Hazelwood Parish  Neighbourhood Plan
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Hazelwood Parish Neighbourhood Plan

Steering Group


Extraordinary meeting


Date; Tuesday August 19th 2014


Venue; Memorial Hall, Hazelwood.


Present; Mike Wood, Robert Walker, Keith Walker, Irene & Bob Wrigley, Kay Reid, Judy Harris, Glen Wall, Malcolm and Kate Sutton, Michael Say, Kevin Eaton (Chairman).


Apologies; Martin Angold, Lesley Wall, David Railton.



Mike Wood’s draft objectives and policies paper, previously circulated

Chairman had called the meeting in view of the paper‘s position at the core of the Plan. As such, it warranted separate discussion.


Round-the -table comments were sought first.


Bob and Irene Wrigley - generally liked the paper.

*The Housing growth policy was difficult to understand and would benefit from, perhaps, being less densely written. This point was echoed by others.

*The Housing in existing buildings conversions policy could perhaps include care of trees and safety related measures.

*Business Development policy first two sentences could be combined.

*Communities policy agreed.


Addendum.

We see two points to resolve:

1) Bus routes – As far as we are aware there is no bus route at the Nether Lane settlement. We don’t know about the others.


2) For smaller, quality homes for older people looking to downsize and stay in Hazelwood, we think that there would be significant advantage in having these near the Memorial Hall which could then become the ‘hub’ for the services elderly people find useful i.e. doctor, buses, etc.


Glen Wall, Judy Harris, Kay Reid, Keith Walker, Robert Walker - all generally liked the paper and its direction.

*Glen commented about Shottle not being shown as another settlement. Mike responded that its traffic and road junction implications rather ruled it out along with its distance from the traditional Church/Memorial Hall/cross roads centre. Lack of emphasis on biodiversity, overall, was noted as needing to be addressed; a point agreed by others.


Martin Angold, in absentia, had provided written comments and questions.

His overall view of the ‘facts’ within the document was that he took issue, principally, with the definition of the settlements. His view was that in trying to avoid high density building i.e. more in each of the settlements, ‘New building needs to be between the settlements or at least on the outside edge so that the settlements become extended’ Because the parish was so spread, should an aim be ‘to bring the parts together (or at least reduce the distance between?)’



Mike Wood said that this was a key issue. His rationale for identifying the four settlements - Nether Lane (Lubrizol area), the crossroad (Church/Mem Hall area), Over Lane (bottom end/ Lumb Lane junction area), Hazelwood Hill, was to reduce the threat of open fields being identified for development; for individual houses or clusters. Future housing would be able to complement each of the existing settlements, rather than just concentrating on Hazelwood Hill. The problem of trying to ‘bring the parts together…’ meant, in effect, ribbon development. This would inevitably have an impact on the character of the landscape. In all the discussions, Mike had never gained the impression that this was a route that was desirable or wanted.


Other issues raised were;


*Setting some form of control, as a calculation, over numbers of dwellings that could be built i.e. ‘5% over 10 years’. Note; Idridgehay have done this by wishing to continue the rate of development over the last 20 years.


Mike Wood commented that this could be done but it would have to be shown how this could be achieved. One step could be his intended Visual Impact Assessment (detailed later) which would assist in this.


*Business development objective - was this necessary? The meeting thought it was.


*Biodiversity objective requirement - agreed earlier as needed.


* Martin raised the ’attached to…… in the same ownership…’ in the Housing Growth policy as being too restrictive. Michael Say also wondered whether it would stand up in law. Mike agreed it was an unknown at this point.


* Other slightly lesser issues were raised and will be part of Martin’s discussions with Mike on his return.


Michael Say’s points were;

* What was the rationale for the four settlements; what if they were not designated i.e. status quo. Mike’s comments are largely answered previously. Not having the settlements would leave all land open to attack.


*Housing Growth objective - would ‘To establish..’  be better as ‘To allow…’?

NB This wasn’t asked at the time but remains as a discussion point.


* The whole business of affordable homes seems to hinge on more than one being built on a plot. Is this sufficient an answer to parishioners comments about the need?

Mike said that the only answer to more of these dwellings would be if a landowner was prepared to sell land to a Housing Association at a rate that permitted them to be sustainably sold or rented.


On the broader issue of parishioners comments re affordable home and for the elderly, Michael Say believed that their whole input was based on the notion of ’Hazelwood homes for Hazelwood people’. Homes being built for the open market would likely be seen as going against those wishes. He felt that more needed to be done to reduce - and preferably - avoid that pitfall.


* Housing growth policy statement - might benefit from less dense wording


* Housing in existing building conversion - the policy statement, whilst full of good stuff, seemed divorced from the subject matter; more related to matters of the environment. Mike Wood said that the various LDP policies were quite comprehensive in this area so his statement was intended to cover what they did not.


