the principle revision = removing the school, reducing the scheme size and introducing health centre / shops and office space.

 

I attach a draft of the revised proposal for your review. As before, please send any comments you have to admin@sutherlandpls.com. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

 

kind regards 

 

Amanda Sutherland LLb(Hons) PG Dip LPC"

--------------------------------------------------- 

 Original School & 250 houses Proposal below

Bleadon/Bridge Road Proposed School/Housing

 

Housing Development Open Day

 

NEW DEVELOPMENT PLANNED COME AND HAVE YOUR SAY We are proposing providing a primary school for the Village and a large scale residential scheme of up to 250 houses to facilitate it. OPEN DAY WEDNESDAY 13TH SEPTEMBER 2017 at Jubilee Hall, Bleadon 11am to 6pm We invite all members of the community to come along and find out more. There will be a feedback form available on the day, but if you are unable to attend and would like to know more, please contact us at admin@sutherlandpls.com

or use feedback form here (Word) (PDF)

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Who are Sutherland Property and Legal Services and Urban Design Practice ?

 

Although not currently on their agenda, you may also wish to attend Bleadon Parish Council meeting on 11 September to make your views known. BPC is aware of BOB's initial comments. Other site information includes the Sanders Consultation (May 2011) in BVN89, and the Sites & Policies (SAP) Hearing (Apr 2017) and Supplementary Hearing (May 2017) documentation referring to this site as a school.

 

When making any feedback to the developer, please remember that these 'consultation' events are primarily an intelligence gathering exercise for the developer to see how well their proposal will be received and as a pre-cursor before making a final application to the planning authority. Information and views given by residents are often used to modify their application to make it more 'acceptable' to North Somerset, Bleadon Parish Council and/or residents. It is not unknown for comments to be selectively chosen and/or modified by developers to make residents feedback seem more positive, representative and supportive of the overall proposal which are then subsequently used in their final application submission (and even appeals after initial refusal). BOB has also been asked to circulate advice on commenting on consultations from someone who works in planning.

 

10 SEP 17  BOB asked BPC:

"... please can you publish/send a response to us as to what BPC understands will happen to the comments made by residents directly/indirectly to the developers? Will they subsequently be anonymously published to residents to discuss, like the last consultation; or are

comments for the developers 'eyes only' to support and improve their application to NSC?" No response received as yet.

Despite BPC's previous statements regarding the lack of a school being a concern for Bleadon residents (Dec 16 mins) and the current SAP designation we hope that BPC will listen to residents' views as indicated in the Parish Plan and other consultations.

 

BOB has asked the current developer's agent if they will be releasing a summary of all comments received during this public consultation (published anonymously), both positive and negative. The response from their representative to date:

 

07 SEP 17 The  agent responded:

"Following the open day we would usually allow a couple of weeks for feedback by forms or email to reach us and then draft a summary of the responses and any action we have taken to address them to accompany the application when submitted.If the feedback reveals the need for a significant rethink or amendments it may be that we then carry out a further consultation exercise on any revisions proposed. 

 

We hold all responses and acknowledge receipt and where possible will try to personally respond to each. However, as you will appreciate, where there are large numbers of similar comments it is not practical to respond to individuals.

 

I think there may be some confusion re publication. We would never publish private correspondence. Once an application is submitted, comments made to the council are all published as they are a statutory body but we are bound not to disclose without the consent of the consultee under data protection ( hence creating a summary)".

UPDATE 15 SEPT 17 The agent replied after the Open Day at the Village Hall:

"It was certainly an interesting day in terms of residents thoughts and comments.

 

Please find attached the site layout plan exhibited at the event and the feedback form for residents to use to contact us with comments.

 

I would stress that this is the initial consultation with the community and I recognise that there is objection to development in the village but we are seeking feedback that enables us to consider residents concerns and wherever possible address them in subsequent iterations of the proposed layout. Some members of the public mentioned that in previous developer consultation processes there had been a lack of clarity over the community consultation process and concerns were raised about transparency. For clarification, we intend to keep individual copies of all feedback received but will not be publishing those comments due to data protection. We will provide copies to the Parish Council of all of the feedback received and will present a summary of that feedback as well as an explanation of how we have considered feedback received and whether changes have been made to the scheme as a result.

