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Neighbourhood Plan Meeting Notes

Report to Parish Council Meeting

Originally Posted 10th Aug 2018, author admin

A meeting took place at Brown Edge Village Hall (in the entrance hall) on Thursday 19th July at 7.30pm

Agenda was

  1. Election Of Chairman
  2. Election of Vice Chairman
  3. Preparation for 22nd July Meeting(s)
  4. Review of Draft Policies
  5. Next steps

Peter Turner was elected chairman and Phil Berrisford vice chair.

Undertook an initial review of  Draft Policies and concluded that we needed more time to work through them as indeed some changes were needed.

Developers and their representatives were invited to attend the neighbourhood plan meetings held on Sunday July 22nd

Two meetings were arranged because our standing orders only allow for a 2.5 meeting length but in the event we only required the first meeting.

The meetings were well attended by the public

Notes were taken by Hannah Barter, and are contained below to form part of this report below.

This was the first time any sites were spoken of by the Neighbourhood Plan Committee, But it was required so that we can establish what the developers intend to do with each site so that fair consideration is made for each site.

We will now write down any pertinent points on our site register.  We might want to discuss further details with other landowners or talk again to them at meetings such as this.

We will not enter into conversations in private.

I would like to thank all those who took part especially  Doug Wardle who swapped places with Mr Clewes representative in order that they could be heard.

Six sites were represented and the details are contained in this report a copy of which I have circulated to councillors

I believe that this will not be the final position of developers and so we shouldn’t discuss the merits of each site at the moment. And they should only be discussed in terms of our site criteria and policies.

However it was clear that three representatives clearly had done their homework and sought to develop their sites in line with our emerging plan.

I have sought for and obtained support from locality for AECOM to oversee the site evaluations. This will be against our criteria.

Our consultation is currently being analysed.  I have sought further support for this specialist legal advice and I am awaiting the go ahead for this.  The reason for this is as part of the consultation comments were made from various people including members of the NP committee itself calling into question the scoring system.    Other technical points were made which called into question the methodology of what we are doing. and I do not want our plan to be challenged after we have done the work.

Next stages are to turn our draft policies into approved status and to ensure our consultation comments where valid are incorporated into our report.

Finally our Draft site criteria  will be approved and then we can proceed with our assessment of sites.

Hannah Barters Notes:-

Brown Edge Neighbourhood Plan

Developer and Land Owner Meeting 22nd July 2018


Site 35: Wilfield Lane
Provided a PowerPoint that covered the questions.

Answers to Questions:

  • Highways mitigation, they have appointed a transport consultant.
  • Planning gain could include affordable housing, children’s play facility and contributions to education.
  • Transition to the open countryside, rounded off, access includes tree lined area, landscaping buffer and hedgerows retained.

Site 7: Hill Top Road
Did not attend

Site 9: Hill Top
Provided an information sheet

Answers to Questions: 

  • Highways usage would be less than other developments as they provide a car share for residents and it is elderly accommodation so vehicle movements would be less.
  • Offers a choice of housing for ageing population.
  • Other planning gain, at least 3 new jobs, high quality build. They would promote to local residents first before the open market.
  • Flooding they understand the current drainage is adequate.
  • Open question: do you know the percentage of open rent and private rent. Applicant confirmed would be a mix.

Site 17: Varsovia Lodge 
No materials provided

Answers to Questions: 

  • Looking for alternative use to being a car park, applicant suggested it has not alternative use than a housing development.
  • One or two new units, characterful in design.
  • The applicant does not feel there is a need for any further affordable homes, but more desirable higher end developments.
  • These would be built from local stone.
  • They would design a soak away facility on site so no additional water would reach the highway from flooding.
  • The transition to the open countryside would be considered and re-use a redundant site to be in keeping more with the village.
  • The car park has been redundant for about 8 years.

Site 20: Breach Road
Provided plans, and a planning information folder

Answers to Questions: 

  • 18acres in the site using 5.5 acres for housing and sell the remains for £1 to the parish council for sports facilities.
  • Pre-apps, ecological assessment, highways assessment and layout plan for 59 new homes.
  • Mitigate against flooding.
  • Highways access to include a roundabout could be made and it has been confirmed a safe access can be made. Also a footpath will continue into the site.
  • Recreational and sports facilities for inter generational usage.
  • If the NP allocates the site a planning app will be submitted.
  • Sports facilities would address a need.
  • A bowling green could also be provided.
  • Drainage has improved following advice from the Council. Would consider how the drainage of land outside the area couldn’t be better mitigated against using this site.
  • The transition would be designed to be aesthetically pleasing and could include the design of a roundabout.

