Minutes of the Meeting of Bramley Parish Council
held in the Village Hall on Monday 17th September at 7.30pm.
Parish Councillors present were: Richard Wood, Chris Holland, Claire Penfold, Alison Jayawardena, Malcolm Bell, Janice Spalding, Anthony Durrant, Patrick Murphy
Also present were: Borough Cllr. Ranil Jayawardena, Borough Cllr. Chris Tomblin, Press and 7 members of the public
County Cllr. Keith Chapman, PCSOs
Cllr. Dalton Hopkins had resigned since the last meeting.
2.0 Minutes of the last meeting
Proposed Cllr. Holland, seconded Cllr. Penfold.
3.0 Guest: Bethan Bramley, Local Plan Team, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council
Bethan Bramley, as part of the Local Plan Team, attended the parish council meeting to discuss various options available to the parish council, depending on the it’s objectives; options being Community Plans, Village Design Statements or Neighbourhood Plans/Orders.
She explained that the SHLAA is the current audit of sites available for potential development but does not mean that those sites will be taken forward to the final Local Plan. This stage has not yet been met so we do not know at this time what development may be taking place in Bramley.
This was an open discussion where Bethan answered questions from Councillors and offered ongoing support from the Borough Council towards completing whichever process the Parish Council wished to consider. She explained that the Borough Council would provide some funding – they would pay for the assessment stages of a Neighbourhood Plan and also the referendum. Other costs would need to met by the Parish Council. These costs would depend on the methods of consulting with the public (postal costs, meeting rooms, posters etc), and the costs in producing a final document for assessment, so this element of the level of expenditure would be under the control of the Parish Council, who can decide how to approach the project. She has agreed to be the Parish Council’s man contact and will begin assisting the Planning and Development Committee with ensuring its’ objectives are robustly set out to ensure they get the best out of the exercise.
4.0 Monthly Income and Expenditure, circulated by way of ‘Budget Tracking’ spreadsheet.
Accounts for payment were approved:
Proposed Cllr. Holland, seconded Cllr. Durrant.
Cheques for approval:
Jamie Snow salary £279.10
Clerk Salary and reimbursements £1,037.69
Pat Murphy Cllr. Expenses (travel) £25.60
R Gregory Burial Grounds Maintenance £305.25
HALC Training Courses £72.00
Bulpit Bros Bramley Green Cutting £420.00
Baughurt Parish Council CSW Equipment Hire £100.00
Sub total, PC expenses £2,239.64
5.0 Planning and Development Committee Report
Cllr. Durrant as Chair of the P&D Cttee explained that they had now met twice. He explained that the Cttee were deciding whether to develop any neighbourhood planning options and put the decision to the Parish Council.
It was resolved that the P&C Cttee would proceed with researching the options and make a recommendation to the Parish Council once they had established a recommendation and developed some objectives.
Proposed Cllr. Wood, seconded Cllr. Penfold. P&D Cttee
The Parish Council were asked to approve a letter which had been drafted by the Planning and Development Cttee which opposed the proposed development at Razor’s Farm.
It was resolved that the Chairman would provide a covering letter and send the opposition letter on behalf of the Parish Council.
Proposed Cllr. Holland, seconded Cllr. Penfold Clerk/RW
Please see appendix for copy of letter
The minutes of the Planning and Development Committee meeting will be published on the website.
6.0 Community Wellbeing Committee – Cllr. Holland
Highways improvements progress report (abbreviated)
1. Bramley Crossing Improvements – COMPLETE
. Silchester Rd/The Street Traffic & Pedestrian Imps – SCHEME UNDERWAY
Carriageway surfacing improvements to proceed later in the autumn; when other work is fully completed at the site.
* MAJOR MAINTENANCE *
Bramley Lane culvert works – SCHEME UNDERWAY
3. Bramley Lane Accessibility Improvements – SCHEME UNDERWAY
Following completion of this scheme, major highway resurfacing of Sherfield Road, The Street and Silchester Road will be carried out for Operation Resilience.
Scheme underway, completion expected soon (looks like about Mid Oct 12).
4. Campbell Rd/Sherfield Rd roundabout – DETAILED DESIGN UNDERWAY
Completion of this stage expected in mid-2013.
4a. Traffic calming on Campbell Road – FEASIBILITY COMPLETE
Preferred traffic calming option agreed with Parish Council representatives, including then Chairman John Ferguson and current Chairman Richard Wood.
Decision taken following consultation with Cllrs to delay any further work until roundabout is implemented.