 

This will be presented to the Parish Council at the relevant PC meeting where residents will be able to attend and comment.

 

Following submission of the scheme to the Local Planning Authority (LPA) for a determination of the outline application, the LPA will then carry out their statutory consultation providing a further opportunity for comment within the statutory process."

 

UPDATE 16 OCT 2017 from developer's agent to BPC copied to BOB:

"It is disappointing that the Parish Council do not wish to hear from us about the amendments made to our scheme following the first round of consultation but of course, that is their decision. As a statutory consultee, you need only hear from us once the scheme is referred to you for discussion and comment but we were surprised at your response given we had agreed how to proceed with community consultation being led by the PC as the community representative.

 

We had agreed an approach to community consultation that the PC have now determined they will not follow and it is always a concern when the representatives of the local community do not wish to engage. However, we have to respect your position. Once the application is submitted, we will attend the relevant meeting as interested parties.

 

In the meantime, we will have to refer the PC decision to the wider community through press and website engagement and trust that the community will still have the opportunity to make their comments. Copied to Bleadon Bob to ensure that his online community can spread the word."

 

More details on other applications here

 

Water Park

 

UPDATE 7 Oct 17 - Application changed to "Proposed change of use of land from camp site to the siting of 40 no. static and touring caravans" Deadline for comments changed to 9 Oct 17.

 

The Mercury has published an article on the £5 million Riverside Holiday Village/Purn Caravan Park expansion stating that "The park has a current capacity of up to 400 people, across the campsite and in static and touring caravans."  The site has "seen £7 million invested into its facilities in the past few years, including the construction of a new bar, restaurant and swimming pool complex.West Country Parks, who own 9 caravan parks in North Somerset area, are now looking to expand the 163 unit site at Bleadon by a further 90 units taking two years to complete. So, if 163 units represents 400 people what will the additional 90 units plus additional visitors to the site represent with regards to people, cars, traffic, noise and light pollution in Bleadon? This doesn't include potential issues relating to the additonal 57 units or the Wake Park approved next door to the site. Current views of the site, surrounding fields and developments can be seen on the main BOB Blog.

 

This is a multi-million pound development by a regional company affecting our community in many ways. Bleadon Parish Council (BPC) has submitted 'no objection' to this and various applications making up the all year round 300+ caravans and Wake Park proposed at this Accommodation Road/A370 location. They seem unconcerned that the green field sites are being covered with hardstanding and that public rights of way (PROW) and Sites of Nature & Conservation Interest (SNCI) are being destroyed, and wildlife disturbed, to make it happen. We feel that the Bleadon's adopted Parish Plan 2009-2029, representing the views of 60% of residents, has a different view of the future of Bleadon than the one submitted by councillors (For replies to the Parish Plan Questionnaire and associated statistics see http://www.bleadon.org.uk/parishplan). For example:

  • Question 14 'Should Tourism development/attractions be encouraged in and around Bleadon?' Out of 461 responses only 22% were in favour. [Strongly in favour 8.242% (38), In Favour 13.88% (64), No strong opinion 14.09% (65), Have Reservations 26.24% (121), Definitely Not 37.52% (173)]. We feel that this clearly shows a lack of public support for any expansion.  
  • Question 44:'How important is it to you that countryside is maintained between Weston and Bleadon? Out of 572 responses 97% thought it was highly significant to maintain the countryside (Very important 87.06% (498) Important 10.31% (59) Not important 1.048% (6) No opinion 1.573% (9)).  

From BOB feedback some residents are unaware of the extent of this application and the developers intention to promote it as a large tourist destination in WSM and the wider North Somerset area. As far as we know there has not been any local consultation on this significant application put out by BPC that shows whether the majority of residents now support this application, nor has there been a specific agenda item, Parish Newsletter information or other public awareness regarding BPC's 'vision' of Bleadon at the Accommodation Road/A370 area, or indeed anywhere else in Bleadon. So, how are councillors deciding the majority view of residents when submitting responses to these types of developments on our behalf?

