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Taylor Wimpey Butt Lane Consultation

Dear Residents,

As you may already be aware, Taylor Wimpey have written to councillors and residents regarding the development of 171 more homes at the rear of Church Street.  The site already has retrospective planning permission and ultimately development will go ahead.  I fought the original application on the ground that local roads would suffer congestion issues, primary schools were at capacity and the development was overbearing for residents of Church Street and Congleton Road.  Unfortunately, the planning committee agreed to the development but we did get some concessions for the community.  These concessions included a contribution from the developer towards traffic calming measures for Congleton Road, including flshing speed restriction signs.  Although Staffordshire Highways are hell bent on telling the residents that Congleton Road is safe, we know very differently.  We live here!

The developments that are proposed come right up to the boundary line on the site meaning residents of Church Street and Congleton Road have serious concerns about privacy and right to light.  I must insist that the developer listens to residents views and take seriously what people are saying.  There is an incline on the land above Bluebell croft which means bedroom windows would face directly infront of living room windows on surrounding streets.  The developer needs to look at ways to reduce infringment on current residents privacy.

I also have major concerns with the fencing along what is known as footpath number 16. During the bluebell croft development, the concrete fencing along footpath number 16 was not removed. This led to the developer placing wooden panels in front of the concrete posts and leaving the residents of Church Street with an eyesore of a fence, some residents  claiming damage was caused to the concrete posts by the developer.  I have met with Taylor Wimpey site managers and they kindly dealt with some of my concerns and I was very grateful. I feel going forward Taylor Wimpey should consider taking out the concrete panels and installing the wooden fencing along the rest of the border. I am sure Staffordshire County Council would agree to this if it benefits residents that have lived along Church Street for more than 40 years.

I spoke out on school places more recently as I feel primary schools are facing maximum capacity in the Butt Lane area.  Many reports from parents looking for schools outside of the area because they cant get a place in their local school, are becoming common place.  Developers need to be contributing to local schools through 106 agreements to ensure either new schools are built or extensions are funded.  I also pointed out to the planning committee that we can only fit enough classroom sheds in playgrounds before we face a real capacity crisis.

Although there will be some negatives to this development that many residents were against, some positives will arise.  The development brings with it the opportunity for a new community woodland and open space.  I have also written to Taylor Wimpey asking for a childrens play area as the current provision in the area is lacking for young toddlers and children.

Whilst I do understand people being frustrated with this development at the rear of their properties, please let me assure you I and Labour Councillors did not support it.  We fought the original application on the many grounds mentioned above, but we did not win our case.  What we need to do now is lobby Taylor Wimpey to work with current residents to get the best deal for the surrounding area and make changes to suit us as a community.

If you are affected by this development please attend the public exhibition meeting for the proposed 171 homes on Wednesday 28th May, 2-8pm at St Saviours C of E School, Congleton Road, Butt Lane.  Your voice must be heard by developers.

Thank you,

Councillor Kyle Robinson

Taylor Wimpey Development Site 1

Looking along the boundary of the development site, at the rear of Chursh Street.

Taylor Wimpey Development Site 2

Looking down towards BlueBell Croft Development from the proposed development site.

Butt Lane Footpath Death Trap

Councillor_Kyle_Robinson_Butt_Lane

Councillor Kyle Robinson with Town Councillors and local residents to campaign for a local footpath to be put right by local developer Taylor and Wimpey.

Residents of Butt Lane are furious after accusing a housing developer of wrecking a public footpath.  Taylor and Wimpey, developers of Bluebell Croft are in the process of building 87 homes of which some are already completed and occupied. 

In between Bluebell Croft and Church Street lies a public footpath, said to have been given as a gift to the people of Butt Lane by the Delves family many years ago.  The path is well used by dog walkers, cyclists and school children.  Until recently the path was seen as a safe passage from West Avenue to Congleton Road. 

Following the developers installing a fence on their side of the footpath, damage has been caused to the concrete panels that stretch along the public side of the path.  Some of the damaged posts have metal wire protruding, leading to walkers being scratched as they walk past. In parts, the concrete panels have completely come away from the posts and have become a severe tripping hazard.  During the developer’s installation of wooden panels on their development, drilling into the ground has caused bowing of the concrete panels on the public footpath.  Parents are now refusing to let their children use this route to school for fear of the panelling collapsing altogether. The ground has also sunk in parts causing a severe trip hazard.  Councillors are now calling on Taylor Wimpey to foot the bill to repair the footpath.  Funding could be obtained via a 106 agreement, but all options are being considered.  

Not only has the shoddy job been an issue for occupants of Church Street but residents of Bluebell croft are also concerned.  The concrete panels are an easy step up to the wooden panels which could be a security issue for the backs of new homes.  It seems loose pieces of barbed wire has been attached to certain posts to try and stop any unwanted intruder but the wire can easily be removed. 

Local resident, Linda Smith said: “I am not happy about what has been done here at all.  We have a right to access this footpath and feel safe but instead we have been left with a dangerous mess.  Whilst the residents of Bluebell croft get a brand spanking new fence, we are left with the mess and damage caused by the developer.  This wasn’t like this until they put that new wooden fence in.  It’s a complete disgrace.”

Town Councillor, Sylvia Dymond said: “It simply isn’t good enough that developers can walk into our communities and do whatever they want.  Why did the developer remove the concrete panels at the beginning of the path and then stop half way up? Was it because they wanted to make the front of their new development look lovely and then leave the residents of Church Street with a mess and fence us out?  Some local people have described the divide as the Berlin Wall and I am not surprised.  I am no NIMBY, I just want to be treated fairly in a community I have lived in for years.”

A Newcastle Borough Council planning officer emailed:

“Dear Councillor Robinson, further to our meeting at the Taylor Wimpey, Blue Bell Croft site (West Avenue 11/00237.OUT) on the 18th September 2013 I have been in contact with Paul Rochfort, a County Council Rights of Way Officer, about the issues you raised regarding the Public Right of Way (Kidsgrove (Talke) 16).He detailed that the County had acted on a complaint in March/ April regarding similar issues. This lead to the ranger removing any dangerous material (concrete gravel boards). He detailed that he would ask the ranger to remove any other dangerous materials.

Residents are now calling on Taylor and Wimpey to put the damage right and fix the panels or take them out altogether.  The Town Council are due to discuss the issue on Thursday 19th December and will hopefully make a formal complaint to the developer of Bluebell Croft copying in Newcastle Borough Council Planning Department.