AGM 2016 Report
A big thank you to all of you who attended our AGM and also those who visited us at the CVAG stall at the Crowthorne Carnival.
We were pleased to have representatives at the AGM to answer questions about the three major developments in hand. Quatro (on behalf of L&G) about the TRL site, Bewley Homes about the Charities Land site and Broadmoor Hospital on the future of land around the old hospital site. On the TRL site and the Charities land the first construction work is to create "Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space" (SANG) that will provide recreation for the residents of the new homes and work on these is under way or about to start. On the TRL site demolition of the old buildings will also have started by the time you read this. Around Broadmoor Hospital, plans are in hand to build at Cricket Field Grove and land is set aside for a SANG and a new sports facility for the Rugby Club.
Our thanks also to our local police who gave an interesting presentation about policing in Crowthorne including the proposed move of the police station to Yateley.
Readers will know that CVAG campaigned against all three of the sites mentioned above, but sadly the developments were all approved. On the plus side, we are pleased that stakeholder groups have been set up at Broadmoor, TRL and Cricket Field Grove, where delegates can have a say in the ongoing detailed plans and we are also pleased to be represented on those groups. We look forward to there being a similar stakeholder group for the Charities Land site.
Our aim in respect of all these developments is to encourage the developers to protect our village against urbanisation and we see pressure on our infrastructure as a key issue looming up. This includes such things as provision of schools, doctors and community centres, but the road network, particularly Old Wokingham Road is a major concern. The roads need to be improved at main junctions, but it is very important to preserve their rural character. This is why we were pleased that an application to build on the Hideout site to the east of Old Wokingham Road was turned down.
It was sad to see the historic Waterloo Hotel being demolished and even worse to learn that, despite conditions in the planning permission to protect a bat roost identified within the accommodation building by surveys carried out in 2015, the developers did nothing to avoid harm to the bats. As you know bats are protected animals and there should have been a bat mitigation strategy which included provision of replacement roosts. The Council sent a Planning Contravention Notice letter to the owner of the site at the beginning of July and they also notified the Wildlife Crime Officer at Thames Valley Police. All work was stopped and any new planning application at the site will need to be accompanied by updated bat surveys (depending on timing) and will have the same requirements for a bat mitigation strategy, landscaping and biodiversity enhancements.
We will keep you informed when we have more news about any of the issues mentioned in this newsletter.
The CVAG committee
Bracknell Forest - A New Local Plan
Bracknell Forest is currently revising its Local Plan upto 2036. Read this short document to see some of the options that are being considered.
TRL Community Hub Meeting
Representatives from CVAG were invited to the first meeting with Quatro on 12th July 2016 to discuss the plans for the new community hub to be built on the TRL site. We heard about other hubs that are already in various parts of Bracknell and our next meeting in September will be held at the one on Jennetts Park.
The main issues discussed were about the fact that the community hub will be built early on in phase one of the new construction and this was a surprise. It means that planning what is needed there is going to have to be done far more quickly than was originally expected. First and foremost is the need to find out what is already available in Crowthorne and also what people would like to see in the new one so that it can compliment the present halls in the village. It was noted that it is important that the new development does not become a satellite town and that any new provision needs to be part of Crowthorne.
Bracknell's draft specification for community hubs include a childrens' centre, early years and childcare facilities, a youth facility, a police point and a community cafe but there are plenty of other groups that may wish to make use of the new building so it has to be planned carefully.
It was mentioned at this meeting that there is a lack of sports facilities in Crowthorne.
Hopefully a survey will be circulated so that residents can be involved in the planning of this new community building.
Major Development Group Meeting June 22nd 2016
Carole Doran (CVAG secretary) attended the meeting of the Major Development Group of the Parish Council.
A request has been made by the Parish Council for more detailed plans of the roundabout at the end of the High Street but nothing has been made available so this was carried forward.
The group agreed to respond to the consultation by Bracknell on their latest round of land allocation documents. These are on policies rather than actual areas for building.
Richard Price pointed out that there is a designated area of Green Belt land between us and Sandhurst and it is noted that Bracknell may seek to build on Green Belt land so this needs to be commented on in the consultation documents.
Several areas with planning applications were discussed and it was formally agreed that Cllr Bruce McKenzie Boyle would take up issues regarding errors in the plans agreed for 48-50 Dukes Ride.
The area for the Neighbourhood Plan has been formally agreed by Bracknell Forest. An initial working group will be set up with various stakeholders. A letter will go out to groups asking them to nominate a representative. There are several documents that will help to put the Neighbourhood Plan together and these include our Village Design Statement.
A meeting of this working group will be followed by a public meeting.
