Proposed housing threatens Appleby community and environment

At an event organised by the developers on July 26th we learnt more of the plans for large scale housing on two sites in Appleby.  The developers had their own fancy models and maps but these cannot disguise the scale of these proposals or their inappropriate location.  The developers said that they wanted to ‘consult’ with residents but their questionnaires only asked what we wanted in return for accepting their proposals.  This is not genuine consultation over whether we should have the houses at all.

At the Parish Council meeting on August 1st the Open Forum was devoted to further discussion of these proposals.  Around 50 local people attended.  No one spoke in favour of the development. You can read our notes of the meeting here (pdf file)

The arguments made against the development included:

• both fields are defined in local planning documents as countryside outside the limits to development with no housing permitted.  This should be defended by the Parish Council by supporting the District Council’s policy to maintain these limits to development

• the scale of the development was over 10 times more than the Council’s Core Strategy average allocation of under 10 houses for each Sustainable Village in the next 18 years. Building over 100 houses rather than the 5-10 we were originally told to expect is completely unacceptable.

• the open rural aspect of this area had been identified in the Village Design Statement as a key part of the character of the village. This showed that existing village opinion was that it should be protected

• whatever the promises made about the high quality and low density of houses made now, it was likely that, if permission were obtained, the land would be sold on and all this would change (as many of us remember happening with the application for the hotel at the top of Rectory Lane)

• the village infrastructure was fragile regarding flooding, electricity supply, sewage management and could not cope with large scale development

• the Strategic Housing Land Allocation Assessment process carried out by the Council had been deeply flawed without proper regard to the status of land under consideration and without public consultation

• the village had supported past proposals for affordable houses at an appropriate scale and location which offered genuine opportunities for local people – the new proposals completely lacked credibility on these issues

• evidence on shopping and work patterns in the village showed that this type of development would result in far more car journeys with higher carbon emissions directly counter to the national and local obligations to sustainable development to mitigate climate change

• the offers of financial incentives by the developers went against the democratic principles of the local plan and were not needed by the village as shown by its successful track record in securing the resources needed for community ventures without doing ‘deals’ of this nature.

We are expecting a formal planning application to be made in September.  This will be the time to register formal objections.

In the meantime you can let our representatives know your views.  People to contact include
Chair of the Parish Council, Paul Hemmerdinger –
Our District Councillor Richard Blunt –
Our County Councillor Heather Worman – and
Our MP Andrew Bridgen –
(further contact details for our representatives can be found via the village web site)

You can also support the application that the field behind the Church Hall should become a village green.  This would continue its use as an area used by village residents for recreation.  This application is supported by the Parish Council and our MP.  Letters of support must be received August 27th. This date has now been extended until 8th October. There are more details on our Village Green pageAEBoard3_Small

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