Future Threats to Nunthorpe



04 November 2013


Final stage of consultation on the Middlesbrough Council LDF Local Plan


The draft Local Plan was released 0n 04 November for a 6 week public consultation until 16 December. TheCouncil has now released the LDF Local Plan documents and response forms to be completed by those wishing to comment on the draft document or perhaps to lodge an objection.

 The relevant documents can be viewed on the weblink -

http://www.middlesbrough.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=7786


Unlike previous LDF consultations the "Publication" stage is centred more on the legal state of the document and its soundness. It is unlikely the Council would be willing to consider comments on specific items in the document such as housing numbers, housing locations or invasions into green fields. We (and they) shouldn't forget the Council Officers and Politicians are our employees, we pay their wages, the land "owned" by the Council is in fact owned by us, the Council Tax payers.

The Council will say all those specific points were addressed during the "Issues and Options" and "Preferred Options" consultations.

 After I have reviewed the documents I will placing my own observations on the legality and soundness of this version of the Local Plan. This may assist you to format an objection statement of your own. Details of Exhibitions where a hardcopy of the plans could be viewed and the date/timings of locations where planning officers will be in attendance to discuss the Local Plan with residents are also available on the above weblink.

After the consultation has been completed the Council will make whatever changes are considered necessary and then submit it to the Planning Inspectorate. A Planning Inspector will eventually convene an Examination in Public at a suitable sized location in Middlesbrough sometime in early 2014.  The Examination will be open to the public and the Inspector will invite any single objector or group to attend and say their piece if he considers it relevant to the Examination.

If the Examination is deemed satisfactory by the Inspector the Local Plan will then be adopted by Middlesbrough Council a short while after.


20 May 2013


Open Space Needs Assessment 2012

 In 2012 Middlesbrough Council undertook an Open Space Needs Assessment for the Borough. To evaluate the present situation the Council used the previous 2005 Assessment as a base line. The 2005 figures were used to produce the “Green Spaces, Public Spaces Green Strategy 2007-2012”.

 Consultation meetings  were recently undertaken in April 2013 with Parish Councils and Community Councils to disseminate and discuss the 2012 findings.

 The Borough was examined in 2012 under a number of different typologies such as Amenity and Natural Green Spaces, Local Nature Reserves (LNR), Parks and Gardens, Play Areas, Sporting Areas and Allotments. The general conclusion of the Council was that the Borough had achieved most of its goals for provision of green spaces with the exception of Playing Pitches which would be subject to its own strategy to be released in late 2013.

 The consultation meetings resulted in communities stressing that although the overall Borough green space figures may have reached the Council’s expectation it was obvious there was a considerable shortfall in of Amenity and Natural Green Spaces in certain areas of the town. This was the result of insufficient green space being introduced into housing estates built in the 1960s/1970s and with very little chance now of improving the situation. These areas will remain under provided without considering demolition and introducing new grassed areas.

 The 2012 Assessment also showed a number of communities were in excess of the distance threshold for Amenity and Natural Green Spaces.

  It was noted that although south Middlesbrough is a relatively green area compared to the rest of the town, all the land is primarily agricultural with no opportunity for public access for recreational purposes. It should also to be noted a considerable amount of this agricultural land is threatened with new housing development within the next five years.

 Community organisations attending the consultation discussions insisted Middlesbrough Council address the shortfall of publicly accessible green space when developers eventually submit their planning applications for these agricultural fields. The Council should ensure a necessary proportion of the land be allocated for community use. In fact, Middlesbrough Council own most of this land and it is therefore within their power to ensure both an existing and future population in these areas is guaranteed sufficient recreational green space for their needs.

03 February 2013

Nunthorpe say ‘NO’ to 661 New Houses and the Loss of Our Green Fields

Middlesbrough Council’s proposed Local Development Framework (LDF) will see most of the fields south of Guisborough Road allocated for new housing developments, totalling 661 houses.  A public meeting is to be held at The Avenue Primary School (Cookgate entrance); at 7pm, 13th February to address this proposal.  Paul Clarke, along with other Middlesbrough Council officers, will be present to give a short presentation on the impact this proposal will have on Nunthorpe.  They will also answer questions fro, residents, Parish Council and Community Council.

