As promised, and in our attempt to keep you up to date we would like to share our progress in a few areas as we continue to develop the Cold Ash Parish Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP).
Parish Annual Meeting
The parish held its Annual Parish Meeting on April 24th, as you may have seen. Peter Adams (CAPC Councillor and NDP Steering Group Chair) provided a detailed update on where we are and what we are planning with the NDP as part of the evening’s presentations. If you were unable to attend, I strongly advise you to review the detailed notes from his presentation, which can be found on the CAPC NDP website.
Peter went into great detail, including what a Neighbourhood Development Plan is. What do we hope to achieve? What stage are we at the moment? Our anticipated consultation and engagement process, as well as our anticipated timelines; site selection and overall housing allocation process. He also held an open poll at the end of his session. The poll asked the following key question: “In principle, based on what you’ve heard, do you support site CA10 as our parish’s preferred development site?” Of 17 parishioners attending 14 said yes, they supported it, and three said they didn’t know.
In addition, there were several questions raised and in particular the following two were worthy of note:
- A resident inquired as to how many trees would be lost at CA10. CAPC Chairman Cllr Marsh stated that he could not respond at this time but would have more information once a planning application was submitted. On the site, there were no active TPOs currently.
- A parishioner asked “Is there a requirement for 40 houses in the next 17 years?” Cllr Adams advised yes but we cannot rule out more, but we have been advised this is unlikely. Cllr Marsh advised this was on top of the DPD allocation. Cllr McArdle advised that there may be some windfall sites, but the NDP would have some influence over these
Although we have provided many updates in this parish magazine, we are unable to provide the level of detail that some may require. So, if you are interested in a more detailed update, you can now see one!
Site selection progress
In February, we informed you that, based on the consistent themes emerging from the Village Design Statement and your feedback, there was little support for any sites of five or more dwellings within or near our village settlement boundaries. So, after careful consideration, we identified site CA10 (Potentially developable: Sims Metal Management & J. Passey & Son Butchers, Turnpike Rd, Newbury) and possibly CA15, (Potentially developable in part: Land at Long Lane, Newbury, if necessary) as the likely preferred and sustainable sites for development in the future.
Since then, we’ve had several conversations with Cala Homes Ltd, specifically about the CA10 site in the context of our NDP. The latest news on this is that their agents Pro-Vision are pressing ahead with preparing a planning application for this site without further reference to our NDP. At a recent presentation at a Parish Council meeting Pro-Vision stated that they were legally entitled to do this and so this has been taken out of our hands. Whilst this might not seem ideal from our parish’s perspective, West Berkshire Council has indicated that our NDP will still receive the credit for the houses built on this site; and thus, a key element of our NDP is in effect preserved, which we believe will be very important for our parish.
Pro-Vision have distributed leaflets to properties in the surrounding area and have created a project web page with additional information. If you want to know more and have your say here is the web address that Cala have created: https://pro vision.co.uk/wallerdrive
We are now considering how to best share our detailed NDP plan with the parish this summer in order to ensure that as many members of our parish as possible have a say. The current challenge is that we know we are not directly reaching enough of our parishioners. For example, we had fewer than 20 residents attend our last annual Parish update session online.
As the Covid lockdown restrictions loosen, we may be able to hold some open sessions and “road show” events, in addition to leafleting, social media, and possibly other forums. Plans, timelines, pictures, videos, and other more interesting media options are being considered, but we welcome any creative ideas for how we can better engage with the larger parish, so please let us know. Any thoughts you may have in this critical area will help ensure that the NDP truly becomes our plan, rather than just “a plan.”
Drone project update
You may recall that we mentioned that one of our local young villagers, James Vanstone, was planning to launch a drone filming project to assist us with our planned parish consultation this summer. He was putting together a series of dynamic and ‘interesting’ bite-sized videos for our parish website. The good news is that the first two videos are now available for viewing.
The first videos, as seen above, cover our potential preferred sites at CA10 and CA15. We sincerely hope that this allows everyone to see exactly what the sites look like today and allows for a much more informed perspective during the upcoming consultation process later this year. We will make it available on our CAPC NDP website shortly and would appreciate any feedback you may have after reviewing them.
If you are interested in helping with any of these actions or volunteering to help with this important project, we would love to hear from you. As always you can get in touch with us directly either via our Parish website or via e mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
On Behalf of the NDP Steering Committee