HMG reported as getting 'fed up' with local communities opposing new homes = so the planning rules will change?
watch this space. So far so good! According to the WSCT and the Parish Council Planning minutes for August, the Parish Council have 'no objection' to a planning application for less houses (15) which does not appear to have been submitted to HDC - and therefore has not been considered by them.......yet? All a little confusing and I recommend interested parties should follow the Smock Alley website as they absorb the news.
LATEST: I have been informed by the Smock Alley Group that the latest appeal (now for 14 houses) was also been turned down on 2/11/2016 by the Planning Inspectorate.
** 21st July - Wisborough Green residents overturn WSCC's decision to allow fracking there. **
It is wrong for me to draw any inferences, so I leave those to you all, but I have discovered that WSCC has investment from its pension fund in two of the firms involved in mineral extraction licences in West Sussex.
WSCC approved an application in July 2012 for a company called 'Celtique Energie' to carry out test drilling for oil and gas at Woodbarn Farm near Broadford Bridge. Full details are here. The site lies between Princes Wood and Pocock's Wood, to the west of the Broadford Bridge/Adversane Lane/Harbolets Road junction. After a little 'digging' it appears it is in WC Parish. It seems that the company made a brief presentation to the WC Parish Planning Committee in June 2012 and this is minuted here. I find it slightly odd that since the site is apparently within our Parish, and the company held a public presentation in Billingshurst in June 2012, there has been no public announcement or public information here. I understand all is 'dormant' on site at the moment, with the test drilling complete, but we should be aware of these events, especially with the situation in Balcombe.
The company plan to begin drilling for shale gas there in 2014 according to an article in Sussex Life. Without wishing to trigger a 'panic' Balcombe-like scenario, some agents are reporting falling property prices near another site in Fernhurst. Something we all need to keep our eyes on.
I have received the following (extract) from the owners of Woodbarn Farm"As owners of Wood Barn Farm, I can asure you all, that there is no hydraulic fracking going to take place on the farm, during any phase, as Celtique are drilling into sandstone and not shale, and any Hydraulic Fracking would break the terms of our contract. It will be a conventional drill site, like the one at Storrington, by the Rugby Club, which has been in operation for years."
The article in Sussex life would suggest otherwise, and we need to be sure we know the extraction techniques to be used should significant deposits be found. The Company pdf (linked above) says (at page 10):
Celtique will use standard industry drilling techniques that have been safely used in the UK for many years. No hydraulic fracturing techniques (or “fracking” as it is known) will be used at Woodbarn Farm.
As I said earlier, we need to be aware, and watch progress to ensure that nothing changes.
Another site to be drilled by the same company, Fernhurst (which is actually inside the South Downs Park area), have opened a forum for discussion by residents.
No matter what you think of anti-fracking groups etc, this has come my way from a website for 'Acorn' and is worth thinking about:
1) It has been pointed out that the 'security' at the Woodbarn site is extreme, with razor and barbed wire on top of 15ft fences, security cameras and the rest. Presumably they 'expect' some trouble from protesters, but the difference between this site and the IGAS site near Cootham is marked.
Celtique’s Woodbarn fencing. Compare and contrast: no sign of any razor wire on top of the gate or fences at this conventional drilling site at nearby Cootham (right).
2) It is claimed by an anti-fracking group that the bore-hole at Woodbarn will go down 10,000ft, and by chance will go through two known layers which may yield significant quantities of shale gas. To quote the group "giving them (Celtique) a coincidental chance to assess the fracking potential."
Celtique sent a newsletter to their US investors a while back which stated "In the UK, we maintain a large acreage position in the Weald Basin, which we believe is a very promising unconventional play. In recent months, it appears that the regulatory and political climate has warmed considerably to unconventional production onshore UK.
“The Department of Energy and Climate Change recently lifted its moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, and the government is exploring new tax incentive proposals to encourage unconventional drilling onshore. We believe that these developments should have a favorable impact on the perceived value of our acreage."
