Category Archive: Press Releases

Sep 14 2012

PRESS RELEASE – 14th September 2012

Residents and Action Groups celebrate removal of Stanton Wick, Keynsham and Radstock Sites from B&NES’ Gypsy and Traveller Plans



For immediate release
14/09/12

 

Local residents and Action Groups are celebrating B&NES’ permanent removal of controversial proposed sites at Stanton Wick, Radstock and Keynsham from a list of ‘Preferred’ Gypsy and Traveller sites.

At a B&NES Cabinet meeting on Wednesday night, Councillors finally reacted to months of pressure and judicial review litigation from Action Groups and local residents, officially removing all three sites from consideration (The Old Colliery in Stanton Wick, the former Infants’ School Canteen in Radstock, and land near to Ellsbridge House, Keynsham).

The LibDem Cabinet and B&NES’ Chief Executive Dr Jo Farrar, heard submissions from all three Action Groups and a number of Labour and Conservative Councillors, that yet again challenged the site selection process as being flawed both in concept and delivery, unlawful and deeply damaging to the communities affected.

Following these presentations, Cllr Tim Ball (Lib-Dem, Twerton), Cabinet Member for Homes and Planning, moved an amendment to officially remove all three sites at Keynsham, Radstock and Stanton Wick – from the list.

The long-overdue removal of the sites follows a Judicial Review application by claimants on behalf of the three Action Groups seeking to challenge the process of site selection in law. In July, solicitors Knight’s representing the claimants wrote to B&NES setting out the reasons why the site selection process undertaken by the Council has been “unreasonable, irrational, unlawful and procedurally irregular”.

Clarke Osborne, Chair of Stanton Wick Action Group said:

 

“At last, the B&NES Cabinet has finally seen sense and removed these three wholly unsuitable, unsustainable, and undeliverable sites from this list.

“I am in no doubt that this would not have happened if it wasn’t for the pending Judicial Review, and the very hard work of local residents and Action Groups who since May have presented overwhelming evidence of the unsuitability of the sites, as well as a flawed, disingenuous and predetermined process.

“On behalf of all three Action Groups, I would like to thank everyone associated with achieving this result: all those who have made their views known, attended meetings, made presentations, written letters and emails, and assisted with fundraising.

“Yet while this victory is very welcome and long overdue, it has come at a very real financial and emotional cost to many people. B&NES’ wilful disregard to their residents’ views, independent planning reports, and legal advice, mean fundraising efforts to recoup costs are still required.

“The truth is that the behaviour of B&NES’ LibDem Cabinet and their approach to this process has had a significantly damaging effect on many of their rural constituents’ lives. Not only in respect of their businesses and their savings, but also the extraordinary amount of time individuals have spent researching, writing letters, attending meetings, campaigning, and fundraising. To many this has meant taking time off work, cancelling holidays and spending any of their spare time battling a Cabinet which, far from ‘listening to residents’, has appeared disinterested, intransigent and arrogant.”

“Both settled and traveller communities have already been badly let down by B&NES; we can only hope that lessons have been learned and that similar errors can be avoided as this flawed, discredited and delayed process limps on.

“We applaud the determination of B&NES to work hard in meeting the Government targets for the provision of sites for both permanent and transit populations of Gypsies and Travellers and we have sympathy in the difficulties that this presents; but there can be no excuse for what we regard as incompetent, insensitive and arrogant behaviour.

“The communities have spoken, and I sincerely hope that they will maintain this voice and demand more from their Local Authority and take more control of the future planning of their local environment. It is called Localism”

ENDS

Permanent link to this article: http://www.stantonwickactiongroup.org/press-release-14th-september-2012/

Sep 07 2012

Valley Green Belt Show

First ever Valley Green Belt Show a huge success!

For immediate release

4th Sept 2012

The first ever Valley Green Belt Show, held at Pensford on Sat 1st Sept, raised an incredible £6,200, organisers have revealed.

The Show, held to raise money for protection of the area’s Green Belt and the Old Colliery site at Stanton Wick, enjoyed a fantastic turnout with more than 600 people showing their support during the day.

