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Planning Group Annual Report 2014

Jun 2014

Membership The members of the Group are John Baylis, Gordon Bridger, Ian Macpherson, Amanda Mullarkey, David Ogilvie, Martin Taplin, Anthony Umney and John Wood. The Group is represented on the Society’s Executive by Martin Taplin. John Baylis acts as Secretary for the Group. The Group has had no Chairman since the 2011 AGM.

The Group has provided support to Julian Lyon who has undertaken the arduous task of responding on behalf of the Society to Local Plan consultations. In particular we have provided comments or contributions to responses to the GBC background paper “How many new homes?” to the GBC “Draft New Local Plan Sites and Strategies Issues and Options” paper and to the GBC “Strategic Housing Market Assessment” paper. We have taken part in various consultation meetings and discussions with GBC Officers and Councillors. The work continues. 

Concerning some major development proposals:

  • We achieved an improvement to pedestrian access to the new Waitrose store

  • We met twice with an applicant proposing to develop a riverside site on Walnut Tree Close for housing and offices. We negotiated several improvements but decided the proposals still involved over-development of

    the site.

  • We met with the applicant proposing to develop a site by the railway line for

    student accommodation. Again, we decided the proposals involved over- development of the site. The application goes to the Planning Committee on 29th April.

  • We objected to an application for a 50 unit care home on the “AA roundabout” site (the “Clockhouse”site). The proposal is for a complex of four story flat-roofed buildings. The design is undistinguished and does not do justice to this important gateway site. The application was refused and we await the outcome of a public hearing of the appeal.

  • We provided notes for our Chairman on the University’s applications for the new 5G Centre on Stag Hill and the new veterinary school on Manor Farm. We prepared a further note for our Chairman on the proposals put forward by Terrance O’Rourke on behalf of the University for placing 2000 homes on land including Blackwell Farm.

    The Group continues to meet every three weeks at the Council offices. During the year April 2013 to April 2014 the Group wrote over 75 letters to the Head of Planning Services on a wide range of individual planning applications, mostly in the town’s urban area. Many of the letters concern poor applications for new shop fronts, signs and fascias in the town centre. Full details of our letters for the period January to June 2013 and of the outcomes are given in the Planning section of the Society’s Website. A further item on the Website “Do our letters get read” gives similar details for the period December 2011 to the end of 2012. 

Posted by: John Baylis April 2014