Sunday, 26 July 2009

Planning Application Consultation

This week, a planning application has been submitted by:
  • Weavers Cottage, Lower Road, Barnacle - erection of a first floor rear extension.

Full details of the application (including site plans) can be found by clicking here. All comments on the application must be received by Rugby Borough Council by Monday 10 August.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Rugby Draft Core Strategy

Back in May, I blogged about the process that was being undertaken by Rugby Borough Council to identify the land required to meet the accommodation needs of gypsy and traveller families in the borough. You may recall that an additional 60 pitches were to be needed for the traveller population wanting to live in the borough between now and 2012. Twelve of these pitches had already been provided near to Ryton-on-Dunsmore, and therefore land for the remaining 48 pitches still needed to be found.

The latest stage of the process that will eventually lead to the identification of land in the borough that is suitable for the development of gypsy and traveller sites has been Rugby Borough Council's approval of its draft Core Strategy at a meeting on 29 June. The Core Strategy sets out Rugby's vision for how land in the borough will be used up to 2026, particularly relating to new housing and employment development. And as part of the need to identify land for housing development, the Core Strategy sets out a criteria against which to judge applications for gypsy and traveller sites needed to meet the demand for the extra 48 pitches.

The criteria says:

Where there is identified need, planning permission will be granted for gypsy and traveller sites provided that the following criteria is clearly satisfied:
  • the site is within or adjacent to the boundary of an urban area; or
  • the site is within or adjacent to the settlement boundary of a Main Rural Settlement; and
  • is located within a reasonable distance (up to 2km walking distance) of local services and facilities including a convenience store, a GP and a school;
  • the site is cumulatively appropriate and proportionate in scale to the nearest settlements, its local services and infrastructure;
  • vehicular access onto the site via the public highway is appropriate;
  • the site is capable of sympathetic assimilation into the surroundings;
  • if screening is required, suitable landscaping and planting will be provided and maintained by the developer; and
  • development of the site will not cause unacceptable nuisance to existing neighbours by virtue of noise and other disturbance caused by movement of vehicles to and from the site.

If the site is located within the Green Belt, the application must demonstrate that all reasonable alternatives have been explored before the application is submitted.

However, the approval process that needs to be followed before this criteria actually becomes borough council policy is long-winded and it is not expected that it will become a 'finalised' Core Strategy until June 2010, when it will receive Central Government approval. After that date, the borough council intends to apply the criteria in order to identify particular locations within the borough that would meet all of the conditions specified. This will be done through a Gypsy and Traveller Site Allocations Development Plan Document (remember that name!), which Rugby are currently expecting to be finalised by summer 2011. This plan will identify, on a map, the likely gypsy and traveller sites that Rugby would give planning permission for in order to meet the need to provide the additional 48 pitches in the borough by 2012.

Frustrations remain about how long the whole process is taking, but this is the way it has been decided it has to be done. I'll update on here as and when progress is made. In the meantime, you can read the whole of the draft Core Strategy document here (page 55 sets out the site criteria), and more information on the process from Rugby's own website here.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Planning Application Consultation

This week, a planning application has been submitted by:
  • The Old School House, Church Road, Shilton - erection of a two storey link extension from the rear of the main dwelling, and erection of a two storey rear extension and provision of a first floor to the linked outbuilding, including dormer windows and integral garage provision.

Full details of the application (including site plans) can be found by clicking here. All comments on the application must be received by Rugby Borough Council by Friday 7 August.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Wood Lane Speed Limit Alterations

A number of people have been concerned for some time at the speed limit along Wood Lane (between Shilton and Barnacle) and particularly the 60mph limit at the junction with Charles Lakin Close.

In response to these concerns, Warwickshire County Council are proposing to reduce the speed limit along Wood Lane so that it will be 30mph along the whole length of the road, between the junctions with Bulkington Road and Lower Road.

The improvement works (which seem to me to involve new speed limit signs and reminders along the route of Wood Lane) will take place in the autumn and cost a total of £6,000.

A plan showing the current speed limit along the road can be viewed here, and a plan showing the new proposals for the road can be viewed here.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Rugby Rural Link Minibus Service

Back in April, I blogged about proposals to introduce a new 'Rural Link' bus service for residents living in the rural areas of the borough who had difficulty accessing transport and needed to get to shops and essential services.

The Parish Council has now received some further information about this new scheme. Called the 'Rugby Rural Link' the service will operate in the Shilton and Barnacle area on Mondays between 9.30am for collection and 2.30pm for return, to allow up to two hours shopping in a "Walsgrave supermarket" (which, I assume, must be either
Tesco or Asda).

The service is open to all local residents to use, but before it is used for the first time, residents must register with the
Warwickshire Community and Voluntary Action Volunteer Centre (who will run the service) on (01788) 539572. The cost of the journey is £2 each way per person, although holders of a concessionary bus pass will pay only £1 each way per person.

The introduction of this new service is a welcome addition to the very limited public transport that's available to local residents, especially in Barnacle. The idea for the service arose out of a scrutiny review carried out by
Rugby Borough Council following their decision to withdraw the taxi tokens that used to be issued to senior citizens in villages that did not have a significant local bus service. A copy of the report on the review of the travel tokens scheme can be read here, and further information from Rugby Borough Council on the Rural Link minibus service can be found here.

