Jeremy Hilton’s letter to Planning Inspectorate – Redrow appeal

Redrow Homes has appealed to the Secretary of State about Gloucester City Council’s non-determination of their planning application to build 89 dwellings on the former Civil Service Sports Ground off Estcourt Road. Application reference 16/00968/FUL.

This controversial application raised many objections from local residents when it was originally deposited with the council in 2016.

The deadline for comments to the Planning Inspectorate from the public was the 9th of August this year. Jeremy Hilton’s letter is below.

Gloucester City Council has still to respond. Within a few weeks the council will take its response to the planning committee for approval, before it is sent to the Planning Inspectorate.

 

 

Jeremy Hilton fighting to save the Civil Service Sports Ground

Jeremy Hilton’s Letter to Planning Inspectorate

I write to ask you to dismiss the appeal by Redrow Homes related to the planning application for 89 houses on the former Civil Service Sports Club ground (Ref:16/00968/FUL).

I am the local county and city councillor for Kingsholm & Wotton.

On the 19th of April 2017, I did write to the case officer at Gloucester City Council pointing out that the application was then seven months old and that it should be determined with a recommendation to refuse.

The council said they were giving more time to Redrow to resolve the issue about the loss of sports pitches. Redrow had not in April 2017 nor since provided evidence on how they would mitigate for the loss of the playing fields.

There is a shortage of rugby and football pitches in Gloucester. Spartans Ruby Club, which is based in Kingsholm, is looking for an additional pitch near to its club house, which is in neighbouring Sherborne Street.

The High School for Girls, which is in Denmark Road has also spoken to me about possible use of the sports field if it is saved from development.

All Redrow have done since acquiring the site in 2011 (for just £10,000) is shut the gates and demolish the club house etc, making the facilities unavailable for active sport that it had previously been used for.

Similarly, since acquiring the site Redrow have failed to properly discuss the future of the playing fields with the local community that is required in the Joint Core Strategy policy INF4. The lack of community engagement is lamentable.

Redrow’s idea of consultation has been to lodge two full planning applications with the council, leaving no opportunity for the council or the community to hold discussions about how the site could be developed for some housing, but leaving the rest of the site available for sport and recreation.

As Keith Annis a senior manager at Redrow once told me they were playing for time. The question must be asked why has it taken them nearly two years from depositing the planning application to lodge an appeal?

For Redrow to appeal against non-determination is rather hypocritical, particularly to do this only a few weeks after lodging a new planning application for 100 dwellings on the same site (Ref 18/00306/FUL)

Further Comments

A.    Affordable housing:

The plan for affordable homes did not meet the council’s then standard, when the application was submitted, which was 40 %. The application lists 18 dwellings as intermediate housing, this is equates to 20% of the build.

It was impossible for the council to approve an application that did not meet this standard. Subsequently, the Joint Core Strategy has been adopted, where the new limit is set at 20%.

B. Land Purchase:

The applicants purchased the sports ground from the Civil Service Sports Council Ltd for just £10,000 in 2011 (GR355501). The applicants should publicly declare the details of the uplift clause they have with Civil Service Sports Council Ltd.

I believe it is this legal agreement that is responsible for the maximisation of housing on the site rather than what one would expect an open discussion with the council and community on a development brief that would benefit all.

Some degree of housing whilst retaining the main sports field for sport and recreation, would benefit everyone.

C.    Alternative sport provision:

It may be that the land has not been used for sport for more than five years, but that is because of a deliberate policy by the landowners to close the ground for sporting activities.

I concur with Sport England that the application should be refused.

The applicants have failed to identify alternative facilities that could accommodate sporting activities that previously took place on the Civil Service Sports ground.

In my opinion, alternative provision must be within the Kingsholm & Wotton ward.

D. Joint Core Strategy INF3

The proposed development of 89 dwellings in my opinion is not consistent with JCS policy on green infrastructure. The former Civil Service Sport Ground provides a worthy green infrastructure asset that should be protected to help resolve the shortage of open space in Kingsholm and Wotton.

