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What is the Future Plan for Bleadon?

 

Bleadon Parish Plan information can be found on BOB here

Including the Draft Parish Plan, 103 Leaflet to all residents, Questionnaire data, and more...

 

During the recent Bleadon Hill Inquiry we asked Bleadon Parish Council (BPC) whether they were presenting on behalf of residents. We also asked whether they would be submitting the current 20 year Parish Plan, as adopted in 2009, in defence of our rural village way of life. As the plan wasn't on the BPC website we asked for a copy as BOB only has the 2008 draft Parish Plan. BPC did not physically present at the Inquiry or submit the Parish Plan; they did not send us a copy of the plan; and did not state their current or future vision of Bleadon either during or after the event. They did however make some statements in their various correspondence highlighting further issues ending up with BPC invoking a vexatious policy against our/public information requests rather than answering them! 

  • It seems that BPC does not have a plan for Bleadon's future and that BPC does not need to be aware of previous councillors' public resolutions, decisions and plans e.g. Current BPC councillors state that they can't find Bleadon's adopted 20 year Parish Plan, or associated documentation, which is surprising as BOB has repeatedly reminded BPC that it has a plan since 2009. Also, Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) indicate that Parish Plans remain a valid resource for public engagement.
  • BPC has stated that it is effectively powerless to defend Bleadon against large scale development applications due to central government policies. Thank goodness the Action Group and local residents rallied together and spoke out, acting against such negative and potentially debilitating BPC views, with the proposed Bleadon Hill development of 79 houses ultimately being refused.
  • It appears that rather than our elected representatives defending Bleadon with physical or written council representation BPC councillors preferred to leave Inquiry presentations to North Somerset Council (NSC), the Action Group and members of the public.
  • We also believe BPC prevented BOB/public presenting at the Inquiry by restricting information, giving mis-information and making confusing contradictory public statements. BPC appear to have made no attempt to publicly correct the situation but spoke negatively about BOB in public meetings/minutes when we raised our concerns.

Considering BPC's responses, as detailed below, we asked North Somerset's John Penrose MP his views and has recently posted an 'up-not-out' update on his website. He has stated the importance of "A democratically-agreed Local Plan". In 2009 BPC publicly declared that it had submitted Bleadon's adopted Parish Plan to NSC for inclusion/reference in any NSC plans or policies; and to ensure that Bleadon residents' views were known and acted upon (it appears NSC did not receive the plan in 2009?). John Penrose is currently working with others on an 'up not out' approach to development in the district trying to protect its villages and countryside. Fellow local MP Liam Fox has also spoken out in parliament (link to further info) on behalf of North Somerset and the high extra housing development imposed by central government. 

 

So let's hope BPC will now find and revisit Bleadon's currently adopted, expensive 20 year Parish Plan, and use it as it was intended on behalf of its residents in situations such as the recent public inquiry; or at least declare their role in protecting our rural community way of life. Otherwise, what was/is the point of our local political representation?

 

----

 

INQUIRY CORRESPONDENCE THAT LED BPC TO IMPLEMENT ITS VEXATIOUS POLICY

 

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

Sent: 05 December 2016 18:43
To: Cllr Gutsell; Cllr Clarke; Cllr Gibbon; Cllr Hartree; Cllr Chinn; Bleadon Parish Council Clerk; Neil Underhay NSC; Dist Cllr Terry Porter; Dist Cllr John Ley-Morgan; Dist Cllr Elfan Ap-Rees
Cc: Bleadon Hill Action Group
Subject: Bleadon Hill Housing Inquiry and Parish Plan

 

Dear All,

 

In light of the Wentwood Drive Appeal being upheld, we are writing this email to ensure that we (NSC, BPC, Action Group, residents, Jo & I, etc.) all have the same understanding of existing information, processes, procedures, etc. We've also raised questions which we believe will help improve understanding and communication for the future between all parties, now and in the future.

 

While at the Appeal Inquiry this week I spoke with Neil Underhay (NSC Officer). I asked whether either of the Bleadon Hill housing applications had been considered against the Bleadon Parish Plan. I was surprised to hear that he was not aware of the plan and felt that it wasn't a NSC Adopted Policy. He also stated that as BPC had been consulted he assumed they would have made some reference to it. (Further research has indicated that it is not a NSC registered Neighbourhood Plan at http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/my-services/planning-building-control/planningpolicy/neighbourhood-plans/neighbourhoodplanning/)

 

This is particularly concerning as the Bleadon Parish Plan was part of the expensive and time consuming BPC Quality Council Status and subsequent re-accreditation projects. In 2005 the Chairman of North Somerset Council, Councillor Glyn Duck attended the Village Plan presentation given to Bleadon residents (minutes and presentation attached). In 2009 residents later received some information via the 103 Improvements leaflet (attached), with BOB subsequently requesting a copy of an Action Plan from BPC (attached). This was all published on the BOB website along with the original Questionnaire questions and resulting raw data from the public at http://www.bleadon.org.uk/parishplan.html

 

In our personal objection to the second Bleadon Hill application we wrote: "please see the 20 year Bleadon Parish Plan (NSC Planning have a copy) published from residential questionnaire replies in 2005 http://www.bleadon.org.uk/parishplan.html". Considering previous correspondence to/from BPC/NSC(see below) we assumed all parties involved in the planning and appeal process for both applications would be aware of this information, either directly via BPC, NSC or indirectly via us/Bleadon BOB.

 

PARISH PLAN IN RELATION TO BLEADON HILL APPLICATION

 

In our view, and FYI, below are some relevant points regarding the Bleadon Hill proposals, from the attached 2009 BPC Action Plan (which may or may not be in the Plan submitted by BPC to NSC):

 

ENVIRONMENT (Protect Bleadon's green spaces, access and country/village feel)

  • Retain green space between Weston and Bleadon: Through the Planning process vigorously question all development outside the Village Settlement. Zero development in the green space. BPC + NSC
  • Conserve the rural character: Protect and enhance bio-diversity and the rural landscape through the District Council's Planning and Environmental policies. Zero development in the green space, more trees and hedgerows. BPC + NSC
  • Create a green welcome to the village: Plant trees along the A370 New trees planted by 2011. Funding and volunteers to plant. BPC
  • Create welcoming gateways to the parish: Distinctive floral planting features around the village welcome signs. Installed by 2011. Funding + Ranger/ Volunteers. BPC
  • Increase green access and understanding by all. Promote use of footpaths through better signing and interpretation information at key access points. Installed by 2011. Funding + West. Mendip Way warden. BPC + WMW

HOUSING (Keep development within the Settlement Boundary, retain village character)

  • Retain the village Settlement Boundary: Ensure that all new development is within the village Settlement Boundary. No house building on greenfield sites. Planning process NSC + BPC
  • Retain village character: Ensure that new development reflects the scale and style of our Somerset village. Sympathetic design and scale Planning process NSC + BPC

LEISURE, RECREATION AND CULTURE (Keep/create public recreation space)

  • Seek additional or alternative public recreation space Open negotiations with landowners and developers New recreation space must accompany any future major housing development Developers and Section 106 funding BPC + NSC

Please can BPC/NSC tell us what actions have been undertaken for the current Bleadon Hill development application in relation to the Bleadon Parish Plan thus ensuring that the community of Bleadon's views have been heard?

