Bridport Area Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group Meeting
Wednesday 18 October 2017 at Mountfield
Present: Phyllida Culpin - Chair (Allington), Bob Driscoll (Symondsbury), Glenn Crawford (Bridport), Richard Toft (Climate Change), Steve Spear (Bradpole), Richard Nicholls (BLAP), Richard Freer (Allington), Caroline Meredith (Chamber of Commerce).
Also in Attendance: Sal Robinson, Katy Graham (Project Manager), Colin Baker (Bradpole PC), Gavin Fryer (Land Use), Sue Fryer (Land Use), Maureen Jackson (BLAP), Alan Bowley (Environment), Paul Bowditch (Allington PC), Margaret Toft (Climate Change).
Phyllida reminded everyone of the Register of Interests and asked if anyone had any changes. She said that she is now a non-executive director of Magna Housing and this has been added to her Register of Interests.
She welcomed Gavin Fryer back after his illness and gave a progress update on Raja, who then walked in the door to a resounding wave of applause!
She also welcomed Alan Bowley who has volunteered to join the Environment Working Group.
Anna Lovell (POPP).
2. Minutes of last meeting.
The minutes were AGREED.
3. Matters arising from the minutes.
The Joint Council Committee meeting of 26 September was inquorate but those present voted in principle to accept Richard Toft on to the Steering Group.
Notes from the meeting with Haywards (regarding the redevelopment of St Michael’s Trading Estate) have been circulated. They are prepared to maintain a dialogue with the Neighbourhood Plan group. The next meeting will be in the New Year.
4. Progress updates from Working Groups.
Katy said that substantial progress has been made by the groups following circulation of the results from the consultation. Changes for the Housing Group are out with the group for comment prior to going to Katy.
The next task for the working groups is to take action as necessary following the consultation e.g. tweaking the wording of “intentions”, adding new aspirations.
The following “sticking points” have emerged:
Low cost housing
Retaining all existing car parks
Extending the retail boundary (waiting on the results of the WDDC Retail Study).
5. All Councils meeting 31 October.
All Parish and Town, District and County Councillors are invited plus Steering Group members – Working Group leads can invite their members as appropriate.
Bob Gillis (Bridport Town Clerk) is co-ordinating this event and will provide a minute taker.
Chris Turner (Chair of Beaminster Town Council) has agreed to chair the meeting.
The objectives of the meeting are: -
To get endorsement from the 5 councils on what has been achieved to date
To ensure full support for the final stages from the 5 councils including their backing on any areas of conflict which may emerge
To get commitment from the 5 councils to help with the Regulation 14 consultation (this could include formal public meetings where councillors answer questions and the Neighbourhood Plan team provides support).
The meeting will have the following format: -
A short PowerPoint presentation covering what we have done to reach this point; what happens next; the recent consultation and issues which have come out of it; the key proposals and aspirations. (The draft presentation will be sent to all Steering Group members and Working Group leads for feedback.)
Tea, coffee etc
During the break councillors can come to the Working Groups to ask questions etc
After the break Trevor Martin from West Dorset District Council will speak about what WDDC thinks of the Plan so far.
Press / public are not invited, though it would be a good idea to do a press release after the event.
6. Using consultants for support with policy development; shop front policy and a design statement.
It was AGREED that a consultant should be used for this. There is money in the budget + funding from Locality.
Katy will prepare a brief and circulate it to Steering Group members and the Joint Councils’ Committee, which will have to approve any expenditure over £500.
It was further AGREED that help is required to develop policies from the intentions – it is essential to get this right. A useful source of information is policies from plans which have passed examination.
7. Public participation / any other business.
Richard T has sent Katy notes from his discussion with SWRegen no further work by them is required.
Possible plans for the island which is part of the Hayward St Michael’s Estate area will be passed to the Environment group.
The one-day conference “Working together of a Stronger Civil Society” raised the following points, amongst others: -
How will a Unitary Authority communicate downwards when there are no Districts?
There is a gulf between the young and older people
Richard T commented that there appears to be a conflict between the concepts of a Unitary Authority and Localism.
Phyllida reported that Tricia Dendle has stood down from the Joint Council Committee and commended the work she has done for the Neighbourhood Plan. Colin Baker is the “reserve” from Bradpole for the JCC.
8. Next meeting.
The next Steering Group meeting will be on Wednesday 8 November, 6 pm at Mountfield.