Site 31: Newfold Farm
Brought electronic plans and one set of paper plans.

Answers to Questions: 

  • In operation for over 20years as a builders yard
    Set within the green belt, although a proportion is designated as brown field.
  • Wood House Lane portion they believe could be classed as infill.
  • Currently they have planning permission for 2 dwellings on the site. They wish to make a comprehensive development that includes some additional land to the brown field.
  • 13 units are indicatively shown, however a traffic consultant would need to be employed to provide guidance on highways improvements inc visibility splays, traffic lighting and a footpath into the site.
  • Anticipated 24 cars would be on site.
  • They intend to use Local trades to construct the development.
  • The transition will be open to the open countryside, vistas could be created to the open countryside from the road.
  • Planning gain is the re-use of a brown field site.
  • To the best of their knowledge the site is not in the flood plain, and a drainage system to cope with the rainwater.

Site 5&6: Coppice Farm 
Provided a letter with information. And site 6 has been withdrawn by the applicant.

Answers to Questions: 

  • In the green belt for the erection of one family size bungalow.
  • Carbon neutral and high environmental performance.
  • The dwelling would also include a space for tourism promotion of Marshes Hill.
  • A bee farm, would also be made in the plot of approx. 4 acres contributing to the bee population in hives.
  • Flooding, any water generated would be diverted to Knypersley Pool with a water treatment plan so ensure it was clean enough to be diverted to that location.
  • The transition would ensure the design would include a living roof to provide an asset to the adjacent natural habitat and also mitigate the visual impacts.
  • The site will also be partially screened by trees.
  • The tourist centre will be provided as planning gain, and at no cost to the Parish Council.
  • The Bee Society will provide support in creating new and healthy bee colonies.

Report to January Parish Council Meeting

Originally Posted 9th Jan 2018, author admin

Report of Decembers activities for January Parish Council meeting

  1. The Neighborhood plan committee meeting held on 14th December
  2. Apologies were received from Christina Jebb and Neil Hargreaves
  3. Welcome new members
    • Dave Hunt and Neil Hargreaves
  4. The rationale for undertaking our own site allocations and creating site criteria was explained to members (detailed below) as some parishioners have been questioning why we need to undertake site allocations.
    1. when we started this exercise the meetings were dominated by people who wanted their own particular piece of ground to be built on, or even a view that we build a block of flats on the playing field or another view was we were already in all but name part of Stoke so we should join up anyway!
    2. I explained that at the start of the NP exercise the chairman at the time felt that we were in danger of not being able to develop a plan that was truly what the village required for the next 25 years. Naturally, the people attending the first meeting were principally those affected the most. They were either those that wanted to build on their own piece of ground, were related to those with a piece of ground or were against a piece of ground because it was adjoining their property.  Ie they were either biased or would be seen to be biased.
    3. He felt that under those circumstances our neighborhood plan would be open to a legal challenge
    4. I agreed with that assessment but felt that it was possible if we took steps to explain to people what bias and predetermination meant, disclosed any personal interests, formed a non executive committee and if we deliberately did not discuss  any particular sites until we had created our vision and our objectives and from that were able to form our site criteria, it could be done fairly.  If there was a legal challenge we do not want it to be on the basis of what we have done or failed to do.
    5. At that point we were looking at numbers of housing being allocated to us of around the 80 mark.  Subsequently this has changed and the new number of 25 is believed by the District Council to be able to be provisioned by windfall sites.
    6. However this number could change again either if
      • there are numbers imposed upon the SMDC by the inspector if s/he feels that they are inadequate or unfairly distributed
      • or there is a legal challenge where the challenger can substantiate the claim that the numbers allocated to us have not been adequately researched/determined
      •  there is an error in basis for the calculation.  Such as saying that the School is full when we know it is only full because of Stoke on Trent funding the school places which it could be argued is not sustainable
      • another potential challenge could be that SMDC has not done a bottom-up, community by community approach, rather a top down.  Ie how many houses do we need and then where can we place them with the minimum objection? Ie arguing that how can a housing allocation in Blythe Bridge satisfy Brown Edges’ needs?
    7. We are also living in a political era that has seen a massive increase in the target number of houses.  All the main parties want even more houses. The SMDC target might still have to change.  It is essential therefore that we have done our homework properly by
      • identifying the real need  (AECOM) are doing this for us
      • Assessing potential sites according to our criteria
      • Decided which sites would be best for our village based on those criteria
      • All done without bias or predetermination.
    8. I pointed out that we might never need to actually use up any site allocation if our numbers stay the same or are reduced, but if there is any delay in the SMDC local plan or any upward changes in numbers then our plan will have to be taken into consideration by SMDC and indeed by any appointed planning inspector, especially if the planning application is for a protected area such as Green Belt. In effect it will become the local plan for Brown Edge. It is therefore prudent to continue and this is what the Parish Council have requested the committee to do.
  5. The Consultation process was explained and the final  documents presented for
    1. Site Criteria
    2. Green Space
    3. Commercial Zone
  6. Also the papers relating to the call for formal notification of plans etc were presented
  7. Since then we have had some landowners not receive their request for notifications and some other interested parties to request more time as their architects and legal advisors have not been able to complete the work in time.
  8. We have therefore extended the consultation period which also allows us to open a dialogue with residents informing them of where we are and what the next steps will be.