 

As you are all aware the Appeal Inquiry is halfway complete, has/is BPC made/making any presentation on the Bleadon Hill development's impact on our precept funded and adopted Bleadon Parish Plan, either to NSC to the Inquiry on 13-15 Dec? If not, is there anything in the plan that can be used to help the Inquiry at this stage? If so, what needs to be done and by whom?

 

There also seems to be inaccuracies in comment submissions and recent public communications e.g. there is some confusion as to whether anyone can speak at the Inquiry if they attend. Attendees, a District Councillor and Action Group representatives were asking for the public to attend and speak up, yet the latest Bleadon Parish Newsletter Issue 105 p2&14, received Friday states "... only NSC and the Action Group are allowed to speak....." http://www.bleadon.org.uk/media/other/24400/BPN105_Winter2016.pdf 

 

Please can NSC clarify ASAP whether the public can speak at any of the remaining days of the Inquiry, and what they would need to do to make it happen? 

 

PARISH PLAN CREATION BACKGROUND

 

In 2005 BPC undertook a lengthy Questionnaire which stated "You can,of course, withhold a response to any question, but the questionnaire and the preparation of the Parish Plan will be greatly assisted by your answering as many questions as possible.". Included in the Questionnaire sent to residents was a map indicating both the Parish and Village boundaries indicating the Parish Council's boundaries of responsibilities i.e. both Village and Parish. During the development, creation and publication of the plan it was referred to in different ways including Parish Plan, Village Plan, The Plan, etc.that we believe subsequently resulted in a 2009 Plan to cover the Parish of Bleadon:

  • BPC Minutes 11 May 2009 213.27.(4) To receive and resolve to adopt “The Village Plan” Resolved to adopt “The Village Plan” . Resolved to prepare a strategy that focused on the 103 Points contained in the Village Plan. Resolved to submit the plan to North Somerset Planning Department 
  • BPC Minutes 1 June 2009 214.4(12) Village Plan and draft strategy. The clerk advised the meeting that he had written to North Somerset advising them of the adoption of the plan by the Parish Council. He had not however received as yet a response.

Please can BPC/NSC send us a copy of the Bleadon Parish Plan, draft Strategy and related documentation that were sent to NSC and the final response received? Also the final BPC Strategy document?

 

The Parish Plan was subsequently progressed (extracts from BPC minutes below):

  • 14 Sept 2009 216.4 (8) Village Plan and draft strategy. The Finance Committee discussed aspects of this matter and it was: Resolved that a time line chart be prepared based on the Village Plan in order to assess and review the cost implications for each of the financial years of the plan 
  • 8 Feb 2010 221.11 Other business referred to the Clerk (1) To plan the format of the 2010 Annual Parish Meeting Resolved that the meeting should follow the successful format adopted in recent years and that it should focus on what has been progressed and what needs to be promoted in respect to the Village Plan 
  • 10 May 2010 223.25 (6) The Village Plan. Resolved that an update on the time line progress would be presented to the Parish Council at its July meeting. 

Please can BPC send us this timeline, charting the costs and current status, for each item of the 20 year plan?

 

PARISH PLAN CURRENT STATUS

 

We have frequently asked Councillors to refer to this Parish Plan since its publication. BPC has had four Chairs in the last 18 months, prior to that it had the same Chair for 17 years. We have spoken and/or written to current and previous Chairs, Vice Chairs and Councillors to ensure that this Plan did not get forgotten during each transition. It is our understanding that under the Localism Act that it is the Parish Council's responsibility to own the development of any adopted plan. This is particularly relevant given that it appears many residents from Bleadon have not been able to physically attend the Appeal Inquiry, presumably relying on previous communications with BPC and NSC via comments submitted during the planning and appeal processes and its related Bleadon Parish Plan. Moreover under Community Infrastructure Levy, Bleadon would receive a higher percentage of CIL with an adopted plan. See http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/my-services/planning-building-control/planningpolicy/cil/community-infrastructure-levy/

 

Please can BPC/NSC inform us as to what has happened to the 20 year Parish Plan progress and monitoring, why NSC do not appear to know anything about it, and why it appears not have been used as evidence in this and the other major planning applications submitted in recent years? (e.g. Weston Wake Park, Solar Farm, Quarry, etc.) 

 

Bleadon parish currently has approximately 530 houses. Applications submitted to NSC and/or approved in the last few years will significantly increase this e.g. Purn Caravan Park (113? full  time units granted in 2014), New Caravan Site (57 in 2016), Quarry (42 in 2016), Bleadon Hill (potential 79 dwellings in 2016) all within the Parish Boundary, along with adjacent Wentwood Drive (50 in 2016). There are also infill applications as well as other potential development plans within the parish. This means that there is potentially 291-341 proposed or agreed dwellings already in process, an approximately 55-64% increase within or adjacent to Bleadon Parish. Only one of these applications was within the settlement/village boundary i.e. the Quarry. What happened to zero development in the green space as indicated in the Parish Action Plan? How does this huge percentage increase in dwellings, people, cars, etc. compare to development in other areas of North Somerset, including other similarly sized villages? BPC's submitted comment to the application states "Church Commissioners covenant on part of the land which states only 5 properties per acre are permitted to be built", how do covenants relate to development applications such as this?

 

Please can BPC/NSC inform us what is the purpose of the Settlement Boundary and how it relates to  development applications? How does this covenant apply? What is being done, or can be done, to protect Bleadon Parish's rural and village environments and way of life from repeated development applications, including encroachment into the extremes of the parish now, and for future generations (e.g. existing and future applications/licences on the Bleadon Levels for dwellings, businesses, solar energy, fracking, etc.)

COMMUNITY GOVERNANCE

With such a significant increase in our community due to these large new housing developments a Community Governance review or equivalent maybe appropriate in the near future: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/community-governance-reviews-guidance

All approved development will greatly impact local authority supported services (e.g. schools, highways, bins, etc.), central government supported services (e.g. hospital, doctors, dentists, opticians, etc.), increase demand on utility provision (e.g. water, electric, gas, etc.) as well and affecting traffic, amenities, destroying our green space, etc.