Meeting with Barratts June 7th 2016
John McNab, Eddie and Carole attended a meeting with Barratts homes representatives about plans to build up to 145 homes on Cricket Field Grove.
We were shown plans which are out of date but these gave us an idea of how they propose to spread out the housing. Bracknell are pushing them to have as close to that number of dwellings as possible, although they think it is likely to be around 70 flats, and 70 houses.
There will be no loss of trees and a SANG will be provided to mitigate against the development.
The flats will be built 4 storeys high where the existing flats are now and, as the land dips there, they will not dominate the site.
We were given a time scale for this proposal starting with a submission of a full planning application in August this year, for the housing and the SANG.
Barratts would hope for a decision by Spring 2017 and then they would be on site by Summer 2017. The building works would take approximately 3 years to complete. The SANG would have to be completed before any dwellings are occupied as this site is very sensitive and has particular requirements due to the proximity to the SPA.
Full utilities assessment would be done to ensure that there are enough services in the area to cope with this new development. Since this site was in the land allocation plans already, we were assured that Bracknell will have taken the extra residents and their needs into account in their account.
The parking will be in line with the Bracknell standard and although we asked that they improve the parking availability, we were told that there would not be enough space to have more and that Bracknell set the standard for this anyway.
A new rugby pitch will be provided. They also agreed to set up a stakeholders group.
There are public displays in Crowthorne library on June 23rd so please go along to see what is proposed and give your thoughts.
Diesel spillage at Broadmoor
Following our remit to keep villagers informed CVAG have explored the previously notified "diesel oil spillage" on the Broadmoor site.
First please understand this accident has been nothing to do with the development of the hospital, it is part of their normal management remit. We would like to say that the hospital staff have been very cooperative as usual. They have even invited the CVAG Secretary for an explanatory site visit to examine the accident. Clearly from a short visit there can be no absolute assurances, but it is clear that staff have been very diligent to deal with a very nasty accidental spillage. All the signs are that the staff and other responsible agencies have been on top of the danger from the outset and continue daily work.
There have been some comments from the public about consequences but nothing substantiated beyond what the hospital already have in hand. It now looks as if any long term risks have been safeguarded as far as is possible and it may be possible for things to be declared "back to normal" in the near future.
You Can Join In.
We are still looking for other members to join us for a couple of hours every now and then on the CVAG committee.
Planning Applications Updates
16/00164/FUL 93 Dukes Ride. This is to replace one property with for three houses. Access out onto Dukes Ride.
15/01261/FUL Edwards. CPC have objected. CVAG to write our objection to this as it is of great concern.
15/01269/FUL Mango Tree. Again CPC have objected and CVAG will object. This building is in the conservation area.
Areas to keep an eye on
Oaklands. This is a large house on the site of Oaklands farm which will probably be sold to developers.
Watts land. This site is still for sale so we need to keep an eye on what happens there.
Please read the applications listed here and object or comment on them on the Bracknell web site.
Crowthorne Neighbourhood Plan
CPC will be producing this plan for the Crowthorne Parish but it will not include a large part of the village that falls within Wokingham Without. CVAG will help with this task.
Land West of Old Wokingham Road - Charities Woodland
Planning permission was formally granted by both Wokingham and Bracknell Forest Borough Councils last week (18th March 2016). Initial ecological preparatory works have begun and the site will be fenced off in the next 4-8 weeks. The developer, Bewley Homes, has promised to limit disruption to existing residents.
Cricket Field Grove
This land at Broadmoor has now been sold to Barratt's who will be putting in an application soon for the new homes on this site.
You Can Join In
Please put your minds to what you think has, or will, improve the village under one of the three 'A's Atmosphere, Appearance or Ambiance. Also perhaps it might be an idea to ask your Parish Councils to Acknowledge the person or group who initiated this awareness
CVAG’s 2016 AGM will be on Wednesday evening 27th April at Woodmancote at 7.30. More details about speakers nearer the date.
We are still looking for other members to join us for a couple of hours every now and then on the CVAG committee.
Use the "Join Us" link above
As we enter 2016, we still see developers putting in unreasonable plans around our village. We understand this is because of an apparent short fall in Bracknell Forest Council’s 5 year Land Supply (see below**). It seems possible that current ideas have had to be revised to accommodate more developments. In contrast it appears that neighbouring Wokingham BC have not had this problem.
It is noted that, together with the above planning issue, both Bracknell and Wokingham are preparing their separate NEW Local Comprehensive Plans. We hope to come up with a pro-active scheme that will ensure that in the future Crowthorne Village is considered as a single entity in the Local Comprehensive Planning of both boroughs.
