Clowne Community Association 14 JUNE 2013
Bolsover Local Plan Strategy Representation for June 14 - 5pm deadline
We object to the separation of Strategy from detail , which is to follow later- at the detail allocation stage . This is both confusing and unhelpful. It asks people to only think strategically – when this is often not possible or a nonsense as the strategy words only make sense when their practical application/detailed application is also present/known. This separation of the two stages of the plan making process is unhelpful/ confusing/ frustrating and leads to a lack of confidence in the plan preparation process.
The perception that somehow the wool is being pulled over somebody’s eyes is there.
To set out nice ideas without being clear that they will work on the ground leaves the plan at risk of being removed from reality – and for the user makes it confusing.
The Representation Form
The regulation Representation form asks a series of formula questions that are confusing and unhelpful for those outside the Plan making process. We have found it impossible to comply with the form. For instance a Support for a section- but with comments /additions- then becomes an objection.
We have therefore set out our representations on the various paragraphs and leave this to Bolsover DC Officers to translate to your test sections. We are available for a brief meeting after the deadline if this is helpful or interpretation is needed.
We cannot judge whether the plan is legally compliant and pose no objection on these grounds. Our representations are about soundness but the four separate definitions of soundness we cannot judge. Our test of soundness is whether the plan suits local conditions as we know them and will further the better development of Clowne.
We do not want to participate at Hearing Sessions.
- NEW HOUSING - CHAPTER 5 esp. 5.5 and Chapter 6
The Association is not against new housing but the scale needs to be in relation to local infrastructure that can accommodate any planned increase. A figure of 575 new houses for Clowne is objected to. 575?- why 575 houses is not made clear.
We feel that given the restrictions highlighted by the Draft plan and the comments in the Infrastructure report that, even though lower than other towns, this is still too high. The town has a 19th century road system apart from the recent addition of Mill Green Way , and the road junctions and narrow streets are inadequate to cope with extra traffic. The schools, sewage works and other local facilities will be put under severe pressure. Infrastructure restrictions are not stated clearly enough. The road system is inadequate for the existing volume of traffic. Any extra will overload the junctions- and the same applies to schools and sewage.
Some 200 houses are already approved and a further figure of the same again (200) and no more in the plan period would seem more manageable.
It is proposed that this should be managed through use of brownfield land and windfall sites and eyesore sites first before an incursion into/loss of good quality agricultural land is contemplated. We should not be contemplating greenfield land for development first.
- Housing direction of planned growth is indicated for Clowne – as a West and North West extension.- Policy LP 23 Chapter 10
These priority directions for growth have not been discussed in any of the previous plan consultations. When did the community get the opportunity to discuss this as a preference to any other development direction strategy? We should rather say that for Clowne the preference is for small scale incremental development at all opportunity sites around the town with no geographical direction preference. This would help spread the damage /expansion of the town envelope in any particular direction. Development in Clowne is already skewed to the south and west because of the road and disused rail line restrictions.
Any such small extensions to the village framework should respect the adjacent countryside . Development should retain all existing countryside hedgerows wherever they exist and or create new substantive hedgerow edge to any new housing to keep the Limestone rural landscape quality intact. An example of how not to do this is the development off Clune Street that backs onto Hickinwood Lane . Here the rear gardens have been allowed to remove hedgerow and put up a high wooden fence that destroys the rural feel to the edge of the town. The hedgerow should be retained with any garden fences put inside them.
- Limestone Ridge/Castle Ridge
The Association stongly support Principle 8 and 4.40
Protect the Limestone Ridge from development – and especially from wind turbine developments next to houses. The skyline is key to the nationally important historic properties of Bolsover Castle and Hardwick Hall and Barlborough Hall which doesn’t seem to get a mention for some reason.
Barlborough Hall should be included in the key heritage assets.
Under 4.40 it clearly states that Bolsover has a duty of stewardship for future generations and this cannot fail at the first hurdle with the rash of wind farm applications. The quality of the magnesian limestone character is key for future tourism development. There should be no development that affects the character of the ridge. The exposure of the ridge in the broader landscape is important to preserve as part of the wider heritage landscape of the region. It is also key as part of encouraging people to utilise the countryside for walking and health and quality of life.
- Protect Agricultural Land
The whole of Clowne is surrounded by high grade agricultural land and this should be protected , both for future food production but also as an asset for the quality of life of current and future generations. Our connection to the agricultural land should be improved by managed access routes linking out from the town.
- Hedgerows Protection and Tree Protection
More Set-aside land for wildlife and community access should be encouraged in the document. Fields are often seen as a real part of the community open space. They are a significant part of the quality of life for the town. We should be protecting and enhancing these assets with local landowners.
Retain the maximum hedgerows and trees. Most /the majority of fields have crops right up to the field boundaries with limited routes for wildlife linking more significant tree/habitat areas.
Protect the countryside- Landscape character trees and hedgerows are significant features and should be retained.
A policy to plant new hedgerows and trees should be included.
