Zoe Cockcroft, Chair, STRAG, writes:
Dear Friends of Field Farm
As you may have already heard, I am pleased to inform you that on Wednesday night the Planning Committee at Broxtowe Borough Council voted unanimously to refuse Mr Westerman permission to build his plan for the first phase of Field Farm.
Prior to the meeting I was so impressed by the ‘Planning Officers Report’ which was attached to the agenda and which highlighted a great deal of what we have been fighting for. So all our hard work and your support has helped to make sure that what ever gets built on this site will be carefully designed both in layout and design as well as taking into consideration the important concerns that local residents have about flood risk. Last night, councillors referred several times to the need for a ‘Flagship’ development for Stapleford which was so very encouraging.
As you know, for the last 18 months or so we have been advocating the need to find a way of keeping the north eastern part of the site undeveloped. But of course to do this there would be a need for higher densities across the rest of the site to satisfy the number of dwellings that outline permission granted. I was dismayed to observe that there seems to be some confusion with both some members of the public and councillors that STRAG were saying that we would like to see multi storey flats. Last night one councillor referred to our suggestion as ‘high rise’ possibly thinking of those such as Basford and Clifton flats. I want to make this perfectly clear, we have never suggested or pushed for this. Our suggestion was to have modern 2 and 3 storey high family/couple apartments with balconies and shared recreation/green areas. This is a very common practice across Europe and works well.
Ideally, we would like to see a drastic reduction in the number of houses that can be built especially now that more and more brown field sites in Broxtowe are coming forward. This would satisfy some of the housing need but also save the wildlife corridor and preserve the wild spaces behind Stapleford Hill by not building beyond the ridge and plantation.
For your information here is my speech:
STRAG ADDRESS to BROXTOWE BOROUGH COUNCIL PLANNING COMMITTEE
Field Farm planning application review, Wednesday 20 April 2016
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak on behalf of our residents’ group STRAG. As you know we represent the voice of local residents and many of them live adjacent to the Field Farm site. We were glad to read that the Council’s Design and Heritage Adviser and many other respondents to the consultation share our views that the proposed design is very disappointing and lacks in vision for the future of Stapleford. We do sincerely hope that Members will follow the advice of the officers and refuse planning permission tonight.
Given the importance of this site and the loss of Greenbelt, we would like to suggest that the developer be encouraged to actively participate with the Borough and Town Councils and the community to jointly identify ways forward in order to create a vibrant neighbourhood on Field Farm instead of yet one more soulless housing estate. This project should be a flagship for Broxtowe, displaying state-of-the-art design and environmental standards, fully utilising the physical characteristics of the site.
We still believe in our proposal that there should be higher densities of dwellings in parts of the development site perhaps in the shape of family apartments of 3 storeys high. This would hopefully alleviate the need to build beyond the ridge and plantation.
We still maintain that a plan for the whole site should be submitted, as no serious vision can be developed in a piecemeal fashion. Indeed the Council also needs to consider at the same time what may happen to the adjacent Green Belt land between Field Farm, the Crematorium, the railway and Coventry Lane. Without an overall plan how can the community’s concerns over flooding issues be fully evaluated and addressed. There are real concerns as to whether adjacent residential areas will be more at risk of flooding, especially with predicted climate change bringing higher rainfall as the norm.
Finally, I would like to remind Members that Field Farm and its surroundings are an important recreation area and that the attractiveness must be preserved, not only for the local community, but also for the many more inhabitants of Broxtowe who enjoy it on a regular basis. Furthermore, the role of the area as an ecological corridor is of local and regional value and must be given due weight in the planning exercise. This is essential not only for the preservation of local flora and fauna, but also for the physical and mental health of the community. It is well known that in addition to ethical issues, the natural environment does have an economic value, which it would be irresponsible to disregard.
Please do feel free to email me if you have any queries or suggestions.