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Welcome Annual Reports Annual Report 2007

Annual Report 2007

2007 Annual General Meeting

June 29th, 2007

Chairperson for the year 2006 – 2007, Margaret Foster began the proceedings of the 32nd Annual General Meeting of the Binfield Village Protection Society: 

“I wish to repeat the welcome that is the first item on the Agenda of this Annual General Meeting.  A very particular welcome to all members of the Binfield Village Protection Society, to our Speakers, Freya and Donna and to all other invited guests, residents of Binfield and visitors. 

Last year’s Annual Report was very comprehensive and over 3000 copies of this report was delivered to every house in the parish. This year’s Annual Report will be brief.  The Annual Report will not be hand delivered this year but will be sent to every member of the Protection Society by post and e-mail and be placed with other up-to-date information and various new Links, on the web site www.bvps.org.uk. 

“Firstly can I draw your attention to the last page of the Annual Report  on

 “Finances”  You will see that this is a request to you to renew, rejoin or join for the first time, the Society, as a member.  The subscription this year is £5 and has been since 1st April. As you saw in the Accounts, subscription payments have dropped considerably and the Committee need to address that before we consider whether some extra fund raising is required.    

“Secondly I wish to refer to the internal organisation of the Society. On the page headed  “Business “ there is an Agenda for election of the officers and members of the Committee of the Society.  You will notice that Committee Members will be elected as a group, as we have done in the past.  We wish to repeat this procedure this year and look to the support from the floor over this.  All those who have been put forward this evening have served the Society well in various capacities through the year. I thank them for their loyalty and commitment. 

Margaret Foster left the Chair at this point and Judith Vucic conducted the election of the Chairman. 

Margaret was elected Chairperson for the year 2007 -2008 unanimously. Margaret returned to the Chair and continued her report. 

“Hilary Doyle is proposed for the position of Hon Treasurer by the Chair and seconded by Sally Hardy. The proposal was accepted. Hilary is Treasurer for the year 2007 – 2008.  It is now generally known that Hilary, is once more serving the community in a position she has always loved, as Councillor on Binfield Parish Council.  I understand she was welcomed on to the newly elected Parish Council and I am sure they can only benefit from her wealth of experience and knowledge in local authority planning issues.   

Judith Vucic is proposed and unanimously elected as the Hon. Secretary of the Society.  Margaret said “I have always appreciated her hard work, clear thinking and firm direction all the time I have been in the Chair. I have always found her an erudite and efficient Secretary.” 

The following BVPS  members were proposed to serve on the Committee and elected unanimously: Lesley Ashley, Chris Bickley, Angela Davey, Sally Hardy, John Hartingdon, Colin Hole, Duncan Hullis, Claire Jackaman, Sue Runham, Joan Uttng. 

Margaret referred briefly to some re-organisation of the Committee;

“The Binfield Village Protection Society has been in existence for  over thirty years. During that time the committee has varied in size, ability, commitment and enthusiasm. The present members which you have confirmed as Committee members tonight have served the Society for various amounts of time and in various jobs. We are faced with a lot of development and building which is quite demanding on the time of all of us who give our time voluntarily. Jobs need to be noted and shared round. You will see how this is to be, below” 

BVPS Committee:-                                  Committee members proposed 2007.

Assistant Minutes Secretary:              Sally Hardy

Membership Secretary:                       Lesley Ashley

Beacon entry, Publicity and Press:         Claire Jackaman

Conservation:                                 Sue Runham

          Web Master:                                   Chris Bickley    

          History:                                           Joan Utting

          Objections:                            lead: Margaret Foster

                                                  All members of the Committee. 

If these arrangements improve the organisation and increase the smooth running of the Society, the Chairman will propose at next year’s AGM, (2008), that the structure of the Committee is adopted and is included in the written Constitution.           