Note of meeting between Neighbourhood Plan and Haywards 12th October 2017 at Mountfield
Clive Hayward - Haywards & Co
Martin Ridley - Haywards & Co
Phyllida Culpin - Chair and Housing working group
Sarah Williams - Bridport Town Council
Colin Baker - Bradpole Parish Council
Maureen Jackson - Land Use working group
Richard Freer - Transport working group
Caroline Meredith - Economy working group
Katy Graham - Project Manager
Outline of the Neighbourhood Plan and current status
Following introductions, Phyllida gave an outline of the Neighbourhood Plan in terms of the area covered, how it was a community led process and accountable to the Steering Group and Joint Council Committee. The Plan covers six priority areas: housing, economy, environment and heritage, transport, community facilities and climate change.
The Neighbourhood Plan cannot undermine the Local Plan and as that is currently under review, the group is maintaining close contact with WDDC to ensure the two plans align. Once adopted, the Neighbourhood Plan will have the same status as the Local Plan to inform future planning decisions and advice.
There are some areas that the consultation has shown to be important to the local community, which are not planning or land use matters, which the Neighbourhood Plan can include as ‘aspirations’ rather than policies. These could include matters such as road infrastructure, higher standards of sustainability in new buildings etc.
Phyllida referred to the delay in meeting with Haywards was so that the findings of the recent consultation could be shared, and would represent the wider community view rather than just the opinions within the group.
St Michaels – history and outline planning status
Clive and Martin gave a brief history of the St Michaels site which had been bought by the family in 1968. Essentially a ‘vacated factory’ at the time, spaces were gradually rented out to businesses and the site grew to what it is now.
Previous planning applications had been made jointly with WDDC for a whole South West Quadrant scheme, but this did not work out.
2012 Haywards decided to continue on their own with the site. Haywards are not a developer, though they may need to set something up more formally as an arm of the company in order to get the site developed, they want to remain in control.
The outline planning application was approved this year subject to 16 planning conditions (including matters such as a contamination report, how the site will be phased, Environment Agency requirements, English Heritage requirements etc.) Section 106 discussions are ongoing. This process is likely to take 12-18 months before a full application can be submitted. More work needed to analyse costings and have just appointed a consultant to do the business plan.
Haywards talked about being keen on the diversity of skills on the site which makes it unique. They said that this was important and they would want to maintain this.
Neighbourhood Plan consultation feedback
Phyllida reported that one of the ideas raised by the economy group and through the consultation was for themes ‘quarters’ in the town such as an arts and antiques quarter. Martin replied that first and foremost, St Michaels is a trading estate and they wouldn’t wish to exclude any businesses from setting up there because of a narrower focus. They have resisted being branded as a ‘tourist attraction’ for this reason, which they feel has been a bit over-played. They are happy to continue discussions on this.
Mixed use – issues of noise
Some people had reported concerns about the impact of industrial use on the housing proposed on site, particularly regarding noise. Martin replied that through the planning permission, business usage will be more tightly controlled. Currently however, Haywards are not seeing a lot of business interest from those that use heavier machinery as Bridport isn’t really a natural place for such businesses – other areas such as Yeovil are more of a draw. Naturally, the estate is moving more towards lighter industries and business use. If noise is an issue, zoning and timing restrictions can be explored, but they do want to prioritise the businesses. The trend of occupation is changing and it’s becoming more of a retail area. There is no market research – who comes is who comes.
This had come out of the consultation loud and clear as a high priority for the local community, as more housing is being built that is not meeting local needs, and houses prices have been driven up by the desirability of the area. The Local Plan has a ‘requirement’ of 35% but this is not being achieved. The Neighbourhood Plan will be looking at ways to try and strengthen this and what other ways the lower cost housing need could be met. Martin responded that they are conscious of the local need for affordable housing. At the moment the outline planning has a level of 21-22% but they are happy to continue to discuss this point. Haywards have met with Magna and have been encouraged by the positive conversations which are set to continue.
This was mentioned generally as something the Neighbourhood Plan is seeking to include and Martin asked if the bit of land known as ‘the island’ could be included? The NP is not going to be allocating every parcel of green space for protection, but it might be something the Town Council could consider taking on. Sarah will raise this with Bob for consideration.
Work will continue on meeting the conditions of the outline planning permission and the Neighbourhood Plan will continue into draft form and the next phase of consultation. It was agreed that it would be beneficial to continue the dialogue between Haywards and the Neighbourhood Plan group as both plans take shape.
A suggestion as made for a meeting in January for an update on progress and this was agreed.