5. Bramley Footpath Improvements [Cinder Track] – FEASIBILITY UNDERWAY
6. Bramley Footbridge – FEASIBILITY UNDERWAY
Discussions have been held with Network Rail, who may contribute to scheme.
Community Speed Watch
Cllr. Holland on the trial which is continuing in Bramley with seven volunteers. He explained that to date 8 letters had been sent to drivers doing in excess of 40mph. It was noted that most drivers slowed down when they saw the CSW volunteers.
Royal British Legion site report
Please see appendix for full report
7.0 The Granary
The structural survey of the Granary, approved by Cllrs at the May meeting, had been carried out by Damian Good FBEng P.Eng MSPE of the Engineering Services Unit of Hampshire County Council, and Giles Pritchard RIBA SCA, Head of Historic Buildings and Conservation, RIBA-accredited Specialist Conservation Architect. The condition appraisal report was circulated to the Councillors before the meeting.
Resident Ken Hume, who was the volunteer warden in 2005-2006 by agreement with the Parish Council, had asked for sight of the survey and it was agreed that he would be given a copy. It would also be put on the website as it was funded through the Precept and is of general interest.
The Clerk has applied to the Borough Council for a grant towards the costs of repairs. There is also £7,000 set aside in the Parish Council budget towards essential repairs.
Cllr. Murphy asked that his views be recorded in the minutes as he feels that the survey was not value for money. The clerk reported that the final cost was £900.50 rather than the £1,000 approved at the May 2012 PC Meeting.
The clerk explained that the report found on file, produced by Mr Hume for the Annual Parish Meeting in April 2006, did not have enough detail for the parish council to apply for grant funding towards repairs. It was explained that before spending public money on the Granary, it was considered due diligence to obtain a full structural survey, and also a second opinion as to the recommended repairs, using the report from 6 years ago as a benchmark to determine whether there was significant deterioration. Mr Hume stated that he was unhappy that his earlier report had been provided in the new survey document as background information, but the clerk had provided this as most Councillors were not with the Parish Council at the time of the report.
It was noted that Mr Hume had recently opened the Granary to groups of visitors for an annual Heritage Day event. It was agreed that the value in the Granary is educational and that such events are to be encouraged, however the Clerk explained that Mr Hume had not been in touch with the Parish Council for some years and nobody knew that the Granary was being opened to the public. It had previously been agreed with the Chairman that these events would not be promoted at present as there are some health and safety concerns given that the 2006 report explained some repairs that should be undertaken (and have not been) and it was not known to what extent the Granary may have deteriorated. The Clerk was concerned about Insurance implications of allowing the Granary to be opened to the public, but Mr Hume explained that Insurance was covered by Heritage. It was agreed that the Parish Council would re-open dialogue with Mr Hume to get the best out of the community asset in future.
No further work would be carried out until the outcome of the grant application is known after which the Parish Council may decide the way forward in preserving the asset which is managed and insured by the Parish Council on behalf of the community.
8.0 Bramley Green – Donation request to assist with improving defences against travellers
Cllr. Bell has been liaising with the Duke of Wellington Estate about defending Bramley Green
against further traveller encampments. The estate had asked the Parish Council whether there may be an opportunity to apply for a contribution to funding additional protection measures. The clerk had investigated whether there was a Power to offer such funding and sought legal advice. It was stated that if the Parish Council wished to show solidarity with the Estate in defending the Green on behalf of residents living nearby a donation could be made under S37, Grants and Donations, provided the Council was satisfied that it was of benefit to the community as a whole.
It was agreed that the estate managers could apply to the parish council once they had established the full costs associated with the proposed barriers and this would be voted on in November.
Cllr. Holland asked for confirmation that this would be a one-off request and that the PC would not open themselves up to further requests for financial support from the Estate. It was agreed that this would be a one-off donation.
9.0 Land at Longbridge Road, update on legal status
The Parish Council had been approached by Longbridge Road resident Cathy Baker about assisting the community group who had successfully applied for a village green label to be applied to the open space, in maintaining and protecting the green. The clerk has since sought legal advice on this matter, as the situation regarding this land was not clear as with Bramley Green there is an agreement in place with the landowners which states that the Parish Council may enter the site to maintain it.
The legal advice regarding Longbridge Road stated clearly that in order to carry out maintenance, the Parish Council, or any other person, must obtain permission from the land owner. This also applied to the erection of bollards to prevent travellers from accessing the land.
