Minutes of Meeting held at the Top Club Monday 10th August 2015

David Rhodes

Present: Derrick Bartlett-Smith (Chairman), Karen Hawden (Chairman Designate), David Hempsall (Secretary), Bob Nicholas (Footpaths Officer), David Rhodes (Social Media & Liaison Officer); Sandra Aldridge, Barbara Ashworth, Julian Ashworth, Christine Berry, Ian Booth, Sian Brennan, Carole Broadbent, Dirk Brown, B Carr, Lynn Carr, John Dawson, Michael Dop, Leonard Entwistle, Christine Evans,  Eileen Evans, Diane Ewart-Jones, Cllr Dorothy Farrington, Claire Fletcher, Ashley Fletcher, Julie Frame, Margaret Fuller, Stephen Glenholmes, Colin Grainger, Mary Grainger, Debora Greenwood, E Greenwood, Richard Greenwood, Peter Harper, Rosina Haworth, David Hughes, Suzanne Hollings, Kevin  Howard, Michael Howard, Natasha Kenyon, Paul Kenyon, Cllr  Christine Lamb, Dirk Lane,  Sandra Lawson, Christine Lawton, Alison Logan, Gary Lowe, Lisa Lowe, Sandra McGauley, Pat McGauley,  A Morris, Bernard Murray, Julie Ormerod, Lewis Pearson, Frank Pilkington, Neil Prestwich, Trish Rhodes, Jim Riley, John Sanderson, Jackie Shove, Barbara St John, Alison Stanley, Margaret Sutcliffe, J Taylor, Pinky Taylor, Tracy Tracey,  Helen Turner, Stuart Waddington, E A Walton,  B Walton, Gary Warmsley, Dusty Watchorn,  Betty Watson, Lynn Weir, Shaun Weir, Ann White, Chris Whiting, Jean Williams, Peter Wood and others.
Apologies: Darryl Nugent (Treasurer), Cllr Alyson Barnes.
1.            Purpose of meeting
1.1          The Chairman said that the purpose of the meeting was threefold:
1.1.1      To hear people’s views.
1.1.2      To relay people’s views.
1.1.3      To contribute to the consultation process.
1.2          He said that a further stage would take place just after the consultation process when, at the LVRA meeting of 14 September, Adrian Smith, Principal Planning Officer of Rossendale Borough Council would make a presentation: the meeting would commence at 8.00 p.m. at the Top Club.
2.            Context
2.1          RBC has a statutory obligation – that is required by central government at Westminster – to have a rolling 5-year reserve of building land available.
2.2          RBC is unlikely to meet its target for new homes in 2015.
2.3          RBC has had to take a barrister’s advice on its current reserve: the legal opinion is that this is thin, leaving RBC open to challenge.
2.4          RBC has sought to rectify the position by identifying a 5-year reserve, “throwing everything in”.
2.5          Even so, RBC may still be open to challenge from developers like Peel Holdings, who’ve eyed up – especially – Edenfield and Haslingden.
2.6          6 sites have been identified in LVRA’s area of operation, shown in plans as H 78-83.
2.7          This would involve the construction of about 60 new homes over the next 15 years.
2.8          Information having been broadcast, the meeting would hear views.
3.            Conduct of the meeting
3.1          Everyone was asked to sign the attendance sheets.
3.2          Anyone wishing to speak was asked to raise their hand.
3.3          The Chairman would identify the speaker.
3.4          All speakers were asked to identify themselves by name.
3.5          All remarks would be addressed to the Chair.
4.            Consideration of sites
4.1          H78 – Land to the rear of Lyndale Scout Hut, Crawshawbooth
4.1.1      Julie Frame asked after ownership of the land; the Chairman said that private land-owners were free to offer land for development,
4.1.2      In discussion, there was some suggestion that the land was (a) owned by St John the Evangelist, and (b) there was a covenant on the land.
