Take a look here http://tinyurl.com/ja2khe9 and tell me if you get past the first paragraph before nodding. Maddening, isn’t it. And yet, Neighbourhood Planning is the only tool we have in the toolbox, and today a group of us have been putting surveys into envelopes, ready for distribution to your doors. It’s not a single sheet survey; it needs a good half an hour to complete. It does come with a pre-addressed, pre-paid envelope though, and I urge you all please to fill in your Charfield Neighbourhood Plan Survey and post it back!

2016-10-19-020aLast night, the Clerk and I attended a presentation by South Gloucestershire on The West of England emerging Joint Spatial Plan and Joint Transport Study [link] and how these major processes will affect Charfield between now and 2036. I need to be clear; this was a pre-consultation presentation, and everything can change. Nevertheless, what we were presented with was:

  • another 1000 homes in Charfield over and above what’s already built, being built and permitted to be built at this time.
  • 2200 eventually rising to 3000 new houses in a garden village at “Buckover” (which is on and around the A38 between Milbury Heath and Falfield)
  • Massive transport infrastructure improvements within and tightly around Bristol but essentially doing little in our area even to improve existing traffic concerns.

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-16-39-58screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-16-40-30My personal opinion is that Charfield appears in these plans solely because of the frankly bewildering commentary of the Planning Inspector when she ruled on the “Charfield Green Appeal” Public Inquiry and suggested the harm of developing Charfield was worth it to the county, and that the new garden village of Buckover is simply an opportunity grasped by the landowner in the face of the five year land housing shortage. In any sensibly managed infrastructure plan one would not put thousands of homes into a landscape served only by an overburdened motorway, an over-capacity motorway junction, and miles of congested country lanes.

My intention here is to encourage you to respond to BOTH the Neighbourhood Plan Survey now, AND to the WoE JSP/JTS Consultation when it goes live on November 7th. Both matters affect everything about your life in Charfield. If we present clear opposition, backed by evidence showing that the JSP/JTS is inadequate in our area and fails any test of sustainability we may cause them to look again.

Localism was a key target of the 2010 Government, and continues to be the mantra that is put out whenever housing need is discussed. Make it Local. Put your views forward. Make the Neighbourhood Plan for Charfield your aspiration for your community, and fight any top-down pressure to squander your right to a quality life.

I started with one link. Let me end with another, from Bristol. This is today’s Evening Post. It’s not just Charfield that is feeling abused by inadequate planning vision. Let’s get the message back to WoE and South Gloucestershire; this will not work. When the Consultation goes live, I’ll be here with the link for you to click.