All, The Shipston and Stour Community Forum is coming up on 18th September at 6:30pm. This is a regular meeting, open to all, where you can meet Town, District and County Councillors, the Police and others. It’s worth a visit, particularly if you want to find out what’s going on in the area. Philip
You can now see the latest planning applications in Shipston on Stour by clicking on the link on the far right of this page.
The link takes you through to Stratford District Council’s website – but straight to the Shipston on Stour section so you don’t have to fiddle about there. I’ve set it up so you can see all past planning applications, starting in January this year.
As you know, I chair the Town Council’s planning group – so if you’d like to make any comments on these please let me know (as well as emailing or writing to the District Council).
And finally, the most recent letter from SHA!C. Please feel free to leave a comment!
SHA!C’s secretary has written to you to outline the planning arguments against the ASL development and why from a planning perspective you should not support the application, but can I also ask you to consider this letter which represents the views of our group and many of the residents of our town.
Planning Application reference 12/000403/OUT – Land North of Campden Road
Shipston’s Heart Alive! Campaign represents a broad cross-section of interested local parties who value the town in which we live.
We were rather shocked and surprised at the insinuations put forward by Pegasus planning to the last Town Council meeting, in support of the Ainscough Strategic Land (ASL) proposals for a major housing and supermarket development on the Campden Road. It seems they are trying to guide councillors towards views that neither they nor the Council have any influence over.
We are similarly concerned about the small but vocal minority of residents who have formed a support group for the ASL proposals and we are worried that an element of this group do not fully understand the issues and implications of the proposed development. We’re concerned that unfortunately they have been influenced by the PR muscle that ASL have engaged to ‘distort the facts’ and attempt to misguide residents about their apparent overwhelming interest in the ‘wellbeing of our town’. A good example of this is the figure of £1.7m, which Pegasus said the council should look to ‘ring fence for the town’. You will be fully aware that a) apportioning this money is totally outside the control of either ALS or the Town Council, we can not ring fence it; and b) the likelihood of such sums being spent on Shipston is as likely as the District Council allocating vast swathes of the Shottery new-homes bonus for improvements to Shipston. It is not going to happen.
Specifically, we would like to bring the following points to the attention of our Councillors:
1. Lack of local Support
There is no evidence to suggest a general and genuine level of support in the town for the application, although there is a small but vocal minority backed by the developer and intent on promoting undeliverable large-scale opportunities from the proposed scheme.
2. Section 106 money
Pegasus deliberately tried to muddy the water between S106 and new-homes bonus money. The £1.7m that they referred to was their calculation of potential new-homes bonus. This cannot be ring fenced by the council and it is extremely unlikely that Shipston will see any of it.
3. Impact on Town Viability / Tesco Profits
We have a viable and vibrant town centre that most Shipston residents are proud of. It has been made clear through a number of independent studies that should such a supermarket be allowed there would be a significant impact on the existing trade within the town centre, leading to closures and job losses of unacceptable proportions and an irrevocable demise of our historic core. Assertions that a supermarket would ‘claw back’ some of the trade lost to other surrounding towns are inaccurate. A large proportion of main shopping already takes place outside the town and this would continue to be the case, due to convenience (the majority of Shipston’s residents commute outside the town and do their main shop in the big towns anyway) and range – such a proposed store will not offer the range of shopping residents have in the larger towns. The risk to existing trade in the town and subsequent job losses has been clearly identified as a major concern by our traders and by local business support organisations. The argument of a ‘Tesco’ bringing lost income back into the town is clearly wrong, just ask yourselves where that income will go – not into the hands of anyone in the town, unless they have shares in Tesco!
4. Visual Impact
We live in the country. The reason that most Shipston residents live in Shipston is that they like our town. It is a working market town, surrounded by beautiful countryside. The visual impact of developing a greenfield site will severely impact on the town and its setting within the natural valley in which it has always been settled. Don’t let these developers spoil our beautiful town!
We all remember the tremendous impact the 2007 floods had on the town. Many of our residents can recall the torrents of water running down Campden Road. Imagine what this will be like if all the additional run-off from acres and acres of new development is included.
