Anna Soubry writes: As you may know Broxtowe Borough Council has opened the “public consultation” on its highly controversial Core Strategy and it ends on July 23.
It is a technical and somewhat bureaucratic process. I am encouraging everyone to have a say, but what matters most is not the number of people who take part but the quality of the content of the submissions.
This is why I have written to every Parish and Town Council urging them to make a submission (some like Nuthall and Greasley and I suspect Trowell, need no urging!). I have offered to help in the preparation of those submissions and I am also working with a number of campaign groups to help them in any way I can.
So my advice is either to join one of the groups (details below), contact your local Town or Parish Council (again scroll down) or make your own submission. You can of course do all three and that is probably my preferred option!
All completed forms will go to the Inspector who will consider the Core Strategy and you can indicate if you wish to give evidence when the Inquiry is held next year.
How I Can Help You Have Your Say
If you would like to make your own submission then you may find some suggestions I have put together useful. They are not the definitive nor complete guide by any means. Please contact me if you want any assistance or advice – I will hold workshops after my surgeries for anyone who wants help in the next few weeks.
I am concerned that residents of Toton need assistance in making a submission in the absence of any Parish Council and given the views of the leadership of TEPS that the Core Strategy has somehow protected the Green Belt land north of Toton. On the contrary – I believe the land remains particularly vulnerable to development for reasons given below. I am going to hold a public meeting to advise people; full details will follow as soon as we have booked a venue!
There is a public meeting on July 12 in Greasley Parish Hall organised by GOGBD (details below).
Where to Read all the Documents Including the Core Strategy
You can read all the documents on the Borough Councils web site by clicking here.
The various documents are also available at Libraries throughout the Borough.
In short, the Core Strategy accepts a housing target of 6,150 houses in the Borough over the next 15 years. With enough brown field sites for between 3,000 to 3,500 houses the rest will have to be built on Green Belt land as we have no green field land in the Borough.
The Core Strategy identifies two sites which it immediately puts forward for development. They are Field Farm just north of Stapleford (Green Belt land) and parts of Boots in Beeston (brown field). Other sites are identified at Awsworth, Kimberley (which includes Nuthall and Watnall), Brinsley and Eastwood.
Together the sites would provide land for 3,550 houses leaving more sites yet to be identified to fulfil the target of 6,150.
The Core Strategy says Field Farm should be developed within the next five years (an application for outline permission has already been made which you can view by clicking here) The Boots site and all the others will be developed in over 6 years time.
The acceptance of the target of 6,150, means thousands of houses will be built on Green Belt land; this is clearly at odds with national policy as identified in the recent National Planning Policy Framework and the various statements from Ministers and the Prime Minister which make it clear Green Belt land remains specially protected (full details on my web site www.annasoubry.org.uk).
How to Have Your Say
The Borough Council is encouraging people to make their submissions on line. However, you can obtain a printed form (or print it off yourself) and I think the “Making responses on the Broxtowe Core Strategy” is useful as it explains how to fill in the form and the grounds on which to challenge or comment on the Core Strategy.
If you want a form or the documents or help in any way please contact me by email at email@example.com
There are two particular sections namely Questions 6 “Do you consider the Alligned Core Strategy to be Legally compliant?” and Question 7 “Do you consider the Alligned Core Strategy to be sound” which are important.
Paragraph 8 then asks you to explain any negative indications you might have given to Questions 6 and 7.
Is the Core Strategy “legal” ?
You may want to comment about the lack of public consultation in the entire process. You may want to comment on the approach by Broxtowe Borough Council (especially people who attended the public consultations organised by Broxtowe) including forms which encouraged people to identify suitable sites for development in other areas, thereby pitching community against community. You may want to comment on the complete lack of trying to compile Neighbourhood Plans until after the Core Strategy was agreed by the Borough Council in the middle of May 2012.
Is the Core Strategy “sound” ?
You may find that if you ask yourself the following questions you will in turn be able to provide quite a lengthy answer!
(a) Does the Core Strategy assess Broxtowe’s real housing needs? Does is look at how we can provide more jobs, more businesses and shops, better community facilities and does it improve our roads, railway links, cycle tracks and the like?
