9th March 2014
DON'T FORGET! The current consultation period ends at 5pm on Friday 14 March.
Time is marching on and we are getting closer to the deadline. All of the FORSE booklets have been distributed to the four parishes and it is imperative that we now ensure as many responses as possible. Remember that all members of the household can respond, including children, provided that they are capable of signing their name on the document.
If you have already made your response – THANK YOU VERY MUCH. If not – get on with it!
For those who helped by delivering the FORSE information pack, thank you so much. Now is the time to follow up – this means knocking on the doors where you delivered the pack, asking whether they have made their response and offering help. We know that’s not an easy thing to do, but don’t be put off – every vote counts!
SDC keep moving the goalposts but, if filling in the complete form, FORSE policy would be to score Option A, Fuller Dispersal, as Preference One and Option B, Gaydon/Lighthorne Heath as Preference Five. For the avoidance of doubt it might be wise to fill in the other three Options in order of your choice. For your guidance:
Option C: Long Marston Airfield. Brownfield Site. Restorable rail line adjacent. Free £20 million ring road section on offer from developers.
Option D: South-East Stratford. Integration within the existing community of Stratford-upon-Avon. Possibility of another Avon crossing at least part-funded by developers.
Option E: Brownfield site at Southam North. Benefactor’s vision of genuine Bourneville-style garden village at Stoneythorpe.
However, to make things a bit easier, and following a request from Gaydon residents at their meeting on 18th Feb, we have produced a one page document summarising the main reasons why Gaydon/Lighthorne Heath is the least preferable place. You can download this here.
This has already proven to be very successful in eliciting a response from the hard to reach folks. This could be a mix of apathy, a feeling that it wasn’t worth responding, good intentions about objecting but little time, or simply that there was too much information to digest - we know that lots of folks feel uncomfortable about filling in forms. All the individual has to do is to complete their name and address, sign it and hand over to a FORSE supporter for delivery to SDC – and remember every member of the household can complete it. You may want to use this to help you or to help others.
We know that residents affected by the other development options under consideration are beginning to galvanise support – see the report about Long Marston in the Stratford Herald of 27th Feb. This is not surprising – the good news is that FORSE is already on the case and we have all of you as supporters, but it demonstrates that we need to make sure that we get many more objections than the other areas.
Responses can be made on-line using the link above, by email to email@example.com or by post to Stratford-on-Avon District Council, FREEPOST CV2468, Chief Executive's Unit, Elizabeth House, Church Street, STRATFORD-UPON-AVON CV37 6BR.
You can download the consultation response documents here.
16th January 2014
Following some analysis by Stratford District Council over the past few weeks, another period of consultation is looming, this time from 31st January for six weeks.
The great news is that there are now serious alternatives to the Gaydon/Lighthorne Heath (GLH) development proposal and GLH is no longer the preferred option. The five sites now being considered for inclusion in the Core Strategy are Long Marston, Southam, Stoneythorpe, Stratford East and GLH. All five sites are being considered on an equal footing with the full reports due to be completed in March 2014.
We are truly making a difference. However it does mean that this time our response will be measured against the other possible sites who are also rallying their troops for a fight. We have to do even better than last time.
We have to tell residents what is happening and make sure our response this time is even more effective than the last. We need help this weekend to deliver flyers to residents of all four parishes and beyond. If you can help, meet us at Lighthorne Village Hall at 10am on Saturday 18th January.
For more background information on the latest consultation and the cabinet meeting, click here. Pages 11-26 refer to the Core Strategy development.
1st January 2014
The end of 2013 approaches and my - how we have come a long way!!
Looking back at the fear and despair caused by the revelation in July this year of a plan to build 5,000 houses at Gaydon/Lighthorne Heath (GLH), who would have thought that, just five months later, we could have achieved so much?
With no warning and no consultation, Stratford District Council had hoped to railroad this project through, to push us aside and ignore us – but they hadn’t counted on us being ready to stand up and fight!!
Over 400 written objections from residents – and more recently the support of home-builders and developers alike who have also poured cold water over the idea that GLH is a suitable place to build houses! And Jaguar Land Rover objected too - and there is still, to date, NO agreement with SDC over what land they require!
But, in the end, it was our objections which SDC was obliged to take seriously and the wealth and quality of the evidence we put to them which meant that they had to put their plan back, and back, and back again! And we now have a reported guarantee that there will be NO development of land south of the B4451 at Gaydon!!! We will soon hopefully get this confirmed, but already good news!
In the last five hectic months, we have not just made SDC stand up and take notice of us, we have reinforced our own and each other’s communities and in our unity we have found strength.
And we have also found that we are not alone – our membership grows daily and the interest in us along with it, including the Leamington papers and an, albeit brief, ‘national appearance’ in the Independent! BBC Coventry and Warwickshire want to know what we have to say, as well as FREE Radio and Touch Radio – and of course we won’t forget the visit from a BBC Television Midlands Today crew! Our message is well and truly out there, and SDC don’t like it at all!!
We haven’t laid down and gone quietly, nor will we! FORSE is a force to be reckoned with and in just 5 short months we have found and used our voice effectively!
All this has been made possible, of course, by the many FORSE workers we don’t see, the unsung heroes and dedicated teams who are ploughing their way through volumes of documents and pulling apart SDC’s scheme at the seams. They are quietly making sure that our evidence is being robustly assembled and SDC evidence is being taken apart, ready for the bigger battles to come in 2014!
So, what does the New Year hold?
The main story is that SDC really don’t know themselves but at the moment…
The Council published its Forward Plan on Friday 13th December 2013, simply stating that it planned to receive a progress report, consider the latest evidence on housing needs, and consider updates to the Local Development Scheme early in the New Year
Their intention is that the draft LDS will be published as part of the Cabinet Agenda on 3rd January 2014, ready for a Cabinet meeting on 13th January 2014.
The next full Council meeting will be on 24th February 2014 where Cabinet recommendations will be put forward for a vote (anticipated further delay and reports at this stage)
SDC’s Draft Core Strategy is now being put back and amended to cover the years 2011 to 2031 instead of 2008 to to 2028.
The cost of new expert reports is now around £½ million – which they say they ‘hope’ will be submitted by end of March 2014.
SDC think a final report on GLH will be ready for April 2014 followed by a consultation on soundness and a final report to Cabinet for July 2014 with them potentially submitting their Core Strategy to the Secretary of State in August 2014, but all this is dependent on there being no further delays caused by local council elections in May!!
Their plan, even on their own new timetables, has already slipped by some 8 months and we fully expect there will be more slippage and delay. It may well be that they now lose a whole year - just because we were not prepared to be ignored!
And every day’s delay works to our advantage. Other sites they had previously tried to ignore have now had a chance to come forward to be considered and, significantly, they include some FAR more suitable and sustainable than GLH!! And the more evidence SDC is compelled to gather on GLH itself, the more apparent it becomes what an awful, unsuitable and unsustainable place it would be to build houses at all!!
In short we are winning the battle - but we must Keep Fighting in every way we can!! We are in a war but, skirmish by skirmish, we are drawing ever closer to defeating our enemy!!
The Season’s Greetings to you all from me and from FORSE - and here’s to our ongoing success in 2014.