Author Topic: Gorsehill Consultation Reassurance Given by Developers Who Propose to Regenerate Green Space.  (Read 29023 times)

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Offline Richard Beale

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From The adver website...

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Council leader Rod Bluh said: “It will probably attract a certain amount of opposition on the basis it’s open space. But by the definition, all new houses tend to be put on some sort of open space. This, effectively, is redundant scrubland.

So anytime Rod needs a few acres of land for another half arsed vanity project / celebrity based PR stunt, all he has to do is stop cutting the grass and call it Scrubland. The way SBC are cutting back SCS's contracts, it won't be long until much of the borough's open space is available then.

Just shows that Rod will use anything to justify building on virgin land, all the best open space in Swindon is 'scrub' land... The great western community forest, shaw forest park Seven Fields, Lawn woods to name a few. High in biodiversity and well used by their respective communities... but what is that of value, when there's a chance to get a quick photo in with Kevin McCloud and to make a few £'s.

And where is a definition of new housing that says 'must be built on open space'?

Offline JessieB

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Not sure if this has already been said but there is a meetin at St Barnabas Church, Cricklade rd at 6.30 on Thursday 9th Feb, Councillors will be there.  Also there is now a facebook page http://www.facebook.com/groups/152481078203078/

Offline Muggins

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What I'm hoping, but fearing the worst, is that they are not actually scared of McCloud, scared of being called a nimby or a numpty on the tele. 

If McCloud thinks that way, why doesn't he stand for council?   

Well I think we all know the answer to that one!

I would consider myself having taken a step up the ladder if he called me either of those names.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Richard Symonds

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Is anyone going to write up the meeting that took place at St Barnabus' on Thursday Night?

Unfortunately I didn't take any notes but my fellow attendee Des Morgan did so, copiously.

How did the meeting feel about Kevin Small Councillor for neighbouring Weston Ward Chairing the meeting?

I would have thought the Ward Councillors would have been more prominent and Kevin's comments about the campaign being made political might have seemed less so if they had been.  Poor Councillor Rochelle Russell was mentioned in passing but the Chairman failed to state that she had a prior engagement, something of which I learnt later.

No doubt The Chairman of the Planning Committee, Dale Heenan's silent presence could be construed as fact finding for his Cabinet colleagues and what they will have to face on Wednesday night.  It is a shame I am out of town or otherwise I would be there!!

All my posts are my own opinion and do not represent any political organization or group

Offline jennyb

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I was at the meeting and took a few notes which I have passed on to Josie.

It was interesting to hear Cllr Ballman speak and say ' this must be stopped at Cabinet'.

Cllr Ballman is a member of the current Planning Committee. For reference he asked questions about the Croft application, received no answers or assurances but approved it nonetheless.

Much reference was made throughout the evening to residents raising their concerns, writing to Cabinet and attending Cabinet meetings. I have suggested that Scrutiny should also be attended.

Cllr Heenan , current Chair of Planning, was also in attendance and I am fairly sure ( maybe someone else remembers) suggested that the strength and numbers of opposition was important.

Cllr Heenan , chaired the Croft Planning Meeting, and has told us what the rules are ..to assess a building operating at capacity including the access. Cllr Heenan has yet to confirm if he followed these same rules.

There was great strength ,opposition and expert evidence against the Croft Proposal. You all know what happened.

For reference , G Jones has confirmed that green space was assessed during the 2006 Local Plan. It would appear that this is when the Croft was 'doomed' . This same sentence may have been placed on other green spaces throughout Swindon. Be afraid... be very afraid.

Anyhow.. back to the meeting. A gentleman repeatedly asked who was the person in SBC responsible/accountable for this.  No answer was or maybe could be provided

I would recommend that residents and Ward Councillors contact Gavin Jones as in the absence of any other accountability the responsibility ultimately lies with the CEO. It is critical that residents know what Officers have done or are doing as Officer recommendations will be key to this.
It takes wisdom to know what you know and wisdom to know what you don't know and when to call in those who do. Often the people who do know will advise that evidence and research are very helpful when making decisions. Who knows it might even save a bit of money.

Offline jennyb

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Gavin Jones email address is

gjones@swindon.gov.uk
It takes wisdom to know what you know and wisdom to know what you don't know and when to call in those who do. Often the people who do know will advise that evidence and research are very helpful when making decisions. Who knows it might even save a bit of money.

Offline Muggins

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http://www.swindon.gov.uk/ep/ep-planning/ep-planning-monitoring/Documents/open_space_audit_and_assessment_-_main_report_final_(complete)_read[1].pdf
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Tobes

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@ Muggins - Soooooo, Mr Kevin McLoud is involved in this one, is he? Can you provide some links? If he is, this'll be VERY bad PR for a man who likes to parade his green credentials....

I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Tobes

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Ahhhhh - I see:

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/yoursay/swindonletters/9509711.Where_is_the_silver_lining__Mr_McCloud_/

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This morning a dog walker told me that he considered it Gorse Hill's green lung.