 

What is BPC/NSC's plan for the other fields in the area, especially along the A370? Is Bleadon to become a countryside version of Brean as a busy tourist and leisure destination? The developers application support information can be seen here but below are some extracts:

  • (7.00) " Conclusion. The proposal to extend Purn Holiday Park to include a further 90 pitches with associated leisure facilities is a massive vote of confidence in the holiday industry in North Somerset. The development will be a huge investment for the applicant which will boost the local economy during construction and perpetuity. This assessment demonstrates that in flooding terms there is no better site for this development and  that the proposals will be safe from flooding both for visitors and property and will not increase the risk of flooding elsewhere". If there is 'no better site' other than the ones in the Accommodation Rd/A370 area what will happen to the adjacent fields in the future if this becomes a highly popular tourist destination?
  • (6.00) "The development includes a number of leisure facilities that will foster a stay on site holiday experience." How does this equate to "boosting the local economy"? What does 'local economy' mean Bleadon's, WSM's, North Somerset's, Sedgemoor's? (It has been stated that this development will potentially create short term construction jobs and 9 full time jobs subsequently).
  • (4.06 & 6.00) The applicant proposes the use of Bleadon Hill as a place of safety and a route of escape should flooding occur!! How would this physically happen?
  • (6.00) "Easy access to the A370 and M5. This will reduce travelling time to and from the site and associated congestion. it will also accommodate overnight visits from holiday makers travelling down the M5 to Devon and Cornwall."
  • (5.00) It suggests that the site can used as a base for tourist attractions in WSM, Burnham-on-Sea and Brean and is therefore ideal for tourism industry of this size, especially as the extended park will be close to the new water park. This would greatly change the character of our rural community.
  • (5.00) It states that the 'search area principle' being used in this application was accepted for the 57 caravans at Accomodation Road. Using this reasoning what will happen to the green fields next to Purn Holiday park in the future, how long before the next development?
  • (6.00) "The development incorporates significant landscape improvements that will improve views across the site as well as support wildlife". This is a green field site that seems to have destroyed the existing SNCI and will remove the PROW and cover the land in hardstanding and vehicles, how does this improve the views towards the Mendip Hills ANOB, Brent Knoll and across the Bleadon Levels?
  • (4.02) There will be Visitor Parking for additional cars and people to the site affecting traffic, pollution, etc.

As this application is outside the current Settlement Boundary/Village Fence and contrary to resident's feedback to the adopted Parish Plan, only 8 years into a 20 year plan, we feel that it should not be approved. The BPC Village Plan Meeting Leaftlet distributed to all residents stated "Your views are very important, please don't complain about the future direction the village takes if you couldn't be bothered to let people know how you feel about things that are important to you!60% of residents responded with their views subsequently incorporated into the 2009-2029 Bleadon Parish Plan. The leaflet also stated, "Everyone who lives or works in Bleadon will soon be asked how they want Bleadon to evolve in the future. This will form the Bleadon Village Plan, which will become a template for future Bleadon Parish Councils to refer to when making decisions. It will also provide guidance to North Somerset Council on how we would like to see the parish develop over the coming decades. This will be your chance to influence the decision-makers to let them know what you hold dear and the things yound like changed. We are lucky enough to live in one of the more beautiful parts of the country, with a community, which has proven itself to be very supportive to local causes. We need to protect and enhance that important village spirit."

 

Who are BPC, our elected/co-opted councillors, currently representing? BPC stated in December 2016, during the Bleadon Hill Inquiry, that they "... have been clearly told that national planning policies, driven by central government, insist that massive housing developments must be approved regardless of the wishes of any local plans that may be in place." In July 2017, for another application outside the Settlement Boundary, it was minuted "Both Cllr Porter and the Chairman informed parishioners to make individual representatives on the North Somerset Planning website and objections /comments to be based on planning reasons". It seems that it is up to residents to support our rural community status. Although the deadline for comments for the Purn Caravan Park Expansion was 7 August 2017 the NSC website states "The 'Consultation expiry date' may be extended. Relevant comments received after this date are considered and taken into account so long as they are received in good time before the final decision is made." So, if you want your views to be heard by NSC comment on their website here. Additional BOB information on this site can be found here including additional extracted statistics from the Parish Plan Questionnaire in the comments section. The deadline for comments has been extended to 9 October 2017.

 

BPC's Monday 14 August 2017 Agenda has related items reviewing and discussing where new building, large and small scale, will be permitted in Bleadon. (There is no indication as to whether these are public consultations or any associated feedback deadlines).

