Possible New Housing at Butts Lane and Wood End Station

 

Tanworth Residents Association hosted a public meeting at Tanworth Village Hall on Wednesday 23 May  to discuss an important stage in the preparation of the Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) for our parish. 

The Government inspired NDP must be in accordance with national and local planning policy and is meant to influence, but cannot dictate, all future planning decisions made by Stratford District Council (SDC) up to 2031.

Tanworth Parish Council is undertaking an important consultation exercise involving all residents.

Each household, not each individual, should have received a letter from the Parish Council together with a summary of the draft plan and a questionnaire.   It is important that every resident reads these carefully and, if possible, either gets a paper copy of the full draft plan free of charge from the Parish Office or reads it online at: http://tanworthndp.org/

The NDP has done much detailed work in a number of important areas such as transport, the environment and the design and look of future housing development.

It has also undertaken a Housing Needs Survey to establish the extent of the need for additional “affordable” houses in the parish, particularly for families and older residents hoping to downsize.

However, one of the most important, and contentious, elements in the draft NDP is the shortlist of three sites which the Plan has identified for possible housing development in Tanworth village, at Wood End Station and in Earlswood.  These are in addition to those which have already been approved by SDC’s Planning Committee in recent years such as Cank Farm and Doctor’s Close.

It is important to stress that the original advice from government was that an NDP had to include suggestions for housing developments but that is no longer the case.

The NDP has chosen to suggest three sites but there is now no requirement for the final document to offer any at all. 

In part, the Parish Council is undertaking this consultation exercise to see if a majority of residents accept there is a need for “affordable housing” and, in particular, to measure public opinion on these three sites before the final document is drawn up and eventually submitted to a referendum.

There would clearly be no point in suggesting sites now that would not attract overwhelming public support at the end of this long and costly process.  So it is vital that residents make their views and preferences known now.

The Three Proposed Sites

In the case of Tanworth village, the proposal is for some “more affordable” houses for families and residents wishing to downsize on the northwest side of Butts Lane.  There is no guarantee this would be in addition to the 18 (+1) on Cank Farm and the 5 new builds on Doctor’s Close developments already approved and any proposals for limited infill agreed elsewhere.

A major developer has purchased the Cank Farm site and has options on some of the Summers’ land to the west of Butts Lane.  Anticipating the inclusion of part of the site in our final NDP Duchy Homes have already approached Tanworth school for a mix of both very large and “affordable” housing and revised access and improved parking for the school itself.  As things stand the site is outside the Built Up Area Boundary of the village in open countryside.  Its inclusion in the village would be more difficult but not impossible to justify.

Both the school and the Tanworth Educational Foundation that owns the land say they will not endorse the project.  If this proposal fails there will be others you can be sure – especially if the site is identified in the final NDP.

In the case of Wood End, the site behind the Warwickshire Lad public house would be in addition to those already agreed at Arden Grange, Poolhead Lane and Hardwick House.  A local developer, Steve Parkinson, is hoping to develop the site.   The issues of the lack of disabled and pushchair access at the recently improved Wood End Station and the bad existing vehicle access to Wood End Lane would need to be addressed.

In Earlswood land owned by an Inclosure Trust, administered at present by the Parish Council, would be a third possible site for “affordable” houses in the parish if the agreement of the Trust can be secured.  So far that has not been forthcoming.

Consultation Process

Your Association cannot stress enough the importance of reading and understanding the implications of all the proposals.   A positive or negative response from as many residents as possible to each proposed site is essential for the success of the whole NDP process.

To allow residents to ask questions of those who have helped draft the NDP two open days have been held by the Parish Council.

In addition, both Residents Associations held  public meetings to allow residents the opportunity to discuss the proposals in detail.

If necessary, you can get extra copies of the questionnaire from the Parish Council if you wish to reflect all the views in your household.

Return in the attached pre-paid envelope by the due date of 4 June.

Please also make your neighbours and friends who may not receive this email aware how important this matter is for the future of Tanworth in Arden. 

(Source: Tom Ross)

Parish Council Website

The new Tanworth Parish Council website is now in full operation.

If residents have any queries or suggestions call Julie or Sue on 703200.

 

(Source: Parish Office)

Speed along Broad Lane and elsewhere

 

A number of residents have contacted the Residents Association to say that they were concerned about safety at places like school bus boarding points along either The Common in Earlswood or Broad Lane in Tanworth.

For the benefit of newcomers there were major campaigns in recent years to reduce the speed limit on both roads to 30 and 40mph respectively.

These new limits were only achieved because of extraordinary pressure being put on the County Council Highways authority (WCC) to assign the relevant funds.  We were originally told that they would not be possible because of lack of funding or there were not sufficient deaths on the road to justify such measures!

Eventually, “the powers-that-be” relented thanks in no small part to the efforts of our then County Councillor Mike Perry.  Times and personnel may have changed but the reasons for the bureaucrats to do nothing have not.

I went through a number of possible options to reduce speed with someone in the Warwickshire County Council Road Safety Group recently.  All have cost implications and the major problem on Broad Lane is that 40 mph down to 20 is a very sudden jump.

  1. Current County Councillor John Horner’s suggestion of a part-time Lolly pop person – volunteers would be needed and training, kit etc. 40mph may be a problem
  2. Flashing 20 “when lights flash” signs – problem in a 40mph area
  3. Physical choke/chicane with “give way” in one direction to slow traffic
  4. “Residents Priority” temporary signs – used in Shirley but a B road may be a problem
  5. Pelican Crossing – very expensive and not really justified?
  6. Park up a fake white van with a black rectangle on back on hard shoulder morning and afternoon to deter speeders.

