STEERING GROUP MEETING/OPEN FORUM
Minutes of the 19th meeting – 29th November 2017
Held in The George Inn Upstairs Meeting Room, Maulden, from 20:00hrs.
Committee/Working Group Members
Alan Plom [Chair / Leader of Infrastructure WGp]
Simon Barnes [Vice Chair / Leader of Housing WGp]
Roger Ball [Leader of Environment Gp / Maulden Parish Council (MPC)]
Lesley Illingworth [Minutes Sec]
Mark Bingham [Leader Social, Educ & Welfare WGp]
Nigel Coote [Env WGp]
Mike Browning [Env WGp]Ruth Plom [Social, Educ & Welfare Gp]
Michael & Mark Hillson (MJ Hillson Ltd)
Neil Arthur & Gareth Ellis (Flitton & Greenfield PC)
Mike Lake [DLA Town Planning Ltd]
Paul Downing (Ward Cllr) Philip Jackson [MPC Chair]
Philip Allen [MPC]
Christine Inskip (MPC)
- Welcome, Introductions and Update
- Alan welcomed everyone, noting a very good turn out and more ‘new faces’, interested to learn more about recent planning applications. All were invited to leave their contact details to be kept informed.
- This month’s guest speakers were Michael and Mark Hillson (of local builders, MJ Hillson Ltd) + Gareth Ellis and Neil Arthur from Flitton, Greenfield & Pulloxhill’s Neighbourhood Plan (NP).
- AP explained the background to the NP and emphasised we need to work together with adjacent Parish NP’s and several other NP’s had shared their experiences with the Steering Group.
- Several people had attended the MNP/MPC Housing consultation meeting on 3 April and AP described how the coloured dots placed on the large map of Maulden [to indicate support (or otherwise) for potential sites for development identified by CBC in the draft Local Plan] had been analysed. Although not binding until recorded in the NP, the preferences and concerns had already been used as evidence in MNP’s submission to CBC on the draft local plan, and by the Parish Council and Central Beds.
- Minutes of last meeting (25/10/17)
Mike Browning pointed out that minute 4.4 re the Covanta Incinerator should read “600 lorry movements” per day [not “600 lorries”]. Subject to this amendment the minutes were agreed and signed.
[ACTION: AP or RB – Revised version to be filed in Dropbox folder and posted on our webpage.]
- Matters arising (Actions not on agenda)
The actions were reviewed (all on agenda),
- Village Update
4.1 Report from Maulden Parish Council
- There are approx. 1500 homes in Maulden and Philip Jackson (MPC Chair) suggested that another 180-200 houses might be expected under the Local Plan, over 10 years – more than double the number built here in the past 10 years. However, several planning applications had been submitted before CBC’s Local Plan was finalised, which could lead to a further 186 new houses on sites not included in the Call for Sites for the Local Plan.
- This significant increase poses a major challenge to strategic planning deciding where they could go, without damaging the character of Maulden. Maulden is a small village so it is important to plan and control where growth should take place. It is important to work with developers for the benefit of the village, so it was good to have Mr Hillson at the meeting to present their proposal.
- The PC is forming a view that will take into account what developers can contribute to the village. While small developments can be absorbed, less than 10 houses contribute nothing in terms of s106 funding for facilities in the village, which could include a new school, shops. etc. NPs are statutory and have ‘clout’ because they express local opinion and have to be taken into account by the Council.
4.2 Planning applications
(i) Cllr Allen provided a summary of recent planning applications and ongoing discussions, including:
- CB/17/01156/OUT – the number of dwellings proposed for land east of 13 Clophill Rd (next to Wheatlands Close) has been reduced from 23 to 14. However MPC feel the revised plan still does not overcome the previous objections and consequently has objected to the amended application.
- CB/17/00305/OUT – for approx 49 dwellings at Old Farm, Clophill Rd was refused in April but appealed on 30 October. No information received on timing or date for the appeal.
- CB/17/03546/OUT – for 50 dwellings in Clophill Rd had been refused. No appeal yet.
(ii) The decision on 3 other major applications will be made during December/January. These are;
- CB/17/00981/OUT – 21 dwellings on land north of Clophill Rd;
- CB/17/03937/OUT – 14 dwellings South of Limbersey Lane for and
- CB/17/04583/OUT – 25 dwellings on land adjacent to 129A and 131 Clophill Rd.