If residents' views in the adopted Parish Plan feedback are not taken into consideration during BPC decision making processes as confirmed by BPC this all raises the question as to whose main benefit (resident/business), and from what perspective (local/regional/national), will BPC be replying to NSC and hiring a Planning Consultant? BOB has asked BPC questions regarding items on their August Agenda.

 

For some background as to why developers continue to pressure NSC Planning please see the mapping on the Major Development page and associated table of information on BOB, including Green Belt mapping and policies/documentation. Also current developments in and around Bleadon.

 

 

BPC have published their 14 August 2017 Agenda. Below are the BOB comments made to BPC regarding their August agenda items.

  • Firstly, regarding July minute 297.4.ii  Bleadon's bus service.  It is our understanding that the 4a bus service is to be significantly reduced to only three buses a day as from September 2017 and by a different provider. Is this the update Cllr Porter gave regarding the local bus service? For the majority of residents unable to attend meetings, it would be helpful please that BPC minutes indicate more fully what was discussed.
  • 298.7 To review and discuss the correspondence regarding North Somerset Local Plan 2018-2036 - Bleadon Settlement Profile. Please can you send us a copy of this correspondence and make it available via BPC website? Also for those unable to attend, can the minutes please indicate what is discussed and agreed in relation to this correspondence? We assume any proposed change to our 'settlement boundary/profile' will surely be a public consultation. If this item does refer to a public consultation, please can you inform us/all residents how to review this 'profile' and whether there is any deadline for comments? Clearly this would appear relevant to the 'Vexatious Policy' implementation against us regarding the missing Parish Plan and our unanswered questions raised during the Public Inquiry, including the Settlement Boundary, last December 2016.
  • 298.8 To discuss the North Somerset Council Planning correspondence regarding the Site Allocations Plan: Further Assessment of Residential SitesPlease can you send us a copy of this correspondence and make it available via BPC website?  We presume this is BPC's/Bleadon's opportunity to feedback into NSC's plan for where future development will be permitted in and around Bleadon. For those residents unable to attend, can the minutes please detail what is discussed in relation to this correspondence? Is this a public consultation, if so, please can you inform us/all residents how to access/review the documentation, and any deadline for comments?
  • Please can BPC tell us/all residents how it came to submit 'no objection' to the multi-million pound expansion of Purn Caravan site application on behalf of its residents? Regardless of whether the adopted 2009-2029 Parish Plan has currently been physically 'misplaced' by BPC this decision seems contrary to the Parish Plan Questionnaire feedback seen at the bottom of this correspondence and at www.bleadon.org.uk/parishplan. The BPC Village Plan Meeting Leaftlet distributed to all residents stated "Your views are very important, please don't complain about the future direction the village takes if you couldn't be bothered to let people know how you feel about things that are important to you!" The leaflet also stated, "Everyone who lives or works in Bleadon will soon be asked how they want Bleadon to evolve in the future. This will form the Bleadon Village Plan, which will become a template for future Bleadon Parish Councils to refer to when making decisions. It will also provide guidance to North Somerset Council on how we would like to see the parish develop over the coming decades. This will be your chance to influence the decision-makers to let them know what you hold dear and the things yound like changed. We are lucky enough to live in one of the more beautiful parts of the country, with a community, which has proven itself to be very supportive to local causes. We need to protect and enhance that important village spirit."  Where is the current public debate on these applications that will irrevocably change Bleadon's character and landscape forever?
  • On the current BPC website, we completely agree with the statement by BPC Chairman Cllr Hartree who says "I believe that it is the duty of the Parish Council to protect and promote the aspirations of parishioners."; Also, Cllr Chinn says " I would like to see Bleadon preserve it’s village identity, part of which is to resist urban sprawl from Weston super Mare." and Cllr Dobson says "I believe that the Parish Council has a key role to play in working actively with all sections of the community and I am keen to get involved and make a difference.". BPC stated in December 2016, during the Bleadon Hill Inquiry, that they "... have been clearly told that national planning policies, driven by central government, insist that massive housing developments must be approved regardless of the wishes of any local plans that may be in place." May 2017 minutes state "The Chairman emphasised that although members of the public are always welcome to attend Parish Council meetings, it must be remembered that these are not public meetings, but are meetings which are held in public". In June 2017, at the being of the meeting, the "Chairman reminded members of the Public and Parishioners that this is the only opportunity during the meeting to speak regarding items on the agenda" i.e. no direct debate will be held on agenda itemsSo, on behalf of all residents we/BOB urgently ask again where are BPC councillors leading our rural Bleadon community? Please can BPC inform us/all residents what mechanism it is using to gain/listen to feedback from all residents to make their decisions on behalf of our community, and how they are protecting and preserving Bleadon's rural identity, especially if they are not using residents' Parish Plan feedback?
