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BOB Comments on BPC 14 August 2017 Agenda Items

Posted on 13th August, 2017



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.


------ 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.

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Comments (1)

What more can we say or do.......See BPC reply to above below!!
Sent: 18 August 2017 14:18
To: Bleadon Bob
Cc: parishclerk@bleadonparishcouncil.gov.uk
Subject: Vexatious Correspondence and Complaints Policy

Mr C Butler & Ms J Gower-Crane

Dear Sir and Madam,

I wish to advise you that Bleadon Parish Council has resolved to treat any communication from yourselves as vexatious for a further six months.

Yours faithfully,
S J Hartree
Bleadon Parish Council