(iii) MPC has been consulted by two local developers – Hillson/Aragon and Summerfield/DLA Planning, with proposals for developing additional sites in Maulden. An Extraordinary Meeting of the PC is being arranged on 12 December for these two proposals to be presented to the full council. It will be an open meeting and a formal public notice will be published shortly.
- Julie Sharp asked whether new applications getting approval ahead of the NP would affect the target number of new builds. PJ suggested it would not, ie they would be additional to the quota under the LP.
Mike Lake (ML, DLA Planning and ex-Planning Officer) advised that CBC are bringing their revised Local Plan forward. Originally proposed to take 18 months, CBC now intend to consult on the revised Local Plan early in the New Year and submit it by March 2018. This would avoid the proposed increase in housing projected in the area under the Government’s new Housing Formula, ie from 1,800 to 2,500/year.
- ML said that he had attended meetings with other groups and Parish Councils, and it was ’refreshing’ to see that Maulden is ‘ahead of the game’, speaking to developers and gathering pace with its Plan. The need for Maulden to plan improvements to the infrastructure in the village as it goes forward with new building is important – unlike Flitwick and Ampthill that have seen huge growth but no more amenities, doctors, etc. It was emphasised that there is no value in Maulden having a ‘NIMBY’ attitude, because growth will happen. It is useful to be able to pay for Consultants through the funding on offer for NPs, to help in planning.
4.3 Potential development in Maulden [Presentation by MJ Hillson Ltd]
- Simon Barnes introduced Michael Hillson (MH) and reported that he had attended a meeting recently with Messrs Hillson + MPC and CBC Cllrs to discuss an interesting proposal for development which could, include a new school.
- Michael gave a brief background on his company, which has been based in Maulden for ~40 years and employ many local people. They also have a joinery company and a training programme with 26 trainees/apprentices. Hillson’s have developed various sites in and around the village – most recently the 17 bungalows at Badger Hill – which took 12 years to gain planning permission. These include shared ownership and ‘affordable’ housing, reflecting the findings of the ‘Housing Needs Analysis’ for Maulden that Hillson’s had commissioned for MPC about 5 years ago and his company are still very willing to work with the village, MNP and the Council to devise a workable scheme.
- MH showed a map of the land owned by Hillson’s (18 acres in total) and explained that planning permission was already granted for offices to be built on part of the land, behind their office and buildings. However, because of the recession, these offices were never built as there was no market for them. This land was included in CBC’s Call for Sites and a firm of professional architects has been called in to address the environmental concerns expressed.
- They would employ an innovative architect to build to the highest specification and this project could include a school to replace the existing already at-capacity lower school, or a village hall or other community facility. A diagram illustrated a possible layout for the school and surrounding houses, preserving the area and views adjacent to the Greensand Ridge. The existing school could be used as a village hall and community centre?
- There was much discussion around the school, as it is unclear what capacity will be required – this depends on whether schools in Bedfordshire would be 2 or 3 tier in future.
- PJ talked about what would contribute best to the village, taking in the characteristics of the area and what we need to preserve, in order to maintain the village/rural feel. There is increasing acceptance that building will happen and it was felt that open discussion is both refreshing and beneficial to the village.
- AP showed his ‘dotty map’, produced at the Housing Consultation meeting in April. This indicated attendees preferences from the 9 sites selected by CBC for consultation in the Draft Local Plan and also the MPC-owned land near the school. [This has been analysed and discussed at previous meetings and also fed into CBC, in MNP’s submission on the Local Plan.]
- Clarification was requested on what constitutes a ‘small’ vs a ‘large’ village. PJ pointed out that in the Local Plan Maulden is deemed to be a ‘small village’, otherwise we could expected more houses to be built (up to 500 houses in large villages!). The Greensand Ridge was also seen as a ‘green lung’ to be preserved. If we work together with developers and the Council we are more likely to get what the village needs in terms of a mix of houses, locations and extra amenities, etc.
- The pros and cons of being a ‘small village’ were also discussed. When the questionnaires go out we need to ensure that we get as full a representation as possible and capture the views of the younger generation. AP is keen to demonstrate that the NP has attempted to get everyone involved and we plan to involve and consult students from local schools, including Redborne Upper School.
