A happy but wet Bank Holiday to everyone,
An Update on progress. AECOM are working on our behalf on the two assessments asked for by Natural England, strangely we have asked if they want any help but they say they are fine and the reports will be with us in 8 weeks time with very little input from us.
Envision have asked us to find funding for another study to reinforce our case for low density housing on the sites that have been assessed previously. They want a Site Viability Assessment, which could be done by AECOM. I have applied for funding to do this assessment through Locality Technological Support and I am awaiting the inevitable grilling by phone as to why this is necessary. Fortunately Envision have written a crib sheet for me so all should go well.
We have applied for funding to pay Envision for another year and to run meetings again, when COVID allows. It was thought we would not have Julian from Envision, because he was to retire, but he is putting off his retirement to see this project through, as we have been delayed by COVID and a long period where Blackpool Council did not respond, or were arguing with Natural England and we rejected a Feasibility study which was poorly done. All that being said we are now near to publishing the complete draft of the Neighbourhood Plan.
As you will have read we have had difficulties with Blackpool Council in a few areas, to the point where a major complaint was being put together by our vice chair Lynda satterthwaite and our secretary Roberta Hargreaves. We had to show we had done everything possible to get the Council to cooperate in writing this plan, but they had failed to live up to their published constitution. Once everything was ready to send to the Ombudsman for Local Government we decided to have one last try before sending the complaint in. To our surprise all parties concerned did respond and wanted to meet on Teams to discuss the problems and find a way of working together.
The Teams meeting with Alan Cavill, Rob Green, Will Britain, Carl Carrington and our MP went ahead on 29th April. Representing the Forum Committee were Myself, Paul and Roberta Hargreaves, Lynda Satterthwaite and Harry Feeney. I have attached a precis of the meeting so you can see what was talked about, there were no formal minutes. If everyone sticks to what they have said then I think we are on the right path. We have arranged a meeting for a months time to check all is well, in the meantime the various parties in the Council are going to confirm their commitments to help by sending us emails saying what they intend to do. At this point we have received two, one from Alan Cavill and one from Rob Green. We have had a telephone call from Steven Anderson who is now in charge of Dykes and Waterways who has the intention to help in the maintenance of the watercourses. He is to write to us when his survey is complete.
We have been told by Carl Carrington that Blackpool Civic trust no longer have a Plan for Midgeland farm as they have had feasibility study done for the Environment visitor centre and it came in at £4 million. It would have been nice to work with Blackpool Civic Trust but they do not respond to emails and are not a Council organisation so we have no influence there. We will enter into discussions with the Council about Midgeland farm and see what is possible. We have the old plans for a woodland area with paths and maybe we can ask Natural England for help as well.
The problem of 5G masts comes up again. The Council don’t know what’s under the road at the Corner of School and Midgeland so don’t want the mast there. The firm concerned still want coverage so have offered alternative sites.
Planning wrote the following:
Please see below. As you will know we recently refused permission for a telecoms pole at the junction of Midgeland Road and School Road due to visual impact and the impact that it would have on highway operation and drainage.
The agent has spoken to the engineers and the following options are available:
- A 20m high mast at the junction of Midgeland Road and Progress Way
- A 15m high mast at the junction of Midgeland Road and School Road but on the other side of that junction
You will see that I have copied in Chris Dalby who is the agent on this case. As Chris says, I had a meeting with William at 3 last week and he explained that, because 5G works on shorter wavelengths, the signal is more susceptible to being absorbed by buildings and other obstacles. This limits the extent of area that can be looked at to cover the necessary catchment.
Please could you let us know if either of the two options would be acceptable to you?
The site at Progress and Midgeland looks, on a very poor map, to be on the attenuation basin lake site at the top of New Hall Lane. Please send me your opinions to email@example.com
ASAP so I can convey them to Planning
In some way we will have to accommodate this mast as we cannot have our area without 5G. If that happened it will adversely affect house prices in the future and limit opportunities for the residents as “the internet of things” comes into being.
So as you can see we are all busy on your behalf and hope that face to face meetings resume shortly.
Stephen Woodhouse Chairman MMNF
Precis of Minutes of Meeting held via Teams on 29th April 2021,
Between Blackpool Council Officials and Marton Moss Neighbourhood Form Committee
Marton Moss Neighbourhood Forum representatives: Stephen Woodhouse, Lynda Satterthwaite, Harry Feeney, Paul Hargreaves, Roberta Hargreaves
Blackpool Council representatives : Carl Carrington, Alan Cavill, Rob Green, Will Britain
Also present Scott Benson MP
Steve introduced the Forum members and the Council representatives introduced themselves.