All of the above have arguments against – not least the cost.  Also, WCC and local residents have long standing reservations about road humps or bumps.

After a lot of consideration my preferred option is a physical build-out of some kind.

At some carefully chosen sites this would slow down traffic – at all times of the day – and help traffic trying to get out side roads like Rushbrook and Arden Leys or Springbrook Lane. It could also be employed on both Earlswood Common and Broad Lane .  The cost would be £5k to £6k each.  The speed on Broad Lane would probably need to come down to 30mph.

I have attached below a photo of a similar arrangement at Bishop’s Itchington in the south of the County.  In other words, WCC is already operating such schemes.

It must be stressed that it is hard to avoid the conclusion that some in the County is most reluctant to employ such a measure in case it is effective – everyone might want one.

I would appreciate the thoughts of concerned residents as soon as possible to me about both the principle and possible locations – copied to Councillor John Horner.  Please consult neighbours to see if they want to support such measures.

If the idea was a success such physical traffic-calming might be applied elsewhere in the parish.

(Source:  Tom Ross)

 

 

Beware of Scams

 

Warwickshire Police ask residents to be aware of a number of current email, phone and text scams.

One is a so called phishing email that tries to get the unwary to click on an apparently innocent link in what seems to an email from the Police themselves.

The email says that the recipient is being summoned to court as a witness and asks them to follow a link.  By clicking on the link a virus or malware can be downloaded on their computer.

It uses a police.uk heading and suggests it is from the Crown Prosecution Service portal, but is  not official and represents a risk to security.

If any members of the public receive such an email they are advised not to click on any links and delete the email from their accounts as soon as possible.

I know we are all very savvy but there is a worrying story in the Guardian newspaper this week warning never to trust texts or calls from banks (however trustworthy they appear) that urge us to use a specific telephone number to dial about a problem.

The scammers may say or text there has been what they think is a large withdrawal or some mistaken transaction. We need to contact the bank’s fraud department.

The answer is always phone the bank back on a known number such as that given on the back of a debit or credit card. Never use the one the fraudsters suggest and always check the telephone line has disconnected before dialling any number after a call to you. Perhaps dial another number first before the bank to clear the line.

The Guardian says this scam could happen because a third party like Uber may have been hacked giving access to name, telephone number, address and part of debit or credit card number.

Of course, none of us would ever fall for a trick like that.

 

(Source:  Tom Ross)

Bellfield Lock-ups Sell for £126k

At the auction held on Monday 17 July in London the 14 empty lock-up garages between Bellfield and Doctor’s Close  sold for £126,000 to an unknown buyer. The guide price was £30,000.

Orbit Housing, who took over responsibility for the former Stratford District Council housing stock from the South Warwickshire Housing Association, have been selling off similar sites all over the County.

Last week’s  Stratford Herald confirms that a clawback clause means SDC may benefit from the sale of  the 19 sites by as much as £1million.  SDC, therefore, stands to make £63,000 from this sale.

Tanworth Parish Council made several approaches through our local District Councillor and our MP to see if the important site – the last open space at the centre of the village – could be secured in the public interest but was rebuffed by Orbit at every attempt.

 

(Source:  Tom Ross)

Beware Intruders!

Warwickshire Police report that over a couple of days at the end of June a number of householders in Tanworth, Earlswood and Hockley Heath suddenly became aware of masked intruders in the kitchens of their homes.

All the events took place in early evening and the intruder or intruders in each case made off in a black car of some sort.

Please be careful not to leave back doors unlocked and report any suspicious circumstances to 999.

 

(Source:  Warwickshire Police)

Watch out for Lead Thieves!

The Police advise that there has been a spate of thefts of lead from churches in the West Midlands.

Insomniacs and other residents are asked to keep a look out during the night for people behaving suspiciously in the vicinity of the church and to dial 999 if they believe the theft of roof lead is in progress.

Replacing lead after a theft is an expensive business and insurance does not always cover the full amount of replacement.

 

(Source:  BBC Midlands Today)

 

 

Refuse Bags Offer

Warwickshire residents are now able to buy 6 rolls of 25 compostable bin liners for their Green Kitchen caddies at what is said to be a special discounted price.

You can order the 150 liners for £7.95 (including post and packing) from:

www.biobag-uk.com/warks

 

(Source: WCC)

Warning: Rogue Tradesmen

 

Warwickshire County Council would like to draw the attention of residents to the actions of so called tradesmen who are cold calling, offering to remove moss from roof tiles.

An elderly customer who doesn’t wish to be named has been charged £2000 for this ‘service’. If she didn’t pay cash tshe was told hey would have to charge her more + Vat. They even went back for a tip!

If you see any elderly or vulnerable neighbours with ‘tradesmen’ working at their homes, be nosey! You can do it tactfully. And if in doubt, contact the Police .

 

(Source: Warwickshire County Council)

 

Bogus Emails Warning

Fraudsters are sending out a wave of scam emails purporting to be from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that claim you have to appear in court.

Concerned members of the public have reported receiving the email entitled You’ve been witness summoned to court.

The email encourages the recipient to click on a link to view their start time and case details.

This link is likely to lead to malware which could affect your computer.

This email has no connection to the CPS and anyone receiving the email should not download any attachments or click on any links.

If you receive one of these messages rreport it to Trading Standards via Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.

(Source:  Warwickshire Police)