Marton Moss Forum Update
It’s been a while now since our last update, but we have been busy on the resident’s behalf and I would like to tell you how complex writing this Neighbourhood Plan can be.
In the last update I spoke about Habitats Regulations Assessment and Strategic Environmental Assessment. Both of these reports were asked for by Natural England. To put this in context when we commission or write reports and assessments, as we are obliged to do, these documents have to go out to be read by some 50+ agencies, who may be affected by what is written. These can be electricity companies, United Utilities, the airport, Environment Department, Lancashire County Council, RSPB, the list just goes on and on. This work is done by our advisor from Envisionuk and is in part what he is paid to do. If any one of these agencies comment, we have to consult with AECOM who write the reports and they have to negotiate solutions. The Committee members try to steer these negotiations to reflect the resident’s views, as stated in the various surveys and responses we have received over the years and to fit in with the draft plan.
Blackpool Council did not like some aspects of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) or parts of the Habitats Regulations Assessment. At first, we were worried that they were trying to ‘water it down’ but after some negotiation with the Head of Planning a compromise has been reached. It turns out that Blackpool had done some of this work and they did not want a separate set of rules to be written, so now the documents will draw on Blackpool’s work and reference some parts of their work so that the documents complement each other. This however has taken up much of the last 2 months.
The other item we have been asked to do is a Viability Assessment. Blackpool Council said they would do one and commissioned Smith Lambert Hampton to write a report. This report was considered poor by the Committee as it was based on all house sales in FY4 and FY3 which bear little resemblance to our Forum Area. It was sent back for alteration, but the documents produced were still as poor. It was decided to commission AECOM to write a new report and to engage with them in making sure that it reflected the Neighbourhood Area rather than the FY4 postcode. It took nearly 2 months to find the money for this report, as we had to justify not using the one provided by Blackpool, this was not an easy job with 2 Teams interviews and some difficult questions. We have had a Teams meeting with AECOM who have a Team of 3 people working on this and we have made our views known. The problem is the sites that have come forward are probably not viable in an economic sense if you apply a notional land cost of £200,000/acre. We have tried to explain that people already own the land and do not take this into consideration when they want a house for themselves, granny or the kids. It is only when you want to build large numbers of houses this has a real effect and that is not what the residents want. This document should be with us for review in 4 weeks time.
Other items addressed since last update:
We have had extensive contact with the Enterprise Zone officials. They were not for consulting anyone about their plans, but we have insisted on being kept informed. We have had 2 Teams meetings and expressed our concerns about increased traffic, the proposed widening of School Road and Common Edge at the new junction of Amy Johnson Way. We have expressed our dismay at the lack of new surveys to justify the changes, the lack of enforcement of the 7.5T limit and monitoring of pollution around the School. The Council have agreed to do all these things and we are keeping a close eye on their compliance. A lot of changes are proposed but very few people think they will all work.
We have met with the new team for Public Rights of Way (PROW) and the new person in charge of Dykes and Waterways. If all goes well, this looks like a better group of people, who want to get things done, however only time will tell. Our Vice chairperson Lynda Satterthwaite is dealing with this. Some of you will have received letters from our Councillors saying these matters are in the process of being resolved, hopefully we can work together to get Riparian Law enforced and groups of volunteers to clear all the PROW, with the Councils supervision and permission.
The plan timetable is as follows:
MARTON MOSS NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN PROGRAMME – AS OF JULY 2021
|Consultation on Draft Plan (Regulation 14)||Sept – Oct 2021|
|Submission of Plan to Blackpool Council (Regulation 15)||Jan 2022|
|Publication by Blackpool Council of Submitted Plan to allow formal representations (Regulation 16)||Feb-Mar 2022|
|Independent Examination of Plan (Regulation 17)||Apr 2022|
|Publication by Blackpool Council of Examiner’s Report prior to Referendum (Regulation 18)||May 2022|
Prepared by Julian Jackson of Envision UK on behalf of the Marton Moss Neighbourhood Forum
Stephen Woodhouse Chairman Marton Moss Neighbourhood Forum