Generously sponsored by Kelston Sparkes, the family fun day featured an amazing line-up of musicians, dancers, games, wildlife, stalls, food and prizes – all provided free of charge by local businesses and individuals.

One of the organisers, Rosie Pierce, said: “It was an absolutely brilliant day. The community came out in force to show their support (the sun even made a very welcome appearance!), and everyone had loads of fun. Huge thanks to everyone who sponsored, donated, contributed, helped, attended, and of course, spent!”

Visitors enjoyed music from The Twerzels, Irish dancing, Pony & Trap rides, vintage cars and tractor displays, a Hog Roast and BBQ, craft stalls, auction and raffle, and loads more. The finale was a spectacular display of hundreds of biodegradable green balloons, released by local children.

The day also showcased local campaigns to help protect the area’s Greenbelt, its mining heritage, and its local wildlife, with members of the Stanton Wick Action Group, the CPRE and the Hawk and Owl Trust on hand to talk to the public.

Clarke Osborne, Chair of the Stanton Wick Action Group, said: “It was a quite remarkable day and result – the organising team should be very proud. I was amazed by the smooth running of what was a major event and SWAG is very grateful for what has been a large task of persuasion and organisation.

“I am delighted that our communities responded with such enthusiasm and kindness and I very much hope that the fantastic group of organisers can be persuaded to make this an annual event with future fundraising for deserving community projects and initiatives.”

Permanent link to this article: http://www.stantonwickactiongroup.org/valley-green-belt-show-2/

Aug 09 2012

Judicial Review – Press Release

Our latest Press Release:

Local residents begin Judicial Review process against B&NES, challenging flawed Gypsy and Traveller Site Selection Process

Five residents have taken a further step in starting Judicial Review proceedings against Bath & North East Somerset Council. The legal challenge is the latest development in B&NES’ controversial selection and consultation process for preferred gypsy and traveller sites.

The five claimants take B&NES to task on what they say is a fundamentally flawed process and oppose the selection of three of the six sites noted by B&NES as preferred options in B&NES’ Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople Site Allocations Development Plan Document (DPD). The sites are The Old Colliery in Stanton Wick, the former Infants School Canteen, Bath Old Road, Radstock, and land near to Ellsbridge House, Keynsham.

Solicitors representing the claimants wrote to B&NES on 24 July 2012, laying out the reasons why the site selection process undertaken by the Council has been “unreasonable, irrational, unlawful and procedurally irregular”. The response from B&NES, received on the very last of the 14 days permitted under the pre-action protocol was wholly unsatisfactory.

Two of the claimants, Philip Townshend and Elizabeth Richardson, are also members of the Stanton Wick Action Group and oppose the selection of The Old Colliery site in Stanton Wick as a preferred option.

Mr Townshend said:

“B&NES’ own assessment of The Old Colliery site at Stanton Wick ranked it as being particularly unsuitable placing it in 17th position out of the 23 sites considered.  There was no logical reason for it to even be on the long-list, let alone being identified as a ‘preferred option’ on the Council’s shortlist.

“There has been overwhelming feedback from local residents about why the Stanton Wick site is inappropriate at every point of this deeply-flawed process; we have attended every meeting available with B&NES, given evidence whenever possible, and presented them with multiple opportunities to reconsider. We have urged them to run a transparent, well-publicised process that is based on objective site suitability scoring, an up-to-date needs assessment, local communities’ views, long-term site sustainability and deliverability, and the needs of the traveller communities themselves.

“B&NES have ignored all of our considerable efforts to resolve this. We are left no choice but to start proceedings that will challenge this deeply flawed process in law.”

 

The claim lists the numerous attempts made to resolve the issues without litigation, including:

  • Formal detailed and comprehensive representation at the 9 May 2012 Cabinet meeting; the 15 May 2012 Planning Transport and Environment Policy Development and Scrutiny Committee meeting, the 13 June 2012 Cabinet meeting and the 18 June 2012 Special Council Meeting
  • Legal representation and advice to the 18 June 2012 Special Council meeting
  • Detailed and comprehensive advice given at two of B&NES’ roadshows
  • The submission of independent professional Planning Reports

Despite these efforts and a huge response from the local communities (including more than 1,000 signatures on both written and e-petitions), the claimants say that B&NES has

“failed to remedy the errors made in relation to a number of sites; or provide answers which can explain the seeming irregularity of [their] actions in terms of reasonableness, lawfulness and procedural propriety.”