 

Please can BPC/NSC/Central Government inform us as to how they can ensure that these critical services will be in place before people start inhabiting the developments and need to use them? How can 'we' help to protect our current and future health and well-being?

 

The recently approved Wentwood Drive development is outside the Bleadon Parish Boundary but touches it at Hillcote. As far as we can tell BPC did not submit comments on this to North Somerset or its subsequent appeal. As you may all be acutely aware the approval of this application puts even more pressure on the current Bleadon Hill Inquiry, with this development application effectively joining our village to the town of WSM. If this current appeal is successful it may only be a matter of time before we hear suggestions that it would make sense to 'fill in the gaps' between WSM and Hillcote, and then along to Roman Road.

 

Please can BPC/NSC inform us of what is being done, or can be done, to protect our Parish Boundary from neighbouring development pressuring 'us' to accept addtional development? How do BPC/NSC balance short term job creation via development vs long term environmental damage? How can we all work together?

 

This must be a similar situation to North Somerset trying to protect its boundary and residents from neighbouring District Authorities and Central Government decision making e.g. the mandate to increase housing availability in North Somerset. Also the fracking licences in both North Somerset (including the Bleadon Levels) and Somerset, presumably to supply the increased power demand due to increased development in the area (http://www.bleadon.org.uk/fracking.html). Hopefully any potential effects of fracking near our water supplies in the area has been/will also be seriously considered, jointly by all cross boundary parties, along with the need for increased water provision. 

FYI, on Friday 2 December 2016 South Western Energy Ltd's indicated their "desire to drill ‘just south of Weston-super-Mare’ and to build a ‘small modular power station’ to convert any shale gas into electricity". Frack Free North Somerset stated "We were told to expect planning permission submissions within the year, and drilling with two years, it is now particularly important that we quickly develop the skills and capacity to watch planning permissions coming in to Somerset & North Somerset councils" http://frackfreenorthsomerset.org.uk/south-western-energy-ltd-announce-plans-to-drill/

 

How is NSC/BPC protecting our environment, water and air quality, health and well-being from these  types of application? How is it working with neighbouring parish/town/district councils/government and related public? How can 'we' build on recent hearing/inquiry knowledge, experience and general interest to enable the public to officially and successfully interact with the process?

 

Finally, due to personal and Inquiry time constraints this information has been brought together in haste over the last two days following attendance at the Inquiry last week, but we hope that it is informative and potentially of use to the current Inquiry. We appreciate that there are a lot of questions but we feel that answers to these questions will assist more effective comment submissions regarding current and future development applications. 

This, as always, will need to be supported by timely, accurate public access to information with greater transparency of actions. We also feel that better public understanding of these complex related issues may help us all to work together and interact effectively with the planning and potential appeal processes in order to protect our current and future way of life, standard of living and health and well-being, both now and for future generations.

 

We look forward to receiving answers to the above in the near future.

 

Kind regards,

 

Chris Butler & Jo Gower-Crane

 

 

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

From: Tony Jay <parishclerk@bleadonparishcouncil.gov.uk>
Sent: 07 December 2016 09:21

To: 'Bleadon BOB Community Website'; 'Cllr Gutsell'; 'Cllr Clarke'; 'Cllr Gibbon'; 'Cllr Hartree'; 'Cllr Chinn'; Neil Underhay NSC; 'Dist Cllr Terry Porter; 'Dist Cllr John Ley-Morgan'; Dist Cllr Elfan Ap-Rees

Cc: Bleadon Hill Action Group

Subject: RE: Bleadon Hill Housing Inquiry and Parish Plan

 

Dear Chris and Jo,

 

I have received your lengthy email which covers many issues.

 

As you point out in your email, the questionnaires for the Bleadon Parish Plan were completed in 2005, the resulting plan was adopted in 2009. The majority of the Councillors currently on Bleadon Parish Council were not on the council in 2005 or, 2009 and therefore are not able to respond to the majority of your requests for information. In addition the long standing Clerk of 26 years who covered this period retired in 2015, taking a great deal of knowledge of this time with him.

 

As Bleadon Bob was around at this time and you were involved in collating and uploading information onto your website, you were both in an excellent position to relay all of this to the Wentworth Drive and Bleadon Hill Action Group, who are able to fully participate in the current enquiry into the building of 79 houses on Bleadon Hill, due to their rule 6 standing. It is a great shame that it is now half way through the enquiry before you have bought this up.

 

In addition to Bleadon Parish Council you ask many questions of North Somerset Council and Central Government, you may of course get further information from these sources.

 

Bleadon Parish Council is fully supportive of the campaign being run by the Wentworth Drive and Bleadon Hill Action Group, and a councillor has represented BPC on the Action Group. Councillors will continue to attend the enquiry, and encourage other members of the community to do so. Bleadon Parish Council had been informed that members of the public would not be able to participate in the enquiry. At each day so far, members of the public have been asked if they wish to raise any issue, but only if it is on a subject that has not already been covered.

 

I have attended a number of planning briefings at North Somerset Council, the last one in company with Cllr Dave Chinn, where we 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.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Tony Jay

Parish Clerk

 

-----

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

Sent: 07 December 2016 15:16

To: Tony Jay; 'Cllr Gutsell'; 'Cllr Clarke'; 'Cllr Gibbon'; 'Cllr Hartree'; 'Cllr Chinn'; Neil Underhay NSC; 'Dist Cllr Terry Porter'; 'Dist Cllr John Ley-Morgan'; Dist Cllr Elfan Ap-Rees
Cc: Bleadon Hill Action Group

Subject: Re: Bleadon Hill Housing Inquiry and Parish Plan

 

Dear Tony,

 

Firstly can we say how surprised we are with the tone of your reply.  You seem to imply that we/BOB is somehow at fault for raising the Plan after realising that neither BPC nor NSC had considered it in the context of the development applications, despite it being adopted by BPC in 2009, created to shape our community since 2005 for 20 years.

 

NSC Neil Underhay via Cllr Ap-Rees has informed us "if it is to be considered by the Inspector it must come from the Parish Council or Mr Butler, as it is not part of the Council’s evidence.  Any such request should be sent to PINS immediately.  The previous comments of the Parish Council that were received at the time of the planning application and appeal were sent to the Planning Inspector, but these did not make any reference to this document.  In general, Parish Plans do not fall within the planning system because their remit is usually much wider than planning issues.  This is not to say it wouldn’t be a material consideration, but the weight to be given to it is likely to be very limited." So the Inspector will allow people to speak if the matter has not been previously raised and in this case, the Plan has definitely not been. Regardless of outcome we feel that it must be given some consideration. BPC have asked members of the public to attend and support this Inquiry so surely BPC, as Bleadon's elected representatives, should be seen to support its own Plan for our community?