 The meeting will last approximately one hour and will focus on how the proposed LDF could impact the Nunthorpe community, and how it could be changed to lessen this impact.  We invite all residents to attend and raise questions on the proposal.  Supporting information and advice on submitting an official response to the LDF will also be provided at the meeting .

 Information on the proposed Local Development Framework can be found at www.middlesbrough.gov.uk, click ‘Planning’, then ‘Planning Policy’.  The deadline for submitting responses is 5pm on the 7th March.  The Planning Policy Team can be contacted by telephone on 01642 729062 or at planningpolicy@middlesbrough.gov.uk. The Team will also be available for discussion at various venues around Middlesbrough.


 


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11 January 2013 - LDF Review Preferred Options report and public consultation

The LDF Preferred Options report in context.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As Middlesbrough Council state in their report, the provision of new housing in the Borough over the plan period (2012 – 2029) is 6,240 dwellings plus a penalty of a further 20% imposed by the Government for failing to achieve the forecasted number of houses since 2008 (birth of the first LDF). This represents an average of new 410 houses per annum to be squeezed somewhere into the Borough over the 15 year plan period.

 Nunthorpe has been selected to accommodate 661 of these new dwellings: -

 ·         Land at Poole House – 16 houses – to be built 2012 - 2018

·         Grey Towers Farm – 295 houses – to be built 2012 - 2024

·         Land south of Guisborough Road (this includes all the MBC land north of the bypass including the land leased to the Playing Fields Association, the Polo Field and Field House) – 300 houses – to be built 2018 - 2029

·         Land at Ford Close Riding Centre – 50 houses – to be built 2024 - 2029

 This above total is in contrast to the earlier figure of 926 houses proposed dwellings shown in the 2011 SHLAA report (which at the time showed Field House as undevelopable therefore no housing yield forecast).

 The major difference between the 2011 SHLAA figures and the LDF Preferred Option figures is the withdrawal of previously nominated land south of the A172 Bypass (north and south of Church Lane) and a reduction in the proposed dwelling density on some sites.

 In their report the Planning Officers state the land south of the Bypass could support 235 new houses but, they say, this addition could have a detrimental impact on viability of the above-mentioned 661 houses, in competing for the same market share, leading to a fragmented build out of the sites.

 I would be happy to believe, in fact, that this reduction in the number of proposed dwellings was actually the result of previous consultation responses from the Nunthorpe community against the proposals. I also believe the planning officers will consider this reduction as a positive contribution by them to lessen the pain of imposing a further unnecessary and unwanted 661 houses onto the Nunthorpe community. They will no doubt crow about their munificence at public meetings in Nunthorpe – don’t be taken in. Planning officers will be attending the next Community Council meeting on 15 January.

 The Preferred Options report only covers the future housing strategy of Middlesbrough.  What is missing at this stage is a review on an effective transport system across the whole Borough to support this large demand for new housing – and more specifically Nunthorpe. The present fragile road system in and around Nunthorpe and the Council’s existing Local Transport Plan appear not to address the needs of the existing population, never mind the proposed rise in population from the new housing.

 The same argument applies to the Sports and Recreation greenfield facilities. Nunthorpe has virtually nil existing facilities available to the community. The Council’s Greenspace Strategy itself states that south Middlesbrough is already poorly served in this respect – will the provision of a further 661 houses encourage the Council to change this situation? A national standard insists that there will be 6 acres of Sports and Recreation greenspace for every 1,000 residents. Nunthorpe certainly doesn’t comply with this at the moment. Will the Council be using some of its land involved in the above housing schemes to redress this situation?

 The new housing could eventually add over 1500 residents to the existing Nunthorpe population. There are virtually nil existing community facilities to cater for the present population - will Middlesbrough Council consider using the financial benefits from developers to improve this situation for Nunthorpe as the impacted community? I personally believe this will not be the case, as usual any developer-provided cash will be absorbed into the Council’s coffers, with Nunthorpe receiving very little benefit from the imposition of a further 661 additional dwellings.