Nearly 10 years ago, after consulting all villagers, CVAG produced a Village Design Statement. We are intending to use this to better influence future developments. This ‘Village Plan’ will not only highlight the village’s characteristics but, in addition, indicate buildings and features that should be protected either as flora and fauna or as historic entities. We already have listed Broadmoor and Wellington College within the compass of Crowthorne, in addition to the Special Protected Areas.
**Local Government Association” Why does my council need a five-year housing land supply?
Planning Application Updates
The planning application 15/00440/FUL for the large assisted living development by a developer on the Waterloo Hotel site was pre-emptively withdrawn from BFC Planning Committee meeting. We still hope that by talking to the developer the facade of the historic characteristically Victorian Hotel building can be rescued. CVAG have been told that Bracknell does not have a list of local heritage buildings and that the heritage officer has left! CVAG realise it will now need to push for the urgent safeguarding of the missing officer’s duties.
Application 153326 for the erection of a single house on the rear gardens of 15 Rowan Drive with access onto Old Sawmill Lane was refused last week after local residents expressed serious concern.
The original application 15/01082/FUL for 48-50 Dukes Ride to replace two large residences with thirty two assisted living flats has been revised. The applicant is now applying to build underground parking due to insufficient space for the required ground level parking. Because of the possibility of flooding from a high ground water level and also underground streams that network beneath the village, we wonder if underground parking is a sustainability issue.
There is a Planning Application (15/01261/FUL) to demolish Edwards shop and 2 adjacent cottages (at the top of the High Street) and replace them with 2 shops and 13 flats. Pollution in the High Street is already close to the permitted government limits so we question putting yet more high buildings in the road.
A planning application for 4 flats (15/01269/FUL) has been registered for the Mango Tree restaurant, housed in a beautiful Victorian property. It is within the Church Street Conservation Area so the design criteria must be to change as little as possible of the existing building. The applicant wants change of use to four flats. Along the same street the Waterloo Hotel is due to be lost to Residential use. It is unfortunate that Crowthorne is slowly losing amenities such as a hotel and a restaurant.
Other large planning developments from previous years will still be monitored throughout 2016 by CVAG. i.e. The TRL site, The Charity Land, and The Pineridge Caravan Park
Crowthorne Parish Council - Three Year Strategy Plan
Crowthorne Parish Council is to produce a Three Year Strategy Plan for Crowthorne Parish which will not only focus on the activities and services delivered by the Parish Council but will include services delivered by the Borough Council where the Parish Council can hope to influence decisions in the future.
Crowthorne Parish Council is consulting with local residents to obtain your views and comments.
The consultation period runs from 4th December 2015 to 22nd January 2016
More information and a link to the online form can be found at www.crowthorne.parishcouncil.net
Planning Applications of Note
Wokingham Without (South Wokingham Distributor Road - Eastern Gateway)
This "Eastern Gateway" is to link the A329 with the proposed developments south of the railway line. These developments cannot be built until this link road (which includes a bridge over the railway line and the closure of the Waterloo level crossing) are complete. The road and bridge need to be in place before the level crossing is scheduled to be closed by Network Rail on 31/03/2018. Details designs and planning applications are expected to be produced early in 2016 to meet this deadline.
The Charity Land Development
The developers will be passing the SANG land within this development back into the ownership of the Charity. This is an unusual procedure so with our contacts we will continue to monitor this situation and report back to you. Our fear is that at some time in the future they will sell the SANG land rather than keep and maintain it to the required national standard.
A residential home 48-50 Dukes Ride PA 15/01082/FUL
A new application is in now for this as the previous PA was refused due to a single overriding reason. There is little if any change to the totally dominant, unsightly building but they now propose underground parking. The plans appear to be based on OS maps and do not show the extension to a neighbouring building so BFBC have needed again to measure the site. The new building will continue to be out of keeping with the surrounding buildings. CVAG will overhaul its original CVAG objection and send it in by the mid December due date, which we advise you do the same.
The Hideout housing and "Outreach Hub" PA 15/00826/OUT
The latest news is that the Planning Officer is recommending refusal for a long list of reasons that include highways, non-sustainable location, SANG, biodiversity, archaeology, etc, etc and is writing to the applicant accordingly. A new "determination date" has been agreed 30th March 2016 to allow the applicant to address some of the concerns. Thanks to all members who objected, we have a few month’s grace We will monitor this application with no further action at this time. Pro-tem we will contact the Campaign for the Protection of the Rural England CPRE, that CVAG have membership, to find out about our local group’s concern about the building on this green ‘separation’ land that is outside BFBC current plan for housing.
CVAG's objection to Planning Application 15/00756/FUL