Consultation Period Extended

Originally Posted 7th Jan 2018, author admin

In order that we are able to ensure we have consulted as wide an audience as is possible we are extending our consultation period for a further 4 weeks until the end of January.  We are also looking at running some roadshow events so that we can explain where we are with the plan and what the next steps are.  Watch out for news about dates for these events.

November Report to the Parish Council

Originally Posted 15th Nov 2017, author Peter Turner

As requested by the Parish Council the NP Committee continues to push forward by developing proposed site allocation criteria against which sites suggested by the public at the earlier consultations can be assessed.
This is required so that if a housing allocation was again imposed ie the Local Plan was changed/amended/legally challenged, a developer speculatively put a site forward, or the housing needs assessment identified a requirement and the council felt it should have an allocation, then the Neighbourhood Plan could show that it had undertaken its research thoroughly and a preferred option identified. Just as the District Council has done in identifying that the land off the Breech is now their reserved preferred option.

These criteria have been developed by the Neighbourhood Plan Committee and collated by our Consultant. These items are termed a “long list” and require modification. They should now be discussed, amended and ratified by Parish Council, before being sent out for public consultation and used by an independent person to assess the sites. The Council will meet separately to discuss this in full as it is extremely important that all councillors are aware of its contents and its ramifications.
Several other administrative documents have also been created for the council’s approval.
Contrary to what was stated at a recent SMDC planning meeting I would like to make it clear that BEPC Neighbourhood Plan Committee is or has not been planning to develop land in the Green Belt and have deliberately not discussed the merits of any particular piece of ground or area. because as yet we do not know what the Village needs.  That will become clearer when we receive the Housing Needs Analysis that is currently being undertaken by AECOM

October Report to Parish Council

Originally Posted 4th Oct 2017, author Peter Turner

Three applications for support from Locality have been ongoing since March

  1. Support for investigation into the development of the holy bush site under the Communities right to build
  2. Further support for work required to produce policies that will stand up in court and site selection criteria.
  3. Technical support for the Professional assessment of our housing requirement both type and numbers.

The latter two have now been awarded and work is currently underway to complete this work by the end of October.

The community right to build bid for the Holly Bush site has been rejected because their criteria does not allow for a change to planning permission.  However we are still discussing  how they can support us.

We envisage that we will be going out to consultation by the end of November.

August Meeting of NP Committee

Originally Posted 14th Aug 2017, author Peter Turner

Committee meeting on 3rd August 2017

Met in Village Hall 7.30 pm

  1. Review of SMDC Local Plan
    1. Local plan clarification,
    1. there is confusion over the actual plan  was in fact updated on the morning of our meeting with SMDC
    2. No site allocation outside the green belt by smdc
    3. No housing allocation
    4. But the plan calls for 25 additional houses in non Neighbourhood Plan villages they are categorised as windfall but because the NP has the ability to stop development SMDC expects us to show conformity by allocating housing ourselves or showing how and where these houses are to be built.

