Clowne Community Association 20 NOV 2014
Bolsover Local Plan Representation for 28 NOV 2014 deadline
Clowne Community Association have had very little time to address the consultation process. Faced with a blank page it is difficult to formulate Policy, Vision and Sites comments. Our Association meeting on 19 November considered this briefly ( it was also our AGM and a speaker presentation from STWA on sewage issues, which have been, and remain, a real concern about the impact of new development on Clowne infrastructure.)
We are pleased that there is now no separation of the strategy in the local plan from the detail of sites for development.
All we have had time to do is review our previous comments/ involvement in the Local Plan and repeat these comments to Bolsover DC.
The Representation Form
We have set out our representations below and leave this to Bolsover DC Officers to translate to your standard format for representations. We are available for a brief meeting after the deadline if this is helpful or interpretation is needed and, as before, we do again invite someone from BDC to attend one of our meetings next year to help us with the process of plan and sites preparation, or we can meet at your offices with a small group of our Association members?.
We are keen to be involved in the sites identification process. There is discussion of the need for a Neighbourhood Plan for Clowne and the risk of non-compliance with the 5 year supply leaves the community exposed to decision making led by developers and not by any plan making process we might currently engage with.
- NEW HOUSING
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 previously spoken of is objected to.
We feel that given the restrictions highlighted by the previous 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 should be clearly stated. 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.
2. Housing direction of planned growth is indicated for Clowne – as a West and North West extension.- Policy LP 23 Chapter 10
Previously the draft plan spoke of West and North West as preferred direction for housing extension. These priority directions for growth have not been discussed in any of the previous plan consultations. The community must get the opportunity to discuss any 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. Recent devlopments have generally been to the south and west and other directions should be also considered.
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 placed inside them without damaging them. As well as the significant visual issues here, the importance of existing hedgerows as wildlife corridors should also feature highly
3. Limestone Ridge/Castle Ridge
The Association strongly support the need to 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.
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.
4. 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.
5. Hedgerows Protection and Tree Protection
More Set-aside land for wildlife and community access should be encouraged in the document. This also fits well with Govt policy for farmland. 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. Policy should encourage wider field margins for wildlife corridors.
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.
6. 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.
Clowne- The Town Park Idea - 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
8. CLOWNE TOWN CENTRE
The retention and protection of town centre historical character is vitally important and should be a strong policy in the Local Plan. Already key local historic buildings have been lost and others continue to be under threat. The constant chipping away at the townscape character risks the destruction of what remains of a special local town centre quality- shop fronts, boundary walls and views are all part of the town centre character that should be fought to preserve as it makes the town what it is.
Specific mention hre is made for the identification and protection of the grouping of Victorian buildings at the junction of Station road, North Road and Mill green Way. The former Post Office, Station masters House and Booking Hall and the Nags Head and the railway bridges are a significant part of Clowne shistory and should be retained as a group and not be demolished for new roads.
Road speed is a significant issue and a campaign fro a 20 mph speed limit an dmeasure sto control and enforce speed as part fo pedestrian and road safety improvements are all to obvious every day in the town centre.
The previous Clowne key diagram in the old draft plan was too vague and lacked clarity. The key Diagram itself was almost pointless as it was impossible to relate notation and arrows to the ground. We suggest Bolsover use an OS base diagram so it becomes clearer.
9. Commercial/ Retail
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. 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.
So the town centre should be kept. Already Clowne has more retail capacity than other towns and this is simply attracting more traffic into the town on roads that cannot cope.
10. Limestone Gorges and Clowne Grips
Limestone gorges were 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 was 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.
11. We support - Chapter 5–
We support efforts to Protect Clowne from flooding but feel this should be strengthened
Avoid detrimental effects on groundwater and surface run off.
This applies to Station Road where 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.
12. 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.
13. Public Transport
We strongly support the principle of 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.
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.
Public transport must be designed in at the heart of new jobs developments as the first priority.
Mr Greg Lindley, Secretary- Clowne Community Association
13 Regent Street, Clowne, Chesterfield, Derbyshire S43 4LA
Tel 01246 812035