Minutes of the Meeting of Stewkley Parish Council held in the Village Hall
On Monday 5 September 2016 at 7.30pm
Attendees: Cllr J Wodey (Chair), Cllr B Bottomley, Cllr M Burgess, Cllr K Higgins, Cllr A Kennedy, Cllr G Morgan, Cllr C Pragnell, Cllr P Smith, Cllr Janet Blake, Janette Eustace (clerk) and 14 members of the public
1. Receive Apologies: , Cllr A Pryke, PCSO Paula Boston
2. Open Forum: A number of residents and representatives from Dennison Investments attended in relation to the outline planning application for land at Soulbury Road. Questions were raised about the quality of the reports produced by the developer and the level of consultation. The Open Forum was closed so that the council could discuss their response to the planning application. The Open Forum was then re-opened. Two residents had attended to request community funding for the change to the right of way that currently runs across the site for the new scout hut. Funding was also requested towards the cost of the fireworks event. The Open Forum was closed so that the council could take a decision. The Open Forum was then re-opened. Cllr Blake reminded the council that the consultation period for the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan was ending at midnight.
3. Declaration of interest in items on the agenda: Cllr M Burgess declared an interest in agenda item 5a and did not take part in the discussion or the decision.
4. To confirm the minutes of the previous PC Meeting on 1 August 2016 and deal with any matters arising not covered on the agenda. The minutes were agreed.
5. Planning: To discuss planning applications and make recommendations:
a. 16/02551/AOP – Land at Soulbury Road – Outline planning application with access to be considered and all other matters reserved for the erection of up to 85 residential units with associated vehicular access. The Council resolved to OBJECT to the planning application. The Parish Council believes that the development is too large for a village of this size and does not meet the needs of the Stewkley Parish. Cllr Smith and Cllr Pryke were given delegated authority to finalise the objection for the Clerk to submit by the 9 September deadline. The PC objected to the proposed development for the following reasons:
i. Character – It was felt that the development of 85 homes in one location outside the current boundary of the village would create an excluded community, not integrated with other groups of dwellings. The proposed development conflicts with natural and local environment of the Village Community. Several alternative locations have been identified as part of the development of the Stewkley Parish Neighbourhood Plan that would enable new homes to be integrated into our village community. AVDC has designated Stewkley as a linear village and this development would not be in keeping with the concept and character of a linear village. It is contrary to AVDC Planning Policy GP.35 ‘The design of new development proposals should respect and complement: a) the physical characteristics of the site and the surroundings; b) the building tradition, ordering, form and materials of the locality; c) the historic scale and context of the setting; d) the natural qualities and features of the area; and e) the effect on important public views and skylines.’
ii. Consultation – A further objection was the poor consultation conducted by the applicant
• No discussion with neighbours
• Limited contact with the PC
• Applicant conclusions drawn from residents attending an exhibition not mirroring what the PC understand to be residents’ comments.
• A consultation event held on 2 September confirmed that residents are against this type development, which is totally in conflict with the views presented by the applicant
iii. Five Year Housing Supply – It is well known that AVDC does not yet have a five year housing supply. The applicant has commented that this development would support AVDC in its objective to achieve this. However, the evaluation of this site should not be prejudiced by the lack of a five year housing supply. In the absence of an agreed local plan and a five year housing supply this site should be judged against the policies in the NPPF, in particular whether it has an adverse impact on the community. We strongly object under both grounds:
• NPPF – the development does have an adverse impact on the community and
• The proposal development would fall short of meeting community need for housing
iv. Housing – A survey was undertaken in July 2016 as part of the Stewkley neighbourhood planning process has shown that the housing supply in the proposed development drastically differs from the identified community need. AVDC has asked Stewkley to identify sites to meet the draft VALP by the end of September and a call for sites has identified 30 potential sites integrated within the village. Community consultation in September 2016 identified an 77% support for smaller targeted development integrated throughout the village. A large development on the edge of the village was not supported.
v. Traffic and Transport – The Parish Council considered the transport assessment (TA) to be based upon unreliable assumptions and therefore its conclusion that the new development will not have an adverse effect on the village and surrounding country roads is unsound and should not be accepted. Traffic flow through the village is a known issue, in particular at the confluence of three roads at the Memorial junction where narrow paving creates concerns for families walking to school when cars and lorries mount the pavement because of oncoming traffic. High Quality Accessibility Public Transport – Stewkley has virtually no Public Transport and this development would not change that. Assuming 85 houses and an average of 2 cars per house, this would put an additional 170 cars into Stewkley all located in one area. The current infrastructure cannot sustain this traffic impact .
vi. Sewage and Drainage – Discussions with Thames and Anglian Water identified that the current foul water drainage system is over capacity and is in drastic need of upgrade. Surface water is a well-known problem in the vicinity of the proposed development. Flooding of the proposed site occurred after building of Dove Park and this development would add to this problem. The ‘soils and agricultural use and quality of land’ survey carried out by the applicant identified waterlogging which could result in flooding for new homes. These issues have not been acknowledged or mitigated by the developer and a number of photographs have been included to illustrate the problem.
vii. Schools – There were fears that local children would no longer be accommodated at their local school. A development of this size is estimated to result in an additional 92 nursery/ primary school places and 24 senior school places. Some classes in the existing school are already at capacity and the Nursery School is already over-subscribed.
viii. Landscape – It has been accepted by successive Ministers that this area has an important and good quality landscape. A proposal for 600 houses in Soulbury was rejected on appeal when the Minister concluded that building 600 houses would have a detrimental effect on the landscape. Similarly the proposed wind farm at Dorcas Lane was also rejected on appeal, a main reason being the impact on a good quality landscape.