I believe it is not beyond the wit of all parties to come up with a development solution that would provide much needed housing whilst retaining a large open space that could continue to be used for sport and recreation.

Here is Policy INF3

1. The green infrastructure network of local and strategic importance will be conserved and enhanced, in order to deliver a series of multifunctional, linked green corridors across the JCS area by:
i. Improving the quantity and/or quality of assets;
ii. Improving linkages between assets in a manner appropriate to the scale of development, and
iii. Designing improvements in a way that supports the cohesive management of green
infrastructure;
2. Development proposals should consider and contribute positively towards green infrastructure, including the wider landscape context and strategic corridors between major assets and populations. Where new residential development will create, or add to, a need for publicly accessible green space or outdoor space for sports and recreational on, this will be fully met in accordance with Policy INF4. Development at Strategic Alloca ons will be required to deliver connectivity through the site, linking urban areas with the wider rural hinterland
3. Existing green infrastructure will be protected in a manner that reflects its contribution
to ecosystem services (including biodiversity, landscape / townscape quality, the historic environment, public access, recreation and play) and the connectivity of the green infrastructure network. Development proposals that will have an impact on woodlands, hedges and trees will need to include a jus ca on for why this impact cannot be avoided and should incorporate measures acceptable to the Local Planning Authority to mi gate the loss. Mi ga on should be provided on-site or, where this is not possible, in the immediate environs of the site
4. Where assets are created, retained or replaced within a scheme, they should be properly integrated into the design and contribute to local character and distinctiveness. Proposals should also make provisions for future maintenance of green infrastructure.

E. Joint Core Strategy INF4

As I have previously mentioned the lack of serious community engagement by Redrow ahead of this planning application, about the future use of the site, is lamentable.

Redrow have only showed plans that have proposed the complete building on the site, with the loss of the playing fields. They have never properly consulted anyone.

I believe they failed to meet the requirement of Joint Core Strategy policy INF4 for social and community infrastructure

Here is Policy INF4

1. Proposals to develop land or buildings currently or previously in use as a community facility will demonstrate, including evidence of engagement with relevant local community groups and partner organisations, why the facility is no longer required and, as appropriate, how, when and where suitable local replacement facilities will be provided. Provision of replacement facilities will have regard to the locational and other relevant elements of this policy
2. Where new residential development will create, or add to, a need for community facilities, it will be fully met as on-site provision and/or as a contribution to facilities or services o -site. New or refurbished provision will be of an appropriate type, standard and size. From an early stage, developers will be expected to engage with the relevant local authorities and infrastructure providers and, as appropriate, relevant local community groups where they exist, to ensure that new provision meets the needs of the community that it will serve and is t for purpose
3. Social and community infrastructure should be centrally located to the population it serves and
be easily accessible on foot and by bicycle. It should be located so as to have the potential to be well-served by public transport. Developers should aim to provide flexible, multifunctional facilities within mixed-use developments, creating shared space which maximises benefits to the community and minimises land-take. In the case of open space, ‘easily accessible’ means it is located within reasonable walking distance of the development it serves. New facilities should be accessible to all members of the community, and be planned and phased in parallel with new development.

F. Draft City Plan Policy SA06

The provision of 89 dwellings is in my opinion is overdevelopment of the site, which is in the heart of Kingsholm.

Council policy as identified in the draft City Plan, which was approved by council in December 2016, recommends a maximum of twenty dwellings (SA06).

The proposal of 89 dwellings exceeds this policy by 445%, with the complete loss of the playing fields.

A compromise of 40 dwellings, for example, on this site would mean that the former sports field could be brought back into use.

G. Layout of the site:

The layout of the site does not follow the usual street pattern that is evident in Kingsholm. It is adjacent to both the Kingsholm and Denmark Road conservation areas.

I am concerned that the narrow streets on estate may be become clogged up with motorists parking their cars on footpaths. This is a problem that will be exacerbated during times when there are rugby matches being played at the Kingsholm stadium.

The small public open space is set out to give the impression that it is an exclusive space just for the new residents of the estate. New public open space should laid out to be inclusive and available to all Kingsholm residents.

