Annual Report 2010
2010 Annual General Meeting
The 35th Annual General Meeting of the Binfield Village Protection Society
Held on Thursday, 17th June 2010 at 8pm.
The meeting was held in the Memorial Hall, Terrace Road South and attended by well over 100 residents of Binfield Parish, members of BVPS past and present, guests and visitors.
After the business of the AGM has been completed there was a presentation by Committee members of the Binfield Village Protection Society. Duncan, Angela and Margaret
The presentation looked at how Binfield will respond to the upcoming preferred options document for the proposed 4050 new homes across the Borough.
ANNUAL REPORT 2010
LETTER FROM THE CHAIRMAN
To all Binfield Residents,
Thank you for taking the time to read this annual Report. Those of you who are not members of the Society may decide to come to the Annual General Meeting where you will receive a warm welcome.
This year members of the Committee will make presentations to the audience which will clarify the role of the BVPS in the community, will set out planning procedures in an order that will take us to the already mentioned "Preferred Options Document" and will give some advice and guidance on how to answer this document with relevant and succinct planning objections.
At the Annual Parish Meeting in March this year I was very nervous when asked to speak about the "Site Allocations Development Plan Document" and the "Participation Document Questionnaire and Response Form" especially as I wanted as many residents as possible to answer these desperately oblique documents. One of the first copies of an e-mail that had been dispatched to the Borough was such a good "relevant and succinct" objection to the proposals that I used it that evening to urge everyone to express their objections to more building in and around Binfield.
The response was superb. Passions ran high and I am hoping that of the 6,000 replies, letters and e-mails, received at the Bracknell Forest Planning Department, two thousand or more were from Binfield.
Everyone must retain their enthusiasm and even their anger for answering the next document which should be published in the school summer holidays, July/August. I trust you will all be able to attend the AGM, continue to protest to the Planners your objections to our countryside being eaten up with bricks and mortar, concrete and roadway extensions and object strongly to any plans for more development.
Throughout 2009 the Amen Corner Action Plan continued to be the main focus of the BVPS Committee. By the end of May the public consultation closed and the final .draft was presented to the Executive of Bracknell Forest Council by the end of the year. The public Adoption Statement was made in April 2010. Development and construction had ground to a halt as a result of the credit crunch and planning appeared to have disappeared as well. However by the middle of 2009 planning activity had been made public.
New Planning Documents
Following the recent approval of the Regional Spatial Strategy (South East Plan), Bracknell Forest Council is working on a revised Local Development Scheme (LDS) to set out the timescales for producing planning policy documents. The revised LDS will cover the period from September 2009 to August 2012. During this period, the Council will be prioritising a Development Plan Document (DPD) which will deal with site specific proposals for housing, employment, retail, leisure and education related developments. In addition, it will look at the timing, phasing and delivery for the proposals. The new document will be called Site Allocations DPD and the Council hope to be able to submit it to the Government in early 2011. Consultation of the proposals will take place next .As we now know this happened in February 2010. The Council also listed the review of the Core Strategy for 2014.
Conservation Area in Binfield
We proposed Wicks Green Lane and Monks Alley as a Conservation Area for Binfield. The area was appraised by Jon Mullis, who is the Historic Buildings Consultant, for Bracknell Forest Council in October 2007. In his report he stated that "having examined the locality we would recommend designation as a Conservation Area. The area has well-defined special character which includes a number of listed buildings as well as a number of buildings of local interest which it would be desirable to preserve. We, therefore fully support designation as a Conservation Area and would recommend that it is appraised in accordance with English Heritage's guidelines".
