Wychwood Community Group

Working as a community to stop the development of 900 homes and re-open the Gorstyhill golf course


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Community Right to Bid Appeal Granted

I have mentioned a couple of times to you about the Community Right to Bid, which basically allows communities to have first opportunity to buy any land that is granted community status, and that the Community Group had been granted this right by Cheshire East Council. I have further mentioned that this was being challenged by Haddon and that it was going to an independent judicial tribunal.

The result of that tribunal is now in and unfortunately, and to my utter dismay, Haddon have successfully won the appeal.

So what does this mean to us? In terms of the fight against the development of 900 houses, it actually means very little (we are still pushing to get a decision to be made at Strategic Planning) although of the plans we as a Group had to utilise the area for further community based activities are now unlikely to come to fruition. Much of the Judge’s decision was based around the status of the disused, and out of planning permission, clubhouse. It is now being addressed with Cheshire East as to what we can do about that, whilst ensuring that the site does not become even more of an eyesore.

This is a blow to our plans to own the site and to forever protect it from get rich quick developers, but is certainly NOT a go ahead for Haddon to build.

I am discussing with Cheshire East what options we have, but I fear these may be very limited.

There is a press statement circulating on this topic, which may or may not come to the local press, so I wanted to inform you all directly.

This is most certainly not the end of the fight and makes me even more determined to stop the building of any further dwellings on this site.

Let us all continue to “SAY NO TO 900……”

If I hear any further news I will be sure to let you all know first.

Kind Regards,

Trevor Sandry
Chairman – Wychwood Community Group


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Wychwood Community Group Annual General Meeting (AGM) – 24th April 2016

This is formal notification of the AGM for the Wychwood Community Group, which will take place on Sunday 24th April 2016 at 4pm in the Wychwood Village Hall. The agenda of the meeting can be found here.

If there are any other nominations for the Officers or anyone would be prepared to join the Committee then please respond to the mail address agm [at] wychwoodvillage.co.uk.

All proposals / nominations will be voted upon at the AGM in line with the content of our constitution.

Following the formal part of the meeting, the new Committee will take part in an open forum to discuss matters relating to the proposed development of 900 homes and services.

I look forward to seeing you all there to endorse a new Committee and continue the fight to stop any development in our wonderful neighbourhood into 2016 and beyond.


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Chairman’s Statement – 3rd April 2016

Dear Community Members,

I hope you have all had a good Easter and are looking forward to the Spring and Summer and enjoying the beautiful countryside around us. Firstly my apologies that I have not written to you recently, but I have been awaiting further information from Cheshire East on the Local Plan and the Planning Application. Some of which has now been provided. I am also able to announce the date of this year’s AGM.

Local Plan

Cheshire East Council have recently published their Local Plan for another consultation which finishes on 19th April 2016; allowing members of the public and interested Groups the opportunity to comment on the proposed plan the council are looking to adopt through until 2030.

Fortunately, the site of Gorstyhill has again been confirmed by the council as “not appropriate” for development and is noted in the Local Plan as a “non-preferred site”. This is great news, but isn’t where the battle ends for us, and your support is still needed to oppose this threat to our Community.

Having noted that there is no way to officially support the local plan through the consultation we have spoken to Cheshire East and they have suggested a way for us as a Group to add our support to the Local Plan.

A single Wychwood Community Group comment is all that is required at the moment so there is no need for any of you to add any comments as the Committee will be doing this on your behalf, in consultation with the Weston and Basford Parish Council. By taking this approach, based upon guidance given, it will allow the Group a stronger possibility for a seat at the table with the Government inspector and planners to discuss the local plan and on particular sites. When this opportunity is made available to us, we can reinforce our message in front of the Government Inspector not to include our site in any ongoing housing planning.

The information regarding the Gorsty Hill “non-preferred site” can be found here:

http://cheshireeast-consult.limehouse.co.uk/file/3481226

In addition, through the tireless work of Cllr Janet Clowes, Cheshire East Council are also going to continue to review the ‘green gap’ allocation to the south of the borough, ensuring no further urban sprawl and avoiding any further developments bordering the neighbouring counties.

Planning Application for Gorstyhill Golf Course

Remember that the owner of the golf course submitted the planning application late in 2014, and although we are hoping to soon formally review this at a forthcoming Strategic Planning Board, the continued adoption of the Local Plan could be a major additional protection and is why we are lending our “support” to it at this stage through the consultation process. We are continuing to urge Cheshire East to bring this before Strategic Planning, but a date for this is still not as yet forthcoming.

AGM

We will be further discussing these matters at the Community Group AGM on Sunday 24th April 2016 at 4:00pm in the Wychwood Village Hall. A further notice on the precise details of this will be sent out in the next couple of weeks, where as well as the formal AGM we will also look to have a Q & A session, hopefully with other interested parties that can add some further detail.

Remember, we’ve only got this far through the continued support of residents, locals and ex-golf club members, so please continue to help us fight off this unwanted development and continue to support the Community Group Committee that has now been working on this for over 3 years.

Trevor Sandry
Chairman


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Chairman’s Statement – 23rd November 2015

It has been a while since our last update, but rest assured that the Wychwood Community Group Committee that I Chair have continued to work behind the scenes with the Cheshire East and Weston and Basford Parish Councils on matters arising from the planning application.