“In order to substantiate this value, we, together with our partner Celtique Energie, plan to drill one or two evaluation wells at the end of 2013, through which we will gain a better understanding of the shale potential of our acreage. In the meantime, Magellan remains one of only three publicly traded companies to offer significant exposure to this emerging UK shale play.”
The group 'Frack Off' managed to preserve a page (now withdrawn) from the Celtique website - you can download it here which has maps of the sites and is quite enthusiatic about the prospects for shale gas extraction
I regret that years of exposure to politicians of all colours has left me with an inbuilt distrust of all, local and national, and this latest information plus the suggestion earlier that WSCC has investment interest in these two companies, suggests that we DO need to keep on the ball here, especially since it is in our parish. Are WSCC playing a straight bat? Will fracking be approved at Woodbarn?
There is an application for mineral extraction on the area of land south of the White Horse public house in Marehill. Whilst this will not have a significant impact on the village (Nutbourne might notice!), I cannot see how lorry traffic heading for the A24 will NOT pass through the village when Storrington 'closes' to it.
We need to keep our eyes on any plans Storrington has to 're-route' heavy lorries! We already have more than our share of 'rat run' cars.
Where will they route? - A24-Ashington-Adversane? Water Lane-Greenhurst Lane-Monkmead Lane-Pulborough-A29? It is of note that the 'Appraisal' by HDC discusses the effect on 'air quality' in Pulborough but does not appear to address West Chiltington nor the increase in traffic generated in both locations and also appears to only address Washington - Adversane and v.v through traffic.
"The potential impact of implementing a low emission zone, restricting HGVs and providing improved signage in Storrington on the neighbouring village of Pulborough was also assessed. This was based on assumptions of how the traffic flow in Pulborough could be affected by changes in Storrington. The results indicated that there would be no significant impact on air quality in Pulborough"
As far as I can tell there is a rather vague notion of routing 'HGV traffic' on the A29 south of the 'Pulborough Crossroads' (whatever these are??) rather than along the Storrington road, which is going to cope with the A29 traffic but makes no mention I have yet found of the east west traffic avoiding the A27 bottlenecks. High time a by-pass (south of Storrington) was funded and completed!
The Parish Council has formed a group to progress a 'Neighbourhood Plan' for the village.
At the meeting, HDC said that the only 'strategic' housing planning for the District was north of the A264 to the north of Horsham. The prospect of further applications remains until the Planning Strategy is finalised in 2014. The draft Horsham Plan should be published on 16 August with a 12 week window for public comment. It appears that once this plan, and 'Neighbourhood Plans' have been produced and accepted by HMG they have some sort of legal status and are, I understand, immune to over-turning at appeal as happens so often at the moment. This 'Neighbourhood Plan' differs from the previous Design Statements we have had in the village in this respect and accordingly requires assent by a majority of residents, unlike the previous ones which were decided by a few with limited public involvement. The Parish council are preparing another 'Housing needs' survey for all and will require volunteers to help with the preparation of the 'Neighbourhood Plan' which, incidentally, is expected to cost around £20,000. After an unspecified grant from HDC this is to be recovered from the village precept.
In the meantime you can read some background at this page. As I understand it, E&OE excepted, although excluded from the 'new' HDC plan, The Adversane/North Heath development (between Gay Street, the B2133 (Adversane Lane) and Broadford Bridge Road) for 4000 houses still remains 'on the books' in as much as it can be taken to appeal if turned down before the District plan is accepted. (PS I could well have got that bit wrong!). There remain the 4 sites in the village where in-fill housing has been approved.
Two caveats I would place here: Firstly, although DC has pratted on about 'localism', there is in effect very little 'localism' around, and it remains to be seen how 'localism' will, in reality, govern future planning requirements set by HMG. Secondly, the whole structure of Strategic Plans and Neighbourhood Plans will only come into effect around Spring 2015. When was that election, again..............? In all of this one should remember the old adage "How do you know a politician is lying": Answer at page bottom.