 

So for the pressing matter at hand, please send us a copy of the adopted Plan and Strategy ASAP (if it's in paper form, I will collect, copy and circulate to all) and in due course confirm whether/when it was sent to NSC. Crucially, will BPC present it's (our) Parish Plan and speak on it at the final few days of the appeal? If not, we will try to do so if allowed.

 

With regards your other comments to us, BOB has mentioned the Plan at every opportunity including personal comments on major applications. The question is why hasn't BPC? Councillors should be well aware of their own adopted plans, policies, protocols, procedures, etc. without the need for members of the public to remind them. FYI, five of the seven current councillors have lived or worked in Bleadon at least as long as us, i.e during the creation and adoption of the Plan, some involved in the creation and adoption process itself.

 

We/BOB have voluntarily tried to provide continuity of knowledge and effort that others seem to have ignored or forgotten. We have regularly informed and reminded all BPC Chairs and Vice Chairs over recent years of the importance of the Plan. In January this year Jo and I also raised, minuted and subsequently sent a BOB link to the Plan information in relation to our 'Common Ground' meeting with the former Chair and Vice Chair, also copied to the current Chair and Vice Chair. Surely then current councillors consider all applications in relation to their own plans, policies, etc. as well as those of NSC e.g. during their submission 10 June 2016 for the second application on this site that was subsequently withdrawn by the developers? Coincidentally, BPC removed all Plan Working Group minutes from the BPC website in its third re-write in the same month.

 

FYI, on 12 Dec 2014 a resident alerted BOB to this intended development prior to the official submission of this application, BOB started a blog that day commented on by residents http://www.bleadon.org.uk/beinvolved.html?part_id=160604&post_id=19733&action=view_comments that references the Plan and has continued to publicise progress through the process. So almost two years in relation to this application!

 

Clearly a lot still needs to be clarified as to BPC roles, responsibilities and the public understanding of them, as this issue has highlighted. As always it comes back to the importance of information management, transparency of knowledge and actions, with accurate and timely public access to information as consistently recommended by Governement organisations.

 

Kind regards,

 

Chris Butler & Jo Gower-Crane

 

---------

 

From: Bleadon BOB Community Website <bleadon@live.co.uk>
Sent: 12 December 2016 16:10

To: Cllr Gutsell; Cllr Clarke; Cllr Gibbon; Cllr Hartree; Cllr Chinn; Bleadon Parish Council Clerk
Cc: Dist Cllr Elfan Ap Rees; Dist Cllr DistTerry Porter; Dist Cllr John Ley-Morgan; Bleadon Hill Action Group
Subject: Bleadon Parish Plan for Bleadon Hill Inquiry

 

Dear Bleadon Parish Council,

 

We have had confirmation today that NSC Planning Policy Team do not have a copy of the Bleadon Parish Plan which is very disappointing considering what the public have been led to believe.

 

Please can you send us a copy of the Bleadon Parish Plan, Strategy and Finance document as requested a week ago.

 

Also can you please tell us whether BPC is going to submit a copy of the plan via PINS for the Inquiry starting again tomorrow and whether BPC is going to speak against the application supported by the plan created from resident's feedback?

 

Looking to the future, please can BPC submit ASAP a copy of the Adopted Plan to NSC Planning Policy Team? Although the Plan may today need to relate to different NSC and Government policies from when it was created, it was a 20 year plan adopted by BPC in 2009. Thousands of pounds and a lot of time and effort by councillors and residents were spent creating this plan, we and other residents would not want that to go to waste. Hopefully a submitted and NSC recognised plan can be used to support residents in protecting our village, from large developments that threaten our community way of life, for future generations.

Kind regards,

 

Chris Butler & Jo Gower-Crane

email: bob@bleadon.org.uk

 
-------

 

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

Sent: 05 January 2017 20:32
To: Cllr Gutsell; Cllr Clarke; Cllr Gibbon; Cllr Hartree; Cllr Chinn; Bleadon Parish Council Clerk
Cc: Dist Cllr Elfan Ap Rees; Dist Cllr Terry Porter; Dist Cllr John Ley-Morgan; Bleadon Hill Action Group
Subject: Re: Bleadon Parish Plan for Bleadon Hill Inquiry

 

Dear BPC

 

The attached minutes relating to the Bleadon Hill Housing Appeal have raised some concerns regarding communications to the public. According to 12 December BPC minutes attached, "Cllr Porter will submit a copy of the Bleadon Parish Plan to the hearing...". Having attended the inquiry (not a hearing) from 13-15 Dec, we do not recall the Plan being announced or discussed. NSC Planning stated that they did not have copy and BPC did not speak at the Inquiry in support of the Plan or against the application. We have not received any documentation, nor did we receive an answer as to whether anyone was going to present this information, nor were we given any considered answers to our questions to BPC submitted a month ago (see below).

 

Since our request for documentation we have found an old paper copy of the 2008 draft Parish Plan, now scanned and attached for your reference.

 

So, again, please can we have a copy of the 2009 adopted Parish Plan as previously requested in our emails of 5, 7 and 12 Dec 2016? Can you send us the associated Strategy and Financial plan also requested.

 

The minutes also state the Plan "..will carry a very limited weight as the need for massive housing development now takes precedent over Parish Plans.`` We are concerned with BPC's approach to this and future development applications. It is our understanding that the adopted, community based, Bleadon Parish Plan was stated to have limited weight during the recent Inquiry due to it not being correctly submitted by BPC to NSC to be incorporated into its policies in 2009. If it had been, it would have carried more weight. What is BPC's strategic plan to protect our rural village environment and way of life from this point onwards? Is it going to use the Parish Plan as its key guidance policy document and action plan? Is BPC going to submit the adopted Parish Plan to NSC for future policy inclusion; Is it going create a Neighbourhood Plan based on the existing Parish Plan; or is it following a Plan/Strategy not yet declared to the public?

 

The minutes also state "The lack of local school places is a concern which will be highlighted to the hearing.`` To our knowledge there was no formal BPC representation at the Inquiry, although the BPC Chair did speak as a member of the public. As BPC appears not to be following a Parish Plan and has still not published its roles, responsibilities, aims or priorities, when and how did school places become a priority concern for Bleadon, especially in relation to this application, over and above other aspects of the Parish Plan e.g. village status, traffic, environmental issues, etc. or indeed our strained health services?