  • Considering the agenda discussion items 298.7 and 298.8, and the fact that BPC seems to have 'misplaced/lost' our adopted 2009-2029 Parish Plan, would it not also be appropriate to publicly discuss what BPC intend to do about the Plan, and the use of the public feedback that formed it in relation to their decision making? BPC have also yet to publish their 'vision' statement of the future of Bleadon as indicated in May 2017 minutes. (As councillors are aware all related documentation, including questionnaire responses and draft Parish Plan, is available on BOB if the plan needs to be redrafted and finalised again). To our knowledge Parish Plans can exist alongside any other plans such as a Neighbourhood Plan, and previously NSC (and CPRE) suggested that the Bleadon's Parish Plan could be submitted as a 'supplementary planning document' to the NSC Local Plan/Core Strategy, is this BPC's intention? Please can BPC's inform us/all residents what its vision of the future of Bleadon is, as it seems to have 'no objection' to turning a third of it into caravan parks or wake park for tourism purposes despite it's resident feedback through the plan process?
  • 298.9 Planning Consultancy. From recent statements and planning application responses BPC seem to be currently ignoring the Parish Plan and associated feedback that represents 60% of residents' views, so with openness and transparency in mind, please can you therefore tell us/all residents what BPC would be specifically discussing with a Planning Consultant, and on whose behalf (residents/businesses) and from what perspective (local/regional/national)? According to our understanding from CPALC BPC is a statutory planning application consultee who is elected/co-opted to represent residents and as such has the same rights as any member of the public, with no powers to approve or reject planning applications, they can only comment or not on applications. So like any resident, BPC has access to the public information easily and freely provided by our planning authority, NSC, who makes the actual decisions locally on these matters. Is BPC suggesting it uses our precept to pay for this planning consultancy or is this free expert/NSC advice? Is this consultancy for councillors' guidance and understanding of the planning process, specific applications and/or understanding the use of Parish and other Plans on behalf of residents? Will BPC subsequently publicly share this consultancy information with residents? From our understanding the whole purpose of the Parish Plan was to represent the community views in the NSC Local Plan/Core Strategy process. BPC would then subsequently use it to feed into/guide BPC's responses and free discussions with qualified and experienced NSC Planning and other Officers on behalf of residents e.g. on matters such as planning applications and wider issues. Please can BPC therefore inform us/all residents as to the purpose and cost of this 'planning consultancy'?
  • 298.11 Planning Decisions. Please can you tell us/all residents why BPC are granting, with no objection, development outside the settlement boundary in opposition to the Parish Plan feedback e.g. on South Hill Farm, Fern Court, Purn Caravan Park, Celtic Way (but not Purn Way)? Please can you inform us/all residents as to why BPC cannot represent residents' views as indicated in the Parish Plan feedback and just say 'NO' until this matter of how BPC represents residents, settlement boundary, Core Strategy, etc. is openly and appropriately discussed and concluded; leaving the legalities and finer points for NSC to debate and potentially address with their planning consultants at a higher level if in conflict with residents' views?
  • BPC have repeatedly ignored our request to publicly detail its duties, roles and responsibilities. As you may recall we last asked BPC to confirm its duties/role with regards public rights of way (PROW) in June 2017, which still remains unanswered. If BPC instructs its/Bleadon's Village Ranger to maintain these footpaths with Bleadon precept funding, please can you tell us/all residents why BPC made no comment to NSC regarding the PROWs affected by the caravan park and Celtic Way applications, and the apparent destruction of the SNCI on the caravan park land, especially as replies to the Parish Plan questionnaire indicate that residents highly value our green space environment and associated wildlife?
  • 298.10 Updating the asset register. We were informed by the previous clerk in November 2016 that the asset register was being updated and that we could have a copy when it was completed. We have also been previously told by BPC that it needs updating each year for insurance purposes and when employees leave. As we have not yet received anything please can you send us a copy of the current asset register, or is this action still outstanding?
Bleadon Parish Plan Questionnaire Statistical Feedback (available via http://www.bleadon.org.uk/parishplan.html)
------TOURISM------Residents' response to Bleadon's Parish Plan Questionnaire 
Question 14 'Should Tourism development/attractions be encouraged in and around Bleadon?' Out of 461 responses only 22%, 102 people, were in favour. [Strongly in favour 8.242% (38), In Favour 13.88% (64), No strong opinion 14.09% (65), Have Reservations 26.24% (121), Definitely Not 37.52% (173)]. We feel that this clearly shows a lack of public support for any tourist expansion whether caravan or leisure/wake park.

