Conservatives refuse to be transparent about affordable housing

Will Sandry, has pressed the local Conservatives to improve transparency around the affordable housing element of new housing developments.

It is widely perceived that some developers try to use ‘viability assessments’ as a way of reducing their obligations around social and affordable housing provision. Notable examples in Bath have been Hope House and the Warminster Road MOD site.

In questions to the Cabinet member last week, Will called for viability assessments for developers’ affordable housing contributions to be published. He also highlighted a recent decision by Bristol City Council to make more information available. However, the Cabinet member has refused to open up viability assessments to public scrutiny. Will said:

“Residents are angered that some housing developers are playing the system to dodge their affordable housing responsibilities. I have asked that B&NES follows the lead of Bristol City Council in publishing variability assessments, unfortunately it seems the Conservatives don’t want to be transparent.”

 

Affordable Homes Show

The Council is running an affordable homes show for residents with a household income of under £60,000 who want to own their own home.

The show will give visitors the opportunity to speak with housing associations, mortgage advisors and legal advisors for free and confidential advice. For more information about housing and opportunities for home ownership, visit: http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/services/housing/find-home

Wansdyke Business Centre – Planning Appeals Dismissed

The Planning Inspectorate have dismissed both appeals against the Council’s decision to refuse student accommodation being built at the Wansdyke Business Centre.

Cllr Will Sandry said: “I am delighted. This is the right outcome for our community. Local people knew that these were bad proposals and I am pleased the Planning Inspector has agreed. I’m very proud of the community for coming together to constructively oppose these applications. Their dedication and passion for our shared sense of community is awesome.”

Cllr Shaun Stephenson-McGall added: “Both appeals being dismissed is a fantastic result. We know that the community is not opposed to the principle of change at the site, so the site owners must work with the community. It is essential that any new proposals maintain or increase the space for small start-up businesses and respect the local environment.”

Subway submits planning application on Moorland Road

Subway have submitted a planning application to make internal alterations at the former Shaw Trust shop on Moorland Road. The proposal includes removing and replacing the existing shop front. Subway propose to open from 7am to 10pm daily except on Saturday evenings when they have applied to stay open until 1130pm. You can view and comment on the planning application using this link.

They have separately applied for an illuminated and projecting signage for the business. You can view and comment on this application by using this link.

Statement : Baskervilles Gym

Baskervilles Gym have applied for planning permission to extend their building and put a new car park on part of the Moorlands Recreation Ground. Follow this link to view the application.

We know that Baskervilles is popular and successful family business which provides excellent sporting opportunities to the people of Bath and beyond.

Over the past weeks Will and Shaun have meet with Baskervilles, the Friends of Moorlands Park and other members of the community to discuss the application. We have also received numerous emails from people supporting the application and objecting to it.

Having carefully considered all views, we have recommended to Baskervilles that they withdraw their planning application.

We should be clear that we do not object to the principle of an extension to the gym building. As the applicant is aware, taking an area of parkland to create a new car park is not acceptable due to existing planning policy.

It is our view that no matter how good a facility Baskervilles provides, it does not justify taking away part of a public park to reserve it for just a few Baskervilles customers who chose to drive to the site.

We have encouraged Baskervilles to develop a better planning application and have made the following suggestions to them:

– Enter discussions with the School to seek to make use of their adjacent hard standing for parking outside school hours. This may present an opportunity to enhance the school playground and facilities there, and provide you with additional parking on brown field land.

– Open dialogue with the Friends of Moorlands Park and the Management Committee of Englishcombe Court to understand what a successful planning application would look like for them.

– Draw up new plans and make a pre-application to the Council. You will benefit from the professional advice of planning officers who can help you formulate an application which has a greater chance of success.

– Consider formalising a concession scheme for members of the local community who live within a certain distance of the park – say 500 metres, or those who walk or cycle to the site.

– Consider in a new application opening your cafe to all members of the pubic and not just your members. This would help put the site at the heart of the local community.

– Consider providing park and ride minibus service options for your out of town customers from existing park and ride facilities in the city.

Cllr Will Sandry | Cllr Shaun Stephenson-McGall

New HMO consultation

In 2013 Liberal Democrats introduced controls on the number of HMOs across the City. The Council is currently reviewing the Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). An existing “Article 4 Direction” (a term in planning law) withdraws the Permitted Development Right for the change of use from family homes (Use Class C3) to Houses in Multiple Occupation (Use Classes C4 and Sui Generis) across the City of Bath. The SPD sets out criteria for assessing planning applications required by the Article 4 Direction. The aim of the SPD is to avoid high concentrations of HMOs in the interests of an appropriately balanced housing mix across the city.

The revised SPD can be accessed from the Council’s Website http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/hmo.

The Council are particularly interested in hearing your views on the following questions:

  • Do you agree with the general approach of the SPD to manage the concentration of HMOs in parts in Bath?
  • Do you agree with the Sandwich Policy proposed in the draft SPD?
  • Do you agree with lowering the HMO threshold to 10% from 25%?

You can send your comments via the Council’s Consultation Website here.  Alternatively you can email them to HMO_SPD@BathNES.gov.uk or post them to Planning Policy, Bath and North East Somerset Council, Lewis House, Manvers Street, Bath BA1 1JG.

Comments should be submitted by 5pm 13th October 2017 after which the consultation closes.

Proposed Development Behind 89-125 Englishcombe Lane

The Council is proposing to develop land the behind 89-125 Englishcombe Lane. Will and Shaun have met with Council officers have requested a public meeting be held in advance of any formal planning application coming forward.

We know that a development at this location will be of concern to some neighbouring residents and want to make sure these concerns are properly addressed by the Council before any formal planning application is made.

 

The open meeting is on Wednesday 12th July 2017 between 3pm and 8pm at Sladebrook Evangelical Church Hall. It will be possible to attend at anytime during those times.