H.    Highway access:

I am not convinced by the design of the access point onto Estcourt Road slip road.

The proposed access onto Denmark Road is unacceptable. It closes the slip road to Lansdown Road and removes much-needed parking spaces on Denmark Road.

The closure of the slip road will create more vehicle conflict at the other junction with Lansdown Road. This will be a particular problem when school coaches use this junction.

The closure of the slip road will also remove the u-turn provision it provides for the houses serviced off the dual carriageway section of Denmark Road on the south side.

I.    Public open space:

Kingsholm & Wotton has a low level of public open space as identified in the city council’s open spaces strategy. The council’s standard is 2.8ha per 1000

Based on the new ward boundaries introduced at the 2016 election the ward has just 0.49ha per 1,000 population. Or 3.59ha for a population based on mid 2016 of 7,259 persons.

An opportunity is being missed in the proposed development to achieve a good increase in public open space provision in the ward by the wholesale development of the site, which was formerly used for sport and recreation.

I would recommend that this appeal is dismissed.

Air Pollution report published

Tackling air pollution in Gloucestershire from vehicle emissions is set to be an important priority for Gloucestershire County Council. Today the report of the air pollution task group, chaired by Cllr. Jeremy Hilton (Lib Dem Kingsholm & Wotton), is published.

According to Public Health England, poor air quality is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK, and the Royal College of Physicians has estimated that poor air quality is responsible for 40,000 premature deaths in the UK annually.

Exposure to air pollution can affect health by contributing to the development of cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, and respiratory diseases, and can limit an individual’s quality of life.

Cllr. Jeremy Hilton said: “Public bodies in Gloucestershire need to do much more to reduce vehicle air pollution. We have a number of poor air quality hot spots in the county. Nitrogen Dioxides and particulate matter from vehicle emissions is a hazard to everyone’s health in the county. We have to take action to reduce these pollutants.

“I shall be taking the report of the air pollution task group to the Environment & Community Scrutiny Committee next week, where I hope it is approved, before it is sent on to the county cabinet on the 6th of June.”

The report has a dozen recommendations that include the establishment of a Gloucestershire Air Quality Partnership to oversee future work. This will be helped by better air quality monitoring with a focus on particulate matter. Changes to planning policies are suggested. Highway interventions are recommended to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution.

The task group wishes to encourage the greater use of electric vehicles and also to set stronger targets to increase journeys by bicycle, on foot and public transport. It wants to see the use low emissions buses etc.

Cllr Hilton concluded: “This report is just a start. I would like to that everyone who came along to the workshop we held in January and to the members of the air pollution task group that helped draft the report.”

Objections expected to flood in over 100 homes plans for Civil Service sports ground

Isabel Brazil and Jeremy Hilton with the former Civil Service sports ground in background

Plans have been submitted to build 100 homes on the grounds of the former Civil Service club in Kingsholm.

Liberal Democrat councillors are opposed to so many properties being built on the Estcourt Road site because it will take away valuable green space for local people.

The application by Redrow Homes to Gloucester City Council is an increase of 11 properties on a previous application of 89 homes, which is yet to be determined by the planning committee.

Councillor Jeremy Hilton, who represents Kingsholm Ward on the city council, said the new application is in contravention of several council polices.

“The area has less public open space than the council says is necessary for the local population,” said Councillor Hilton.

“This application will take away valuable green space in the heart of Kingsholm. We do need more houses, but not so many at this location.

“The council’s draft city plan says the maximum on the site should be 20. This would leave the large field untouched and available for sport and recreation.

“Sport England raised objections to the previous application of 89 houses I imagine they will do the same for 100 dwellings.”

It is expected that the council will receive many objections as it did on the previous application, added Councillor Hilton.

Councillor Isabel Brazil, who also represents Kingsholm Ward, said: “We need to protect the green spaces in Kingsholm. There just isn’t enough locally, especially public open space.

“We are supporting plans for new housing on London Road and off Great Western Road, but the maximum permitted at Civil Service Club must be 20.”