 

We look forward hearing from you ASAP.

 

Kind regards,

 

Chris Butler & Jo Gower-Crane

 
----

 

From: Tony Jay <parishclerk@bleadonparishcouncil.gov.uk>
Sent: 06 January 2017 07:47
To: 'Bleadon BOB Community Website'; 'Cllr Gutsell'; 'Cllr Clarke'; 'Cllr Gibbon'; 'Cllr Hartree'; 'Cllr Chinn'
Cc: 'Dist Cllr Elfan Ap Rees'; 'Dist Cllr Terry Porter'; 'Dist Cllr John Ley-Morgan'; Bleadon HIll Action Group;
Subject: RE: Bleadon Parish Plan for Bleadon Hill Inquiry
 

Hello Chris and Jo,

 

You have misread the minutes.  All of the comments you quote were made by Cllr Porter, and were not the views of Bleadon Parish Council.  This should have been obvious as they all come under the ‘District Councillor’ heading.  As Cllr Porter said that he would be raising the issues of the Parish Plan and schooling at the hearing, then the obvious assumption was that he would do so on behalf of the Parish Council, and there would be no need for the Parish Council to raise them.  Your criticisms should be addressed to Cllr Porter, not Bleadon Parish Council.  It would have been better if you had contacted me prior to publically making these accusations, so I could have pointed out your error.

 

Although the comment regarding ‘the Parish Plan carrying very little weight’ was made by Cllr Porter, I can confirm that I have attended a number of briefings by senior NSC planning officers who have made it very clear that Parish Plans carry very little weight nowadays, so I can support Cllr Porter’s comments.

 

I have no electronic record of the Parish Plan nor the Strategy and Financial plan.  Along with other Councillors, I am currently going through the hard copies of documents held at the Coronation Hall.  This is a long process.  We have not found these documents so far.  If they are found you will have a copy.

 

Tony Jay

Parish Clerk

----

 

From: Bleadon BOB Community Website <bleadon@live.co.uk>
Sent: 20 January 2017 05:21
To: Tony Jay; 'Cllr Gutsell'; 'Cllr Clarke'; 'Cllr Gibbon'; 'Cllr Hartree'; 'Cllr Chinn'
Cc: 'Dist Cllr Elfan Ap Rees'; 'Dist Cllr Terry Porter'; 'Dist Cllr John Ley-Morgan'; Bleadon Hill Action Group; Neil Underhay NSC; Bleadon BOB Community Website
Subject: Re: Bleadon Parish Plan for Bleadon Hill Inquiry
 

Dear Tony,

 
We're writing in light of the 9 January 2017 minutes (attached) which refer to the Inquiry, BOB, us as individuals, and alleged vexatious comments; and also in response to your last email below. We have continuing and additional concerns regarding BPC's existing and future plans for Bleadon, especially if more major applications for housing, fracking, etc. arise in the future. So, apologies to all for another long email but considering BPC's current public statements we thought we should try to group all the statements together. This will enable us all to have the same understanding of existing plans, information, processes, procedures, etc. 
 
In your response to your email below (06/01/17 below) we feel we have rightly included Bleadon Hill Action Group given their involvement and that they are referred to in the minutes re: the Inquiry. They are the ones who have put real positive community effort into defending the developers attack on our environment. We sincerely hope that they are ultimately successful but if not then BPC's response to a Plan becomes even more critical. 
 
With reference to the "number of emails received from two residents who have been making demands for information" and the vexatious statement (09/01/17 minutes):
 