The Parish Council noted that the land owner had not supported the resident’s application for the site to become a village green and had previously been granted planning permission for developing the site. It was expected that it might be difficult in these circumstances to ask for co-operation, however the Clerk had written to the gentlemen concerned and offered the PC’s assistance in maintaining the site in future. It was hoped that they would welcome the offer and allow the parish council to discuss maintenance options and funding sources. Clerk
10.0 Borough Councillors Reports
Cllr. Jayawardena reported on the Traveller encampment at Bullsdown Farm – land owned by
the Borough Council, and explained that the Borough are looking into more robust defences of
land they own within the Parish.
He reported that the Police Commissioner elections were to be held on 15th November 2012. He explained that he had met with one of the candidates Michael Mates, Conservative candidate, to discuss their vision for Policing in Hampshire. It was agreed that while Cllr. Jayawardena had so far met with the representative from the Conservative Party as he is a Conservative Party Ward Councillor, the information about other candidates would also be available and as Parish Councils are not Political, it was agreed that Cllr. Holland and the clerk would ensure that information about all the candidates would be available.
Cllr. Jayawardena also reported on his position regarding the SHLAA and confirmed that he had made a submission under the SHLAA consultation process declaring his objection to further housing development within his ward. He reiterated the position he took during the previous LDF process whereby he requested that if Bramley were forced to accept a housing number for development over the current Local Plan period, the Parish should be able to decide through a Neighbourhood Plan where they wish the development(s) to go.
Lastly he reported on his role within the Borough in redesigning the area known as ‘top of town’ and said that he would be pleased to hear any ideas people may have about redeveloping the area.
Cllr. Tomblin reported that there is to be an indoor sky diving centre at the leisure park in Basingstoke.
He updated the Parish Council on the status with the Culvert in Longbridge Road following complaints from residents since the area had been cleared. He explained that some remedial works had taken place and that while the eyesore was not solved, the safety concerns had been addressed. Cllr. Wood asked if Cllr. Tomblin could forward the details of the contractors who were responsible for maintaining the SINC so that we could get in touch with any concerns in the future.
Travellers – Cllr. Tomblin explained that travellers had also been his neighbours in Cufaude Lane for much of the summer. He said that they had not left much damage behind when they moved on.
11.0 Other representatives reports
Cllr. Penfold explained that while some progress was being made into looking at the results of the recent Parish Plan questionnaire, they had also decided to extend the deadline to encourage as many responses as possible. They had already been successful in obtaining a 40% response rate which the Parish Council praised.
She gave a few details from initial assessments:
• Most people returned a paper copy with only 70-80 responses arriving by email.
• Only 41 of the properties in the German Road development responded
• 77% of respondents would favour a footbridge
• Most people accepted that some new development would be inevitable provided the parish could decide where it would go
• Most people were happy with the level of street lighting as it is
Community Feasibility Study
Please see appendix for Cllr. Holland’s report
Clift Meadow / Youth Club
Cllr. Spalding explained that the youth club is short of help as parents are not the ideal helpers because their children would not likely continue attending the club.
She also took the opportunity to explain that she would be resigning from the Parish Council due to other commitments.
12.0 Items for next meeting:
Cllr. Holland/Clerk would provide further information about the upcoming Police Commissioner Election candidates.
There being no other business the meeting closed at 9.55pm.
Judith Foyle informed the PC that the local busses had been sent to London to cover the busy Olympic period and had not yet been returned. She explained that the low busses which enable buggies and shopping trollies to board the busses were not currently available and asked whether the PC could put some pressure on the local bus company to ensure that the low busses were returned to local service as soon as possible. Cllr. Holland agreed to take on this action.
Peter Hayes asked whether the Parish Council were informed of the locations of storage areas when Highways works were ongoing and whether the damage caused to these areas would be made good. Cllr. Tomblin explained that Chineham Parish Council have previously been able to claim funds to replace bulbs in areas where such damage has taken place.
Mr Moreton asked the Parish Council when the finance committee would meet to discuss the Budget and Precept. It was agreed that they would need to meet in November to prepare the budget for 2013 in order to agree the precept demand at the December PC meeting and submit it to the Borough Council by the December deadline.
Further to the report under the agenda item ‘The Granary’ there was further discussion regarding Mr Hume’s discontent about the content of his 2006 report to the Parish Council being issued to Councillors and the specialists carrying out the structural survey as background. He felt that he should have been informed that this survey was to be conducted on behalf of the Parish Council and also that he should have been approached to conduct the survey since he has now completed his Master’s Degree. The Clerk explained that she was not aware of Mr Hume’s ongoing interest in the Granary as there had been no communication in the last three years since she had been working for the council. It had appeared that since Mr Hume had concluded his studies he was no longer using the Granary as a case study. The clerk had not been aware until the week before this meeting that Mr Hume was still interested in the Granary and was promoting it through the Heritage open days, as this had happened without consultation with any member of the Parish Council. Again it was determined that dialogue would reopen with Mr Hume so that all parties could get the best out of the asset which was gifted to the community by the Clift brothers and is now under the care of the Parish Council.
