Feedback from the Hall Hill Public Meeting 21st June at Bollington Cross School
The meeting was very well attended by about 70 members of the public. Carl Copestake of Knights Planning Consultancy was representing H Cumberbirch & Son the owner of the site. Carl had bought an electronic presentation, but for technical reasons the presentation could not be displayed and paper copies of the proposed layout were printed and circulated. The printed version was an earlier version of the proposed layout plan which included the potential for a supermarket similar to the one which had been refused at the Bayleaf Lounge Site. However, due to lack of interest by supermarket operators for one on this site the proposal had been removed. The proposal was, therefore, for bungalows on the site and a buffer zone at the rear of the site which would be gifted to the Town Council for use as public open space.
A copy of the electronic presentation, which should have been available on the night, can be viewed here by clicking on the image below.
The land in question is Green Belt and can only be developed in exceptional circumstances. Carl explained that his company's intention if this matter was to proceed would be to apply to Cheshire East Council to have the land removed from the green belt. A planning application would then be submitted.
He felt that the land could provide for accommodation for older people, accommodation which was needed in Bollington. He added that land would be gifted to the Town at the rear of the site for open space. He was fully aware of Bollington's developing Nighbourhood Plan and felt that this was the right time to present this proposal to the community.
There were many comments and questions from the audience who, without exception, felt that the protection of this site as Green Belt was very important. Bollington had experienced significant housing growth over the last 5 years and many felt that the character of Bollington was being negatively impacted, not least by the loss of green spaces and an increase in traffic congestion. It was pointed out that Bollington had 270 homes built, in build or approved to be built since 2010 and as pointed out by the developing Neighbourhood Plan, any further homes required by 2030 could and should be built on brownfield sites. The Town was also experiencing the loss of employment sites and whilst this would be vigously resisted by the Neighbourhood Plan it was conceivable that further sites, some of which were in the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment, could become developable.
There was concern that the plans lacked detail and Carl pointed out that this was at a very early stage and his client wanted to sound out the community before detailed plans were drawn up. What had been presented today was not about the design of the accommodation on the site, which would be worked up with full community consultation, but the principle of the site being used for this purpose. There was also concern that the builder had not been present, however, Carl said that his company had been engaged to present the builder's proposals because that was the purpose of a planning consultant whereas builders tended to have different skill sets. However, Cumberbirch's would provide a representative at future meetings if required.
The Town Clerk pointed out the The Town Council was part of the Neighbourhood Plan process and therefore owned it's current proposals, which were to protect the Green Belt. However part of the process was to seek views from all parties, and builders and planning consultants had every right to present proposals, indeed, if they were denied the opportunity the inspector, who would assess the final Plan, could decide that suitable engagement had not taken place.
Carl had been provided with a lot feedback and he and his client would reflect on it before taking any next step.
The meeting ended at 8pm.