Councillor Hilton added: “Redrow has been unable to find an alternative sports site nearby, so they are proposing as a sop to the council a cash contribution to be spent on sports fields in the south of Gloucester.

“Kingsholm will lose out. This is unfair.”

Both councillors are recommending that local people send in individual letters of objection, which can be also be done online at www.gloucester.gov.uk The planning document reference is 18/00306/FUL

We must save art panels from the former BHS store

Jeremy Hilton with the art panels in the background

The future of the three concrete art panels on the front of the former BHS shop in Eastgate Street is under question. A planning application by Reef Estates to remodel the shop front has been deposited with the city council. It will include the removal and relocation of the three concrete art panels currently on the front wall of the store.

Liberal Democrat councillor, Jeremy Hilton has written to the council asking for the art panels to be safely removed and relocated.

Art panel depicting goods on sale

Cllr. Hilton said:

“It is most important that the three concrete art panels are preserved. The city council and Reef Estates must agree on how the panels are to be removed and relocated before planning permission is granted. We don’t want a bodge job being done.

“The three concrete art panels are about 45 years old and depict the goods on sale in the shops at the time. This is good public art and very much of its time. They must be retained and displayed in the city centre.

“The applicants have suggested relocating the art panels to Clarence Street, which I believe is acceptable. However, the art panels should be displayed and illuminated to show them off in the best way possible. I would also like to see an interpretation board nearby explaining how they were made including the details of the original artists.”

Similar art panels have appeared on other BHS stores around the country in towns such as Stockport and Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

Artists Joyce Pallot & Henry Collins

Jeremy Hilton added:

“I believe Gloucester panels are the work of Joyce Pallot (1912-2004) and Henry Collins (1910-1994) – two artist/designers, who along with John Nash, established the Colchester Art Society, during the 1930s.

“They never worked on the site itself, but used a regular contractor Hutton’s Builders Ltd of Colchester, who cast the panels. Their work must be preserved.”

Liberals choose Linda Castle for the Longlevens By-election

Jeremy Hilton & Linda Castle discuss future education needs at former Bishop's College site

Jeremy Hilton & Linda Castle discuss future education needs at former Bishop’s College site

Local resident Linda Castle has been selected by the Liberal Democrats to be its candidate in the Longlevens by-election.

Linda has lived in Longlevens almost her whole life.

The married mother of two, who works as an IT trainer for the NHS, grew up in Longlevens, went to Longlevens infant, junior and secondary schools and raised her family in Longlevens.

The Longlevens by-election will be held on Thursday November 3 following the death of Conservative city councillor Jim Porter in August.

Linda said: “I am so proud to be standing for election to represent Longlevens – the area where I grew up.

“I know the area well and I am determined to speak up for Longlevens residents at the city council.

“I am campaigning for improvements to our roads and pavements in Longlevens, which are in a mess due to inaction by the Conservatives at Shire Hall.

“I am determined to make sure the proposals by the Boundary Commission to put Longlevens back into Gloucester are adopted.

“I am also fighting to ensure that residents in Longlevens do not suffer from the effects of thousands of new homes being built on the outskirts of Gloucester, such as pressure on the local road network, doctors’ surgeries and schools.”

After leaving school Linda worked for the CEGB in finance before joining the NHS.

In recent years Linda has been involved in the community campaign over the expansion of the Oxstalls campus and also wants to see the former Bishop’s College site retained for educational use.

Linda was also treasurer of the Gloucester Dyslexia Association for four years. She is married to Ian, whose father was a Liberal councillor in Tewkesbury.

She was a member of a residents’ campaign group that opposed the expansion of the Oxstalls campus by the University of Gloucestershire. Linda also wants to see the Bishops’ College site retained for educational use.

Councillor Jeremy Hilton, leader of Gloucester Liberal Democrats, said: “Linda will make an excellent councillor for Longlevens on the city council.

“She is a first class candidate and knows Longlevens very well having lived there for many years. She is full of enthusiasm and energy and is the breath of fresh air that Longlevens needs.

“We’ve been speaking to residents and they are pleased that Linda is interested in hearing what they have to say.

