Appendix E Planning Report – July 2022

Document Date

18/08/2022

Created by

N/A

Category

Meetings

Accessible version of document​

REPORT FROM THE PLANNING GROUP – July 2022                                 APPENDIX E

 

  • Granted Applications
Reference No. For Date granted
NW/22/00311 Bozeat School, permanent permission for modular building 7/7

 

  • Refused/Withdrawn Applications
Reference No. For Date refused
None  

 

  • Pending Applications
Reference No. For

Status

NW/22/00321 Nene Milling, 40 homes and village hall  
NW/21/00592 Dungee Corner, appeal of refusal of new dwelling Comments sent
NW/22/00436 Manor Farm, new windows and repairs No comments sent

 

  • New Applications
Reference No. For

Status

None    

 

  • NW/22/00321 Nene Milling site, 40 homes plus a village hall

This village has been notified of the proposals and particularly asked for input into the village hall design.  This was done through posts on the village social media pages and by contacting village groups that may wish to use the hall.  There have only been a few responses including some helpful suggestions and concerns raised about inadequate parking provision for the housing causing issues elsewhere.  They are incorporated in the proposed response below.

Proposed Parish response:

Bozeat Parish Council would not normally support development such as this which lies beyond the village boundary but in this case we consider that the benefit of providing the village with a fully funded new village hall outweighs our usual concerns.  The need for a village hall is set out separately below.

We welcome the inclusion of bungalows in the scheme for which there is a high demand particularly with our ageing population.  We also welcome the inclusion of street trees both for aesthetic and environmental reasons.  That being said, we would like to see some changes to the current proposals which we feel would improve the scheme.

As usual parking provision is one of our prime concerns because the public transport provision is limited in both the locations served and the times during which it operates.  This results in a high level of car ownership particularly among the working population.  Nearby residents have expressed concerns about the potential for overspill parking in streets where there is already a shortage of spaces.

We believe that in the most part the development meets the on-site requirements for Class C dwelling houses as set out in the Northamptonshire Parking Standards, however we note that the type G houses fall short of this.  Additionally although types E, H and J do appear to meet the standard for on-site provision, this can only be guaranteed to remain the case if permitted development rights are removed from their garages.

On-street parking is valuable because it is not tied to individual properties and can satisfy the needs of a few high ownership properties whereas unused on-site parking is rarely made available to neighbours.  We feel that the 10 spaces indicated on the plans will be insufficient and could result in residents and their visitors parking in the spaces allocated for the village hall thereby reducing the spaces available to hall users.  Conversely, additional street parking would help avoid residents and their visitors being unable to park if there was overflow parking from the village hall using the on-street parking spaces.  There would appear to be opportunities to create additional spaces although this may require widening some roads.

We think that the suggestion from Place Services that the village hall should be located closer to the road would be a practical improvement because, as they suggest, this would increase the available amenity space for the hall.

One ambition that the Parish Council had for the hall was to provide a venue for a village badminton club and the current hall design meets the Sport England specification for badminton.  We are in further discussions with the agent, organisations and other potential users of a village hall regarding changes to the design so that it would be both more sustainable and better meet the needs of the village.  The sustainability features that we are considering include solar PV panels, EV charging point(s), ground source or air source heating, solar water heating and a grey water system.

To date only a few of the potential users have responded but they have highlighted that the hall would predominantly be used for social purposes rather than active sport and that it should have more natural light to make it more welcoming.  The amateur dramatic group have also raised concerns about how a stage and backstage would be accommodated without compromising the sports use.  The police have requested use for surgeries and events.

The need for a new Village Hall

Bozeat and the Parish Council have for many years been exploring options that would deliver a village hall that meets modern standards and provides additional facilities for the village.  The original trust for Bozeat Playing Fields incorporated into its title an ambition to build a village hall, although the pavilion that was built is not of sufficient size to act as a village hall.  About 10 or more years ago a group sought to raise funds to build a hall at the playing fields but were unsuccessful.

The existing community hall in Bozeat is St Mary’s Church Hall which is owned by the Diocese and run by the PCC.  The building is probably beyond its projected life but has been kept going by the determined efforts of volunteers.  Nevertheless the facilities are dated and significant sums would have to be spent on it in order to bring it up to modern standards.  However, because the building is church property many sources of grants for such a refurbishment are not available and the Parish Council is strictly limited in the contribution that it would be allowed to make.

Things came to a head recently when new environmental standards were introduced that the church hall did not meet.  The costs to bring the hall up to the required standard were significant and it looked as though the hall could have to close unless funds could be raised to upgrade it.  Grants were sought but the church ownership meant that most were inaccessible.  A committee was set up to explore options that would either result in the church hall being let to the village on a long term lease or to seek a means of funding a village hall in a different location.  Although the Diocese did propose a lease arrangement, the terms offered were not considered viable.  In the end a grant was obtained from the Borough Council of Wellingborough just before its dissolution which enabled the essential works to take place.  Whilst this has enabled the church hall to continue in operation, its future always feels insecure because of its restricted access to grant funding.

The smaller school room in the Independent Wesleyan Chapel is another facility used by some smaller village groups.  The chapel congregation is small and although it is not in imminent danger of ceasing to be viable, it may well share the fate of the Methodist Chapel and close for worship and be converted into housing.

The Parish Council can envisage a situation arising over time where the village is left without a community hall or one which no longer meets the needs of the community.   The existence of the church hall has meant that it is difficult to seek grant funding for a separate village hall not least because villages without a functioning hall can demonstrate a more urgent need.   The previous application on the Nene Milling site looked at first to be a means of providing a village hall but the proposed S106 contribution towards a village hall left such a large funding gap that it was felt that there was little prospect of the village being able to raise the necessary funds to proceed before the S106 monies would have to be returned.

While exploring options for a solution to the village hall dilemma, the committee looked for possible sites where a hall could be built.  The local landowners that were approached were not willing to sell land leaving Bozeat Playing Fields as the only possible option.  The BPFA was open to hosting a village hall but felt that additional land would be necessary to replace parking if a playing pitch were not to be lost.  Again the local landowners were not willing to sell land.

Although the Nene Milling site is on the northern edge of the village, it is closer to residents than Bozeat Playing Fields which lie to the east of the village.  Pedestrian access to the playing fields is either via Harrold Road or Dychurch Lane.  Dychurch Lane is a narrow road without a pavement for most of its length leaving pedestrians walking in the road which can be hazardous particularly on the blind bend.  Because of their location outside of the village several users drive to the playing fields, particularly residents from the west side of the village.  The proposed village hall would be more accessible than the playing fields.  The Parish Council do not believe that there are any available sites within the village that would be more accessible not least because in recent years most sites that could have hosted a village hall have been developed for housing.