There was a long and passionate discussion about this with a call from some members to halt the plan and to consult the Community.  It was pointed out that if we did this then we would not be able to influence the local plan in any way and simply lose or ignore the vision we have created.

The chairman of the Parish Council proposed that we continue with the Neighbourhood Plan as fast as possible.

An amendment to that was made that we should continue but only after we consult  the community about what they need now that SMDC have published their plan.

After a vote the amendment was lost and the original proposal carried.  It was resolved therefore that we continue as fast as possible with the Neighbourhood Plan

2. Funding Status

We have applied for 3 separate funds from Locality

  1. One to pay for the work in creating plans for the Holly Bush Car Park
  2. One for additional work from Urban Vision
  3. One for the technical work for the housing needs assessment.

Locality have also confirmed today under the right to build that we (the Parish Council) will not have to pay planning fees for any changes to the Holly Bush nor do we even have to submit a traditional planning application for these changes as the Neighbourhood Plan can deliver this if required.

  1. Need a team looking at  our green space and doing an audit
  2. Need to prepare documentation for the site surveys
  3. Need criteria to be drawn up ready for approval at a parish council meeting.

July Report To The Parish Council

Originally Posted 14th Aug 2017, author Peter Turner

Meeting with SMDC

We asked for clarity over

  1.  the local plan re preferred sites and the numbers
  2. The removal of visual open space and public open space designations
  3. Whether SMDC would support the Parish Council if a green belt site was identified through its site allocation process.
  1. Local plan clarification,
    1. there is confusion over the actual plan  was in fact updated on the morning of our meeting.
    2. No site allocation outside the green belt by SMDC
    3. No housing allocation
    4. But the plan calls for 25 additional houses.  Which takes some understanding.
  2. The visual open space
    1. was removed from “The War Moors” as a result of a further consultation by (websters)
    2. Visual open space is being changed to Local Green space
    3. This loss of designation can be (and should be challenged) especially as the consultants were not aware of the situation
    4. They (SMDC) were not against the (war moors) site being green space
    5. They were not aware of the agreement between SMDC and Pcl and asked for guidance
    6. Suggested we did an audit (Hannah has the details)
    7. Ab Balls Field has also lost its designation.  This apparently is a mistake although not received official notification that this is the case
  3. The SMDC position
    1. Firstly only SMDC can propose change to the green belt Neighbourhood plans cant.
    2. Two Options
      1. Provide SMDC in Autumn 2017 with case for site(s) to be included in the Emerging Local Plan if required for housing.
      2. SMDC Investigating the possibility of drafting an enabling policy in the emerging Local Plan to address potential housing need in the Village subject to the NP providing the evidence base for sites in the Green Belt.  Caution should be applied to this option as this could delay the neighbourhood plan as it is reliant on other legislation that has not currently been detailed (likely to be later 2017) and is un-tested.

Another issue is that the Local Plan  has not  paid regard to its obligations for Brown Edge.

The National Planning Policy Framework says the Local Plan must deliver community and cultural facilities to meet local needs; protect existing sports and recreational buildings and land; guard against the unnecessary loss of valued facilities and services; promote mixed developments; plan positively to provide opportunities for outdoor sport in the Green Belt; and ensure that decisions are based on robust, up-to-date and relevant evidence.

There are several issues arising now

First and the most obvious is that the 25 houses that have been allocated but not allocated without any release of green belt will have to go inside the village.  Clearly they are/were expecting the war moors field to be passed.

So if we are to continue to object to the war moors development then we need to act decisively and build a case and be prepared to lobby the planning committee to object also.

Need people to represent planning reasons why the land should not be built on. A letter as we have seen with the holly bush. is a waste of time.

Assuming we are successful we must then build a case for release of a piece or several pieces of green belt as 25 houses cannot be built inside the village.

The 25 houses is just a number  no work has been done to identify the real need  no work has been done to identify the type of housing.  The housing needs assessment will do this but we are running out of time and it might not be done soon enough.