Les Robson, Co-Chair of Bath Old Road Action Group which opposes the selection of the former Infants School site in Bath Old Road, Radstock, said:

“We are disappointed that despite numerous opportunities for B&NES to withdraw these wholly inappropriate and unsustainable sites from the Preferred Options list, our requests have essentially been ignored despite the overwhelming evidence presented.

“Bath Old Road Action Group believes that the sites selected are undeliverable. The process undertaken has unreasonably raised the expectation of the travelling community as well as putting the lives of local residents on hold whilst a decision is being made  This hasn’t done anyone any favours.

“With B&NES stating that caravans or mobile homes would be viewed as ‘alien’ and ‘unacceptable’, Bath Old Road Action Group are bemused that the Council continues to believe that placing a traveller site in the middle of a residential street is a good idea”.

Rosemary Collard, who runs The Snapdragons Nursery which is next to the land at Ellsbridge House, Keynsham, said:

“There are many problems with this site, many of which have been admitted by the Council, yet despite this they have chosen to ignore their own information, our detailed information and just carry on with this damaging process, seemingly oblivious to the fact that it is, in my opinion, impossible to develop this site as proposed. The major problems include; the very busy road, the unsuitability of a shared access with and location next to a Childrens’ Nursery, the loss of woodland, the impact on a listed building (the Nursery) and the unsuitability of the site for residential accommodation when it is between a busy main road and a recycling plant.”

Clarke Osborne, Chairman of the Stanton Wick Action Group said

“We believe that the Council are in breach of their responsibilities to ensure a proper, fair and open selection process for sites before any detailed consultation is undertaken with the public, and before any commitment is made to the possibility that any site can be developed for this purpose. We have listed no less than 16 areas where we consider the Council have failed. We, together with our colleagues in Keynsham and Radstock have gone to great lengths and considerable expense to show the Council the errors of this process but at each juncture we have been met with meaningless platitudes and left with many unanswered questions. It is highly regrettable that we have felt the need to resort to this legal challenge but the three groups consider that there is no alternative if we are to ensure that what appears to be a hurried and bungled process is fully exposed and stopped.

“We are very concerned that such a sensitive and important planning matter that will have a lasting effect on both settled and travelling communities should be dealt with in this cavalier way. With seemingly little or no regard for the required process and criteria set down by the Government, and as importantly, seemingly no regard for the views of some of their own Senior Planning Officers. It surely cannot be right that our Council should seemingly seek political gain from such conduct and seek to justify and defend these errors and wasted money.”

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.stantonwickactiongroup.org/latest-news-the-judicial-review-process-begins/

Jul 19 2012

Press Release – Technical Problems at BaNES

Technical Problems Cause Turmoil on Deadline Day for BANES’ Gypsy and Traveller Consultation Process
  
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
18/07/12

The final deadline for public responses to BANES’ Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople Site Allocations Development Plan Document, was thrown into turmoil today when email submissions made to the official email address were rejected.

