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Beware strangers bearing gifts – Affordable Housing

 
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Provided a need can be established are you in favour of more affordable houses being built in the village?
No
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Yes. But not in the Crog Lane area.
25%
 25%  [ 1 ]
Yes. Including the Crog Lane area.
75%
 75%  [ 3 ]
Total Votes : 4

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Rhodie



Joined: 14 Sep 2005

Posts: 422
Location: Rhode Hill, Uplyme

PostPosted: 13/07/06, 06:44    Post subject: Beware strangers bearing gifts – Affordable Housing Reply with quote

The gift in this instance is the land on which to build 16 affordable starter homes off Crog Lane. I will not remind you what happened when the parish council, against the wishes of the vast majority of the parishioners, was last bowled over by a developer’s kind offers.

This offer was revealed at a meeting advertised as “Interested in Affordable Housing? Then come along to a presentation to be given by Sue Southwell Rural Housing Enabler for Devon”. But also present at the meeting was the land agent for the owner of the land that is bisected by Crogg Lane.

The handful of people at the meeting heard, from the agent, what was on the table and that there was some urgency in proceeding with the plan. Cllr. Peter Burton took up the batten and wants to proceed with great haste in taking up this generous offer criticising “lawyer” David Sole’s suggested cautionary approach, from the public gallery, as not wanted. Cllr. Burton also thought that Crog Lane needed tidying up and this would do the trick. This attitude was also supported by other members of the council. Cllr. John Duffin wondered why such people chose to live in the countryside.

As with Barnes Meadow the majority of parish councillors present at the meeting thought the proposal the best thing, well, since Barnes Meadow. The only complete dissenter on the proposal “to proceed to the consultation stage” was Cllr. Colin Pratt who voted against the proposal with Cllrs. Duffin and Crabbe abstaining. Cllr. Mason was not present at the meeting.

Ask anyone if they are in favour of affordable housing and they will say yes, with the proviso that it is in the right place and is needed by local people. But the recent affordable housing open day resulted in just 8 people registering an interest, which hardly proves a need in the parish for a development of 16 dwellings. We did hear that in the East Devon district there were about 70 people registered for affordable housing but it is unlikely that these people would work in this area and would treat their new homes as dormitories and commute out of the area. This is not what we are told affordable housing is all about. It is to house local people, otherwise unable to get onto the housing ladder, in the community where they work. There is no limit to how many affordable houses would be taken up by importing people from the rest of East Devon or further afield, Eastern Europe included.

It is commendable how the parish council sticks rigidly to the development envelope pouncing on any new development outside it even if it is of outstanding design and purpose. But label that development “Affordable” and they make an immediate ‘U’ turn.

District Cllr. Ken George said that he would represent the people of Uplyme at the district accordingly to how they made their views known on this matter. Perhaps he can get the first inkling of how they feel on this forum.
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Rhodie



Joined: 14 Sep 2005

Posts: 422
Location: Rhode Hill, Uplyme

PostPosted: 10/08/06, 20:01    Post subject: Reply with quote

At last night’s August parish council meeting the chairman Beryl Denham introduced the Affordable Home item on the agenda. She said that she was very disappointed that only two people turned up for the meeting “Interested in Affordable Housing ?” that was held before the July meeting and took this ‘no show’ as a lack of opposition to the proposed development in the Crog Lane area. Mrs Denham felt that anyone concerned about the Crog Lane development should have gone along to the meeting, although she did not explain how they would have known about the true subject of the meeting. She is on record as saying that the reason the poster did not spell out the true purpose was that the present tenants on the land had not been told of the plans. She also said, last night, that there were 23 people on the list wanting affordable homes in the parish, although only eight people had shown interest at the recently held affordable housing open day. Colin Pratt requested that this list of 23 is made available to the public but the request fell on deaf ears.

Incidentally the parish council still seems reluctant to spell out the details of this development for the item on last’s night’s agenda was merely referred to as “Affordable Housing”. The only specific mention was of ‘a development of land in Tappers Knapp’ that appeared in the report of the July meeting on the website. The good turnout at last night’s meeting is therefore even more surprising.

Also at the July meeting it was said that the owners of the land would be donating it for affordable housing but what was said last night was that they are trying to get the best price for they have approached a second housing trust and looking for the best price.