4.1.3      Some offered that the land had been considered for housing 30 years ago.
4.1.4      The Chairman said that under recent proposals, the site had recently been drawn into the urban form.
4.1.5      Dusty Watchorn was sure that the land was owned by the church and that there was a letter of covenant protecting the land for the children of Crawshawbooth; a meeting was scheduled shortly between of Diocese of Manchester and other interested parties to discuss the site which was presently rented out to the stables.
4.1.6      Peter Wood pointed out that proposals to change the urban form had yet to undergo public inspection and that there was, therefore, room for manoeuvre.
4.2          H79 – Thirlmere Way, Goodshaw Chapel
4.2.1      The Chairman opened discussion by pointing out that the area was one prone to water-logging.
4.2.2      Rosina Haworth agreed, observing that the problem had been exacerbated for housing lower down the site by new dwellings constructed higher up.
4.2.3      Alison Logan concurred and wondered why it was the builders – McDermotts – had ceased development where and when they did.
4.2.4      Sandra Lawson pointed out the absence of any retaining wall which allowed seepage which, from time to time, became a flood: all houses were waterlogged; development had taken no account of natural springs; sewers were repeatedly blocked causing seepage; there was nowhere for children to play.
4.2.5      Betty Watson agreed that the land was almost permanently saturated; in addition to the natural springs, she was aware of at least one former well; if further building was being contemplated, then a wholly new system of drainage was essential for the whole estate, not least to overcome the annual winter freezing which caused hazard to residents; rising damp was endemic as there was nowhere for water to go.
4.2.6      Other issues raised included (a) access for emergency services and (b) parking problems for residents, chapel-users and refuse disposal operatives.
4.2.7      Rosina referred to the recreation area on the back lane; some thought that the old football pitch was owned by the church; Betty thought it significant that the area had been mown on the very day of the LVRA meeting.
4.2.8      Tracey Tracy’s house backed on to the field: she wondered if the potential threat to wildlife – deer, foxes et al. – provided grounds for objection; the Chairman said that any proposed development would be subject to a formal, environmental study.
4.2.9      Peter Wood reminded the meeting that any potential loss of sporting amenity, such as the football field, was liable to examination to establish compliance with national criteria.
4.3          H80 – Land adjacent to Laburnum Cottages, Goodshaw
4.3.1      David Rhodes made two opening points: first, the access point was unsuitable, the turn-in being unadopted and the access being insufficient for any increase in traffic volumes; secondly, the top of the site was church-owned and used by children for recreation; his principal objection, however, concerned traffic.
4.3.2      Gary Lowe reminded the meeting that the land had indeed been previously developed for pre-fabs in the 1940s and 1950s.
4.3.3      Dusty Watchorn was also concerned by traffic issues, specifically the early morning milk run and the need for easy access for the emergency services.
4.3.4      The Chairman urged residents with concerns to write to local councillors and to keep a log to provide hard evidence of concerns; as regards road access, this was properly a matter for the Highways Department of Lancashire County Council.
4.3.5      Margaret Sutcliffe pointed out that the land was council-owned and used for recreational purposes.
4.4          H81 – Middlegate Green, Goodshaw
4.4.1      Lynn Carr opened discussion by asking whether or not what was proposed included social housing or bungalows.
4.4.2      The Chairman said that at this stage, whether or not housing was to be categorised as “market”, “affordable”, “social” or whatever was for a later stage in the development of proposals; it would be up to whoever developed the land to specify the type of housing as part of the planning application procedure.
4.4.3      It was once again agreed that the area was very wet: Dorothy Farrington said that ducks could paddle in the standing water; Pat McGauley agreed that the land was boggy with standing water taking up to two days to disappear.
4.4.4      Debora Greenwood reiterated that the water issue had started with McDermotts’ development at the top of the site, causing water to cascade through gardens lower down; when approached to try to mitigate the problem, RBC had had no resources to alleviate the problem.