6. The Southam Example
The idea that this development will aid and support the town centre is laughable. Talk of £500,000 ‘bribes’ to help mitigate the impact of the scheme a) clearly demonstrate that there will be a huge impact on the town centre and b) show the level of profits that the supermarkets expect, if they can fund that kind of support. In reality, even such a seemingly large sum would not go very far – Tesco’s strategy is to eliminate any competition, for example, so they will ensure that any support is limited to their purposes. How long before the supermarket decides they have a captive audience and puts up prices to the levels at Stow – it’s the way they do business and why they are so profitable. In Southam, despite the alleged £500,000 support the town centre is dead on a Saturday afternoon, and the impact on the existing traders and vitality of their town is such that it has prompted one of their ex-Town Councillors to state ‘I supported the decision for a supermarket, but having seen what effect it has had on the town, I now severely regret that decision’.
7. Cumulative Impact
As councillors you all know that local government rules are there to be broken. Once a precedent is set, how long do you think it will take for the local planners to decide that infill and associated developments are not only acceptable, in keeping and complementary, but in fact could help towards meeting additional district-wide housing targets?
8. Extra Care Homes
There is no dispute that care for the elderly is of increasing importance, but what has not been considered or determined is how much support does Shipston need? ASL’s development could go a long way towards Warwickshire County Council’s objective of providing 500 Extra Care homes throughout the county, but what does Shipston need and how could this be better served from a much more practical location? Unless we want to build an isolated old people’s village up a hill away from the town centre, then the distance and climb of this location in relation to the town centre is not sensible.
9. Impact on infrastructure / roads
As with all such development proposals, the impact on our existing infrastructure will continue to increase. Whatever the S106 requirement imposed on the developers, it will not provide sufficient school places, medical facilities or drains to cope with the increased burdens from the new developments, let alone alleviate some of the existing issues we have. Take the B4035/A429 Portobello junction as an example. The new development will add to the danger of this junction, yet ASL are not offering any support. It will be down to us as local taxpayers to sort it out long after they have returned up North!
The issues that this proposed development will create are immense. We have but touched on a few here. We urge the council to maintain their stance against this speculative development application by a property developer who by their very nature are only interested in the profits they can make from our town. We urge the Council to identify properly our requirements for our town and take charge of our own destiny.
Shipston’s Heart Alive! Campaign
Rather late in the day, I’m afraid (Rachel and I spent most of the evening trying to book a holiday), but here is the letter received by Town Councillors earlier in the week. As always, I’d appreciate you comments. For information – as I said in my bit on the Town Council meeting, it takes 8 councillors to vote to change existing policy, so it’s not surprising that a motion didn’t come forward.
The Shipston Meeds a Supermarket website can be found here.
Planning Application reference 12/000403/OUT – Land North of Campden Road, Ainscough Strategic Land (ASL)
Following the presentations by ASL and Warwickshire County Council at the last meeting of the Town Council, I am writing on behalf of Shipston Needs a Supermarket and Petrol Station (SNAS), to all town councillors to urge the Town Council to adopt a motion at its next meeting on Monday 13th August in support of the planning application by ASL for a supermarket, petrol station, ‘extra care’ retirement homes and residential dwellings on the Campden Road.
By adopting a motion in support of this planning application the Town Council will be carrying out its duty to act in the best interests of the town and represent the wishes of its people. We understand that 60% of submissions to the Council from local residents are in favour of the proposal. Responses to all forms of consultation have been overwhelmingly positive. In deciding on your response to the presentations at the last meeting we would urge you to consider the following benefits of the proposal:
1) It would bring affordable shopping and petrol to Shipston
It is accepted by all sides that retail surveys show that 70% of Shipston residents do their main shopping outside of Shipston. The proposed supermarket on the Campden Road would be easily accessible for people living in Shipston and neighbouring villages. Unlike the situation now, it would make it possible for local residents to do their main weekly shopping at affordable prices in Shipston and combine this with buying petrol locally, shopping and using services in the town centre. We believe that there is no prospect of a petrol station opening in Shipston without a supermarket.
2) It would boost employment by providing at least 200 jobs – both full-time and part-time
Many people in the town support the proposal because of the jobs and investment that it will bring into the town.
3) It would provide 130 much needed ‘extra care’ residential homes fully supported by Warwickshire County Council
As outlined by Tim Willis at the Town Council meeting, this exactly meets the need for modern, independent living for our increasingly elderly population with care support according to need. It is the most suitable site in the town – indeed almost certainly the only site – for such a development and residents will be as close as possible to the town centre with a regular bus service. It will also bring in much needed additional GP resources and could provide an alternative means of funding the Health and Well Being Park or an alternative expansion of GP resources.