Declaration of interest by Stephen and Harry Feeney as they live on the affected roads.
Steve discussed the lack of communication and how it was affecting the Neighbourhood Plan and leading to speculation by the Marton Moss residents.
Alan Cavill responded by admitting their failings and assuring that there would be more meetings and emails to keep the Forum informed.
With regards to Lynda’s question about the emissions from traffic at St Nicholas School, Will Britain said that there was a proposal to carry out Survey days for traffic and have the area as an Air Sampling Zone.
AP Will to provide survey data and dates when this will take place
Scott Benton expressed sympathy with the Council as he felt that the pollution was not as bad as it was in some schools in Westminster.
We were guaranteed by Will Britain that the 7.5 ton restrictions will be enforced on School Road which should go some way to alleviating the situation.
AP Will to provide plan of the activities to enforce 7.5 ton limit and timeline when available.
When asked about the purchase of the land and demolition of the house at 2 School Road, Rob Green explained that the proposed widening of that corner of the junction of School Road and Common Edge Road was to improve the flow of the north/south traffic. No one from the Forum could see the logic in this and it was suggested that understanding why these changes were made and the predicted outcomes was key to local support. The suggestion that the same system on East Park Drive works is not accepted by the Forum.
Lynda also queried why there were no plans to make more use of the exits/entrances already in place on Progress Way as they seemed like the logical route straight onto the motorway.
When questioned about this Will Britain said that further Traffic Surveys were to be undertaken and we would be informed about the outcome.
AP Rob/Will to provide revised traffic survey to MMNF Committee.
When asked about the possibility that the excess land at 2 School Road may be used for building purposes Rob Green said that there were no plans for commercial use of the land but that it was possible that 4 or 5 terraced houses could be built there in the future.
Steve responded by emphasising that such plans would affect the already written Neighbourhood Plan and it was just such lack of communication that had lead to so many misunderstandings.
Concern was expressed that traffic would not leave the EZ, at the proposed new junction on Common Edge Road, by turning right to travel all the way to Heyhouses to then join the new Link Road and if traffic turned left out of that junction they would be inclined to turn right into School Road rather than continue onto Progress Way.
The meeting was advised that Division Lane would not be connected to the new Moss/ Link Road and was aware of the meeting last week with residents of Division Lane. In additionthe meeting was advised that the turn right lane onto School Road could be removed to encourage traffic from turning into School Road, when this was queried the meeting was advised that the plans were still in an early stage, but the Forum would be informed in due course.
The application for the grant retrospective planning in the case of Foxes transport depot was discussed, mainly because of the outfall of contaminated water from this site ending up in the drainage system of the “Moss” Our neighbours have sought our support for their objection and we would like to know the views of the Enterprise Zone. Rob Green stated that he was objecting and said he did not think it an appropriate development. The Committee has read his statement and find it hard to understand why Blackpool Council Planning recommend passing the application when the Enterprise Zone and Environment Agency say it should not be accepted. No action is required but it helps to understand what is going on.
The subject of Midgeland Farm was discussed and Steve reiterated that we had not received any communications from Joan Humble at Blackpool Civic Trust for almost 18 monthsin fact we had been told that we could not be involved in the plans for it.
As this is one of the proposed large Open Green sites in the Neighbourhood Plan we are very frustrated at the lack of communication.
Carl Carrington revealed that the Civic Trust have now decided that the project is too expensive for them to be involved in and they are withdrawing from the project. This means that the Forum plans for the site in the Neighbourhood Plan can be used in talking to the Council about the future of the farm.
AP Contact with Jan Cresswell about a meeting to discuss Midgeland Farm Site. S.Woodhouse to send contact email.
With regards to PROW and Watercourses and dykes.
Will Britain said that there was now an undertaking to involve the residents with a view to reinstating the maintenance of PROW and dykes.
AP Will to keep the MMNF Committee appraised of the situation.
Steve said that there was a voluntary organisation (The Windmill Trust) that was prepared to help but they would need Council backing to avoid confrontations with land owners
Alan agreed that we should have these meetings on a regular basis and would ask Ann to arrange a further meeting in 3 to 4 weeks with the same departments represented.
Since the meeting
We have received good informative emails from Rob Green and Will Britain. Stephen has spoken to Steve Anderson about dykes and waterways.
E mail has been sent to Jan Cresswell asking for a Teams chat about Midgeland Farm
E mail has been sent asking that a circular be sent in the Council offices telling staff of the Forums existence and aims which may help.
A good start to what we hope is an improved cooperative relationship with the various Council departments.