The Sherborne and District Society Group
Group Chairman: Mr Peter Neal Tel: 01935 814801
Dickie Bird (President)
David Gould (Vice-Chairman)
Vacant (Membership Secretary)
John Newman (Secretary)
John West (Treasurer)
Committee Members: Paul Austin, Robin Bawtree, Sarah Headlam and Revd. Richard Kirlew. Kate Pike is the Sherborne Town Council Representative.
Report dated May 2016
In the autumn review I reported on a key issue that had been resolved and that was the adoption of the Local Plan (LP). However, I do want to come back to this again now. Whilst this helped in some ways to stop blatant opportunism for development, it has still left grave uncertainty. Whilst the examining Inspector found the plan sound he wrote into the plan that ‘a plan review to be put in place not later than 2012… will also reappraise the development potential at Sherborne as one of the more sustainable developments’ he then singled out the possibility of further development at Barton Farm.
In the comments he implied that he expected the local community probably by means of a Neighbourhood Plan to be a part of this review process, i.e. the turkeys can plan Christmas. Whilst I have argued that Sherborne should develop a Neighbourhood Plan I am not sure that it could be completed in the timescale to influence the review
which the Councils want to complete well before 2021. However, the Society will support any such initiatives as far as we can. It is pleasing that a number of the villages who are not under exactly the same pressure but are still open to unwarranted development are now looking at neighbourhood plans and we have supported Yetminster and Leigh with some pump priming finance to do so.
Meeting with strategic planners
I and members of the Society met with the strategic planners for the Councils earlier in the month. They confirmed that without the proviso in the LP, outlined above, the plan would not have been ruled as sound (as one of the committee put it afterwards ‘we are stuffed’). In the review of the LP they will be looking to extend the forecasts of housing need until 2035. On the basis of the calculations used in the current plan they see a provision for about 4500 extra dwellings and whilst the whole area will be looked at again the indicators are that Sherborne will have to take the major part of such numbers. This is a potential threat to the town as we know it – could we be talking about 2000 additional dwellings? Our discussions with planners indicate that it is very unlikely that we can see development being maintained at the current level i.e. just the existing Barton Farm and a few windfall sites but we should be able to influence numbers, locations and designs. It was suggested by the planners that the Society might help by arranging a meeting with The Sherborne Castle Estates, to try to get
them to take a greater interest in what might be developed in the future on their land, to avoid the problems created by Barton Farm currently. I agreed to try to do this shortly.
In addition the Inspector created uncertainty by indicating that the Councils only just have a 5 year supply and therefore shouldn’t ignore new opportunities which come forward in sustainable locations and are consistent with other policy provision’.
The experiences at Yetminster, with two sites proposed outside the development
boundaries, indicate that the planners in making their recommendations seem to be ignoring the last 7 words of this sentence. Development outside Defined Development Boundary has 12 criteria for such development, none of which were being meet in the Yetminster cases, i.e. they were not consistent with policy in the plan yet the planners
recommended approval. The Planning Committee however dismissed the first of such applications. It appears that it may need an appeal to see how strong the provision of safeguards in the LP actually is. If such an appeal is lost then in my view the LP isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.
Bradford Road, Sherborne
As reported in the autumn review the land North of Bradford Road, Sherborne, was sold on to Bovis and we then went into what I have now started to call ‘mitigation mode’. Contact was made with Bovis and to date we have had three very constructive meetings with them and they seem to have taken on board many of our concerns. The latest meeting was in mid-March when we looked at final designs and materials. The planning application has now gone to the WDDC. I have to say the attitude of Bovis to date is miles apart from our experiences with the other national builder in the town. I
hope I don’t live to regret these words!
The owner of the Girls School site on radford Road/Horsecastles Lane has een confirmed as Restfulhomes and they have put in an application for a nrsing home there. Whilst we still cntend it is overdevelopment of the site, the design is Arts and Crafts and has a synergy with the other buildings nearby.
Protecting our local villages
It is important to recognise that our activities are not confined to Sherborne and that the Society plays a vital role in trying to protect our local villages. To this end we were pleased that in Yetminster the development outside the development boundary was rejected by the planning committee against the advice of the case officer. There is another application pending at the other end of the village, also outside the development Boundary which is being strongly pursued by the applicant, Gladman. We had success in Thornford relating to two appeals for small developments within the village, when in both cases the inspectors used the LP conditions to reject the appellant’s cases.
In Longburton we objected to one small development near the Methodist Church but supported the development on the old WDDC depot land. Similarly we supported the mixed development at Bishops Caundle – which I now think has been withdrawn but unsure why. We also put in objections to proposals in Holwell and Trent which were important in respect of the local environment. In Milborne Port
applications for a housing development and nursing home at Gainsborough and a Solar Farm at the other end of the village were both rejected by South Somerset District Council but are both now at appeal. We have argued that both do not fit with their Local Plan.
National Park proposal
You will be aware that there has been a group working on trying to get National
Park status for parts of Dorset and East Devon. After a presentation to your Committee it has agreed that the Society be a part of this bid to cover Sherborne and its environs.
The Queen’s 90th Birthday Pageant
We are looking for volunteers to join in the 90th Birthday Pageant in Sherborne on Saturday 18th June. There will be a street procession and we will join in to
celebrate CPRE’s 90th Anniversary by dressing up as the founders of CPRE
and/or the politicians who supported its foundation. Please contact Peter Neal for more details.