(b) Is the basis on which the housing target of 6,150 has been put forward supported by “robust and credible” evidence of Broxtowe’s housing need or has it treated the whole of Greater Nottingham as a single housing market, accepted national and regional figures and divided them amongst the participating Councils regardless of how much non Green Belt land is available?
(c) Is the Core Strategy and its target of 6,150, consistent with national policy especially the National Planning Policy Framework which continues to provide special protection for Green Belt land and which says there should not be development on Green Belt land save in exceptional or special circumstances? Does the Core Strategy encourage development on brown field land before other land as stated in the NPPF and repeatedly by Government ministers?
This is not a definitive list this is merely some thoughts for people who want to make their own submissions. I know many people feel that their views have never been considered and from the outset the whole process was some “done deal”. Accordingly please contact me if you would like more detailed advice and any assistance.
It is important to appreciate that even if a site in your part of the Borough is not within the Core Strategy the acceptance of a housing target of 6,150 puts all Green Belt land at risk of development.
Get Involved with a Local Group
I am working with all the following groups and my intention is to share advice and guidance. They would all very much welcome any support you can give.
STRAG and Stapleford Community Group
Stapleford and Trowell Rural Action Group are working with the Stapleford Community Group ( click here for their Facebook page) on preparing submissions. Given Field Farm’s status as the only “Sustainable Urban Extension” these two groups need all the support and help they can muster. If you want to join them please contact me and I will forward on your details to Jennie Philips and Richard MacRae who are leading the campaign. I have already supplied them with all the documentation.
Greasley Opposes Green Belt Development (GOGBD)
A group called Greasley Opposes Green Belt Development has been formed and they have arranged a public meeting on July 12 at Greasley Parish Hall (full details to follow) which I will be attending. Please let me know if you would like to join the group. It may be worth waiting until the meeting before make any submission if you live in the area.
Bramcote Conservation Society
Please visit their web site by clicking here and follow the links to their Green Belt Campaign page. I have already supplied them with forms and as many documents as I can get my hands on!
The developers of the Green Belt land north of Toton have by no means gone away as demonstrated in a letter they wrote on May 18th to the Secretary of State about Field Farm. Peveril Securities (the developers of the Toton land), through their solicitor, believe there should be an Environmental Impact Assessment of Field Farm (so do I and STRAG but our motives are somewhat different!). I take the view that Peveril is alerting the Secretary of State to the disadvantages of Field Farm as opposed to the advantages (in their terms) of their development at Toton.
If you read the Core Strategy and the document considered and approved by Broxtowe Borough Council it is difficult to see how anyone can safely say the land of Toton has been saved. Far from it in my view.
With a target of 6,150 of which sites for 3,550 have been identified and the tram terminus bang opposite, plus the Councils original decision to make it one of only two “preferred sites” I do not hesitate to say that anyone with concerns for the Green belt land at Toton should oppose the Core Strategy.
This is why I am going to hold another public meeting at Toton (details to follow).
Contact Your Town or Parish Council
I have written to the Chairs and Clerks of all the Parish and Town Councils as explained. I am sure they would welcome your support in deciding whether to make a submission.
Trowell Parish Council
The Council’s web site provides details of how to contact the Chair (Julie Bryant) and the clerk (Alison Mitchell). Click here for their web site.
Stapleford Town Council
Click here for the Town Council web site.
All the Councillors are listed and the leader is Jackie Williams who is also a Borough Councillor.
Greasley Parish Council
The new Chair is June Layton. The web site (please click here) does not include email addresses but if you contact me I will pass on your email to the Clerk and to June.
Nuthall Parish Council
Please contact the Clerk by clicking here or any of the Councillors who all provide their details on the web site.
Kimberley Town Council
Jim MacDonald is the new Chair of the Town Council. His details and the clerks are here the link to the Town Council web site.
I find it particularly concerning that there is now an emerging plan to develop the former Brewery Site; precisely the stuff of Neighbourhood Plans which enable communities to decide future development working with developers and planners. I have alerted SOBS to Neighbourhood Plans and Kimberley Town Council who I fear have not been properly involved in the Core Strategy process.
Awsworth Parish Council
Awsworth’s web site is here . The Clerk is Sarah Ball and please contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally – please remember the closing date for your views to Notts County Council on UK Coal’s application for opencast mining between Trowell and Cossall ends on June 30. Full details on my web site - www.annasoubry.org.uk
Anna Soubry MP