Just hours before the 5pm deadline of the Public Consultation Process, many people sending their feedback to the email address (planning_policy@bathnes.gov.uk) received ‘bounceback’ messages which said: “Delivery has failed to these recipients or distribution lists… The recipient’s mailbox is full and can’t accept messages now. Microsoft Exchange will not try to redeliver this message for you. Please try resending this message later, or contact the recipient directly.”
At 3:40pm today a BANES email was finally sent to people on their mailing list to explain the bouncebacks were due to “the Planning Policy Team mailbox reaching capacity on Tuesday 17th July 2012, resulting in emails sent after this time failing to reach the mailbox”. It went on to instruct people to “resend your email as soon as possible“, but also decided to extend the time limit for email representations only until 5pm on Friday 20th July.
Clarke Osborne of the Stanton Wick Action Group says: “This is not the first time BANES’ email service has caused problems with this consultation process, but for it to happen on the day of deadline when it was obvious that scores of people would be sending their representations by email, is shocking.”
“Many people may not check their email now, or realise it has not been received. It’s further evidence, if any were needed, of a process that’s been completely flawed from the start and poorly-executed throughout; it’s appalling that the catalogue of errors now includes BANES’ inability to even effectively receive email submissions on the deadline day of a crucial consultation process.”
“I would urge anyone who had made email submissions today to resend them again, rather than assume that they had been received.”
As a result of mass opposition to many of the sites selected by BANES, and on inspection of the background, B&NES Planning, Transport and Environment Scrutiny Panel asked the Cabinet to call a halt to its plans, arguing that the site selection process was flawed and highlighting that the majority of the sites do not accord with Government guidelines. The Cabinet chose to ignore this request.
Mr Osborne continues: “The Cabinet has already demonstrated that it is not willing to listen to or take any notice of, local views, and have no respect for Coalition government guidelines on suitability of sites.”
“They are ignoring the public and their government, have selected many wholly unsuitable locations through a disingenuous scoring exercise, and are attaching no weight to the genuine planning and policy-based arguments from both local residents and politicians. Today’s error is yet another example of how this process has been shambolically conducted.”

Permanent link to this article: http://www.stantonwickactiongroup.org/press-release-technical-problems-cause-turmoil/

Jun 19 2012

Packed Guildhall for Special Council Meeting

The Labour Group of Councillors joined the Liberal Democrats on Monday afternoon to defeat a resolution tabled by Councillor Malcolm Hanney (Chew Valley North ward), supported by Councillor Vic Pritchard (Chew Valley South Ward) and other Conservative Councillors.

The resolution called on BaNES full Council to call a temporary halt to their current deeply-flawed exercise to find and promote Gypsy and Traveller sites in BaNES, to reassess both the numerical need for sites, updating the 2007 statistics they have used and to liaise more closely with adjoining authorities in identifying appropriate sites.

It then called for BaNES to ensure a more open, fair and efficient assessment of potential sites.

Members of the Stanton Wick Action Group and the Chairs of both Publow/Pensford and Stanton Drew Parish Councils each made three minute presentations and answered questions from Councillors. There was also a very helpful presentation by Joe Evans of the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

Richard Harwood (our legal Counsel) made a three minute presentation and answered questions for a further 17 minutes (predominantly from Malcolm whose questions were designed to highlight the flaws in the process to date and the areas of potential challenge and to ensure key information was before the Council).

Richard, having set out the basis of his considerable experience and standing in these issues also advised that he has been appointed by BaNES in the past and had in fact turned down a request to act for BaNES in this matter having already been instructed by us. He advised that;

  • In his opinion the process was deeply flawed and would cause serious difficulty to the Council if they are legally challenged
  • That the action of pausing this process now would not harm the progress of the Core Strategy Plan through its adoption stages
  • That the failure to put right the significant errors in the process could render more harm to the progress of the Core Strategy
  • That the analysis of the numbers of pitches that should be provided was flawed and should be readdressed if it is to be robust against challenge or scrutiny by the Inspector looking at the Core Strategy

The Liberal Democrats and Labour were, however, set on keeping the current consultation process going, despite all of the errors, the harm caused and the real danger of legal challenge and delay to the implementation of the Core Strategy.

At the end of the meeting the voting for a Liberal Democrat amendment was approved by a relatively minor majority. The amendment, written before the meeting, said that the Council had listened and would take all of the points made forward to the September Cabinet Meeting and that the Council would continue with the consultation process.

In summary, the Liberal Democrats ploughed on regardless (with the exception of Jeremy Sparks), not listening to residents’ views and the warning of our Counsel. Labour members supported the LibDems. The Independents went along with the LibDems and Labour even though two of them had reason to support the motion because they each had a Children’s Nursery (Snapdragons) in their wards whose business was seriously threatened by another proposed but inappropriate ‘Preferred’ Site as a result of this flawed process. Sad for democracy, sad for decency and sad for many thousands of ratepayers in rural communities.