Members of the BVPS are welcome to attend the BVPS committee Meetings which meet every second Thursday of the month, in the Parish Office, by arrangement with the Clerk to the Parish Council. The Binfield Village Protection Society are grateful to have this facility and thank the Parish Council for it."

The Chairman continues her Report: 

“The Protection Society has always expressed interest in  Bracknell Town Centre.  The Protection Society welcomes the latest proposals for Bracknell Town Centre as being more appropriate for the size of Bracknell than the two previous plans, which were rejected by the Secretary of State. The inclusion of “mixed development” in the proposals is seen as very important by the Society. Bracknell Forest Borough Council has put mixed development firmly in the Core Strategy, the most important document contributing to the Local Development Plan.

The Core Strategy. 

“The Core Strategy is a fundamental part of establishing a sound Local Development Framework which will influence every part of the growth and development of Bracknell into the middle of this Century. It will also manage the delivery of the contribution Bracknell has to make to the houses that are required by Government in the South East between 2006 and 2026. 

The Protection Society Committee spent some time on the Draft Proposals for the Core Strategy and on the Core Strategy itself. The Core Strategy is now being addressed at Hearings jn front of the Inspector, Dr Jane Stiles, by Bracknell Forest Planning Team and all the dissenters to the policies of the published document.  Two members of the Committee, Margaret and Joan, have been to the first two sessions and Hilary was there today, (28.06.07). 

The Planning Team of Bracknell Forest Borough Council proposed two sites for future housing development in the Borough. One, Cabbage Hill in the parish of Warfield is for two and a half thousand houses, referred to, in discussions, as an urban extension. The other is Amen Corner, in the Parish of Binfield, for 700 houses.  

The BVPS Committee response was that both proposed sites were contrary to Bracknell Forest’s own landscape policy, both in the Local Plan

(2002) and that stated at the beginning of the newly published Core Strategy. BVPS thought both sites were unsustainable and the Gaps between Settlements were undermined and weak. 

The Committee put a lot of time and effort into claiming that the Core Strategy was “unsound” in many respects. 

We were not aware in December 2006, when we were working hard on the “soundness” of the Core Strategy document, of the existence and plans for development of  “Airtrack”. Airtrack properly known as ARL,  has seriously proposed that they build 3000 houses in Bracknell and 3000 houses in Wokingham, selling them off at 2020 house prices and using the proceeds to improve the standards of the railway line from Reading to Heathrow.  This would contribute much to the economy of the country and to the residents of East Berkshire who commute into London for work and play.   

It may be that a “sound” Core Strategy, one that can stand and does not have to be rewritten, will be a better defence against 6000 houses on our settlement borders, with in Borough boundaries. than BVPS’ comments and concerns about eroded gaps between settlements and development on greenfield sites.  

Councillor Hilary Doyle  spoke as a member of the BVPS Committee concerning her visit to the Hearing in front of the Inspector, Dr Stiles, today.

“Many applications for building on Sites Specific have been received by the Bracknell Forest Planning Team, including ARL, Legal and General and Wellington Collage, who are all interested in developing sites in and on the settlement boundaries of Binfield. On legal advice, these are to be addressed in the weeks following the end of the Hearings before the Inspector. The same Inspector, Dr Stiles, will chair this part of the public inquiry and will report on her findings of the issues raised sometime in the autumn. BVPS will be involved in this inquiry”.

Solutions to village issues:

Binfield Village Protection Society has been involved in a number of planning applications in the village this year: 

Ashleigh, Terrace Rd South, was well supported by neighbours and residents on the initial application of the owners to prepare and distribute meals and hot snacks. The applicant withdrew his first application and the Society was not surprised when another application went in very soon after. Although the number of objections was not as great as the first time, there was obviously enough for the officers to refuse the application under delegated powers. 

Telecommunication masts for mobile phones was a well orchestrated campaign by residents living near the proposed site on the edge of the Cricket Field. We were happy to support residents over this issue and were pleased for the organisers of a well run campaign to see the application dismissed. It does seem that neighbourhood campaigns against telecommunication masts have a good success rate.  