------ OUR ENVIRONMENT 

------ Q44:'How important is it to you that countryside is maintained between Weston and Bleadon? Out of 572 responses 97% thought it was highly significant to maintain the countryside (Very important 87.06% (498) Important 10.31% (59) Not important 1.048% (6) No opinion 1.573% (9)). 
 
------ Q45: Our local environment is under threat, with economic and development pressures possible accelerating future change, yet it is generally accepted that a high quality built and natural environment provides the foundation for a healthy local economy and a basis for a good quality of life. Some features of the built environment are protected by law, others rely on individuals accepting responsibility for the impact of their actions. How important are the following to you
'Impact of development on the visible landscape? Out of 476 replies residents stated that it was Very Important = 83.82% (399), Important = 14.49% (69) Not important = 1.680% (8); 
'A place of scenery and the natural world?' (484 replies) V Important 80.37% (389) Important 17.76% (86) Not important 1.859% (9); 
'Design, scale and 'fit' of new developments?' (461 replies) V Important 79.39% (366), Important 18.00% (83) Not important 2.603% (12); 
 
------ Q46: The parish is largely rural with most of the land in agricultural use. Changing agricultural policies and practices, illustrated by the trend away from pasture to arable farming and farm diversification initiatives, will affect the natural environment. How crucial are the following issues to you? 1-Most 5-Least, 6-No Opinion. 
'Conservation of the parish landscape character (514 replies) 1 = 85.60% (440) 2 = 9.533% (49) 3 = 3.307% (17) 4 = 0.389% (2) 5 = 0% (0) 6 = 1.167% (6); 
'Woodland retention & replanting?' (502 replies) 1 = 79.28% (398) 2 = 13.94% (70) 3 = 3.187% (16) 4 = 2.390% (12) 5 = 0% (0) 6 = 1.195% (6); 'Preservation of hedges and trees?' (504 replies) 1 = 80.95% (408) 2 = 12.10% (61) 3 = 4.563% (23) 4 = 1.190% (6) 5 = 0.595% (3) 6 = 0.595% (3); 'Wildlife conservation?' (488 replies) 1 = 84.63% (413) 2 = 9.221% (45) 3 = 2.868% (14) 4 = 1.434% (7) 5 = 1.229% (6) 6 = 0.614% (3); 

 

------ Q47 'How important is the quality of the countryside around Bleadon to you?' (550 replies) Very important = 87.81% (483) Important = 10.54% (58) Not very important = 0.909% (5) No opinion = 0.727% (4). 

 

 ------ Q48: 'Which elements of the countryside around Bleadon do you value?' 
Tranquility = 77.18% (494 replies) Openness = 67.5% (432) A place which provides my living = 10.93% (70) A place for walking or rambling = 55.46% (355) A place to ride or walk the dog = 39.68% (254) A place for fishing or shooting = 11.25% (72) A place of scenery and the natural world = 68.59% (439). 

