Minutes of the Save Lupset Greenfields Group 15th June Jubilee Hall Meeting

Minutes of the Save Lupset Greenfields Group 15th June Jubilee Hall Meeting

Submitted by mpsadmin on Tue, 21/06/2016 - 15:53
Minutes of the Save Lupset Greenfields Group 15th June Jubilee Hall Meeting

SAVE LUPSET GREENFIELDS GROUP

MINUTES OF MEETING 15 JUNE 2016

JUBILEE HALL, LUPSET, WAKEFIELD

 

In attendance:           residents of Snapethorpe Gate/Milton Road estate, 2 members of

Wakefield Council

Chairs:                       Gary Sargent, Martin Snowden and Nicola Dennison

 

Martin Snowden (MPS) opened the meeting by introducing himself and the other founders of the group Gary Sargent (GS) and Nicola Dennison (ND) and why the group has been founded.  He explained that whilst people had written individually to the Council to object to the development we are more likely to have clout with the Council as a group and we should therefore write to the Council as a group with our objections as well as individually.

MPS then asked people attending meeting whether there had been a consultation as most residents were completely unaware.  One of the councillors attending confirmed that there was a ‘consultation’ in 2010.  One attendee, Steve, said that he had written to the Council to object at the time and confirmed that two of the councillors for the area at the time came to his house and told him it was “a done deal”.

MPS then went on to outline the Council’s original UDP (urban development plan) and how this changed to the LDF (local development framework) in approximately 2009.

He referred to the history of Snapethorpe Gate site as hospital and reference to historic plans of the area on website.

He then referred to what has happened most recently with regard to the land behind Airedale Heights - i.e. workman appearing at end of February to undertake site surveys, measuring GPS, the removal of grass patches at Airedale Heights, mining surveys etc.

MPS referred to the Group website and the fact that there had been an article about the development in the Wakefield Express.  He explained that he had written a response to the article highlighting the need to consider “sustainability” of the new development in light of the two other developments at Dewsbury Road and the former Redcats site and the combined impact of all three developments on local Council services and local infrastructure. In particular MPS questioned the number of houses on the development which on the original LDF was 220 but the number of houses has now gone up to 300 without seeming to make any alteration/change to the infrastructure and asked how many does the Council think the area can support.

MPS also pointed out the impact of the development on Snapethorpe Primary and the number of children currently attending and that the school was already at capacity.  Where are the children from the new homes supposed to go? One of the councillors attending confirmed that the number of pupils at the school was 630, making it one of the largest primary schools in the area.  A woman attending the meeting also pointed out that they were expanding primary schools in Ossett and that this was supposed to cover the overflow that would occur as a result of the developments.  This then raised the question of how children were supposed to get to school in Ossett – were young children supposed to get the bus?

There were also questions raised about the possible increase in crime as a result of the development and whether there would be enough police in the area the cover this.

The focus of the meeting then turned to the effects of pollution in the area which already existed as a result of the motorway and the increase in pollution due to the increased traffic brought about by the developments and by the new eight-lane motorway.  The area is in an air quality zone which means an air quality survey needs to be done (one has not been done yet), particularly in light of the extra lanes of the motorway. Of particular note MPS pointed out the dangerous effects of particulates which are in diesel fuel which have been confirmed to cause major health problems.  Noise pollution would also be a problem particularly during the building phase, not just the noise of the machinery but the impact of loud pops and bangs on people’s health particularly the elderly.  This noise of the building works would also impact on people who work at home – there would be no peace and quiet.

MPS raised the point of where new residents would be expected to work – would the Council expect the new residents to commute or to work in the area.  If it was the latter what about encouraging employers to come to Wakefield, particularly given that Wakefield’s previous biggest employer, West Yorkshire Police has now moved to Normanton.

In terms of views MPS said having an estate so close to the motorway would not necessarily create a great impression of Wakefield for people going by on the motorway. However, it is important to point out that we cannot win against the Council on loss of our views from our houses.  GS elaborated on this point by referring to the Council’s core strategy documents stating that the Council need to keep the features that made the area attractive for buyers of properties in the area.

MPS said that there was supposed to have been an independent inspector checking the area and asking for details of when this inspection took place and who the inspector spoke to. GS interjected saying that he had written to this inspector but was told that that particular inspector had left. There is a replacement inspector but they were not identified.  Update from GS: This was an independent review of the LDF report as a whole, not just the Lupset site. In light of the technical inaccuracies I contacted the inspector to ask if this would have affected his decision. Unfortunately he had left a few weeks since, and they would not provide any comments. The inspectors report is here: http://www.wakefield.gov.uk/Documents/planning/planning-policy/local-plan/site-specific-policies/ldf-sites-document-inspectors-report.pdf interesting they don’t mention the Lupset site as though it was glossed over.

The attendee who had previously raised the issue of expanding schools in Ossett said it also may be worth raising the issue of safeguarding at the school particularly in light of increased traffic on Broadway and the fact the school has a problem with children absconding.