4.4 Flitton, Greenfield & Pulloxhill Neighbourhood Plan: Sharing experience
Neil Arthur & Gareth Ellis (Flitton & Greenfield PC) were invited to the meeting to share their experiences. They spoke about the issues faced by their three villages and the application for funding for a cycle path to Flitwick Station. This is at an early stage and a meeting of interested parties was held recently. MNP was invited, but unable to send anyone.
[ACTION: PJ/RB: A spur to Maulden would be possible and should be advocated through the PC.
- Project Plan & Funding
- 5.1.Update on funding
- SB explained that although Government funding of just under £7000 has been approved, mainly to pay for BRCC to carry out the village survey and analysis, and Greensand Trust (GST) to carry out the Green Infrastructure Survey, and our bank account had been opened (after weeks of delay caused by the Bank), it was discovered belatedly that an NP must be a corporate body or registered charity to receive the funding directly.
- A solution needs to be found soon, or the funding will be lost. Parish Councils have received and handled the funds for NPs in other areas, but MPC rejected this option.
[ACTION: PJ agreed that MPC should receive the funds after all and transfer asap into the MNP account.]
- 2.2.Green Infrastructure Survey (GIS)
RB (Chair of the Environment Working Group) outlined the scope of Greensand Trust’s (GST) proposed village survey. The importance of maintaining green/open spaces and ‘green’ corridors to help biodiversity between neighbouring parishes will be addressed, and we need to continue liaising with our visitors and others. GST will produce relevant maps, a project timeline and are also planning a village consultation meeting, to be held in the Village Hall on 23 Jan, from 19:30hrs. [ACTION: RB/WGp to meet with GST to finalise arrangements.]
5.3 Revised MNP Project Plan
Item deferred as Project Coordinator Simon Ratcliffe was unable to attend the meeting.
[ACTION – AP to contact SR.]
5.4 MNP constitution/roles & responsibilities
The draft Constitution and Roles and Responsibilities documents still need MPC’s nominations as point of contact to liaise with the Social, Education and Welfare Working Gp and the Regulation Gp [ ACTION: PJ]
- Working Group Updates
- Analysis of joint NHP/Maulden PC Housing Consultation
AP is still waiting to contact David Bailey who had offered to analyse the questionnaires. [ACTION: DB/AP]
- 6.2. WGp activities – Membership, contacts, ‘As is’ statements, survey questions
- AP explained that most Working Groups had nearly got to the stage of being able to discuss their Questions and ‘As Is’ Statements with CBC (Siobhan Vincent) and BRCC (Jemma Maclean).
- As above, RB explained that the Environment Group had been convened on 15 November, together with Sue Raven from GST. It was agreed in principle that the Survey should be complete by the end of March.
- The NP’s Local Economy/Business Working Group still needs to be established. Mr Hillson was willing to work with the Group, along with Julian Smith and Stephen Summerfield (as a farmer/businessman and on behalf of the PC.) [ACTION: AP]
- Communications (articles, website, social media, banner, etc)
[ACTION: SB and RB to get quotes.]
- Action Log (outstanding actions from previous meetings) [AP/MNP 171025/3]
Also deferred due to lack of time. [ACTION: To be discussed with Working Group Leaders.]
6.5 Other issues arising from last WGp Leaders meeting (22/10/17).
- Steering Group Officers and WGp Members list
- Working Group and Village Consultation meetings.
GST will be coordinating the next MNP/MP Consultation Meeting on the Environment and GIS, on 23 Jan.
- What next? Urgent Actions
- Amend and post minutes of last meeting [AP/RB]
- PC to discuss connection to new cycleway/footpath to Flitwick from other villages
- MPC to receive funds and transfer to MNP [PJ]
- RB/Environment WGp to meet with GST to finalise arrangements for meeting on 23 Jan + SB and RB to get quotes for banner/posters.
- MPC’s to confirm nominations to liaise with SEW and Regulation Working Groups.
- AOB – Next Steering Group meeting
To be held on Wednesday 31st January at 8pm, Upstairs in The George, as usual. Anyone with an interest in development and planning in Maulden are welcome to attend. No further business, the meeting finished at 21:50.