Community facility study: Meeting to discuss possible sale of Bramley RBL Site, Wednesday 12 September 2012
Introduction. Mr Martin Drage and Mr Nik Lyzba attend to represent the national views of the National HQ of the RBL (TRBL); Ms June Balcombe and Mr Ian Mawer attended to represent B&DBC planning and community development. Cllr Chris Holland chaired the meeting and was supported by Cllr Richard Wood (PC Chairman), Cllr Tony Durrant (Chairman PC Planning & Development Committee) and Ms Sarah Smart (Parish Clerk). The aim of these notes is to capture the main issues discussed.
Background. Cllr Holland welcomed the TRBL and B&DBC teams to Bramley; after initial introductions he offered a quick resume of the background. He stated that Bramley is a linear village sandwiched between land predominantly owned by the Duke of Wellington and land owned by the MoD (Bramley Training Area). He briefed that for almost 15 years the PC has been having surges of interest in considering how the village can add additional community facilities. During the last 12-18 months there has been specific discussion as to whether to build new community facilities on a number of local sites. After an assessment in 2011-12 of possible sites by a local Architect (Mark Penfold) it was deduced that the derelict RBL site was the best option.
Meeting with RBL, B&DBC and BPC. Cllr Holland confirmed he had been tasked by BPC in Jun 12 to arrange a meeting to ascertain whether the TRBL would consider selling their site for Community Development. B&DBC Planning and Community Support teams supported the intent and agreed the site would be tagged with an ‘Option’ for a ‘Community Facility’.
Mr Drage Responded. TRBL understood the aspirations of B&DBC & BPC but there was no alternative to going to the open market for bids for the land. He stated the TRBL has already begun to consider the process of seeking a change of use for the land from community facility to residential homes; legal advice was that after due process their wishes would prevail. Mr Drage emphasised he had an obligation to sell the land to maximise profit to the National RBL and whilst he would be delighted to take BPC monies he believed a Builder would offer a larger sum even if initial planning permission was opposed. He concluded he thought that no matter how good the case offered by BPC and B&DBC he believed the BPC would be unable to afford the RBL site; the site would be sold and the village would benefit from S106/CIL contributions. During subsequent discussions Mr Drage confirmed that part of the site (about 25-30%) was within a DE (Defence Estate) Blast Zone (close to the perimeter fence with the camp) and whilst that part of the site was OK for development it was unsuitable for houses. He suggested that BPC should consider writing to him if they wished the TRBL to consider including a car park as a stipulation of the sale of the land. It was agreed that a new car park might provide an overspill facility which might relieve demand for land around the existing Village Hall; during a subsequent phone call Mr Drage also suggested he would consider an alternative location for a car park at the C32 end of the plot. It was agreed that BPC would consider writing as suggested.
Follow-up options. The meeting discussed the outline of the community facility problems facing Bramley. Ms Balcombe predicted the problems would get worse and a clear decision is required for future development. The evidence from B&DBC suggests the community in Bramley is overstretching existing infrastructure. A number of Clubs and Societies are looking elsewhere to meet and operate because Bramley does not have the required facilities. The existing Village Hall was built in the late 1960s and is on its last legs; the building was considered too small in 1998 and since then the village has grown significantly. If the new car park becomes a reality the community may be able to agree to build outwards from the existing Village Hall structure to cover some of the current car park. This and other options can be considered over the next six months.
Conclusion. Whilst B&DBC have stated they will oppose the planning application for residential development it is likely that in the end the National RBL will maximise their return on their asset. The BPC members present were not surprised by the statement but were naturally disappointed. The BPC meet on Monday 17th; Cllrs will need to be briefed and after discussion will be asked to decide how they wish to proceed. The village can expect S106/CIL monies from the development and TRBL may make it a condition of sale that a community car park is built.
Bramley Parish Council’s response to Croudace Strategic’s Public Exhibition on the forthcoming planning application for the residential development of Razor’s Farm, Cufaude Lane, September 2012
The revised SHLAA, currently being put in front of the BDBC for consideration, proposes some 1750 new homes for the village of Bramley which, if given the go ahead, will materially change the rural character of the Village and surrounding Parish.
Included within the SHLAA is the development of the Razor’s Farm site for 480 new homes. The overwhelming majority of the site comprising Razor’s Farm lies within the Parish of Bramley.