As some of you may have noticed, a letter from the council was sent out a few days ago advising you of a revision to the planning application for the proposed development of 900 homes on the ex-Gorstyhill Golf Course.

The revision is to satisfy the council on a number of issues raised both by them, and by the committee on many aspects of their application; mostly focused around infrastructure and environmental, although it still fails to answer many key points.

Having looked through the revised documentation, very little of any substance has changed, aside from more social housing and a completely new environmental report, which is now showing significantly more evidence of species living around us; something Jenny and Evie have worked incredibly hard with local experts on to disprove the initial reports findings.

The basic premise is that it still proposes 900 New Dwellings on the old Gorsty Hill Golf Course, engulfing Wychwood Village, and overdeveloping Wychwood/Weston as a whole.

I urge all residents to review the new documents (dated 17/11/2015 onwards) on the planning portal, http://planning.cheshireeast.gov.uk/ApplicationDetails.aspx?pr=14/5671N, and where required, submit a further objection to the plan on any specifics you find. Extra points that we would suggest you reiterate are that this proposed development is NOT a part of the emerging Local Plan and, from initial data provided as part of the Weston and Basford Neighbourhood Plan, is NOT seen as a need or requirement of the vast majority of the residents of the Parish.

Please note that all previous objections you submitted still count – this is not a new application, only a variation. Please ensure though that you mark any new comments as an Objection.

Having spent the last few months back and forth with the Council, the Committee expect this latest revision is nothing more than a stalling tactic, should the Council need to bolster their projected 36,000 new homes within the emerging Local Plan, which is expected to be submitted in early 2016. Without inclusion within the local plan, we cannot believe this application would be passed based on its own merit, but only in order to satisfy the needs of the Inspectorate on new homes for the Cheshire East region. Cheshire East are confident that this is not the case.

I will report back soon once I have any further pertinent information.

Rest assured the Committee and I are using all means available to engage with the Parish, Cheshire East and our local MP, Edward Timpson, to continue the fight against this speculative development, and we hope that this latest set of documents will be the last and that we can get to properly debate the proposal in front of a Strategic Planning Board meeting. A debate that we expect to win.


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Wychwood Annual General Meeting (AGM) – 26th April 2015 2pm

This is formal notification of the AGM for the Wychwood Community Group, which will take place on Sunday 26th April 2015 at 2pm in the Wychwood Village Hall. The agenda of the meeting can be found here.

Should anyone wish to put themselves forward for a position on the Committee, please respond to the email address agm at wychwoodvillage.

Following the formal part of the meeting, the new Committee will take part in an open forum should you wish to ask anything relating to the development proposal.

I look forward to seeing you all there to endorse a new Committee and continue the fight to stop any development in our wonderful surroundings.


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Wychwood Planning Update – 5th April 2015

Happy Easter everyone, I hope you are all enjoying a well earned break and recharging those batteries?

I promised in my last note to update you as soon as I had further news on the Strategic Planning Board that will decide our application, and we now have more definite information.

The Strategic Planning Board will not happen in April and is now most likely to be scheduled for July or August. The main reason for this is so that Haddon can respond to the Council on the many items we have raised and the missing information in their initial proposal. Haddon has agreed to this extension so there is no risk of Appeal against Pre Determination at this stage. In some ways the longer this goes on the closer the Local Plan will get to being completed, which again we are very confident will not include our site. The Committee and yourselves have built an extremely strong and robust case for refusal and we are extremely confident that Cheshire East will robustly refuse this application, which then firmly leaves the ball in Peter Hunt’s (the owner of Haddon) court. Does he want to pursue it through further appeals, at great cost, or will he then accept that this is not a Community to be messed with, or a place to build 900 houses? Only he knows.

In other news I have been working closely with Cheshire East on a Community Right to Bid piece of work which has now been officially approved by the Council. This effectively gives the Community first opportunity to buy the Gorsty Hill Golf Course and Country Park should Haddon wish to sell it. The Community has 6 weeks to register an interest as and when the asset is notified for sale and then there is a full 6 months moratorium to assemble a bid for the asset. This is a powerful tool and along with having the area designated on the Open Space register shows how much we value it and are prepared to fight to protect it. I have to say a great deal of thanks to Janet Clowes, our local Ward Councillor, who has been very helpful in getting this actioned and who has been extremely helpful and supportive throughout this whole process, thank you Janet.

Another vital piece of work that we are planning to work on with the Parish Council is a Neighbourhood Plan for the Weston and Basford area and I am meeting with the Parish next week to see how the Committee and I can help to push this along. Getting a formal Neighbourhood Plan in place is another strong piece of evidence for refusal of the application. Questionnaires will hopefully be out within the next few weeks.

Things may seem quiet over the next few weeks, from the development side at least, but please use them to take the opportunity to challenge your local Candidates for Ward and Parliamentary elections about how they will support residents in their fight against speculative and unsustainable developments. Government Ministers and Local Councillors are the people who will most likely have the final say on this application and we need them to be as supportive as Janet Clowes and Edward Timpson MP have been to us throughout our campaign.

The Committee and I continue to explore every avenue we can to strengthen our already very strong case to beat Peter Hunt and to get back to the life we all wanted in this area. Bovis will be off site shortly and we can work on making the Wychwood area into a place to live with a real sense of Community which this fight has helped to create.

Have a great Easter and I will update you on any further information I hear.

Kind Regards,

Trevor Sandry
Chairman – Wychwood Community Group

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