However, it was in fact a good day for us!

We have the full support of the Conservatives, we have a line in the sand with a very clear message of the consequences in the event that the BaNES Cabinet fail to remove sites that are not deliverable from the preferred list; and the whole Council can now be in no doubt of the weight of our argument, the ability of our advocates and professionals and the clear resolve of our communities.

TV coverage can be found here: http://www.itv.com/news/west/story/2012-06-18/bath-gypsy-sites/

We need to up the pace now, to ensure that everyone in our communities responds to the consultation, to ensure that we maintain pressure on the Cabinet to do the right thing, to ensure that every Councillor is informed, and to ensure that any legal challenge we may make is powerful and timely.

Our sincere thanks to everyone who gave presentations yesterday, who attended yesterday and all of you who continue to play your part for your community. We are strong because we are together.

Please keep working, supporting and helping your community.

If you are a “buddy” please tell your neighbors and friends – keep them informed.

We will arrange meetings so that we can all consider and debate and we are hard at work on fundraising – where we always need your help!

Thank you so much for the generous donations and the substantial underwriting – you know who you are and your community is very, very grateful.

 

Thank you

Clarke Osborne
On behalf of the Stanton Wick Action Group

Permanent link to this article: http://www.stantonwickactiongroup.org/liberal-democrats-and-labour-unite-to-defeat-conservative-resolution-at-packed-guildhall/

May 14 2012

IMPORTANT VILLAGE NEWS

Update on Old Colliery, Stanton Wick

The Stanton Wick Action Group presented 8 well argued professional statements on significant planning points to B&NES Cabinet on 9th May. We were supported by 7 other speakers, including the Chair of Stanton Drew Parish Council and the deputy Chair of Pensford Parish Council. Our local Councillor, Jeremy Sparks gave a strong statement fully supporting the call for BaNES to withdrawal this site from their short list.
We handed in petitions signed by 100% of the residents of Stanton Wick, over 98% of the residents of Pensford, Publow and Stanton Drew who we contacted. A total of over 1,250 signatures.
Unsurprisingly, the Councillors voted to take forward their plans for a traveller site at Stanton Wick to an 8 week period of Public Consultation (along with 5 other sites).
We are using all available means to call the Cabinet to account over their lack of consideration of the statements made.
BaNES made a strong political commitment to identifying gypsy and traveller sites with which we agree. However, their desire to pursue Stanton Wick we believe is misguided as it DOES NOT satisfy legislated planning criteria.

BaNES have only allowed 8 weeks for Public Consultation (23rd May to 18th July) so THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT 8 WEEKS.  The key argument put forward for the removal of this site from the short list is that the Stanton Wick site does not comply with planning guidelines;

1.Greenbelt
It is in greenbelt. National guidelines say that gypsy and traveller sites in green belt “are inappropriate” development. That means that planning permission would not be available.

2.Inadequate road access
In their assessment BaNES accept that the road access is incapable of coping with the increase in traffic but claim that the increase will be modest. Approx 100 people will have to use the car in order to get anywhere producing a traffic increase of many times the current level.
All planning applications have been refused where there was likely to be an increase in traffic. How are BaNES going to keep everyone safe? How are the roads supposed to cope with the traffic without accidents?
BaNES have not even asked the Highways Dept to look at this proposal.

3.Access to amenities
The site has no safe walking route to schools, shops, doctors etc only a steep, unlit and muddy track.
BaNES have not explained where all the children will go to school. How they will safeguard people walking around with no pavements.
This development is unsustainable as everyone will have to use cars to access the basics of life.

4.Size
The proposed 20 pitches is larger than the government’s stated maximum making it “difficult to manage.” BaNES report boasts that the site has potential to expand to 50 pitches – more than three times the maximum.
The site is over half size of the whole of Victoria Park in Bath.
BaNES have not explained how many people they expect OR how they will deal with unauthorised expansion across the site, OR what business activities will be allowed and volume of lorries etc.