The present owners of  Binfield Place, Windsor Homes plc asked for permission to knock down the Coach House and to build a cottage at the far end of the garden in its place.  Binfield Place is one of the oldest houses in the village and is a Grade Two Listed Building * (starred). The Protection Society with the Chairman of the local branch of the CPRE, were pleased to see the application turned down by Bracknell Forest Borough Council. Windsor Homes plc took the refusal of their application to appeal. It was gratifying to read the Inspector’s comments when he turned down the appeal against BFBC’s refusal of the application, which seemed to echo our objections very closely. Our objections were apparently valid.  

We are working with the officers of the planning department of BFBC to get Listed Building Status for Garth Cottage, Terrace Rd. Fifteen years ago the previous owners investigated Listed Building Status but were discouraged when turned down by English Heritage. Considered opinion is that as the numbers of the older buildings get less and less in number, those that are left standing have a greater potential of acquiring Listed Building Status. 

Because of the good support from neighbours to Garth Cottage and the advice of the officers at Bracknell Forest, and a desperate request for help from a neighbour I, as Chair, went, on behalf of the Society, down the same route for Ivydene, Forest Rd. next to the Royal Standard. Permission was being sought to knock down Ivydene and replace it with a two-and-a-half storey office block. So the Society tried to hold up the hearing by applying for Listed Building Status for a very old and pretty building. I was too late and permission was given by the Council Members on the BFBC Planning and Transportation Committee for the application to be allowed. I returned to the officer of the case and took the matter up with him. I was directed to the history of the site which included several applications to knock down this building and replace it with modern offices. There had been several applications over many years and they had all been granted and never been used. The officers of the Borough were not in a position to refuse this application through delegated powers but had to put it before the elected members who allowed the application.   

Binfield Village Protection Society had good planning objections to SWAAY setting up a school in Cressex Lodge but they were not strong enough and, despite 164 objections being made by residents, the local authority had to agree to the application for change of use, being allowed. 

The latest objection letter from the Protection Society is against a large three storey building (called “two and a half storey” because there is a third floor in the roof ) for office use with parking to go up to the north and very close to  Popes Manor

And then there is Mr Shanley’s proposal for a new Village Centre. The Chairman of the Memorial Hall Mr Bennett was kind enough to show me the huge drawing of the proposed changes and developments that Mr Shanley had in mind for the village centre which would involve a new community hall and possible improvements to Binfield Club. It would also, from the drawings, hijack the Memorial Hall’s parking facilities, block out the visual image of the Binfield Library and close off visual and actual access to Foxley Fields and the School. My response to Mr Bennett was that I thought that the BVPS Committee would be very unhappy to see this development in the village centre but that it was not in a position to comment until application was made to develop through plans placed at the Borough. I also said that Memorial Hall Committee might have a different view over this proposal and that the Parish Council should know about it.”

David Fawcett, a Trustee of the Memorial Hall then spoke from the floor. The Memorial Hall Committee had looked at the drawing of Mr Shanley’s proposal and said that the ideas needed to go into plans and put before the Borough. The Committee also thought that the Parish Council should know of the idea and that there should be a public meeting . 

The Chair brought this part of the meeting to a close and welcomed our Guest Speakers, Freya and Donna to address the members of the Society.  With the present weather conditions  there was some unconscious irony in our questions:

“Is there enough water for all the new houses?

"Is there enough water for all of us?”

Freya and Donna gave a excellent joint presentation on Water supply and conservation in Thames Valley. The vote of thanks to the Speakers was given by the Honorary Secretary Judith Vucic.    

In closing the meeting Margaret Foster thanked local business Sebel for sponsoring this years AGM and providing an excellent cheese and wine supper following the meeting.

Margaret Foster, Chairperson, BVPS

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