  • Firstly, BOB maybe run by only two people but, as you know, it represents the interests of many more. Thank you for not naming us directly but from feedback we've received, a link has already been made to us.
  • If the Clerk "has spent over four hours" dealing with our requests perhaps the sub-committee should consider whether he actually sent the requested information or directly answered our queries. As can be seen from the chain of correspondence below it takes a long time to get an informative and accurate response despite the number of emails he writes to us.
  • Also "the time could be better spent serving the whole of the village". Precisely what we're trying to do in respect of the Inquiry, the Parish Plan and other areas of BPC activity, despite BPC's resistance. The Parish Plan should already clearly inform and direct BPC resource.
  • We believe your statement " this is not the first time that the Council has to invoke this policy in relation to these individuals" is incorrect. Please can you send us the correspondence which informs us when this policy has been invoked against us, for what specific reason(s), the consequence and how BPC suggested avoiding the situation again in the future. Otherwise please amend the minutes to publicly correct this statement which we ourselves find vexatious and an attempt to tarnish our and BOB's reputations again.
  • From our/BOB perspective we believe that BPC has a poor professional and public approach along with poor comprehension and (non)application of government best practice advice and guidance which has again led to inadequate, inefficient, ineffective and expensive service delivery. This has again equated to consequential valid public requests for information which have then been considered vexatious without foundation!
With regards to Cllr Porter's statements, supported by BPC, "that the lack of support from the village at the hearing was very noticeable, and unfortunately the Inspector will be taking that into account when she makes her decision" (09/01/17 minutes)
  • Although we agree that the lack of public support was disappointing the Inquiry was held on week days, i.e. in working hours, making it very difficult for some people to attend. We/BOB feel that it is not a very inclusive process requiring members of the public to take time off work or depend on their council representatives. As BPC & NSC Councillors are all elected representatives for Bleadon surely the public can expect them to represent their community?
  • Also perhaps that contradictory statements from BPC may also have made the public think that it wasn't worthwhile attending e.g. "... only North Somerset Council and the Action Group are allowed to speak ..."  (BVN 105)
  • Have BPC and NSC considered the possibility that members of the public have been listening to their contradictory communications and have become aware that their views are not being heard and represented (e.g. Parish Plan) and that therefore BPC seem to be following their own, unpublished agenda and priorities? 
  • That perhaps the public has seen that BPC will not independently stand up and represent them on issues such as this major planning application. Also have seen how BPC expect the public to do so with little/no support (lack of response during Inquiry to documentation and information requests)
  • That BPC and NSC has effectively stated in its minutes that it is nearly powerless to fight Central Government on large planning applications despite public wishes e.g. statements such as "regardless of the wishes of any local plans that may be in place (BPC)" and that public views via its plans carry "absolutely no weight at all in planning issues ... Even Neighbourhood Plans now carry very minimal weight (Cllr Porter)". Perhaps that is why "Major developments are being approved in in-fill villages all the time now." (Cllr Porter) i.e. they have no protection.
  • That perhaps the public have been made very aware how their views and emails would be treated by BPC in public and do not want to risk their reputation being tarnished in such a public manner  (e.g. via public meetings, minutes, extra-ordinary meeting, threats of vexatious policy, etc.). That is why we/BOB continue to raise issues, and request and share information on their behalf.
We note that the comments in the minutes regarding the Inquiry are made by Cllr Porter, who named us and the BOB website in public, supported by BPC (with their lack of opposing statements). If BPC want to publicly discuss our emails and minute us (without responding to us directly via email) why not inform the public of the following:
  • That it was us/BOB who discovered half way through the Inquiry that BPC had not submitted the Parish Plan to oppose the original development application or to the support Inquiry. We found this astounding considering that this should have been a key supporting document, especially as this will be a key application with respect to Bleadon's future independent geographic identity as indicated by Cllr Ley-Morgan. The adopted Plan's content refers to zero development in green spaces, protecting the rural landscape, keeping development  within the Settlement Boundaryetc., so we/BOB also find the lack of its consideration very frustrating; especially it represents a 20 year plan based on residents views and that it is still well within date.
  • That we/BOB discovered that despite the Plan being officially adopted in 2009 that it had not been correctly submitted by BPC and therefore NSC had not included it in its wider plans, polices and strategies at the time.
  • We/BOB informed 'all' that the NSC Planning officer involved in the Inquiry had stated (07/12/16 email to Cllr Ap Rees) that "if it [the plan] is to be considered by the Inspector it must come from the Parish Council or Mr Butler [a member of the public], as it is not part of the Council’s evidence.  Any such request should be sent to PINS immediately.  The previous comments of the Parish Council that were received at the time of the planning application and appeal were sent to the Planning Inspector, but these did not make any reference to this document." 
  • That we asked BPC whether they were going to submit the Plan but they did not respond to us during the Inquiry. At the same time BPC appear, via minutes published after the Inquiry closed, to have discussed this in their December public meeting. BPC seem to have decided to submit via Cllr Porter using the Rule 6 Party/Action Group which appears to be inappropriate as it was already too late for consideration.
  • That we urgently asked BPC several times to send the adopted Plan to us so that we could submit it via PINS and speak about it at the Inquiry, but BPC did not do so. BPC therefore appear to have prevented us as members of the public being able to submit it as new information to the Inquiry, or speak directly about it as advised by NSC. Why didn't BPC have the courtesy to reply to our emails at the time of the Inquiry yet discussed them in a public forum, the BPC 12/12/16 meeting which they knew we weren't in attendance, with minutes published after the Inquiry closed? Why didn't BPC tell 'us' that they thought/knew the advice regarding PINS was incorrect during the Inquiry, especially as the last three days of the Inquiry was restarting the next day?
  • Cllr Porter named us and the BOB website, supported by BPC, saying that " a lot of the issues they [us/BOB] have raised are inaccurate", apparently in relation to plan submission and their importance. Considering we/BOB were responding to information from NSC, NSC's barrister, Dist Cllrs and/or BPC surely it should be minuted whose advice was originally inaccurate, and not put the blame on us as members of the public? So was the PINS submission, as advised by NSC, correct in this instance? This maybe important to know for any future Inquiries.
  • Please amend the publicly distributed minutes accordingly.
We believe the confusion regarding the Bleadon Parish Plan is perhaps born out of BPC`s original public silence and subsequent contradictions and confusing statements on the matter, as indicated in this email and corresponding chain of information. 
  • Through this process, we/the public have been informed that the Parish Plan was being/had been submitted to the Inquiry three separate times (Full meetings in Dec/Jan and Dec Planning meeting, with all public minutes being published after the Inquiry). At the same time, a month later, we are being told that BPC is still looking for a copy of the adopted Plan, etc. (06/01/17 email below). So, if Cllr Porter has a copy of the Plan, which the minutes inform the public that he has submitted to the Inquiry on behalf of BPC, why can't any of you send us/BOB a copy? [NB we/BOB sent you a draft 2008 version for reference]. Conversely, if the Clerk can't find a copy of the Plan then how can Cllr Porter have submitted a copy to the Inquiry as the public were repeatedly informed? We find these statements contradictory. So what was submitted to the Inquiry? Please amend the publicly distributed minutes accordingly?
  • BPC's newsletter (BPN 105) and the 07/12/16 email indicates "Bleadon Parish Council had been informed that members of the public would not be able to participate in the enquiry." yet also "At each day so far, members of the public have been asked if they wish to raise any issue, but only if it is on a subject that has not already been covered." We feel these statements are confusing and contradictory. Also, how would the public know what had already been covered if they did want to speak?