4) It provides an opportunity to boost trade and services in the town centre
We believe that a supermarket of the size proposed would co-exist with the Co-ops and independent retailers just as in Stow as shown by retail surveys. The proposal is for a mainly food supermarket with no pharmacy or restaurant/café. Signage on the roads and space in the lobby of the supermarket could be used to market the town as a gateway to the Cotswolds. Visitors and day trippers who now pass Shipston by could be encouraged to turn off for the supermarket and/or petrol and explore Shipston’s excellent range of independent shops, pubs, tea rooms, cafés and restaurants. We would also urge the Town Council to follow the example of Southam where the Town Council negotiated directly with the developers to secure additional funding for the Town Centre. According to ASL it would be possible to bring in up to £500,000 to help new businesses start up, shop renovation, help with business rent and rates etc.
5) It would meet housing targets and would prevent the need for the Council to approve housing on unsuitable smaller sites in the town
If this application is approved it will meet Council housing targets including affordable housing provision. It would provide a basis for rejecting applications on small gap sites which are often too close to existing housing or are unsustainable for reasons connected with flood risk, transport, height, unsuitable land etc.
6) It could bring at least £1.7 million of community benefits to the town
The Town Council has an opportunity to seek to ring fence as much of the s106 money as possible for the town. For example this money could be directly targeted at Shipston’s schools, medical facilities, the Queen’s Avenue play area, or to take up ideas such as a riverside park and river crossing. This is a one-off opportunity for investment in the infrastructure of the town that should not be missed.
7) It presents an opportunity to address the problem of the B4035/A429 Portobello junction
We urge the Town Council to require improvements to this dangerous junction alongside the planning application. ASL are willing to discuss this with the County Council but, to date, the County Council has not responded.
For all the above reasons we urge you, as our Town Councillors, to support this application.
SNAS Steering Group
A quick(ish) report on tonight’s Shipston Town Council meeting. These aren’t the official minutes, so apologies for any inaccuracies – if you see any let me know and I’ll put them right. This doesn’t cover the whole of the meeting – just the bits I think are most interesting.
One other apology – the letters from the pro and anti supermarket campaigns will appear here over the next couple of days, instead of today and tomorrow.
Housing Needs Survey
A few months ago I proposed a housing needs survey for Shipston. The idea of surveys like this is to identify what kind of housing, particularly affordable housing, we need in the Town. Many people have suggested that we need more larger family homes – and the survey will let us know. The Town Clerk has now commissioned the survey, and hopefully it will take place soon. I’ll put more details here when it’s confirmed.
Development on Campden Road
I proposed that councillors should debate last month’s presentation by ASL and the County Council. I also proposed that members of the public should be allowed to give their views. Fortunately most councillors supported me and the debate went ahead – with a lot of people speaking, with a good mix of arguments both for and against.
Council rules are desperately helpful though. The Council took a decision to oppose the development in June, and its own rules say this can’t be changed without the support of 8 councillors – and I don’t think there are 8 councillors who support the ASL development plans. The next chance to change the council’s position will be in December, when a simple majority is required.
The Council still has a vacancy though – if you’ve ever thought about being a Town Councillor then give me a ring or contact the Town Clerk directly.
A Stratford District Council CAT in the Town Council offices?
We are currently in discussion with Stratford District Council about putting a CAT (Customer Access Terminal) in the Town Council office – giving more local people a chance to access District Council Services.
Town Councillors were given a report on progress on the Town Plan. I confirmed that there would be a public meeting in a couple of months to start talking about the kind of things we want in a neighbourhood plan (and yes, this might include a supermarket). At the moment the council is just trying to sort out the process to do the consultation and how to write the plan – but expect some more detailed news in the next month. The Neighbourhood Plan has to be agreed by a referendum, so every Shipston Resident will get a chance to have their say.
News in brief
The Council has adopted a new code of conduct – the rules which we must all work under. This means that, for example, councillors can’t vote on things in which they have a financial interest – reducing the chance of corruption.
The Town Council has decided to wait for a couple of months before co-opting a new councillor to give the chance for more people to think about coming forward. If you’re interested give me a ring.
The Anne Sankey Award winner – for services to Shipston, has been selected. The Town Clerk would kill me if I printed their name here – so I won’t – but I think it’s a brilliant and well deserved winner. It was a particularly hard choice this year with several deserving candidates.
If there’s anything else you want to know about then leave a question in the comment box below.