5.Overwhelming the nearest settlement
National guidelines state that the site should not overwhelm the next nearest settlement. Even at 20 pitches the travellers would outnumber Stanton Wick’s residents, possibly 2 or 3:1
BaNES have not explained how social cohesion will be achieved under these circumstances. They are obliged to ensure integration and cohesion. How are they satisfying this requirement?

6.Contamination and safety
In an expert report and survey the site was found to be contaminated with dangerous levels of arsenic that has not been removed. The majority of the site has not yet been surveyed. It has mineshafts and safety issues have not been considered.
BaNES have not explained what they intend to do about this.

7.Traveller preferences
The site has nothing in common with the type of site preferred by travellers as shown in the West of England Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment. Travellers prefer close proximity to amenities and small family sites of up to 5 pitches.

8.Cost to Tax Payers
BaNES have not explained who will be paying for any or all of work required to make the site habitable, bring in water, sewage and electricity. They have not explained what the cost is for any mine safety work or roadwork costs or the costs to enable children to be accommodated in the schools.

BaNES entire response to these questions which clearly show that the process of making the short list of sites is entirely flawed, and that they have not undertaken even rudimentary investigation into the deliverability of the sites is to say that we are now at the start of a consultation process and they are still looking for sites!

WHAT CAN YOU DO NOW? Lots – it is essential to act now – Look at our Your Help page.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.stantonwickactiongroup.org/important-village-news/

May 07 2012

Press Release

PRESS RELEASE – Gypsies and Travellers in BaNES
Issued by Stanton Wick Action Group – Friday 4th May 2012 12 noon

Stanton Drew Public Meeting overwhelmed

The Stanton Drew Village hall was full on Wednesday evening, when over 200 residents packed into the Hall to listen and debate the issue of the proposed major Gypsy and Traveller site in Stanton Wick.

Judith Chubb-Whittle the Chair of the Stanton Drew Parish Council presented a history of the BaNES project to allocate permanent and transit pitches within BaNES for Gypsies, Travellers and Showmen.

Councillor Jeremy Sparks, the member representing Stanton Drew answered questions and made a statement confirming his full support and intended submission to BaNES Cabinet at the public meeting on May 9th when the Council’s proposals for the allocation of sites in BaNES will be considered. He received a long round of applause from the whole hall.
Clarke Osborne, on behalf of the Stanton Wick Action Group gave further background information on the group’s activities and urged those attending the meeting to make their voice and their opinions heard at BaNES.
Chew Magna Parish Council confirmed their full support and desire to be involved in the campaign to have the Stanton Wick Site removed from the BaNES list. There was a long debate with many questions relating to the background of the BaNES project and what on the face of the information available looks to be a project that has failed in both Public Consultation and the selection of the 7 proposed sites.
The audience heard of the flawed process and what looks to be an attempt by BaNES  councillors and officers to push the Stanton Wick former colliery site into the short list when it clearly does not meet any of the required criteria set out by BaNES or national guidelines. The meeting was unanimous in requesting that the Parish Council should request BaNES to withdrawal the Stanton Wick Site from their list of proposed sites in BaNES as it is totally
unsuitable for this form of development.
The meeting had many questions relating to the process and how this site could be considered suitable and residents were advised to either ask their questions of BaNES directly or channel them through the Parish Council or the Action Group.

Judith Chubb-Whittle said “Following the Public meeting and overwhelming opposition demonstrated by the community at the meeting and from emails & letters received Stanton Drew Parish Council unanimously voted to oppose the BaNES proposal on procedural grounds at the Parish Council meeting the following evening and to this end will support the community in constructive opposition to the proposal”
Clarke Osborne a resident of Stanton Wick and representing the action group said ”another fantastic turnout following the meeting in Pensford. This time we could not get everyone in the hall! The meeting was well conducted and the Parish Council did a thorough job in explaining the background and facts concerning the site. The whole meeting was resolved that every effort should be made to ensure that BaNES withdraw the Stanton Wick site from their list as it is clearly and fundamentally not suitable for the proposed development and individual residents later pledged to assist in communications and our aim to ensure that everyone in the wider communities is informed. We have had an overwhelming response to what is clearly a major issue and have the support of both local Councillors, three Parish Councils our MP and the vast majority of the people living here. This really is localism at work.”