  • Reading BPC's correspondence to us, the lack of Plan submission seems to be anyone's fault but BPC's; originally BOB for raising it and not being able to present it (07/12/16 email below), the Action Group for not being able to present it (as BPC didn't inform them), and now Cllr Porter (06/01/17 email below) for....what exactly? 
  • BPC states in its 06/01/17 email below that "As Cllr Porter said that he would be raising the issues of the Parish Plan and schooling at the hearing, then the obvious assumption was that he would do so on behalf of the Parish Council, and there would be no need for the Parish Council to raise them." Yet it also states that our "criticisms should be addressed to Cllr Porter, not Bleadon Parish Council." We find these statements contradictory. Who is responsible for BPC's Plan and priorities, surely it should be BPC and not Cllr Porter?
  • As previously asked (our 05/01/17 email below) can BPC inform us/public how schooling became the priority for Bleadon? Can they also give us the historic background to this priority to inform future decisions on behalf of residents e.g. when and why the original school closed, whether any agreements re: priority placements at other village schools were made, the outcome/reality of these agreements and what plans BPC now have regarding schools for Bleadon residents?
  • It's Bleadon's adopted Parish Plan which covers many aspects of our community life, not just planning issues. We feel BPC should publicly support it as it was initiated through BPC's Quality Council process at great public cost. People have been encouraged to believe that BPC is protecting its rural village interests as noted in the Plan and various general BPC correspondence. BPC is clearly not currently following the adopted Plan, so what action does BPC now intend for its (our) Plan's future in the light of Localism Act and Neighbourhood Planning
  • What are BPC priorities and precept based on? How does it intend to protect our community from large development or is it resigned to it being consumed by WSM? On one hand BPC is indicating that it has a plan to protect our village/parish in line with residents feedback (e.g. stating its submission/attempted submission to the Inquiry) and is asking residents to stand up against development e.g. via its newsletter. Conversely, at the same time BPC is saying they are powerless against NSC and central government with regards large developments that will significantly impact and change the nature of our community, and have shown that they/BPC will not speak up against this themselves. We find this a contradiction, another of many from BPC on various topics. 
  • We feel that it is important that BPC make a statement indicating what it stands for and what it will and will not publicly and directly support on behalf of residents e.g. its responsibilities, plan and priorities for Bleadon. The current BPC statements and actions imply BPC does not have a plan, will not stand independently for Bleadon and that they expect public individuals, action groups and district councillors to do this on their behalf. What do our 'elected respresentatives' represent and how do they do this?
With regards to Cllr Porter's comments on Plans, supported by BPC i.e. "Parish Plans carry absolutely no weight at all in planning issues nowadays. When Parish Plans were prepared some ten years ago many Parishes prepared plans, but before they could be lodged with NSC as part of the Local Plan, the Government changed the legislation and because of this change no-one in the NS area was able to have their Parish Plans adopted. Since then Neighbourhood Plans have taken over from Parish Plans and Local Plans". 
  • Our Parish Plan represents the view of our community for the 20 years. Considering Cllr Porter's statements above, NSC planning process and BPC stating 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" (07/12/16 email); what is the point of Local Government and its elective representatives if they don't/can't represent the views and agreed plans of residents? (Especially as they are financed by council tax and parish precepts to do this).
  • Is BPC and NSC confirming that if we/the public want anything to be done to protect our community we have to communicate directly with Central Government via our local MP's? Is this democracy?
  • Please remember that despite Cllr. Porter's minuted comments (09/01/17), according to historic BPC minutes the Bleadon's Plan was adopted and submitted to NSC in 2009 and therefore the public expected it to be used to inform future BPC service priorities, spending and support its submitted comments to development applications and other issues for the next 20 years! As BPC did not respond to Cllr Porter's statements at the time is BPC stating they have no current or documented/communicated future plans to protect our community?
  • To our/public knowledge the BPC Parish Plan process started in 2005, was adopted and then submitted to NSC in 2009 i.e. before the Localism Act came into effect in 2011 which introduced Neighbourhood Plans. As far as we're aware BPC can have various plans as they have different purposes; that these plans may stand alone, overlap, support and/or reference NSC plans e.g. its Core Strategy. At the moment it appears BPC is following none. 
  • While Parish Plans may not have the same status as Neighbourhood Plans for deciding Housing Development, Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) for one seem to state that they remain a valid resource for public engagement see https://planninghelp.cpre.org.uk/improve-where-you-live/shape-your-local-area/parish-plans
  • Despite BPC 2009 minutes stating otherwise, BPC seems not to have ensured that our Parish Plan was part of the adopted NSC Local Strategic Plan process, with current councillors seemingly not referring to it at all. If the above CPRE advice is correct we believe that BPC should now make every effort to put things right with the communication of the Parish Plan, submitted to NSC as a Supplementary Planning Document. We feel that this is especially important given that BPC spent a considerable amount of finance and years of resource consulting with its electorate to produce a 20 year plan. See https://planninghelp.cpre.org.uk/improve-where-you-live/shape-your-local-area/neighbourhood-plans/deciding-if-you-need-a-neighbourhood-plan. A planned approach was also suggested to us by the NSC barrister during the Inquiry indicating that it does have some use in representing public views for Bleadon.
  • While the Bleadon Parish Plan's origin was before your, and some councillors appointment (see 07/12/16 email below),  it still remains well within its stated 20 year life time. For it now to be considered by the present constitution of BPC and NSC as irrelevant seems at odds with CPRE and frankly an outrage and an insult to those who participated in the process and the electorate who paid for it. Moreover it is arguably a gross waste of public finance and the financial ombudsman should perhaps consider whether our local community governance has been well served, especially if the Bleadon Hill Appeal is granted!
  • From BPC communications (e.g. 07/12/16 email below) it seems to be saying that new councillors and clerks do not need to be aware of any previous BPC plans, protocols, agreements, etc. BPC/NSC seem to be saying that when a new initiative comes along previous plans become null and void with no public explanation or continuity, upgrade/inclusion of past work. Is BPC saying that as new councillors join that it is not BPC's responsibillity for any previous public 'agreements', resolutions or publications; and that they do not have to inform the public or any changes/plans they have made or intend to make that affect their community/environment?
  • Is BPC therefore expecting the public to keep track of this information (e.g. plans, processes, guidance, protocol, agreements, resolutions) and inform BPC if they want them honored? If so, we/BOB have tried this for over 10 years on behalf of residents and in our experience it tends to lead to negative public statements about us and threats of the BPC vexatious policy.
  • Is BPC saying its not their responsibility to prevent the waste of public time, money and effort by repeating the sameprocesses and mistakes over and over; instead of basing their actions/decisions from a position of previous councillor/public knowledge? (e.g. parish plan, Inquiry, halls, resolutions, etc.)
  • It seems to us that BPC's delivery of localism currently seems to have failed in Bleadon despite its previous quality council status that was much maligned.
With regards to access to timely accurate information:
  • In our experience, if current and former BPC councillors were more transparent (see Transparency Code for Parish Councils) in their duties and actions (as they've publicly said they would be several times) including the purpose/aims/goals/Plan of BPC then this issue, and many other current ones, may not have occurred.
  • As you know, BPC does not have to comply with NALC or SLCC, just as it seems not to take heed of recommended government and ICO guidance on website design and transparency publications. However, it should surely listen to its own electorate's plan?
  • If it made information accessible and gave it correctly, in a timely manner, then we/the public would not have to ask the Clerk for it and he would not have to answer so many emails.
Hopefully you can now see our/public problem with BPC's lack of timely access to accurate information. Also how multiple emails are then generated from not clearly answering or avoiding questions on a subject. 
 