I thought it was probably time to get back to keeping this blog up to date, so here goes. I think the big row in Town at the moment is probably the proposed development on Campden Road – at least it is judging by the letters I’ve received this week!
I, along with all the other Town Councillors, have received three letters, 2 from SHA!C, and 1 from SNAS (Shipston Needs a Supermarket). I will publish all three here over the next week – so please have a look at the arguments made and leave some comments.
Today is the first letter from SHA!C, tomorrow I’ll publish SNASs. I’m happy for any comments, either for or or against – so get typing!
A letter to Shipston Town Councillors from the Shipston Heart Alive! Campaign
Proposed development off Campden Road, Shipston on Stour
We understand that the Council will be discussing the planning application made by Ainscough Strategic Land at its meeting on Monday next following the presentation made by the applicant and Warwickshire County Council to the Town Council. The Council is consulted in the planning process and in giving a response to that consultation it is relevant planning comments that the District Council is seeking. The Council is not being invited to speculate what the majority of those it represents might think about the proposal.
The proposed store
A large store on the edge of Shipston would provide a wider choice of products in a location in which parking will be more convenient than in the town centre. It will also provide local jobs. It is clear that many local residents support it but it is equally clear that many do not.
What those who do not support the store realise is that greater choice, more convenient parking and local jobs all come at a price which they do not consider is worth paying to gain the benefits of a large store. They see that the price is the risk of losing a vibrant town centre. They also have other concerns but this is the main one expressed in objections.
SHA!C members share those concerns for the future of the town centre and request that Councillors give priority to the viability and vitality of the town centre when considering the application. Such an approach accords with the National Planning Policy Framework which requires such priority to be given.
The applicant’s retail impact assessment acknowledges that the new store will have an adverse impact on the town centre. The key planning test is whether or not that will be a significant adverse impact.
In 2001 a Planning Inspector decided a smaller store in Tileman’s Lane would have a 37% impact on the town centre and the appeal was dismissed for that reason. Nothing has changed since 2001 which would lessen the impact of an even larger store. In practice the combined effect of new Waitrose and a large store in Shipston would have an even greater impact on the town centre.
Roger Trym & Partners, who specialise in Retail Impact Assessments, have looked at the applicants retail impact assessment and concluded:
1. The store will draw a disproportionate amount of trade from the town centre undermining the vitality and viability of the centre as a whole
2. There is limited scope for linked trips between the proposed store and the town centre because the store is so far away from the town centre
3. The town centre is thus unlikely to benefit from clawed back trade
4 The vitality and viability of the two Co-ops will be compromised to the detriment of the town centre as a whole.
These key findings are in direct conflict with the conclusions of the applicant’s retail impact assessment and they are consistent with the conclusions of the Inspector on the Tileman’s Lane appeal. Thus two independent appraisals have concluded that an out of centre store will have a significant adverse impact on the town centre.
SHA!C was formed to give a voice to those concerned about the future of the town centre but its members have views on the application as a whole and some of those will be expressed in this letter.
Medical Services in Shipston
At present Shipston’s medical services are stretched and lack the buildings in which to deliver the level of service that the Medical Centre aspires to deliver.
The Medical Centre needs to relocate and suitable sites close to the town centre are few and far between. If any large development is contemplated in the town one of the first issues which should be asked is whether or not it is a site which could accommodate a new medical facility. That facility has greater priority than new housing, particularly extra care housing, which will only increase pressure on the existing services. If there is to be any development on this site the first question to be asked is whether or not it is suitable for a Medical Centre.
Extra Care Units
There are some important questions to be asked about the extra care units.
1. Will they met a local need? Is there any evidence of that? If not then the development will import those needing extra care services from outside the area. Is this desirable in advance of a new medical facility being provided.
2. Is the location at the top of a hill appropriate? How does the location enable residents to make use of the facilities in the town centre? Has a search been made for a more suitable location which could meet an identified local need.
The support of the County Council for this proposal should be seen in context. Whilst the benefits are clear and obvious such schemes have the effect of reducing the burden on County revenues.
No one realistically expects the refusal of the planning application at Norgren to be the last word on that site. Whilst there is local support for an employment use it seems inevitable that at least some housing will be permitted on that site, if only to enable an employment use on the remainder. Any housing on that site will go towards the town’s allocation under the Core Strategy.
Pending the outcome of the Shottery appeal the housing strategy for the District remains uncertain. It is impossible to predict what allocation will ultimately be made for Shipston.