These services tend to operate on a "use it or lose it" basis, and therefore anyone who welcomes the benefit of an additional weekly bus service to a local supermarket should look to take advantage of the service to ensure that is retained.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

What the Public Wants ..... Apparently!

As a parish councillor, you do get to see so many reports and bits of information. Much of it is irrelevant, or highly technical, but every so often there's something that passes in front of you that warrants a second look. I'm not sure if this is one of those occasions, but I'll post it on here and let you make your own mind up.

A report has been circulated by the Warwickshire and West Midlands Association of Local Councils called Warwickshire Place Survey and Local Residents' Priorities. Apparently, this is a survey carried out twice a year of a cross section of the residents of Warwickshire. It doesn't say who has carried out the survey, but I suspect that it's on behalf of Warwickshire County Council.

The survey asks just one question:

"Thinking about your local area within 15 to 20 minutes walking distance from your home, which are the things that you think most need improving?"

The interviewee is then given a choice of 21 different answers to chose from. The report groups the answers given for the different areas of Warwickshire, and locally, Shilton and Barnacle are grouped within the 'Rugby Rural' locality. The top five answers given (and the percentage of respondees who gave that answer) for this area were:

  1. Activities for Teenagers (49%)
  2. Road and Pavement Repairs (37%)
  3. Level of Traffic Congestion (37%)
  4. Public Transport (32%)
  5. Level of Crime (30%)

Across Warwickshire as a whole, the top five answers were:

  1. Activities for Teenagers (49%)
  2. Road and Pavement Repairs (38%)
  3. Level of Traffic Congestion (35%)
  4. Level of Crime (32%)
  5. Clean Streets (23%)

I won't imagine that any of these responses come as much of a surprise. Perhaps one interesting outcome of the survey was that residents living within the rural Rugby area identified improvements in public transport provision as having a greater importance than across Warwickshire as a whole. The lack of rural public transport will be particularly felt more keenly by senior citizens in receipt of a concessionary bus pass, but with little or any bus services on which to use it (something I blogged about back in May here).

The next residents' survey will be in six months time. If I get to see the outcome of that, I'll post the results on here and we can see if the public's priorities have shifted at all.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Fosse Division Community Forum - 30 June

Last Tuesday night I attended the Fosse Division Community Forum, held in Monks Kirby. This is a quarterly meeting, open to all members of the public, to discuss issued affecting residents in the Fosse division (which includes Shilton and Barnacle). Representatives from Warwickshire County Council, Rugby Borough Council and the Warwickshire Police Safer Neighbourhoods team were in attendance to discuss issues and answer questions on any matters that were raised.

There was a lot of interest from those present in the problem of speeding in the Fosse area, and numerous calls for the Police to take action. At each meeting, the Police ask those present to suggest policing priorities that they would like to be looked at more closely during the next three months. At the last meeting in March, a resident from Barnacle who had turned up to the meeting suggested that speeding through the village was a problem that needed addressing. The Police therefore took this up as a local priority and reported back on Tuesday night on the outcome of their work.

They reported that during the last three months, they had undertaken a number of high visibility foot patrols through Barnacle, as well as driving through in a marked police car. In addition, a marked police car had been parked at the junction of Top Road/Chapel Lane over a weekend to act as a deterrent to vehicles that may be speeding through the village. Whilst they considered their work to have been useful, they did not identify a significant enough speeding problem to warrant further specific action. I couldn't help pointing out that the rather old looking marked police car, parked up on Top Green (I'm sure many of you saw it over a weekend a while back), was unfortunately left in the one place in the village where cars had to slow down anyway because of the tight bend at Top Road/Lower Road. It may have had a greater effect had it been parked at either of the entrances into the village. Next time, perhaps?!

The Police also provided a number of other interesting snippets of information during the course of the meeting, including:

  • a total of 206 drain covers have now been stolen from roads in the Fosse area, at a cost of £30,900 to replace them all - and still no-one has been caught.
  • between December 2008 - March 2009, reported incidents of crime in Barnacle were: burglary - 0, criminal damage - 0, rowdy behaviour - 2, vehicle crime - 0. They had also received a total of 28 telephone calls so far this year from Barnacle residents, concerning the full range of matters that one might have cause to call the police for.
  • two men have been arrested in connection with a high value fraud in Barnacle. They have also been detained for the offence of money laundering, and are currently on police bail whilst enquiries continued.

Finally, in seeking local policing priorities for the next three months, I suggested that the speeding problem along Church Road, as it enters Shilton from the Ansty direction, should be something the Police could look into further. They agreed to do this and will report back to the next Community Forum meeting on 15 September.

Despite it being a very warm night, it was a useful meeting to go to. If you want the Police or the county/borough councils to look into something that is important to you, I would very much recommend that these are the meetings to go to in order to have your say. Further information on these meetings is available here.

Planning Application Consultation

Another new planning application has been submitted during last week for:
  • Barnacle House Farm, Top Road, Barnacle - outline permission for the erection of an agricultural worker's dwelling.

Full details of the application (including detailed site plans) can be found by clicking here. Any comments on the planning application must be received by Rugby Borough Council by Thursday 23 July.