ND raised the point of the extra bit of land (the playing field) was slipped by the Council into the new housing plan in addition to the LDF land, effectively giving the Council an excuse to create access via Milton Road, but was not part of the original consultation process in 2010.  MPS said that he had written to the Council about this and the response he received was that this extra bit of land “was already approved” (even though it actually was not). He added that he had found areas in the LDF which were smaller than the playing fields area for which the Council went the required consultation process and questioned why the Council had not done the same for the area of playing fields.

One of the councillors attending stated that when looking at the LDF there is a rather obvious point not dealt with is that there is actually “no access” to the development site. Further to this point GS made reference to the two pieces of land between 11 and 15 Airedale Heights.  These were initially areas of grass which have been subsequently paved over and “adopted” by the Council.  He wrote to the Council about this and he said he had received two very different responses. In the first letter he received the Council stated that they were simply acting as landowner by paving over the land (even though they had not officially adopted it). In the second letter GS received the Council said the adoption of the land was “to be used to help the development”.

GS then moved his focus onto the issues with the addition of the playing field to the LDF and reiterated the point about lack of consultation and that there were some technical irregularities with regard to the designation of the land.  The LDF designated the land as ‘within the urban area’ whereas the correct classification would have been ‘extension to the urban area’. This could potentially have resulted in the land being bumped up in priority, as the Core Policy document lists extensions to urban as being the last priority, and the incorrect designation could have bumped this site up the list.   Furthermore, in the 2008 draft of the LDF the playing fields were a “protected” site.  GS asked so why the change, is it a change in housing needs? Wakefield Council’s policy is for people to use public transport but the public transport here is poor. Therefore selling point for the development is access to the M1, so the Council want to attract commuters rather than attract employers and people who want to work in Wakefield.

It was agreed at that point that we should send a group letter to the Council raising our objections.

One of the councillors said in relation to the original consultation there were 200 objections to the development but not one received a response and therefore the protest died out because no one knew what to do next. However, Steve explained that he did object and that he was “inundated”, so it seems that the Council did respond but to very few people.   We therefore need to find out how many people of those 200 who originally objected got a response. The councillor added that the ad for the original consultation was very difficult to find on the Council website and in the newspaper so local residents were not aware of it.

ND raised the issue of removing the trees from Milton Road (in order to widen Milton Road to create an access road to the development).  One way to do this was to get TPOs for these trees (as well as those on the playing field). One of the councillors said in this regard we should look at the Denby Dale Road development to see how TPOs were dealt with.

ND then asked what the timeframe was and it was said that tenders had to be in by 16 July this year so there was not a lot of time left. As to what to what happened after that the councillors were not sure but it could take a long time and could be key. 

The councillors then advised us that we should raise the following points in our letter(s) to the Council:

  • Access
  • Air quality
  • Noise pollution
  • Increased flooding (from pulling down trees)

One of the councillors said we should look at minutes of previous planning application decisions in particular the development near the M62 which had similar arguments to ours, but still went ahead. The best point for us to focus on was access roads to the development and that we should give both proposed access points (Milton Road and Airedale Heights) the same priority to the effect that the site would become inaccessible.

ND asked whether there would be a further consultation once the land is sold. The councillors said that it would depend on the developer, some developers do go round and speak to residents.  We would need to do all we could to put the developers off e.g. angry residents photos and put pressure on the Council in order to make development unviable.

GS said he had made an FOI request regarding the two pieces of land at Airedale Heights but all he got back was his email correspondence with the Council.  He then instigated the Council’s complaints process.  It is a long drawn-out process but worth doing. However, this is partly because the Council will reply at the last possible moment.

A further FOI is required and the councillors said it was possible to postpone sale until FOI request has been dealt with.

It was agreed that further publicity was needed – there was no mention of the group’s protest on social media nor much in the press.  Publicity needs to include Horbury and Ossett as these communities will also be affected by the development.

In terms of writing to the Council the councillors said we should write both as a group and individually. They also said we need to push for TPO emphasising that they are important local amenity as well as looking out for an application stopping the use of the footpath behind Airedale Heights (effectively enabling access).  We should also look at protesting outside Snapethorpe Primary because of increased safety and health issues.  Many of the parents with children at the school do not live on either estate but would be affected by the increase in traffic from the development. 

The meeting concluded finalising details of what should happen next, i.e. increased social media presence, protest outside school, key points for template letter to Council on website.  GS said that it was important for residents to use Council’s complaints process if they were not happy with the response they get from Council. 

Action points

More publicity - set up Facebook site with links to website

Support from parents of pupils at Snapethorpe Primary – possible protest

Arrange protests

Freedom of Information request re “consultation” re playing fields annex to LDF

TPOs for Milton Road/playing fields from Council.

Placards?

Write to Council as a group and individually with objections, particular emphasis on access.