If there are any residents who we have not contacted and provided information please contact us by either going to our web site www.stantonwickactiongroup.org or email us.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.stantonwickactiongroup.org/press-release-2/

May 01 2012

Press Release

PRESS RELEASE – Gypsies and Travellers in BaNES
Issued by Stanton Wick Action Group – Tuesday 1st May 2012 10am

Huge Attendance at Pensford Open Meeting
The Pensford Village hall was full on Saturday evening, when over 200 residents packed into the Hall.
The meeting was attended by Councillor Jeremy Sparks, the member representing Stanton Wick, the Chairman and members of the Pensford Parish Council and members of the Gypsy community.

Laura and Paul Baxter gave an eloquent address to the meeting covering the background of BaNES policy and actions leading up to a short list of 7 potential sites to be considered for development as permanent sites for Gypsies and Travellers, together with a detailed analysis of the criteria for selection applied to the site in Stanton Wick.
The audience heard of the flawed process and what looks to be an attempt by BaNES councillors and officers to push the Stanton Wick former colliery site into the short list when it clearly does not meet any of the required criteria set out by BaNES or national guidelines.

Councillor Jeremy Sparks answered questions from the audience, acknowledged that the site at Stanton Wick was clearly not suitable for development and pledged to consult with the BaNES Cabinet before the public meeting on May 9th where the short list of selected sites will be considered to put forward for further consultation. Councillor Sparks was applauded by the audience for his attendance and expressing his support for the residents’ concerns.
Clarke Osborne, speaking on behalf of the Stanton Wick residents chaired questions and a debate before setting out how residents can make their views known by speaking at the BaNES meeting on May 9th and supporting the campaign to persuade BaNES to think again before putting the short list of sites to further consultation. He also confirmed that the action group would be employing leading legal advice in representation to BaNES.

Paul Baxter said afterwards “I was delighted with the turn out and with the intelligent debate which followed. It is clear that the majority of residents in Pensford are completely bemused by BaNES actions and very concerned that this appears to be an attempt to make this site in the green belt with contaminated and unstable ground, no services and a single track access, which would solve all or most of their problems on this issue, fit into a criteria that it clearly cannot. We have to work hard and fast to make our views known at the meeting on the 9th May when I hope BaNES will see the errors in the assessment so far and reopen the search for sites to produce a feasible short list of sites for further consultation.

Clarke Osborne said “We are delighted with the response from the residents of Pensford, Councillor Sparks and the Chairman of the Parish Council, all of whom have engaged in this process, which is at the heart of localism. We have needed to mobilize very quickly as this very important news for this part of the Chew Valley came to our notice just 10 days ago, despite as we have learnt, this process being underway for over a year. There is clearly something wrong with BaNES process of informing residents of issues that could have a significant effect on their community. We are all attending a meeting of Stanton Drew Parish Council on May 2nd at 7.30pm and many of us will be attending and speaking at the BaNES Cabinet meeting on May 9th. We are doing all we can to inform our fellow residents and to make the fight on their behalf. This really is localism at work and I hope that the members on BaNES Cabinet will have a close look at what we are saying and the questions we are asking, and decide to reopen the process to find the 7 preferred sites for consultation and later planning applications.

This has opened up issues of process that have taken place and raised a number of questions as to how this site could have made a short list when it is clearly so unsuitable. We will seek answers to those questions in due course but for now we must concentrate our resources on the May 9th meeting.

All residents at the meeting were urged to sign the e-petition located on the BaNES website (click here), and write letters of objection to Tim Ball at tim_ball@bathnes.gov.uk Councillor for Homes and Planning. If there are any residents who we have not contacted and provided information please contact us by either going to our web site www.stantonwickactiongroup.org or email us.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.stantonwickactiongroup.org/press-release/

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