May Update

Originally Posted 12th June 2017, author Peter Turner

At the May meeting the committee started to gather together information such as

  • Start to identify historic features on a map including old houses, farms, etc
  • Draw up a map of local paths and how they interact with walks/paths outside our parish,
  • Start to identify wildlife areas and open water/ponds etc especially in gardens
  • Make sure we don’t miss anything out of our plan by reconsidering the “Big Agenda Items”   such as
  1. what would our proposal of a Horse friendly Village look like.
  2. can we make a “Walking Village” encouraging locals out more. Perhaps have diabetic walks linked to local GP’s as well as encouraging visitors on longer walks
  3. What does our proposed “commercial centre” look like and what things can we do to support them
  4. What role will pubs have and how can we support them?

Designation of commercial area.
Agreed that we should mark the area from the Chinese to the Bus Garage as a “Commercial” area. The Holly Bush car park was discussed and although the area had approval for 3 houses the committee felt that the plan should try to convert this domestic planning to commercial activity suitable for the community such as office space, perhaps a clinic type arrangement for babycare and other visiting professionals and car parking to assist local business. Support for this preparatory work is available for the “Community Right To Build”
The Chairman met with Kate Dewey, Staffordshire wildlife trust, about undertaking a survey of Brown Edge Wildlife areas.
She will be writing to him regarding recommendations as to what can be done.
As a start she felt a good course of action would be to start recording wildlife and reporting this to the trust so that it could be entered in their register. This could be achieved if an informal recording group was set up. This was especially important for the SBAP priority species (Staffordshire Biodiversity Action Plan) these include hare, lapwing, linnet, house sparrow and yellowhammer as well as all bats and newts. The committee will be looking to identify a Recorder who can liaise with SWT in capturing sightings from members of the public and ensuring that these are entered in the database.
All landowners have now had the chance to reply to our latest letter pointing out that a no response would be taken as saying they do not want site allocations to take their land into account.
In order that we can ensure that our policies have been created independently we are undertaking a workshop on 14th June by Hannah Barter that will start to gather together our ideas ahead of any site criteria being drawn up.
We are still awaiting the funding from Locality.

April Update

Originally Posted 4th April 2017, author Peter Turner

Defining Policies

During March & April we have started to identify our policies which arise from our objectives.  This has been an interesting exercise as it starts to become challenging in that individuals perhaps start to realise that their own position or understanding does not fit with what we are trying to achieve as set out in our vision.

We met with officials from SMDC to update them on the progress of our plan which was met with a favourable response.  They pointed out that they will be continuing with their preferred option for the local plan but will say that the parish is undertaking its own plan and that we will be making our own site allocations.  They advised us strongly to use expert advice over the composition of the policies for them to be robust and prevent challenge.  They also supported us in doing a character and historical survey and a housing needs analysis that was forward looking that would underpin our policies.

Our policies will therefore take a little while to develop as we gather information from the surveys.

The grants for the expert advice for the surveys have now been applied for along with a grant for further consultancy work.

We will, after the policies have been approved by the council, be consulting with the community before undertaking site allocations.

This month we will be staring to consult with the service providers about all the sites that have been identified to see what challenges individual sites might have for them.

Meeting with SMDC officials

Originally Posted 30th March 2017, author admin

Meeting took place at SMDC offices on Thursday 9th March

Phil Linda and PT met with three Council Officials

Our Liason officer Jo Bagnall

Mark James & another (apologies for not recording this)

We explained

  • How the group operated and that it was a committee of the Parish Council and it was subject to standing orders of the council
  • Register of interests was published and available at every meeting
  • 20 active members
  • Meet several times a month
  • No sites have been  discussed nor will be until all the policies are determined

They strongly supported us in our belief that we needed technical support with our Heritage and Character assessment and Housing Needs Analysis

He also made it clear that we must not compile the policies ourselves as this must be done with someone familiar with planning matters in our case our Consultant from Urban Vision

He (Mark) said that the updated local plan would still have their preferred choice but would be a backstop if our plan failed.

He also asked for confirmation that we would be using site allocations ourselves. we confirmed that this was the policy of the Parish Council.

He would not be able to decide on land from our criteria because his plan might not concur. Therefore there would be a Conflict of interest

Overall there were no negative comments and they said that we had created a clear vision and set of objectives.