“Only Linda can beat the Conservatives in Longlevens and by supporting the Liberal Democrats on November 3, local residents can send a really strong message to the Conservatives in Gloucester that they have had enough of the way they run the city and county councils.

“The Conservatives have run out of steam in Longlevens and Gloucester. Regeneration has stalled and our city is stagnating.”

Gloucester Lib Dems call for new ‘City Plan’ for Gloucester

Map of proposals from 1983 Gloucester local plan

Map of proposals from 1983 Gloucester local plan

Gloucester City Council is to debate a motion from the Liberal Democrat group, at council on Thursday. The Lib Dems are calling for a new City Plan for Gloucester, which will be an up to date set of polices that will become the development framework for Gloucester for the next few years.

Lib Dem leader, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton (Kingsholm & Wotton) said: “The last adopted development plan dates back to 1983. Its 33 years old and a lot has changed in Gloucester since then. Both Labour and Conservative administrations, in that time, have failed to get updates to the plan adopted as required by the government. We are asking the cabinet member for housing & planning to report back to council in September on how he intends to deliver a new City Plan. We want it adopted as a matter of urgency.”

The current timetable for approving the new City Plan was for it to be approved by council in time to go to the planning inspector in the winter of 2016 for adoption in 2017. Liberal Democrats are concerned that the delays in approving a new City Plan could allow a developers to override current polices arguing they are out of date, despite many being formally being ‘saved’ by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in 2007.
Cllr. David Brown (Hucclecote), Lib Dem spokesperson for housing & planning said: “The city council have a timetable to deliver the City Plan but due to the delay in adopting the Joint Core Strategy (JCS) it is now woefully outdated. We need the council to be able to work with developers from a position of strength, with a clear plan for the city, a plan that best benefits current and future residents. For that we need a City Plan that is fit for the future sooner rather than later.”

The new City Plan should be a development document that sits beneath the JCS. It must explain how the council will implement the spatial vision and strategic objectives in the JCS up to the year 2031 and provide criteria that it will apply when considering planning applications for different types of buildings or other development.

Objections pile in on Allstone’s planning application

The county council has received forty individual objections opposing the planning application by Allstone to carry on stone crushing for three more years at its Myers Road site.

Receiving petition from local residents

Receiving petition from local residents

Lib Dem county councillor, Jeremy Hilton has also received a petition with over 90 signatures from local residents opposing the plan. He handed the petition to the chair of the planning committee at the last county council meeting.

Jeremy Hilton said: “I have personally sent in my own objections to planning application and I have agreement that the planning committee will determine the application rather than being done under officer delegated powers.

“I have spoken to a number of local residents at Swallow Park who would like this application refused. They are concerned about the county council’s ability to enforce the planning permission if it were to be approved. They are fed up with the noise and dust that emanates from it.

“The people living nearby at Swallow Park and Armscroft Estate have already suffered from four years of noise and dust from the operation of the stone crushing. This application is the third to seek temporary permission. When does temporary use become semi permanent. Do residents deserve another three years of dust and noise? I believe it is now time to close down stone crushing so near to the homes of families in my division. This sort of business should not be operating in an urban environment. I urge the planning committee to refuse permission.”

The earliest the application could be heard is at the March committee. Officers have asked for additional information from Allstone in respect to noise, air quality and landscaping.”

The county council is still receiving written comments on the application. Go online to www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/planning – Ref No: 15/0077/GLMAJW

Allstone’s apply to crush stone for three more years

Jeremy Hilton outside Allstone Sand & Gravel

Jeremy Hilton outside Allstone Sand & Gravel

Allstone Sand & Gravel have applied to Gloucestershire County Council for temporary planning permission to extend stone crushing and stockpiling at its Myers Road site. This will be the third application, following on from approval given by the county council in 2011 and 2013. This time the application is for three more years.

The application proposes to continue with the same operating hours, but permission is sought to increase the height of the stockpile from 4m to 6m. Twenty lorries a day are expected to make visits to the site, with a maximum of 20,000 tonnes of inert waste per annum.

