Butt Lane residents draw battle lines on Taylor Wimpey major development

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Butt Lane development will see acres of Green Space replaced with housing. (Picture includes site to be developed)

A major development of 171 houses to be built at the rear of Church Street is set to be challenged by hundreds of residents.  Housing developer Taylor Wimpey is set to meet Newcastle Borough Councils planning committee in late August.  The closing date for comments from members of the public is Tuesday 19th August.  If you live near to this development it is important residents comment on the Planning Portal or make representation in writing to:

Newcastle Borough Council Planning Department, Civic Offices, Merrial Street, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, ST5 2AG, quoting reference 14/00562/REM.

You can check out the plans online by visiting the following link and entering reference 14/00562/REM:

Planning Application

Residents have now called a public meeting to take place on Monday 11th August, 7pm at Kidsgrove Athletic Football Club, Hollinwood Road, ST7 1BQ.

Residents have complained of massive increases in traffic using side streets, the A34 and other local roads due to the increase in developments in the local area.  Questions have been asked of the highways department at Staffordshire County Council.  Has enough been done to address the concerns of local roads being ‘strangled’ for the sake of luxury housing developments?  Has Staffordshire Highways department done a thorough survey to find out how we can remedy the heavy flow in traffic at peak times?

Local resident and objector to the application, Jean Evans said: “This development will impact on many lives around the Talke, Butt lane and Kidsgrove area. The proposed access onto Congleton road will without doubt cause huge issues.  We all know there are already serious parking and speeding issues, both of which have the potential to cause a major accident. The damage to the road service caused by the ‘wide’ loads that can come past on a weekly basis, not to mention the unsettling of the manhole covers, that can make an inordinate noise once unsettled, but can take the highways department, months to come an fix.  To encourage even more traffic onto Congleton road without addressing these very serious issues first, is ludicrous. Both mine, my husbands and my mum and dads lives will certainly be impacted by the ‘air pollution’ generated from potentially 120 plus vehicles all queuing to exit onto Congleton road every morning.  Drivers travelling along Congleton road are always very reluctant to let people out.  The amount of properties Taylor Wimpey are proposing means there could be 120 plus engines idling for around 1/2 an hour or so, every single morning”.

Concerns have been raised regarding the lack of affordable properties and social housing on these types of luxury developments.  Far too often local people are being pushed to one side in favour of new residents from outside the area with much more financial means.  This means that young people and even middle aged families in Butt Lane have to move out of the area to buy cheaper properties in the neighbouring city just to get their foot on the housing ladder.  Is this really fair on the local families that have grown up and contributed to this community for many years?  Is it fair that their land is being swallowed up for luxury housing?

Whilst Taylor Wimpey has promised to protect natural woodland on the site, concerns continue to be raised that the development will have a negative impact on the wildlife and environment.  Only a few months ago local people shared their stories of witnessing many habitats for wildlife including bat roosts, badger sets and rare bird nests.  It seems following investigations from local people, the wildlife trust and other organisations have not been contacted to do a thorough investigation of the site to determine how much wildlife will be affected.

Church Street residents are calling for more to be done with regards to the height of the new dwellings at the back of their homes.  For years, people have been use to natural sunlight into their gardens and beautiful views of the countryside behind them.  Whilst this isn’t usually considered by planners, perhaps some kind of compensation should be paid to residents that have lived on Church Street for most of their lives.

My summary as a local representative is not that I am opposed to change.  I am opposed to the way in which this development has been designed.  171 homes for this site seem to be excessive and unhealthy for those that will be living in the properties and those currently living nearby.  Bluebell croft was developed much more sensibly and not in the cramped style being proposed for this development.  Green space continues to be eaten away due to national government planning policy.  Power from local people has been taken away and we no longer seem to get a say on what happens in our community.  We get it that there is a housing shortage, but why is Butt Lane being treated as dumping ground for the rest of Newcastle-under-Lyme?  There are so many questions being asked by Butt Lane Councillors and residents, but it seems everything we ask is dismissed or laughed at.  It is important for residents not to get their hopes up as planning permission has been granted on this site previously, but we must make a stand against the layout, the proposed amount of homes, the increase in traffic and car pollution and the possible destruction of natural habitats and wildlife.  Some would say we are fighting a losing battle, but I will not stand by and ignore the people of Butt Lane.  That is just not the way we do things.

Take a bite of food funding

Healthy CookingThe Newcastle Partnership have announced they are to give out £10,000 in funding as part of the Food and Health programme 2014.  Kidsgrove and Butt Lane areas are highlighted to receive this funding where there is a gap in service provision.

Applications are invited from community groups, voluntary organisations, social enterprises and Locality Action Partnerships that are able to deliver community-based Food and Health projects in order to improve access to healthy, affordable food in socio-economically disadvantaged areas.

The need for the programme has arisen through increasing health inequalities, poor access to affordable healthy food, an increasing use of food banks, and insight from local community leaders who report poor food budgeting, lack of cooking skills and food crisis situations for vulnerable individuals and families in disadvantaged areas. The overall aim of the programme is to improve health and wellbeing outcomes in relation to food and health.

The criteria to access the funding is as follows:

  • Development of healthy cooking skills
  • Budgeting – planning, buying and preparing healthy food on a budget
  • Supermarket/local food market tours to support planning, buying and preparing healthy food on a budget
  • Community food co-operatives
  • Community growing schemes
  • Sustainable food provision and supply

If you wish to apply please read the criteria document and complete the funding application form and email to helen.jones3@staffordshire.gov.uk

Food and Health Funding Criteria – Round 2

Food and Health Funding Application Form – Round 2

 

Residents to Protect Butt Lane Wildlife

Residents are set to oppose a Taylor Wimpey Development of 171 dwellings at the rear of Church Street, West Avenue.  Following a public residents meeting on Monday 16th June, residents angrily rejected claims that the Butt Lane area could take more houses without the proper highway surveys taking place on Congleton Road, Linley Road and local side streets.  Local campaigners are now in the process of putting together a petition to ensure Staffordshire County Council Highways take on board resident concerns and carry out a full and thorough road traffic survey of the local area.

In another turn of events, residents described how one third of the woodland on the site may be lost, despite Taylor Wimpey implying they would protect this space for furture generations to use.  The plans have been rigorously scrutinised and people have become alarmed.  The previous owner of the site applied for planning permission in 2011/2012 to which Natural England objected due to the badger sets and bat roosts in the woodland.  Pictures have now come to light of the badgers in the area regularly approaching the properties surrounding the site.  Dog walkers, cyclists and hikers visit the site daily and are vehemently opposed to any changes to the Woodland.  It was pointed out at the public meeting that more green space will be lost when there is still a significant amount of brownfield sites in the area.

Over 60 residents are now opposed to the site being developed in the current circumstances.  Local Councillors will keep you up to date regarding the status of the application, once it has been submitted to Newcastle Borough Council.  Below are photographs of the site set to be developed including the Woodland that Taylor Wimpey promised to protect during their consultation.  Thank you to S Williams for providing the majority of photographs.

 

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