The next step was for Bracknell Forest Council to conduct a full appraisal. The appraisal would assess the character of the area and how it has developed, using site visits and other conservation-based research analysis, including looking at current and past land uses, archaeological and historic sites. The types and density of buildings, places, names and earliest references, comprehensive and selective historic mapping and statutory designations would also be included in the assessment. The full appraisal was put back until 2009 due to the finalisation of the Conservation Area in Crowthorne. The Crowthorne area boundary was amended following representations from the local community, as part of the consultation process. The Crowthorne Conservation Area has now been completed and designated. The commencement of the Binfield Conservation Area appraisal was further delayed as the Council had to go out to tender to find the best consultants to carry out the work under new procurement procedures introduced by the Council. The tenders were reviewed and the Council commissioned Mr Eddie Booth - MRTPI IHBC FSA. Director of the Conservation Studio in Gloucestershire, to carry out the appraisal which was started mid April 2009. The Council held a public meeting in the Binfield Library on 3rd October 2009 and Eddie Booth gave a presentation on previous Conservations Areas he had worked on and discussed the information that he had found on Binfield. He also distributed a questionnaire and maps of Binfield for people to complete for the appraisal. The consultant has been working closely with Ann Groves who is the Urban Design Officer for the Environment, Culture & Communities at Bracknell Forest Borough Council. The publication of the draft appraisal was delayed by the bad weather early in 2010 and the long term absence of the Design Officer through illness. We await an up date by the Annual General Meeting on 17th June, 2010. When the report has been drafted the opportunity will be given for members of the public to contribute information and offer comments on both the appraisal itself and where the boundaries should be drawn before the document is finalised. The final appraisal will then be submitted to the Executive Member for Planning and Transportation (along with any support or objections) for the final decision as to whether the area will be designated for Conservation.
In February 2010 the Beacon Report from the BVPS said Binfield is, indeed, a green and pleasant place to live and with the last year seeing the whole country deep in recession, very little in the way of major housing development has taken place. However, that does not mean that we can be complacent. As the economy recovers, major new developments that are currently in the planning stages will start to take shape and be built.
In March we wrote:
Those of you who read the local papers will be aware that, at the end of January, Wokingham Borough Council gave final approval to their Core Strategy, following changes advised by the Government last year. Wokingham BC is required to build 13,000 new homes in the Borough and provide the necessary infrastructure to support the influx of new residents. Their plan is to build the majority of the new homes in four main areas. One of those areas is to the north of Wokingham and BVPS is concerned about the impact on Binfield of the 1500 new dwellings that are earmarked for that area. Binfield is to the north of Wokingham and the main concern centres on the impact the increase in traffic will have on the village. Forest Road and London Road are currently heavily used by commuters travelling between Wokingham, the M4 and Bracknell. Inevitably this volume of traffic will increase once all the new homes required of both Bracknell and Wokingham Borough Councils have been built.
The Highways Agency has said that the M4 is already at capacity and, even now, the A329 is often at a crawl into and out of Bracknell at peak commuter periods. Many local commuters will choose to use the local "A" and "B" roads. Build up of traffic at the bridge in Forest Road (by Wyevale Garden Centre) is bad now at peak periods. This will only increase once the 2000+ homes for Cabbage Hill and the 1,500 homes north of Wokingham have been built. BVPS will be monitoring Bracknell Borough Council's plans for traffic along that road as building plans progress. Being so close to Wokingham and the M4, it would seem that Binfield residents need to look to all points of the compass in the future. You never know from where the next threat to Binfield resident's lifestyle will come! By the time you read this, the closing date for the consultation will be long past and the General Election will have taken place. BVPS joined forces with Binfield Parish Council to ensure that every resident in the Parish was made aware of the threat to Binfield from Bracknell Forest Council's plan which favoured building 5000+ homes around Binfield and Warfield. Leaflets were distributed to every home on the Parish. Thank you to all the volunteers who helped with the distribution and a special thank you to Gemma Leary, Binfield resident and Editor of Mention magazine, for all her help and support in printing and distributing them. This level of commitment to communication was not shown by the Council. Attendance at the two Binfield exhibitions was magnificent, despite their proximity to Easter, and residents made their feelings known to the Council employees holding the exhibitions. The consultation period had to be extended for a week, to 16th April, as the Council's website could not cope with the volume of protests. Many of you emailed directly to Bev Hindle, Chief Officer Planning and Development. I hope you all received a reply.
In addition a Facebook group was formed by concerned residents and if you would like to join it is called "NO to 13,000 homes in Northern Arc of Binfield/Bracknell". At the time of writing the number of members of this group was over 1,700. One factor that may not be apparent to residents is that Wokingham Council have also been told they need to build more homes than previously planned. Their plans are to build some of those homes right up to the boundary with Bracknell i.e. Binfield. When that is also taken into account the threat to our current community is even more alarming. I am sure no one in Binfield moved here to live in a vast urban sprawl. All the issues referred to in this Annual Report are on the website and will be referred to in the presentations to be made by Committee members at the Annual General Meeting. Hopefully there will be light at the end of the tunnel by the end of the meeting.