Photo taken of crushed stone stockpile on 3rd Oct 2015.

Photo taken of crushed stone stockpile on 3rd Oct 2015.

Liberal Democrat county councillor for the area, Jeremy Hilton (Kingsholm & Wotton) will oppose the application. He said:  “I am not at all happy with this application that seeks to continue stone crushing for another three years. The county council has failed to enforce the condition limiting the stockpile height to just 4 metres.

“The dust and noise close to residential properties is unwanted. After four years, I had hoped that Allstone would have found a more acceptable site to carry out this sort of process. The site is close to homes at Swallow Park and Armscroft Estate. It is near St Peter’s Primary School and the hospital is also in the area. Horton Road is already heavily congested and does not need more lorries travelling along it.

“The proposal to increase the stockpile of stone from four to six metres will only exacerbate the risk of dust problems. The stockpile is just a few metres away from people’s homes.

Cllr Hilton has asked county planning officers to insist on an Environmental Impact Assessment, as the applicants think this is not required.

Residents can post comments online at: www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/planning – Ref No. 15/0077/GLMAJW

Tory council blights roundabouts with advertising

Jeremy Hilton gives a thumbs down to advertising on Tewkesbury Road roundabout

Jeremy Hilton gives a thumbs down to advertising on Tewkesbury Road roundabout

The Tory controlled city council has erected advertising boards on the three roundabouts along Estcourt Road. They are also doing this across Gloucester.

The decision to install advertising boards has been questioned by Liberal Democrat councillors. It is understood that the council will get a paltry £10,000 from the advert boards across the city.

Planning approval was done, unusually, under officer-delegated powers. Normally planning applications by the council have to come to the planning committee.

Liberal Democrat councillor Jeremy Hilton (Kingsholm & Wotton) said: “The Tories have used stealth methods to get advertising boards installed. The scheme was developed with the cabinet member, who failed to take a written report to cabinet. Local councillors were not consulted by cabinet on this scheme ahead of decision to go ahead. Then planning permission was granted under officer-delegated powers.

“If the Tories get their way, the three roundabouts in question will be blighted for the next five years. They are an eyesore and a distraction for drivers. I shall be fighting to get these removed. We don’t need this tacky advertising blighting the roundabouts in Kingsholm & Wotton or the rest of Gloucester.”

Time to end stone crushing at Myers Road

Liberal Democrat county councillor for Kingsholm & Wotton, Jeremy Hilton has today called for the county council enforcement team to close down the stone crushing operation off Myers Road when the two-year temporary permission ends in September.
Temporary planning permission was granted to Allstone Sand & Gravel by the county council in September 2013 for a two-year period despite opposition from local Lib Dem councillors.
Cllr. Jeremy Hilton said: “At the time of the application I did object to the renewal of the stone crushing permission, because of the negative impact this would have on neighbouring residential properties. There are many residents living at The Crescent, Swallow Park and Armscroft Estate who would like this process to end. People are getting fed up of the heavy lorries travelling up and down Horton Road and Myers Road, and the hazard this creates, especially close to St Peter’s Primary School in Horton Road. The stone crushing is a noise and dust nuisance to residents living nearby. We have the hospital in the neighbourhood. There must be a more suitable location in Gloucestershire for Allstone to carry out their stone crushing operation. I encourage them to look for one.”
Cllr. Hilton has asked the county enforcement team to act on clause 1 of the decision statement.
Clause 1 reads: “The development hereby permitted shall cease and the site be restored to permeable hard standing to the levels indicated on the Site Survey Plan ASG/001/2013 (dated Feb 2013), with all plant and machinery removed, no later than the expiration of two years from the date of this permission.”
Cllr. Hilton continued: “The decision notice is dated the 27th of September 2013 therefore I assume that permission ends on 27th of September this year. It is now time for the county council to get tough and implement its decision and to end stone crushing off Myers Road by end of September.”
Ends…

Notes

Link to 13/0021/GLMAJW decision notice http://caps.gloucestershire.gov.uk/gcc_images/13_0021_GLMAJW_DEC_NOT.pdf