- Proposed Greenway- This is well supported – but it should recognise the difficulties of this proposal . Landowner partner working and funding must all come into play. Changes in levels between the former rail line and adjacent land need resolving. The policy should state that we should aim for an access for all standard – pedestrian, cycle, wheelchair/ children’s prams. Grant applications will need to be made and working with the community for ownership and future care is important. The ambition for a proposed employment link for walking and cycling between Clowne and Barlborough is supported. But, the rail line heads south westwards from the edge of Clowne. A link through the golf course building on the existing public footpath and the permissive path along the edge of the golf course is needed and will be campaigned for by the local community.
- Greenspace – Spatial principle 10 is supported but should be strengthened for
Clowne- The Town Park is set out as a standard of 4 ha and comprising a range of facilities.
If part of a standard formula cannot fit in Clowne because of the physical layout / physical restrictions then we need to consider other strategies. For instance we suggest that for Clowne with its restrictions on land usages etc. that a series of linked areas that have all the town park elements but not necessarily all in one piece of land is an alternative to consider. We propose that Clowne should create a town park as a series of linked activity areas utilising the existing playing fields between Clune Street and Hickinwood Lane with an expanded link taking in the allotments as they are but with an improved environment and linking through the quiet area of the Bumpmill Ponds and out into the countryside and then through into the Linear Park/ new Greenway on the disused rail line.
A purpose made new town park on the edge of the town envelope would exclude a large number of residents.
Maintain sports recreation provision- football, cricket, tennis etc.in Clowne
- CLOWNE KEY DIAGRAM- Chapter 10 and 10.16 onwards and Policy LP23
Notation on the Clowne key diagram is too vague and lacks clarity. The key Diagram itself is almost pointless as it is impossible to relate notation and arrows to the ground. If this was the intention it has succeeded but these make it more of a confusion and irritation to try and decipher than is warranted . We suggest Bolsover use an OS base diagram so it becomes clearer.
Also the Greenway notation is wrong on the diagram. If it’s a Greenway then it should be shown all the way along the rail line east to west to link through to Creswell as the Plan Strategy text states.
OR If it’s an employment pathway to improve links to Barlborough Links employment zone then it should say so.
We suggest it should show both- A full Greenway all along the rail line plus an extra notation
(Use as an improved employment link to Barlborough).
Plus any such idea of an improved pedestrian/cycle link needs to state that the use of the golf course edge footpath northwards should be improved and be aware that there is a difference in levels at Slayley Lane to access directly from there to The Links.
- Commercial/ Retail We strongly Object to the Policy LP23 where it states that:
“The town centre of Clowne should be enhanced and expanded to cope with anticipated needs of the town’s future population.”
No extension of the town centre is deemed needed for retail. This is not justified given the current shops position and the number of empty units. Your policy 2.9 states that the trend towards large retail developments have made it increasingly difficult for local shops and services to compete. Though on a much smaller scale, the arrival of Tesco, Aldi and Wilkinson have done to Clowne town centre what Meadowhall did to Sheffield. Also the outstanding Tesco mezzanine extension capacity has not yet been implemented. On the Inset plan for Clowne the boundary of the town centre is not correct- for instance it cuts through the very centre of the Tesco superstore and car park making a nonsense of the line. It also includes the new housing redevelopment on the former Old College site.
So the town centre should be kept. Already , as the Draft plan states, Clowne has more retail capacity than other towns and this is simply attracting more traffic into the town on roads that cannot cope.
- Submission Policies Map- Inset for Clowne
The notation on the Inset plan should say that it is not correct. We suggest it should have a note addded–The town centre boundary will be adjusted to follow development boundaries agreed by Planning decisions and now implemented on the ground. It will also be reduced where housing development is taking place. Say this will be adjusted in a future stage of the plan.
- Limestone Gorges and Clowne Grips
Limestone gorges are identified on the Fig 16 Landscape Character Map.
It seems unfortunate that at the point of interface between such a limestone gorge in Clowne that the Grey colour of Urban Area is allowed to dominate/wipe out the gorge designation.
Clowne Grips is an important area in need of protection. Access and Protection should be balanced. Expose areas damaged/ buried by past shortsighted work to cover the grips edge/face. The gorge alongside the stream is similar in character to the Creswell Crags and would have been most likely a part of the hunting area of the people recorded at Creswell.
- We support - Chapter 5 Policy LP1 1g,1h – Efforts to Protect from flooding
But feel this should be strengthened
Avoid detrimental effects on groundwater and surface run off.
This applies to Station Road where contrary to the stated lack of incidences of flooding there have been regular flood events both historically and over the last couple of years. Plus Mansfield Road has no gully or kerb capacity to cope with extreme rain water flows.
- Chapter 9 Inclusive Communities
It would seem sensible to include some reference in the Strategy somewhere to complementary working on Health inequality - efforts to bring rates of ill health nearer to national averages.
- Public Transport
The Chapter 4 .1 Spatial Strategy I. Talks about “focussing the majority of development in urban areas where there is a range of transport options available, by securing improvements to public transport infrastructure, and by securing facilities that promote walking and cycling.”
We strongly support this principle. But, it is clear that public transport has significantly reduced over the recent period and shows no sign of reversing. Only by placing some form of compunction on developments will any change be possible. As new jobs are provided there must be public transport built in for local access otherwise, as we know, access will rely on the car.
28% of households do not have access to a car.