ix. Confirmation of the sport/leisure project/s for inclusion in the drafting of the S106 legal agreement will be discussed at a workshop and a decision taken at the October PC meeting. ACTION: All
b. 16/02596/COUAR – Barn at Forge Farm, Wing Rd – Prior approval in respect of transport and highway impact for the conversion of an agricultural barn into one dwelling. The Council did not comment on the application.
c. 16.02228/APP – 6 Dunton Road – Replacement of kitchen window, new windows in bedroom and lounge. The council resolved to SUPPORT the application.
d. 16/02888/APP – 106 High Street North – Single storey front extension. As opinion was divided, the council took a vote and resolved to OBJECT to the application on the basis that it would produce a large bulk onto the front of the building which, with its current design, would be out of proportion with the house (s) and would be detrimental to the character of the street. Three councillors voted in support of the planning application and four councillors objected to it.
6. To discuss correspondence and communication received since last meeting and decide on any actions:
a. Best Kept Village –Arrangements for the presentation and lunch were reported to be progressing well. The WI’s offer to organise the catering was gratefully accepted and the Grapevine’s offer to provide wine for the event was much appreciated. Invited guests included representative from all the groups and individuals who had helped by clearing litter, erecting and maintaining flowers, carrying out maintenance tasks and many more activities. The presentation will take place at the war memorial at 12.45 pm on 17 September and the lunch will be held straight afterwards at the Village Hall.
b. AVDC Roadshows – invitation for PC to offer a Christmas event that the roadshow could attend. Cllr Kennedy offered to identify potential Christmas events and send a note to the organisers.
c. Invitation from Neil Gibson, Interim Chief Executive of BCC to provide dates for BCC representatives to meet with the PC about streamlining local government. The council agreed to send an invitation for 6.30pm, immediately before the 7th November council meeting. ACTION: JE
d. Problems identified by PSCO Paula Boston relating to antisocial behaviour and vandalism. The Council was disappointed and sorry to hear of the vandalism. A notice to encourage villagers to report antisocial behaviour will be posted on the website and noticeboards.
e. Stewkley War Memorial: It was reported that notification had been received from AVDC that the war memorial had been listed as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The Council had raised concerns about the designation because of potential future difficulties of making changes to it should the need arise, but these had been overruled. The Clerk to respond to the request from AVDC to confirm the owner of the war memorial. ACTION: JE
7. Cemetery – to approve wording for memorial stone for the late Margaret Yvonne Hall and the late Elizabeth Nora Smith. These were agreed.
8. Vale of Aylesbury Draft Local Plan – The consultation response that had been circulated to all councillors was formally agreed. It will be published on the Council’s website.
9. Neighbourhood Plan: To receive an update from the Steering group and agree any actions arising. Neil Dickens reported that the majority of the working groups had completed their research and a standard format had been agreed for reporting it to the steering group. A consultant had been appointed and he will hold surgeries to give support to groups individually in early in October. The consultant’s brief will be circulated to all councillors and steering group members. The call for sites had been very successful and evaluation will be carried out before submitting suggested locations to AVDC to meet their deadline of the end of September 2016. A public meeting will be held during October. The need for good quality photographs of Stewkley Parish for the final report was identified.
10. Recreation Ground: To note progress towards the pavilion refurbishment and agree any actions arising. It was reported that four local builders had submitted quotations for the refurbishment; the Recreation Association award the contract at its meeting on 8 September.
11. Highways, Footways and Footpaths Lighting – to note highways issues and agree any actions arising.
a) Road repairs in HSN were noted and repairs to the area around the war memorial had been scheduled for October. It was reported that the speed limit signs had been turned around in Littlecote – the clerk to report to TfB. There were outstanding queries to TfB that had not been answered. The Clerk to send a reminder. ACTION: JE
b) A car had been parking on the verge in HSS again.
c) It was reported that Riverside Walk had been overgrown and Graham Robb was thanked for his efforts in clearing it. It was also reported that the gates at Kingsbridge Walk had been moved. Cllr Higgins agreed to follow up this and the issue relating to moving the footpath which had been reported to BCC but not followed up. ACTION: KH
d) The yellow litter bins had now all been replaced with green, post-mounted bins. Cllr Bottomley was thanks for his efforts.
12. Stewkley Wildlife Reserve: To discuss and authorise expenditure incurred or actions required. There were none
a. To review the budget monitoring report. This was agreed.
b. To draw cheques –
Grass cutting July £490.00
Grass cutting Aug interim £252.00
Grapevine Advertising £25.00
Play around Parishes £390.00
Printing leaflets £32.00
Cash register repairs £72.00
Building Regs £400.00
c. To review applications for community funding. The council agreed to support a request for £500 to support the scouts towards the legal costs of moving a footpath that is running through the proposed site for the new hut. A contribution of £300 towards the village fireworks was also agreed.
14. Councillor’s General Items: to report on meetings attended on behalf of the Parish Council and agree whether to add to the next agenda.
a. Dog waste bags had been seen in the wildlife fields. Dog owners are reminded to remember to put the waste into one of the many bins provided in the Recreation Ground.
b. A parishioner had alerted the Council to improved Internet speeds from Zen Internet, a high quality alternative to BT. A letter of thanks to be sent. It was also reported that 76 sign up had now been received for AV Broadband
c. A tidy up of the Spinney is planned for 9 October – volunteers invited.
Date of next meeting: 3 October 2016
The meeting closed at 9.55pm