The White Report identified this site as unsuitable for commercial development and suitable for residential development only close to the existing town.
Section 106 Contributions
Offers to make payments for locally popular issues are frequently made by developers to secure support from local residents for schemes which do not have a sound planning case. The “buying” of planning permissions was outlawed many years ago and contributions must now be confined to mitigating the impact of a development. In other words to stop existing situations being made any worse.
Nothing will happen to the town for several generations which has the potential to affect it so much as the proposed store.
Shipston Heart Alive! Campaign
I mentioned at the Town Meeting that Shipston Town Council was in the process of developing a Town Design Statement (TDS).
A TDS is not about whether development should go ahead or not, but more about what should it should look like if it does. I’ve had at least one person on this blog complaining about the standard of design in the town – so this is your chance to help shape Shipston’s future. Design Statements are given some weight by the District Council in the planning process.
The questionnaire/consultation on this has begun, and it can be downloaded from the Town Council’s website here.
You can go along and see the exhibition in the library – it went up today and will be there for the next 2 weeks. If you don’t want to pay for printing out the questionnaire (very understandable!) copies are available from the library and from the Town Council offices.
It’s important that as many people as possible – so please either visit the exhibition, print the form off online, or pop into the Town Council.
If you want to ask any questions then fill in the form below.
Just in case you haven’t heard the results already:
Shipston – Turnout 42.7%
Richard Cheney (Lib Dem) – 752 Elected
Jacqui Jones (Green) – 61
Jeffrey Kenner (Lab) – 501
Abdul Shahid (Cons) – 423
A good result for Richard and my former party, on a high turnout (compared to the rest of the District).
Jeff Kenner has clearly done well with his pro supermarket but anti housing campaign – much as that’s one of the silliest campaigns (in my view) in recent times. (The supermarket comes with over 180 homes – 50 if you exclude the Extra Care Housing – you can’t have a supermarket without houses). You can’t escape the fact that he increased the Labour share of the vote massively though, and edged into second place.
Richard managed to increase his wafer slim majority to a very healthy 251, despite (or because of) his continued opposition to the supermarket. I suspect that it was more due to his record of hard (voluntary AND political) work in Shipston over the past four years – something none of the other candidates had. Well, that and he’s a very nice man!
The Conservatives rightly should be humiliated by this result.
The Conservatives selected a candidate who, although with strong local links (he lives and owns a business in Shipston) did not have a track record of voluntary work within the town.
Unfortunately this will always be the ‘supermarket election’ – which it was not – but despite the pro supermarket side only getting 32% of the vote I still believe this will make no difference to the final outcome on that issue. Richard doesn’t get a vote on the supermarket at Stratford, and nor would Jeff had. It’s now time that the Planning Committee got on and made its decision based on the views expressed by local residents and the planning rules.
I’ve had a look at the objections to the Hornsby Close development posted on the Stratford District Council website. Many of the reasons given for objection to the development will not be taken into consideration by planning officers (or the planning committee) because they are not ‘material considerations.’
I’ve done a quick google search (although I’ve sat on planning committee I’m NOT an expert) and there is a useful list of real grounds on the Government’s planning portal website which I reproduce here:
“Overlooking/loss of privacy
Loss of light or overshadowing
Effect on listed building and conservation area
Layout and density of building
Design, appearance and materials
Disabled persons’ access
Proposals in the Development Plan
Previous planning decisions (including appeal decisions)
However, issues such as loss of view, or negative effect on the value of properties are not material considerations.
Unfortunately it gets a bit more complex because the District Council has a Local Plan and because of the Government’s new National Planning Policy Framework – which if you have a serious objection not included above its worth having a look at.
Put simply – if you’re complaining about property values or just the view from your house your objection may not carry that much weight – its best to find a reason from the list above. You can always speak to your local District Councillor, Richard Cheney or Jonathan Gullis, to get more detailed advice – they will be happy to help.
As an example, many of the arguments used in current objections were used in the objection to the development next to River Way – and the objectors lost.
I hope this helps and remember – I am not an expert, get some better qualified advice if you need it! One other thing – I haven’t made my mind up whether to support or oppose this on the Town Council yet.
Now that the District Council’s former offices in Telegraph Street in Shipston have been sold, a planning application is in. You can see it here, but briefly it asks for change of use to ‘Financial & Professional Services.’
Please comment to the District Council via the link above, but let me know your views using the form below.