This area is now under threat from development by Kevin McCloud, the chap on the television. Even worse, he and Swindon councillors plan to build on the adjacent woodland and a large section of the public parkland beyond, and use May Close as the access road.

I do not know if this is a ‘done deal’ like the Croft school fiasco but councillors have already been given a briefing by the putative developers and not a word to the public who would be so adversely effected by this regressive, vandalous and potentially illegal scheme.


I'd need some more background and an understanding of the location before making my decision on whether this is completely misguided or not - but given Mr McCloud, his company and Channel 4 have plenty of researchers, I can't believe they won't already be aware of this thread and of TS.  I wonder if we might witness the miracle of a developer coming online to discuss and defend their proposals...?!

Simple question for Mr McCloud: In an area like Swindon, with so many empty offices and brown-field sites, how can building on an old allotment site POSSIBLY be 'green'?

As for Bluhs comment that this is 'scrubland': 'scrubland' describes the majority of nature reserves in the UK.  :idiot2:
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Muggins

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Sorry?   I had just managed to post the link to the open space assessment and got called away - urgently!

Jennyb, "For reference , G Jones has confirmed that green space was assessed during the 2006 Local Plan. It would appear that this is when the Croft was 'doomed' . This same sentence may have been placed on other green spaces throughout Swindon. Be afraid... be very afraid"

Couldn't agree more Jenny and it's something I've been saying and posting on TS for some time.  I think that part of the 2006 local plan was based on this 2004 document.  The last lot of boundary changes (about ten years ago) very cleverly, but not too subtley moved open space from ward to ward, I am sure in order to be able to enable taking it for development.

Tobes, McCleod appears to be very much involved in the Gorsehill development, rumours are rife of other places too.  Infill development is stressful enough for those living near any of it without a having a TV personality who makes his living by doing this and making TV programmes out of it, and people, inlcuding councillors, being scared to speak out in case he calls them a nimby or a numpty, both of which he did in his last programme, including  remarks in the council chambers whilst the council were meeting. I can't remember him standing for election anywhere around here.

Last week the inside of the Penhill British Legion building was conveniently badly damaged by fire.

I'm still looking up the history of the site as far as Community Forest, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, River parkways, cycle routes, green corridors, habitat plans, urban wildlife surveys, involvement in the Hreod Burna Parway stuff.  I remember standing in that field some years ago and it was something to do with the green environment and lots of other people and workers were there, racking my brains to remember why - it will come to me.

 
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Rochelle

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Hi All, typical of me to have booked a holiday in Lincolnshire before all this blew up...still it was lovely (plenty of snow and long walks with the spotty dog) and at least I've now got plenty of energy for what could be a protracted fight...

I was sorry to have missed the public meeting, but I've no doubt there will be plenty more! I've been in touch with a few people who attended and I'm heartened by the number of people who were there and the fact that people from other areas of town also went along. There is, after all, strength in numbers.
Along with my fellow councillors, I attended a presentation meeting with Haboakus which was uncomfortable to say the least.
It felt very much like a "done deal". We were assured that this was not the case, but personally I felt that we had been kept in the dark for as long as possible so that we couldn't cause trouble. Perhaps I'm being too cynical...
The scale of the proposed development was a shock, and basically, I started talking to people as soon as I left that meeting.

My duty of course, is to represent the views of the majority of my ward, not my own, but my sense is that our views on this will not be in opposition.
I do not believe in building on green open space, there is plenty of brownfield land which can and should be developed.
I do not believe that there is a demonstrable need for a development of this size in the area, I do not believe that it is possible to "grow a park" by building on a large chunk of it.
Questions worth considering:
Where are the school places for the children who would be living in this development?
How would Cricklade Road cope with the extra traffic? ( The idea that people living there would give up their cars for greener forms of transport is a nonsense sadly)
Is the proposed size of the development necessary or just necessary for commercial viability?
Is the development simply about one man's vision and would it be social engineering?
Would developing some of the land allow for the rest of it, in time, to be developed also?

I am obliged to act responsibly and I do try to take a measured approach.
I think from a campaigning angle it is important to be focussed and armed with facts rather than rumours, I also think it is all too easy to dismiss opposition if it is unruly or disparate.
We must absolutely work together on this and learn from each others past experience.
What I know I share, that is my job, although I will always aim to do so respectfully and carefully.
I believe it is hugely important that as many people as possible turn up to Cabinet on Wednesday.
Public scrutiny works, and if battles are lost along the way, the war can still be won in the long run.
Glad to be back.

