Fishpond Cottage – Statement from Bramcote Residents

Statement sent in by Barry Johnson.

Barry and and others attended the Housing Committee meeting last week when Fishpond Cottage was discussed and left disgusted and ashamed. They agreed that Barry could speak on behalf of the many objectors in Bramcote who are feeling as they do.

Residents object to the decision made by Broxtowe BC on the ‘Fishpond Cottage Development:

Broxtowe BC Planning Committee meeting in June 2021 decided by 6 votes to 5 to proceed with the Housing Committees proposed development of building 2 two storey houses, 2 flats and an adapted 3 bed property as well as keeping Fishpond Cottage, 51 Ilkeston Road.

Fishpond Cottage is over 200 years old.  Although not a ‘listed’ building, it is designated by ‘Historic England’ as of local historic importance and a much valued heritage asset to the Bramcote community.  Over 180 local residents objected to this development and as a result, Broxtowe BC requested its Housing Committee to conduct a review of its proposal. It was asked to consider three options, two of which, although compromises, would address some of the concerns of the huge number of local objectors.

On Wednesday 17th November the Housing Committee agreed that they would not accept the new options or alter their proposal and the Planning Committee should proceed on the basis of the decision agreed at the Planning Meeting meeting in June.

Broxtowe BC are the owners of Fishpond Cottage and the Plannng Authority; consequently no appeal is allowed.  Broxtowe BC are therefore ‘ramroding’ this development through the Planning Process in the knowledge that local residents have no right of appeal.  They therefore are able to act both as ‘Judge’ and ‘Jury’.   It is a disappointing outcome for local residents. It was obvious that many councillors were unwilling to consider any kind of compromise, even one put forward by the Council Leader.   It is ‘urban cramming’ and we consider that it is totally unnecessary to develop the site in this way. The Housing Department could have accommodated these new buildings on a site behind the Bramcote Crematorium if it wished to do so.

Objecting residents are aware that if they were allowed to go to Appeal, HM Housing Inspectorate would have most likely decided in their favour as in recent decisons on Appeal in Bramcote, the Inspector has rejected proposals with the same criteria as those currently proposed by Broxtowe BC for Fishpond Cottage. The Planning and Housing Committees has therefore failed to consider a number of key policies that a recent Planning Inspector’s decision on the former Bramcote Golf Course development has bought sharply into focus.

There is an inconsistency where the Planning Committee rejected a proposal from a third party due to overlooking and overbearing impact on neighbouring properties (to which the Inspector on Appeal agreed) but dismisses those same policies when considering an application from its own Housing Department. The Planning and Housing Committees have simply failed to consider a number of key policies that the Planning Inspector highlighted in respect of the former Bramcote Golf Course development.  One important aspect is that the decision “fails to adequately mitigate the overbearing impact of the development on the residents (ie Oakland Court and Ashbourne Close) who overlook the site and will have significant permanent harm to their amenity.   This is an issue which weighs heavily against the proposal.”  “It also does not conform with Policy 10 of the Greater Nottingham Aligned Core Strategies Part 1″. to which Broxtowe BC is an agreed signatory.”

The Planning Committee at its next meeting (Wednesday 1st December) must give consideration to HM Govt Inspectors comments in respect of the overlooking and overbearing impact that the development will have on existing residents, particularly those residents living in Oakland Court and Ashbourne Close as it will be harmful to their living conditions.  The Planning Committee also to date have not given any consideration to their duty to create a place with a high standard of amenity for existing users, nor said what mitigation would be put in place to counter the overlooking and overbearing impact on residents who live only 7 metres away.   The Planning Committee has a mandatory duty to ensure that the regulations for minimum distances between buildings is adherred to in order to ensure a satisfactory degree of amenity for occupiers of neighbouring properties.

Bramcote objectors have raised these critical concerns with both the Housing and the Planning Committees yet these have been brushed  aside. They have raised this matter with their three local Bramcote Ward Councillors too and have received their full support, but to no avail. It has become obvious that the Fishpond Cottage issue has not been decided upon by sound judgement but debased to meet internal factional party politics. This is totally unacceptable.  Such tawdry behaviour by Councillors undermines good local democracy.   It is a disgrace to the Borough of Broxtowe.   

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