 The full LDF Preferred Options report can be accessed by following the below weblink :-

 http://democracy.middlesbrough.gov.uk/aksmiddlesbrough/users/public/admin/kab14.pl?operation=SUBMIT&meet=1009&cmte=CAB&grpid=public&arc=71

 Select the above http:/ link and chose item 7 on the page, The report is the 42 Mbs pdf file, Appendix 1.

The public consultation on the LDF Preferred Options commences from 23 January until 07 March. Please consider providing your own personal response to the consultation and make every effort to attend any public meetings.

The report will be discussed in further detail on the www.mynunthorpe.org website. Please e-mail me any commments you may have for inclusion on the website or place them directly onto the Guestbook/comments webpage.


 Bob Mullen, 11 January 2013 

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21 August 2012 - LDF Review - present status -

As part of the ongoing LDF Review Middlesbrough Council have now collated the responses from the recent LDF Issues and Options public consultation.

Sadly the number of responses across the Borough were very disappointing considering the efforts that went into keeping the various communities advised of the importance of this stage in the LDF Review. The content of some of the responses reflected the threats facing the communities - loss of vital green spaces, changes to the limit of development,  a total disregard of green wedge, an abandonment of central Middlesbrough.

Unless strongly contested by the residents these issues and many other policy changes that Middlesbrough Council wish to adopt to feed developer's and Central Government monies into the the heavily abused coffers of the Town Hall, will result in an LDF that will destroy what little character Middlesbrough has left.

We all appreciate the town is on a downward spiral with the gradual loss of financially supportive industry, lack of employment and a Council leader (and his Council) who has obviously lost his way The only asset left to the town is the surrounding countryside and its access to pleasanter places. This would all be lost as the greenfields are covered in new housing and the resultant traffic clogs up the very road system thtat allows us to escape this new and unattractive conurbation. 

 - Results of the LDF Issues and Options public consultation which closed on 02 July 2012

Middlesbrough Council received 81reps in the recent public consultation. See below for the breakdown of the location of individual respondents. This does not include organisations who have responded.

Coulby Newham - 35

Marton - 6
Nunthorpe - 13
Acklam - 1
Gresham - 1
Brookfield - 1

There will be a further public consultation in the Autumn when the Council releases their LDF Preferred Options report. This will be the final document that will be forwarded to the Planning Inspector for an Examination-in-Public in early 2013. As in the past public consultations involving planning it is unlikely the Council will listen to the residents but under the rules of democracy this will be our last chance to challenge such a venal attack on the character of Middlesbrough in general and Nunthorpe specifically.

Please watch this space for more!

If you wish to make a comment on this website please select the "Guestbook" sidebar item on the Home page.

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27 June 2012 - The Middlesbrough Council 2011 SHLAA report (Strategic Housing Land Availability Availability Assessment) , threatening even more green fields in Nunthorpe with inappropriate housing development


Middlesbrough Council have decided to update their 15 year housing forecast only three years after their previous forecast in 2008. This takes the form of a Strategic Housing Land Availability report (SHLAA), identifying those sites suitable for future housing development until 2026

 In 2008 the Council robustly rejected both the Grey Towers Farm and the Polo Field sites  as suitable for housing development. Their  2011 report says they are now available and achievable  for development. Added to this about-face they have identified three more green field sites suitable for development! The map shows all Nunthorpe sites identified in the 2011 SHLAA

Comparison of sites in the 2008 SHLAA and 2011 SHLAA reports.

In 2008 both Site 149 (Polo Field, Guisborough Rd.) and site 151 (Grey Towers Farm) were rejected as being ‘in conflict with the principles of sustainable development in MBC LDF policy CS4’ and also being beyond the limits of development. There have been no changes in Nunthorpe since 2008 to justify their inclusion in the 2011 report.

 Loss of Nunthorpe’s green fields!

