May 14 2012

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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;

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.

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/

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