 

------ Q49: What do you think could be done to improve the environment of Bleadon? 1-Very Important, 2-Worth Doing, 3-Not Necessary, 4-Dont Know. 
'Plant more trees?' (412) 1 = 26.21% (108) 2 = 47.57% (196) 3 = 22.33% (92) 4 = 3.883% (16); 
'Cut down some trees?' (367) 1 = 1.907% (7) 2 = 10.08% (37) 3 = 81.19% (298) 4 = 6.811% (25); 
'Look after woodlands (437) 1 = 55.14% (241) 2 = 41.87% (183) 3 = 0.228% (1) 4 = 2.745% (12); 
'Keep hedges short and tidy on footpaths (463) 1 = 48.38% (224) 2 = 39.95% 185) 3 = 9.935% (46) 4 = 1.727% (8); 
'Let hedges in fields grow naturally (394) 1 = 26.64% (105) 2 = 37.05% (146) 3 = 26.90% (106) 4 = 9.390% (37); 
Develop the river for leisure activities (421) 1 = 7.363% (31) 2 = 42.99% (181) 3 = 41.80% (176) 4 = 7.838% (33); 
'Develop the river and Levels as a wildlife sanctuary?' (453) 1 = 32.89% (149) 2 = 55.40% (251) 3 = 7.947% (36) 4 = 3.752% (17); 
'Develop the Coombe quarry as a wildlife sanctuary?' (465 replies) 1 = 21.07% (98) 2 = 57.20% (266) 3 = 14.62% (68) 4 = 7.096% (33). 

 

------ Q50: 'Does Bleadon suffer from any of the following types of disturbance?' Traffic noise = 31.25% (200) Farm animals in gardens/on roads = 3.593% (23) Noisy visitors / residents = 10% (64) Low-flying aircraft = 17.81% (114) Noise pollution = 8.281% (53) Light pollution = 7.656% (49); 'Street Lighting outside residential areas?' (384) 1 = 26.30% (101) 2 = 16.14% (62) 3 = 15.88% (61) 4 = 7.031% (27) 5 = 34.63% (133). 

 

------ Q: 57 Artificial lighting of premises and recreation facilities allows for increasing hours of use and improved night-time security, yet it contributes to 'light pollution'. How concerned are you about these lighting issues? Rate as 1 = most concerned to 5 = least concerned. 
'Street Lighting outside residential areas?' (384) 1 = 26.30% (101) 2 = 16.14% (62) 3 = 15.88% (61) 4 = 7.031% (27) 5 = 34.63% (133); 
'Urbanisation of rural areas?' (350) 1 = 53.14% (186) 2 = 16.57% (58) 3 = 16% (56) 4 = 4.285% (15) 5 = 10% (35); 
'Security lighting?' (361) 1 = 26.31% (95) 2 = 13.29% (48) 3 = 29.08% (105) 4 = 10.52% (38) 5 = 20.77%; 
'Light pollution (glare/flow)?' (358) 1 = 36.87% (132) 2 = 20.39% (73) 3 = 18.43% (66) 4 = 8.938% (32) 5 = 15.36% (55); 
'Night working under lights?' (328) 1 = 25.91% (85) 2 = 11.89% (39) 3 = 21.95% (72) 4 = 6.402% (21) 5 = 33.84% (111); 
'Illuminated signs?' (342) 1 = 24.85% (85) 2 = 16.66% (57) 3 = 28.36% (97) 4 = 7.017% (24) 5 = 23.09% (79); 
'Impacts on wildlife?' (365) 1 = 54.79% (200) 2 = 15.89% (58) 3 = 15.06% (55) 4 = 6.301% (23) 5 = 7.945% (29); 

 

------ SERVICES 
------ Q60 Parish residents are supported by a limited range of local services, increasing the need to look further afield for supplies, service and support. Are you satisfied with the accessibility of services?' (514 responses) Satisfied = 57.78% (297) No opinion = 31.51% (162) Dissatisfied = 10.70% (55).

 

For some background as to why developers continue to pressure NSC Planning please see the mapping on the Major Development page and associated table of information on BOB, including Green Belt mapping and policies/documentation. Also current developments in and around Bleadon.

West of England Rural Network

Posted on 31st July, 2017

West of England Rural NetworkWest of England Rural Network

 

Sue Badger is our WERN (West of England Rural Network) Village Agent for Bleadon.

She is able to offer advice and support to older people in our community regarding many aspects of life and I think may well be a helpful person for various people in our community. I have attached a copy of her leaflet.

 

Please feel free to circulate it and/or contact Sue.

 

With much hope,

Rev'd Tim Erridge

Parish Priest: Bleadon and Bournville

Tel: 01934 815 404