Sites 51, 52, 149, 150, and 151 are presently part of a green urban/rural buffer for Middlesbrough. If these fields are taken for housing development Nunthorpe will lose its present character and just become part of a huge conurbation. This could all happen within 10 years.

 Against Middlesbrough Council’s present LDF Core Strategy policy!

MBC LDF Core Strategy policy CS9 states a strategy for – “West and South Middlesbrough - to maintain the quality of life through protecting existing high environmental quality of the areas”. This certainly involves retaining existing green fields. The Council must conform to their own policies.

Housing forecast figures?

Middlesbrough Council is continuing to use forecast figures imposed on them by the Regional Spatial Strategy NE (RSS), now scrapped by the Government. The figures were based on an anticipated annual average growth of 2.8%. With the downturn in long-term economic activity, the housing forecast figures should be revisited in a more realistic manner and obviously reduced accordingly. We consider Middlesbrough Council would be in error using such an out of date database to calculate their current and future housing forecasts.

 Middlesbrough’s need for so many new houses?

Middlesbrough Council says -  “more housing is needed to meet requirements for a stable population”. This is a rather fanciful and unrealistic statement. People are leaving the area because of lack of employment, not lack of housing!

 Transport issues on an already fragile road system!!

More houses leads to more cars on the roads. The present road system can’t even accommodate the present traffic loading. Build better roads, not more houses!

Sites 51 and 52 on either side of the Nunthorpe Bypass will probably require access

onto the Bypass. The point of a Bypass as a route is to ensure a free flow of through traffic, not obstructed by urban access restriction junctions or interfered with by local traffic. With nearly 500 more houses requiring access onto  the Bypass such interference is inevitable. Cumulative traffic from all the proposed sites across Nunthorpe will heavily impact on the “Marton Road Crawl”.

 New Government Planning policies?

The new Government boasts on “being the greenest Government yet”.  Yet they have removed the policy of building on brownfield sites before greenfield sites. Now green fields are an easier and cheaper target for developers. They promote  community involvement in the “Big Society” but ignore community input. They offer Councils financial incentives to build, build, build  with the New Homes Bonus.

 Why no member of the community on the SHLAA Steering Committee?

Only Planning Officers, house builders and an estate agent sat on the SHLAA committee!

A member of the Borough community on the committee would have provided a moderating voice  and a common sense point of view. We ARE the major stakeholder in Middlesbrough!

General conclusion of the Nunthorpe community to the  Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment draft report, July 2011 (sent to Middlesbrough Council as  part of the public consultation response)

 a) The Nunthorpe community consider there is sufficient and significant support from Planning Policies and from consulting agencies responsible for the protection of green infrastructure in our countryside to request Middlesbrough Council to deeply consider the impact of losing the above mentioned green field farmland in Nunthorpe to developers.

 b) Sufficient brownfield land is readily available within the Borough to offer an alternative and acceptable site for new housing. This availability, mainly on the Hemlington Grange site and other brownfield sites, was strongly advocated by Middlesbrough Council at their Local Development Core Strategy examination in 2008 and was supported by the Planning Inspector at the time.

 c) It is also essential to bear in mind the potential impact of future climate change when the need for viable agricultural-use greenfield land will be a premium requirement for our future sustainability. Premature disposal of agricultural land and greenfields for house-building would undoubtedly be a cause for regret at a later date, especially when adequate brownfield  land was available at the time of the eventual LDF review.

                                   To coin a popular phrase in relation to Middlesbrough’s green spaces – 

Once its gone – it’s gone!” 

 Middlesbrough Council intend to use the results of the 2011 SHLAA report as a step towards an eventual LDF review. This means they can change whatever they wish in their existing LDF to suit themselves. What was considered unsuitable sites in 2008 now become magically suitable (without any obvious changes occurring).

Using this power of LDF review it is likely they will obtain the power from Government Planning  Inspectors to plunder the green fields of Nunthorpe, WE SHOULD TRY OUR VERY BEST TO PREVENT THIS.