The Razor’s Farm development proposal is premature, given that the Local Plan for Basingstoke & Deane is currently being revised, as the initial SHLAA and subsequent LDF were deemed under Judicial Review in April 2012 as having been prepared unlawfully. Following the Judge’s direction, the Manydown site is now included in the revised draft SHLAA. The inclusion of the Council-owned Manydown site, with its huge potential, must question the need for including sites such as Razor’s Farm and the adjacent, previously “reserve” site of Upper Cufaude Farm, that were seen as contentious in the initial SHLAA. Permission to develop Razor’s Farm should not be given until all the sites in the revised SHLAA have been fully considered and evaluated.
Razor’s Farm falls in the logical band that was existent in earlier Borough plans to preserve the spaces between settlements. Bramley Parish Council request that the original Borough policy of maintaining Strategic gaps should be reinstated.
In the SHLAA the Razor’s Farm development, and the other related sites, are denoted with BAS pre fixes. This is misleading as they should be designated as BRAM sites as others in Bramley are so denoted.
Bramley is particularly ill suited to contend with the potential influx of so many new homes, having already a complete lack of services for existing villagers. Bramley has only recently seen the completion of a large development, with high proportion of affordable housing, at German Road. This development brought few infrastructure improvements and has further exacerbated problems with car parking, traffic volume, traffic queuing at railway level crossing, HGV’s passing through the village and also other concerns such as the village hall, Doctor’s surgery and solitary small shop being able to meet the requirements of the increased population.
Bramley’s railway station has no dedicated parking provision and causes much congestion in the residential roads surrounding the station, leading to frustration for dwellers living in those roads. If the proposal for new station at Chineham does not proceed, the pressure from the proposed developments will render the access to and around Bramley as completely untenable.
Other proposed development sites, Upper Cufaude farm and the newly included Land west of Cufaude site, in the proposed revised SHLAA, show themselves dependent on the development of Razor’s Farm. So this part of the Borough could be heading towards excess of 1300 new homes in the period covered by the new Plan.
Developments of this magnitude constitute an MDA, which is entirely inappropriate for this rural part of the Borough and will, in effect, remove the identity of Bramley as a village, instead turning it into a suburb of Basingstoke town. Development of these sites will lead to a disproportionate over development of the Eastern side of the Borough.
The Parish Council understood that the Razor’s Farm site adjoining the business park was earmarked for future expansion of the business park which would provide more employment for the local populace.
The development proposal for 480 new homes contains no provision for direct access to a major road. All vehicular access will have to be either via the existing business parks’ roads, or via the Sherfield Park / Taylor’s Farm estate or via Cufaude Lane. The impact on traffic flows on the A33 and its roundabouts must be fully understood before any permission is granted.
The roads in the business park are constricted in places because vehicles are parked on the road due to business’s car parks being full. The junctions at the A33 with the entry / exit roads in the business parks are already heavily congested, especially at peak morning and evening rush hours.
The highway work currently underway to provide access to Sherfield Park estate from Cufaude Lane will see a dangerous increase in traffic flows through both Cufaude Lane and Sherfield Park estate as workers in the business parks seek alternative routes to get to the / from the A33 everyday. This dangerous situation will be compounded with the extra traffic flows that would emanate from development of Razor’s Farm. The main access road through the Sherfield Park estate is very constricted along its entire length, due to the incidence of on street parking.
Cufaude Lane is entirely unsuited to deal with any increased traffic flows as it is a country lane with, in many places, a single carriageway with cut-outs provided for vehicles to pass each other. The Lane forms part of the National Cycle network but cyclists will be put at danger if even more traffic, than uses it already as a rat run to the business park, is encouraged.
The comments for this site within the Landscape Study 2010 document (page 87) concluded “ this site is strongly rural in character and although it is not typical of the open fields to the north it makes an important contribution to the quality of the landscape between Basingstoke and Bramley”. This same document listed the site as med / low capacity. Site Assessment 2011 document – on page 77, Razors Farm is listed as having an overall negative impact on the Borough’s landscape character and diversity.
Neither within the Razor’s Farm proposal nor indeed the nearly completed Sherfield Place / Taylor’s Farm development, both under Croudace, is any provision being made for shops, school, surgery nor dentist; so there no investment for a green future with the expectation that travel, probably by car, to these services outside of the estates will be required.
Finally, we are concerned about the amount of infrastructure work that would be necessary to provide water supply, drainage and sewerage services in this totally undeveloped rural part of the borough if the developments at Razor’s Farm, Upper Cufaude Farm and Land west of Cufaude are allowed to go ahead.
Bramley Parish Council is opposed to housing development on this site.