Therefore please ask the investigating committee to include the comments we have made in this email. Also to consider the number of hours that BOB undertakes to correct and present BPC public information, and communicate it to Bleadon residents, especially as we do so at no cost to the public. Please can you also ensure that councillors who are not on email receive a printed copy of correspondence as we understand that they have been missed in the past.
 
 
We look forward to receiving your response and requested documentation ASAP, along with amended minutes where appropriate. We believe that this will enable us all to know where we/public stand and can manage expectations of all parties. We hope to receive a response before yet another major application is submitted and we/public have to go through this process again e.g. fracking in North Somerset and/or Somerset, another large planning development, etc. 
 

 

Kind regards,

 
Jo Gower-Crane & Chris Butler
 
-----

From: Tony Jay <parishclerk@bleadonparishcouncil.gov.uk>

Sent: 20 January 2017 14:44
To: 'Bleadon BOB Community Website'; 'Cllr Gutsell'; 'Cllr Clarke'; 'Cllr Gibbon'; 'Cllr Hartree'; 'Cllr Chinn'
Cc: 'Dist Cllr Elfan Ap Rees'; 'Dist Cllr Terry Porter'; 'Dist Cllr John Ley-Morgan'; 'Action Group Members'; Neil Underhay NSC
Subject: RE: Bleadon Parish Plan for Bleadon Hill Inquiry
 

Dear Chris and Jo,

 

I acknowledge receipt of your email.

 

As previously stated, I will forward a copy of the Parish Plan to you as soon as a copy comes into my possession.

 

As far as the minutes are concerned, I will not be amending them in any way.  Minutes are a record of what was said during a meeting.  Everything in the minutes of the last meeting was said during the meeting.  I have a recording which proves this.  The issue of whether what was said is incorrect or not is irrelevant.  If it was said, it can go into the minutes.  It is not practical to print everything that was said, as that would be a transcript.  I never include a comment which was not said.  The comment “this is not the first time that the Council has to invoke this policy in relation to these individuals" was made by an individual Councillor.  I will ask him to provide the background to his comment.

 

Kind regards.

 

Tony Jay

Parish Clerk

--------

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

Sent: 23 January 2017 05:36
To: John Penrose, MP
Subject: Fw: Bleadon Parish Plan for Bleadon Hill Inquiry
 

Dear John,

 

Please find attached (BPC Jan2017 Minutes & Savills Proposal), and below, correspondence between ourselves, Bleadon Parish Council and North Somerset District Councillors relating to the recent housing development appeals on land on Bleadon Hill and our adopted Parish Plan. Apologies for the length of this email but it illustrates the complete confusion and communication difficulties  with localism initiatives at a local level. It also seems that government bodies still need 'joining up' some 15+ years on from that Labour initiative! 

 

There appears to be yet another potential development of 70 houses planned for Bleadon Hill (attached) so please can you urgently send me your comments on this correspondence; particularly with respect to the stated limited worth of Bleadon's (or indeed any) adopted Parish Plan to its community and the planning process? This is despite significant public time and finance spent during 2004-09 when the plan was created under the NALC Quality Council Scheme and which currently appears to be missing!

 

Our elected councillors and clerk seem to have made their comments in relation to apparent central government directives to NSC, and Inspectors, for planning permission to be granted for these major applications regardless of the valid local objections, with incentives to approve provided by central government under the 'new homes scheme'.

 

You may recall that we have previously corresponded and apparently agreed on the unfairness of a planning system that does not make developers contribute to healthcare services through the section 106/CIL mechanism. Yet NSC continues to ask for land to be nominated for development through it's 'Sites Consultation', see http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/my-services/planning-building-control/land-premises/housing-economic-land-availability-assessment/call-for-sites/ . This encourages yet more speculative proposals that consequently detrimentally affects the wellbeing of those living near such sites wishing to object. If approved for development, they will further increase pressure on delivery of healthcare and other public services that you know are already broken in our area.

 

If our local councillor comments are indeed valid then please tell me the purpose of these tiers of government; and the worth of any historic or current public consultation and engagement via the various processes and plans if they can be so easily ignored and overridden, seemingly making the whole process futile?

 

FYI, this current media article also has some relevance to the threat on our rural communities http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4142144/Ministers-shelve-plans-bulldoze-Green-Belt.html. Will you be supporting greenbelt and village status?

 

Kind regards,

 
Chris Butler
twitter: @bleadon
facebook: BleadonBOB
 
------ 
Date: 14 February 2017
From: John Penrose MP 
Re: Letter response to Bleadon Parish Plan and housing development issues
Reply from MP
------------------------------------------------------
From: Bleadon BOB Community Website <bleadon@live.co.uk>
Sent: 23 February 2017 02:59
To: John Penrose, MP
Subject: Bleadon Parish Plan for Bleadon Hill Inquiry
 

Dear John,

 

Many thanks for your letter reply dated 14 February to my original email of 23rd January 2017.

 

I was aware of your and fellow MP Liam Fox action on this topic and am heartened to hear of your continued efforts on this issue, but very disappointed that the planning inspector can seem to easily overrule public 'localism'.

 

However, given our experience in Bleadon, your reply still begs the question of our local governance efficiency and their purposeful worth when seemingly adopted local parish plans can be lost and/or practically ignored after committing considerable public resource in both time and money to create them. Also that they then can be superceded and declared worthless by our local and district elected representatives and public employees when crucially needed. Currently our parish council is publicly accusing us of being vexatious when we try to raise and resolve real electorate concerns over the efficacy of the Bleadon Parish Plan process that has cost thousands, for what.....?

 

I sincerely hope that you can continue to campaign on all such NALC/SLCC localism (aka commercial) initiatives. They must represent a huge uncontrolled national public budget expense nationally (across town and parish councils) that, again from Bleadon experience, appears wasted and pointless in actual democratic practice when trying to steer local governance and combat unsuitable local housing development.

 

Thank you for the link to your page http://www.johnpenrose.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2500;penrose-welcomes-housing-investment-bid-for-weston-town-centre&catid=63;regenerating-weston-2a. The post doesn't appear to be dated but I'm assuming it was recent. Any idea roughly when 'later this year' may be?

 

The suggestion of "possibly even extending the green belt to provide a permanently higher level of protection to villages which are presently targets for the developers" along with the 'up not out' proposal seems a good idea, although 'hi-rise' multiple dwellings is out of character for rural areas and villages. Some years ago there was a government National Land Use Database initiative created to identify suitable 'brownfield' sites that could be used to identify priority areas for development. Do you know whether this database or similar, contributed to by all LA's, still exists? If so, do you know whether a local version is currently being used by North Somerset and/or Central Government to identify new housing locations at present? I believe that such a database would be ideal to assist plans for development across North Somerset for you, Liam, North Somerset and local people.

 

One major problem with any good idea, as identified in our correspondence and your response, is that plans, agreements and local views are being ignored by Central Government as well as Parish Councils, and the the time it takes to implement protection is often too slow to protect the current environment from rapid development applications. A similar situation has also been seen with an up to 20 year waiting list to investigate Public Rights of Way claims, with previous public access blocked or lost in the interim.

 

I look forward to hearing about your future efforts in this and other development/parish plan matters so please keep me posted.

 

Kind regards,
 
Chris Butler
---
 

Related John Penrose MP Correspondence:

 

9 Dec 16 Health Services and Section 106 response

 

22 Mar 17 Brownfield Sites (NLUD) response

 

10 May 17 DCLG Brownfield Register response to BOB's NLUD query, via John Penrose