Minutes Uploaded on March 3, 2022


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Present:  Cllr. J. Arkell (Chair), Cllr. M. Chandler, Cllr. L. Glazebrook, Cllr. K. Morton and Cllr. R. Theyer.

In attendance:  K. Tilling (Parish Clerk) and 2 members of the public.

1. Welcome and Apologies:

Councillors and parishioners were welcomed to the first meeting of a New Year. Apologies were received from Cllr Awford.

2. Declarations of Interest:

There were no Declarations of Interest required in relation to items on the agenda.

3. To discuss planning applications and consider responses for the following:

 21/01305/FUL – Tod Cottage, The Leigh, Gloucester.  Variation of conditions 2 (approved plans) and 5 (first floor window details) of planning permission 19/00131/FUL. Very little to discuss as the ground floor windows were not part of this additional planning application and there is only one objection on the planning portal. Parish Councillors had no objections to the inclusion of the wooden windows but noted that perhaps the applicant should have applied for a modification order during construction.

21/01458/FUL – The Bellows, Tewkesbury Road, Coombe Hill. A residential development of four dwellings, revised access arrangements, landscaping and associated works. This application site sits right next door to the land that has been approved on Appeal, for up to 95 houses by Hitchin’s/Bovis.  The Parish Councillors completely understand why the land owner has applied for planning permission to build 4 houses but wish to make it clear that the TBC policies and the emerging Leigh Neighbourhood Development Plan are both applied to this application in the same way as the larger development to ensure fairness and transparency. Over a two year period the Parish Councillors have looked closely at housing need, location, flooding, ecology and highways/traffic in this area.  This application site sits outside the designated development boundaries as indicated in the Tewkesbury Borough Plan. The two sites in the TB plan are labelled C001 and C002 respectively. Direct access onto the A4019 for the new houses on land next door has not been allowed as it is considered too dangerous for this stretch of road. The Parish Council understand that the Planning Inspector’s comments confirmed that access was not suitable in this location and therefore this statement must also be applied to the access for new housing being proposed by the owners of the Bellows. The land in this application is lower than the land next door and has been subject to numerous periods of flooding as it is situated between two water courses. The Leigh Neighbourhood Development plan is currently at Regulation 16 stage and much of the work reflects the planning policy of the TBC’s Draft plan including their recently published main modifications. The land ear marked for industrial development at the neighbouring Rural Business Centre has been removed from the plan as it was considered to be too intrusive into the surrounding countryside. Dealing with the foul water for this site is the same as the larger site. There are currently no mains sewers in the area so all the grey water has to be dealt with on site. What happens when the site is surrounded by flood water?  The village will be dwarfed by the new housing and any additional housing will just add to the already acknowledged pressures on the SSSI site at Coombe Hill.  It is understood that the GWT are raising their concerns about the impact that all the additional new people in the area will have on their site.

The Parish Council are aware that senior managers representing Bovis and Hitchens have held meetings with Severn Trent, residents from Elmstone Hardwicke and land owners on the land between the two areas.  Elmstone Hardwick does have a pumping station but this is not considered to be sufficient to take any additional waste water in its current form.  Wayleave talks are on ongoing with some land owners to run pipes across their land so potentially, the houses at Coombe Hill may be connected to mains sewers.

The LNDP is at Regulation 16 stage and has been with TBC since before Christmas. There has been a sudden change in staff which has stagnated the process. TBC have been informed that their delay will result in financial penalties for the Parish Council and they will be held accountable for any un-necessary delays.  The preferred Inspector is not available until March so it has been decided to move to a different Inspector.  An actual date has still not been confirmed by TBC.

4. To discuss the Tewkesbury Borough Council Housing Strategy 2022-26 – Public consultation.

The current Housing Strategy runs from 2017 to 2021, with a refresh undertaken in 2020 to enable an extension to 2022. A full review is now under way to enable a new strategy to be put in place for the period 2022 to 2026.  The external environment has undergone considerable changes since the current housing strategy was drafted and approved in 2017. There are currently many new Government policies and priorities relating to housing and planning to respond to, as well as global issues, such as climate change and the impacts of the pandemic. COVID-19 has underlined the importance of good quality housing and the positive impact this has on people’s lives. The strategy covers both the private and affordable housing sectors. It specifically focuses on homelessness and measures to prevent homelessness and it encompasses housing in its broadest sense, including the needs of those with specific housing needs.

The plan refers to big housing numbers and includes the bridge at Ashchurch which is now included again. There is huge council staff turnover at present. The Parish Council also discussed the 5 year rolling housing supply and issues that TBC have with this when certain planning applications are presented for consideration.

 5. To discuss PROW issues within the Parish:

There has been a number of PROW issues reported to the Parish Council including:

ALH31 – signs have been put up Beware of the Dog so people are not encouraged to use this footpath. Is the sign legal?

ALH32 – path is blocked. Issues have been raised with the PROW Officer before. Will raise this issue again.

ALH21 – Clarification about dogs and footpaths. Can a stile be replaced with a kissing gate stile to allow dogs to pass through?

ALH26 – missing sign but no recent news about this.

With the addition of 120 new houses coming to the area there is a growing need to ensure that all paths are correctly marked and open.  The Clerk will contact the PROW Officer.

6. To agree and confirm Precept figure for 2022/2023.

After further discussion it was agreed to increase the precept request to TBC by 5%. In real terms this was £238 for the year. The Clerk was asked to find out about Parish Councillor ratios with the increase in housing numbers. The increase in precept figure was proposed by Cllr Chandler, seconded by Cllr Glazebrook and unanimously supported.

It was also proposed to pay the small invoice for printing the newsletter by Mrs Theyer. Due to changes in the way that copies are now produced, copies are considerably cheaper.  Proposed by Cllr Arkell and seconded by Cllr Glazebrook.

7. To discuss and consider draft CIL expenditure list

Parish Councillors and the Clerk have been working on a draft CIL money shopping list. This is one off money generated by the building of houses at Coombe Hill. The spending of this money is largely for the benefit of the parishioners at Coombe Hill. Benefits can include the whole of the parish but could be subject to challenges by the Developer if they thought the expenditure was inappropriate.  Potentially it can cover items such as the financial contributions towards the Parish Magazine, the installation of bus shelters, a defibrillator, waste bins, additional Parish Council costs due to the increase in parishioners, entry signs to the village, welcome events and noticeboards. It is hope that some of these things can be covered by additional funds elsewhere. There are some things that are not permitted.  The list will be typed up and costs applied to the suggestions and then open for wider parishioner consultation

8. Any other business.

Nothing to report

Meeting closed at 21.10pm