Offline Geoff Reid

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Can someone describe the exact location for me?, e.g, which roads border the land etc please?, I'd like to get some aerial (sp?) pictures up a.s.a.p  :)

Offline Terry Reynolds

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I went to the meeting and was taken back that it had been upstaged by the councillors of Rodbourne, it had nothing to do with them but thanks for them going and doing the presentation, and thanks but no thanks to Coun Heenhan for sitting on his backside and saying nothing..
I emailed the leader about this and he denied that the football pitches will be built on, as if he didnt know.
he didnt answer the question about covenants on the land, he didnt answer the question about the waiting list for allotments and why this one was passed over, why were those people kicked off in the first place?.
He didnt answer the question why the council is using '106 money' to build houses for the builder, surely that is illegal.
the points about the traffic are beyond belief, the queues up to penhill etc will be back to transfer bridges every night.
for geoff if you look at the map, find a trianagle formed by cricklade road, pinehurst road, and Malvern road\tiverton road, then you have the general area, the area behind pinehurst road, with the sports pitch is where they propose to build on , both sides, so at least one of the two pitches will go and if the people in the new houses complain then the pitch left in the middle of them will go as well.
I have put these questions to the CEO, but am expecting the now normal reply to say its nothing to do with him,  and he has passed it to the leader and the leader to then reply and say the wifi was a success...
and I have also put in the point of the land at the bottom of croft road not being used apart from the infrastructre...
I wont change my opinions, political, but this issue is something else..... :wink:

Offline Muggins

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Kohima, Gorsehill is in the North Central Cluster, which includes Western Ward, that's why Rodbourne councillors where there.  nad if they have shadow planning positions they should be there too.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Terry Reynolds

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I would agree with that somewhat, however, the grin on Mr Smalls face didnt come off all night, and when asked repeated questions as to who was responsible for it and who to address, he shouted and wouldnt answer the actual point once.

Offline Des Moffatt

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K
Our ward ends where the public open space starts and many people who live in that part of Western Ward use the public open space.
When I get my boards back from John Ballman I will take a picture and try to load it here. We were in a church and all under instructions from Kevin to keep the politics down, the only person to mention the Conservative Party as making this decision was me. It mattered to me that the residents attending were clear that we opposed this encroachment on public open space and that it was the Administration, the Tory administration who were making the proposal.



Offline Des Morgan

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My duty of course, is to represent the views of the majority of my ward, not my own,


Rochelle - only because it's nit pickingly obvious, i am sure you meant to say the views of 'anyone' as opposed to the majority. After all, it isn't always the case that the majority view is the right one.

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thanks but no thanks to Coun Heenan for sitting on his backside and saying nothing..

But Kohima - what could he have said? He was there as an interested observer and not as a guest of the Labour Councillors who planned the meeting. He was introduced at the end of the meeting simply as a 'courtesy'.

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he didnt answer the question


I'm sure you were not surprised

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when asked repeated questions as to who was responsible for it and who to address, he shouted and wouldnt answer the actual point once.

Can't disagree with you on both parts.  The first issue could have been dealt with quite easily by telling the man asking the question - the truth - Coun Small et al probably don't know the name of the person dealing with the matter, and if they did - why would he make it public, after all the person dealing with 'it' is an employee and the last thing they need is for an irate member of the public to be giving them  a hard time. As far as the second issue is concerned; I was surprised at Coun Small after all it was a public meeting attended by members of the public and they didn't deserve to be hectored and shouted at - sorry Councillor on this point you were out of order.


Offline Muggins

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Interesting, I wish I had come! 

I have to add that last week I set about finding out facts and the 'who', for a meeting tonight, I can't remember how many phone calls I made to find out who in SBC dealt with the issues I was covering, I left a message for one, and by the time he got back to me the next day, I had forgotten which of the subjects I wanted him for.

It used to be like this back in the early 90's when you dialled in to SBC it took so long for them to answer the phone I often forgot what the question was - I started making  a note of it before I lifted the phone, looks like I'll have to start doing thay again.  I know councillors should know better than me, but the pace of change is such that I doubt they do.

Local councillors at that time could get their hands an internal directory which they let me have - I doubt such a things exists now, and they were not constantly moving departments and jobs. Yet, you would thgink that in these days of infromation higways and all the means at our disposal, things should be easier?   
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline concerned_of_Old_Town

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Interesting debate and observations.


What I cannot understand is despite references to various Swindon strategic plans the council planners do not seem to have one overall plan to say do not start one development until  another one finishes!


For instance Wichelestowe is half built and appears to have stalled.   Would it make sense to do one development properly and ensure the houses are sold and development complete thus ensuring there is a genuine demand before moving on elsewhere?


It is a bit like going in your car to Sainsburys to stock up with food and provisions even though you already  a full fridge!!


Offline Richard Symonds

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As far as the second issue is concerned; I was surprised at Coun Small after all it was a public meeting attended by members of the public and they didn't deserve to be hectored and shouted at - sorry Councillor on this point you were out of order.

I think the Croft people will confirm he was even worse at a Scrutiny Meeting in December and when he does this he does himself no favours.

From my perspective I think it would have been better for the Labour Party if John Ballman, being the only Local Councillor (Pinehurst & Gorse Hill) present had chaired the meeting.

But then Kevin Small does think he should be leading the Labour Party not just the Chairman of the local cluster.

I hope that the politics is kept to minimum and that the Councillors present both in the audience and on the rostrum will do the right thing by the local people.

and while we are about it why isn't Mr Mcleoud directed to Whichelstowe where no one will stop him providing he meets the planning criteria?

I just don't understand why Rod Bluh and his crew have to be so controversial?
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