There are several papers available for download now on the HDC site covering the planning review. Remember these will rapidly become out-of-date. The page is here
An overall view of West Chiltington and Thakeham is downloadable here. You will note that SA14 and SA66 are still shown and look at the size of the vast metropolis at SA294! (See Adversane etc below)
We are pleased to inform you that a large section, approximately 2/3rds, of the ‘developable area’ north of Finches Lane (SA 014) has now been purchased by a local resident. This resident has bought the land in order to prevent development of this section of the plot. (i.e. the woodland and some of the adjacent grassland)
The area of the original plot that has not been sold is adjacent to Mill Road. However, this still has a large number of Tree Preservation Orders on fairly mature trees in an 8 metre wide boundary and one individual TPO, the silver birch, in the middle of the proposed entrance on Mill Road.
There is still a concern about this remaining area of land although it is with thanks to the new owner of the wood that the threat of any larger scale development has now been removed.
This development (actually known to the village following the public meeting as the 'West Chiltington' development) was DROPPED by HDC but see above. Well done to all who took the time to attend the meeting and to respond in significant numbers, which left the HDC representatives in NO DOUBT about how the village felt. My thanks to the PC for passing this important result on to me quickly.
Here is the text I received
IN AUTUMN last year, Horsham District Council invited comments on the Core Strategy Review Consultation document from people who had an interest in the District’s future. It set out some of the key issues in planning the future of the District and put forward, for consultation, nine potential options for how the development requirements could be met.
Around 2400 comments were received on the issues raised in the document from a mixture of individuals and organisations. Over 1,500 of these related to the potential strategic development site options.
The Council has now reviewed and considered carefully all the comments received, as well as preparing further technical work to assist and inform the preparation of the proposed Preferred Strategy document, to be published in the summer, for further consultation.
As part of this process of consultation and technical work, it has been decided that some of the development site options should be excluded from further investigations because their locations meant it would be harder to create cohesive communities with sufficient services to meet the needs of future residents.
Instead, attention will be focussed on a ‘short list’ of the site options to ascertain from the further work whether they are appropriate and deliverable for inclusion in the preferred strategy. Of the nine original site options, the Council will not now proceed with further work on sites Faygate, Chesworth Farm (South Horsham), Adversane/North Heath and Pulborough as potential strategic development locations in the period to 2026. It will now focus its attention on sites West of Ifield, North Horsham, West of Southwater, and East of Billingshurst, with parallel feasibility work taking place on a possible new market town in the Gatwick Sub-Region, jointly with neighbouring authorities.
Cllr David Jenkins, Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning at Horsham District Council, said:
“We indicated our commitment to a thorough public debate on the issues and options available to us at the early stages in the process. As a result of the response to the Consultation Document and our further assessments we have been able to refine our initial assessment process and indicate those options on which we now need to concentrate our attention. I am convinced that this is the appropriate way forward and, although not everyone will be happy with the position reached, it may help to allay the fears of some residents in those areas where we are not now looking to proceed with further studies.”
TheCounty have announced a major review of waste management in the district. The 'Minerals and Waste Core Strategy' plan is to be reconsidered. We wait to hear the implications for Laybrook
Cory have dropped their application for the landfill. You can read their letter here. I would advise, however, a careful look at the document and in particular at Cory's Malcom Ward's comment half-way down page 2 (his last sentance) regarding 'West Sussex' - "Shields up, Mr Sulu" as they said in Star Trek, and to continue with the (adjusted) proverb - "This ain't over 'til the fat lady sings".
Both the Gazette and County Times this week carry similar cautions.
FEEDBACK ON THE PLANNING ISSUES
Moving on from the impressive 2010 turn-out at the packed Public Meeting in the Village Hall, at which I think it fair to say that not one of our local politicians was left in any doubt about the way West Chiltington feels about the issues, a summary of the progress of the Core Strategy review.
Please remember that more people attending the PC meetings can only help
Remember, the recently revamped Parish Council website now has information on all the issues and links to documents at their new 'Framework' page.