4.4.5      Ashley Fletcher asked for clarification on what constituted “affordable” housing; the Chairman said that this was a local matter and that RBC could insist on some degree of price-capping; Diane Ewart-Jones said that affordable housing often involved housing associations and part-equity schemes; Dusty Watchorn thought the notion of affordability crucial in an area where many worked on the minimum wage.
4.4.6      Discussion turned to access and the impact on individual residents’ properties of the proposed development; there were anomalies as between the various maps supplied by RBC planners; these needed to be rectified; the Chairman commended attendance at the next LVRA meeting on 14 September (cf. Item 1.2, supra).
4.5.         H82 – Land adjacent to Ullswater Way, Loveclough
4.5.1      It was agreed that the loss of amenity grassland was to be deprecated.
4.5.2      There was a clear feeling that residents of Harvey Longworth would feel completely hemmed in by what was being proposed.
4.6          H83 – Land Adjacent to Goodshaw Bowling Green
4.6.1      Contributors reported that the land had been targeted by one of RBC’s officers for years.
4.6.2      In discussion, the principal concern was one of access: 10 houses would compound traffic issues; access to the school would be compromised.
4.6.3      Bob Nicholas pointed out that there exist two public rights of way across the site and that these were not shown in any plans.
4.6.4      Peter Wood emphasised the current designation of the site for recreational purposes; a review was being undertaken by KKK in Bury which would present its report in September 2015; he pointed out that what was being proposed by RBC across the borough – to comply with central government directives – was the construction of 3,700 homes in the borough; this should not be confused with 3,700 houses.
4.6.3      Margaret Fuller was concerned about access to Middlegate Green in what was being proposed.
5.            Summary
5.1          The Chairman said that the proposals for 60 houses contained some suggestions about location which were simply silly, as illustrated by the recurring issue of water-logging; there was a need to pull together all issues in one, single document; whilst infrastructure issues might be regarded as peripheral at this stage, there were concerns which the appropriate health and education authorities would need to address; for example, the former Broadleys’ site had been ear-marked for re-development and proposals included the need for developers to make a contribution to St Paul’s school; given the inability of local residents to secure places for their children at Crawshawbooth school, this was nonsensical.
5.2          Ian Booth understood people’s concerns; he though it inevitable that RBC would look next to development on the west side of thaw Burnley Road.
5.3          There were complaints about the piecemeal dissemination of information about the Lives & Landscapes programme: Jean Williams thanked LVRA for organising he meeting, adding that RBC had not sent out information with electoral roll material.
5.4          Peter Wood reminded the meeting that, as regards the 3,700 homes, the figure was extrapolated from a Regional Spatial Strategy which had now been abandoned; nonetheless, the figure had been carried forward in RBC’s own strategic planning documents.
5.5          Leonard Entwistle urged those present to support the LVRA in representing residents’ views.
5.6          Rosina Haworth pointed out that the presentation on 14 September fell outside the designated period for consultation; the Chairman felt that no one should feel too hidebound by arbitrary dates.
5.7          Cllr Christine Lamb said that as matters stand, RBC had a statutory obligation to provide additional housing; she encouraged those present to provide individual feedback on RBC’s forms, as supplied; the geography of the borough made matters difficult but those present must understand that in addition to housing, RBC was having to consider other issues too, such as employment and recreation.
5.8          Peter Wood said a meeting of the Rossendale Flood Forum was schedule for 6.00 p.m. on Monday, 17 August at St James the Less social centre.
5.9          Other contributions had been made by e-mail: in particular, Darryl Nugent was concerned by the proposal to extend the urban form around Kershaws; this would create both a salient and a precedent.
6.            Conclusion
6.1          The Chairman thanked all those present for their attendance.
6.2          He reminded the gathering that the next meeting of the LVRA would take place at 8.00 p.m. on Monday, 14 September at the Top Club.
6.3          The meeting ended at 21.18 hrs..
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