* The Community Policy statement felt weak bearing in mind what had been agreed as the overarching link of sustainability regarding any housing development, Hall potential services and. buses. Given that the four settlements are on a bus route, would this not strengthen the whole ‘settlements’ argument


NB At this point Chairman raised the issue of objectives for the Parish council, based on the information gleaned through the research but which is not directly Plan related. See later action point.


* Are the ‘Hazelwood’ policies sufficient in number and strong enough? On comparing Mike’s suggestions with Idridghay, all their eleven had been covered in Mike’s five except the biodiversity issue (agreed as needed), their dark skies objective which Michael Say thought was well worth highlighting. Their three objectives re; residents, health, safety, highway mods, safer walking etc could also be worth scrutiny vis a viz the Community policy comments, bearing in mind the research results.


Mike commented that, on reflection, there could well be other objectives required. It was a consideration for everyone. Chairman cautioned against too many, however, as the need for an easily understandable and readable document was key to gaining residents’ confidence.


* Michael Say’s final comment was that, in gaining that confidence, it was crucial that the Plan did not appear to be a recommendation from an organisation bent on developing houses. The protection of Hazelwood and its rural environment mustn’t be lost in what ever the Plan ultimately sets out.


Postern Lodge Farm owners, Malcolm and Kate Sutton had been welcomed earlier. Prior to the meeting, they had discussed their situation with Martin Angold who had suggested they attend. Owning land North and South of the crossroads, bordering Over Lane to the East, they were very much committed to the well being of Hazelwood through long-time family ties. The parish’s careful, future development was close to their hearts. The land mentioned is something they would like to introduce into the picture, some for family reasons, some for possible house development that could be fit with the Plan and in particular the attempt  to ease the first-time buyers/elderly dilemma.


Chairman thanked Malcolm and Kate for making the group aware of their aspirations.  It was extremely useful to have such information and all the better that it represented parish vested interest rather than outside. He did emphasise, however, that the Steering Group was a conduit representing the voice of the Parish’s residents  and their defined wishes, as stated in the two recent research exercises. Both said that they would like to be kept informed and will be added to the  email list.


ACTION POINTS


1/ LANDSCAPE

Generally agreed. Policy Statement would be improved with more sentence breaks and added punctuation.


Addendum;

Mike Wood recalled mention of ‘trees’, as well as ‘openness’, being a significant part of retaining the character of the landscape. Preservation orders would be key here..


2/ HOUSING GROWTH

Generally agreed but the issue of ‘Four settlements’ still needs to be formally agreed. If so, are they as indicated on the plan; could there be others? All this versus trying to ‘…bring the parts together…‘ as per M Angold thought. This needs finalising.


Wording of policy thought to be difficult due to dense wording.


Objective.

Consider whether ‘establish…’ sounds too much like a building intention.  Would ’allow’ be softer, better and more accurate?


Policy Statement

Re-look at with more sentence breaks to help make the statement more easily understandable.


3/ HOUSING IN EXISTING BUILDING CONVERSION

Policy Statement

Re-consider whether the wording directly relates enough to the subject matter, given that a lot of the detail appears to be environmental policy. This is not withstanding the various and comprehensive LDP policies.


4/ BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

Agreed as required, as a specific objective and policy


Policy Statement

Re-consider wording to reduce sentence lengths and possibly combine first two sentences.


5/ COMMUNITY

Objective agreed but could this be extended?


Policy Statement

Consider whether this needs extending to be more specific about the sustainability element which links any house building with Memorial Hall facilities and potential services, buses to the A6. The last two items figured largely in research findings.


6/ CONSIDER OTHER OBJECTIVES

Without overdoing it, are there other issues? A particular recommendation voiced at the meeting was regarding biodiversity. The Idridghay equivalent objective is ‘To protect and enhance the natural environment and encourage biodiversity‘


Specific ‘Dark skies’ objective is another suggestion to help maintain the rural character. Again, Idridghay offers’ To retain the qualities of peace and quiet and dark skies associated with Hazelwood.’


Are there others?


7/ OBJECTIVES FOR PARISH COUNCIL

Agreed that list be prepared of non-Plan issues which need to be addressed by Parish Council, as a result of the two research exercises.


8/ VISUAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT

Mike Wood to organise this with other volunteers. This will concentrate on the four identified settlements. A methodology to be established which will help to assess what the impact would be of new dwellings and in what numbers. This will also help to determine whether it is feasible to put some form of control/target within the Housing Growth objective and policy. On completion, AVBC comment will be sought to see whether this meets recognised criteria.


9/ HELEN METCALFE OVERVIEW

Agreed that she should look at the MKII version of the Objectives/Policy document i.e. once the modifications and areas of re-write have been completed. (See Summary below)


SUMMARY

Everyone at the meeting to provide comments and modifications to these notes regarding omissions, errors or modification, ideally within 48 hours. On receipt, Michael Say will modify and resend. This will then enable Mike Wood and Keith Walker to work on producing a MKII version of Objectives and Policies.