Annual Report 2009
2009 Annual General Meeting
Last year we asked,
"Where will all the houses go?"
This year we say,
"What sort of houses will they build?"
Next year we may well be asking,
"When will they start to build the houses?"
The 34th Annual General Meeting of the Binfield Village Protection Society took place on Thursday, 18th June at 8pm. The meeting was held in the Memorial Hall, Terrace Road South and all residents of Binfield Parish, members of BVPS past and present, guests and visitors all welcome.
After the business of the AGM was completed, our guest speakers Ann Groves and Rachel Scott from the Planning Department of Bracknell Forest Council gave presentations on issues that affect us all.
Ann Groves, Urban Design Officer, Environment, Culture and Communities spoke on:
"Negotiating higher design standards in new developments."
Rachel Scott, Senior Planning Policy Officer, talked about
"Implementation of sustainable resources and renewable energy policies in the BFC Core Strategy."
2009 Annual Report
BVPS activities since May 2008
A major, future development of interest to BVPS is at Amen Corner. The BVPS Committee has addressed all the consultation phases of the Amen Corner Area Action Plan, including the final Draft Document. Five objections to the "soundness" of the Document were made before the closing date
The Plan includes the provision of over 700 new dwellings, a local centre, a leisure centre, school, provision, offices and work units and improved transport services to and from the area
The consultation period is now completed and the Draft Document will be put before the Inspector at the end of June. .As the consultation period has now closed there can be no public discussion about the content of the Draft Document unless one has opted to speak at the Hearing of the Submissions being put before the Inspector. Members of the Committee are not going to speak to their objections at the Hearing of Submissions by the Inspector, although we will take it in turns to attend.
If the ACAAP Draft Document is found to be "sound" by the Inspector applications to build will be made as soon as the Inspectors findings are published. These planning applications will be monitored by the Committee. The development is due to begin in 2011.
The plan to connect Heathrow Airport from the West via the South West train route between Reading and Waterloo has been discussed for a number of years and officers from the local authorities affected have met regularly. Airtrack was promised when Terminal 5 was given the go-ahead but the plan did not materialise at that time. However, the proposal went out for public consultation between October and December 2008 under the title "improving public transport access to Heathrow". Airtrack would use the existing South West train route between Reading and Waterloo and a new stretch of line between Staines and Terminal 5 would be constructed. It is proposed that there will be two trains in each direction which would stop at Wokingham and Bracknell before arriving at Staines. It is anticipated that there will be a public Inquiry in late 2009 and that construction will start in late 2010 for completion in 2014. This scheme is not connected with the proposal put forward by Airtrack Railways Ltd to fund Airtrack by building 6,000 houses in the Strategic Gap between Binfield and Wokingham. Such a scheme is strongly opposed by Bracknell Forest Council and by Wokingham Borough Council.
Binfield Conservation Area
BVPS now has a very pro-active Committee member with a special interest in conservation.
Binfield Parish has over fifty buildings and other features considered worthy of "listing" as being of special architectural and / or historic interest. The Stag and Hounds, Pitt's Bridge on the Forest Road and the hay barn at the Jack O'Newbury are all Grade II listed. Sylvia's Garden, in the grounds of Newbold College, is a very important early 20th Century garden and has Grade II* listing. Binfield Place, the surrounding walls and the gate piers are also Grade II* listed and part of the building dates back to the late 15th Century.
The Council has appointed a contractor to review proposals for Wicks Green to be designated a Conservation Area. It is disappointing that the date for this review has been postponed several times, but we are optimistic that it will occur in this new financial year. The Officer of the Council in charge of this project is Ann Groves, Urban Design Officer in the Planning Department of Bracknell Forest Council. Ann is one of our speakers at the Annual General Meeting and hopes to be able to tell the Meeting the latest developments in this project
BVPS has been asked to liaise with the contractor conducting the review. Your views and comments are most welcome.
South East Plan
The SE Plan is the regional framework that will steer the future of the region over the next twenty years.
The SE plan has been drafted by the SE Regional Assembly to propose the distribution for the 600,000+ new homes designated for the area by the Government by 2026. With the Thames Heath Special Protection area in the south of the borough, it is the north of the borough, i.e. Binfield and Warfield, that will have to bear the brunt of all the new builds assigned to this area. BFC needs to provide 639 new homes each year until 2026 i.e. a total of 12,780.
BVPS took part in the consultation on the proposed plan and have been notified that the proposed plan has now been published. The final version, published in May, contains an extra 2,000 dwellings for Bracknell Forest, the number which was included in the Draft SE Plan. A minimum of 60% of the dwellings are to be built on brown field sites.
SE Plan and Strategic Gaps
An alarming development within the SE Pan is the Secretary of States decision to delete the policy recommending that Strategic Gaps be retained between settlements.
There is a strategic gap between Binfield and Wokingham and BFC have always protected this gap in their development plans. BVPS is concerned that development could now take place on that land, which could result in development sprawl from Reading right through to London.
BVPS has voiced these concerns in our response to the consultation document and will continue to work hard to protect this strategic gap, which both BFC and Wokingham Borough Council are committed to protecting.
Members of the BVPS and the community will be aware that there is a local gap between settlements of Binfield and Bracknell created by the Blue Mountain Golf Course, the fields that belong to Newbold College and other small patches of land around these two larger greenfield areas.
BVPS Website and Alerts
The BVPS website continues to provide a most useful medium for communicating with BVPS members and the world in general!! In this last year, we have received an email from Australia from someone looking for a distant relative and we continue to receive thanks and compliments from grateful website users, who have been able to use the information provided to help with their individual planning problems.
BVPS uses our website to aid communication with the community. We instigated an "Alerts" system whereby members would be notified on important issues, so that they could voice their concerns within the designated timeframe. Although there has been very little building and development in the last 6 - 8 months, we were able to use our "Alerts " system to notify members of the major concerns regarding the SE Plan and Strategic gaps. We now have over 50 members who have asked to be notified of planning issues by our "Alerts" system.
If you would like to receive up to date information on planning issues in Binfield Parish, please sign up to "Alerts", either via our website, or using the form available at the AGM.
As you can see "Alerts" have boosted our membership numbers considerably. But we were very pleased last year to take a record amount of subscriptions and donations at the AGM and look forward to a similar response this year.