Last night the parish councillors were divided as at the previous meeting but with the addition of Brian Mason siding strongly with those opposed to such development.

Cllr. Whiting thought that Crog Lane and its trees could be left intact even with 16 homes being built there. I remember how many trees were going to be retained on Barnes Meadow.

It was agreed that an open meeting would be held in the village hall during October or November, the hall being fully booked during September, at which the proposal will be fully explained with plans hopefully being available. Parishioners will be able to put forward their views on the project. During the open forum that followed last night’s meeting a member of the public brought to our attention that 23 people will certainly be voting for the development!
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Rhodie



Joined: 14 Sep 2005

Posts: 422
Location: Rhode Hill, Uplyme

PostPosted: 12/10/06, 06:37    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was disclosed at last night’s parish council meeting that the open meeting to discuss the proposed affordable homes development in the Crog Lane area will be held in November as follows:

24th November 2006

6 pm Doors Open.
An exhibition showing preliminary plans and details of the proposal.

7 pm Presentation.
Various interested bodies and individuals will present their support or otherwise.
This will be followed by a Questions and Answers session.


During the evening people will be asked to vote on the scheme by way of a voting slip. I guess from what was said last night that the details of the voting slip have yet to be determined. It is not certain if names and addresses will have to be included on the slip, it does seem that this should be essential to determine what connections people have with Uplyme. The chairman Beryl Denham said that the result of the poll would determine whether or not the parish council would support the scheme.

Do you think that this probably small percentage of parishioners should determine the outcome or should a ballot be put to the whole parish?

I have now set up an opinion poll on this forum to see the likely outcome of how the vote would go. This poll will also show us if the readers of the forum are a representative sample of the parishioners. Please go to the top of this thread to vote.
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geoff



Joined: 17 Sep 2005

Posts: 702
Location: Lyme Rd, Uplyme

PostPosted: 12/10/06, 14:58    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rhodie wrote:
Do you think that this probably small percentage of parishioners should determine the outcome or should a ballot be put to the whole parish?


Personally I think the whole parish is affected so the whole parish should be polled.
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Rhodie



Joined: 14 Sep 2005

Posts: 422
Location: Rhode Hill, Uplyme

PostPosted: 09/11/06, 12:54    Post subject: Reply with quote

New parish council member Cllr. M Cawte on hearing, at last night’s parish council meeting, the details of how the meeting on the 24th will proceed was concerned that none of the presentations to be heard from 7 pm on the night will be opposing the scheme. Chairman Beryl Denham said, as the scheme will not be unveiled until that evening it would not be possible to make a case against the specific proposals.

Not being able to formulate a fully considered response those opposing this scheme are clearly put at a disadvantage. One consolation is that although voting slips will be handed out at the meeting people will not be under pressure to hand in their completed slips on the evening but can do so at a later date. Perhaps a healthy discussion can be held on this forum between the meeting and the deadline for returning the slips.

Geoff has already said that he feels that the whole parish should be consulted on this issue. It seems that the committee dealing with this matter has not even considered who should be voting.

Should we be concerned at the make up of the committee?

Perhaps the names of the members of the committee could be posted on this site or on the parish council website to allay any concerns people may have that the committee’s make up does not reflect both sides in this issue. Are we being set up on this?

As the parish council site does not offer any input for parishioners to pose questions could a member of this special committee or indeed a parish councillor please inform us, on this forum, who will be entitled to vote in this important matter?

For details of the meeting go to: http://www.uplymeparishcouncil.org/Public%20Meeting.pdf

A copy of this post has been sent to the parish clerk.

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Rhodie



Joined: 14 Sep 2005

Posts: 422
Location: Rhode Hill, Uplyme

PostPosted: 09/11/06, 19:31    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have now discovered who the committee members are who have engineered the meeting to be held on 24th. They are Beryl Denham, Peter Whiting and Peter Burton. This trio of councillors were those most outspoken in support of the proposal when it was introduced at the July parish council meeting (see posts of 13th July and 10th August).
One can understand Cllr. Cawte’s concern.
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Site Admin


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Location: Lyme Rd, Uplyme.

PostPosted: 13/11/06, 20:59    Post subject: Reply from Mrs. B. Denham on behalf of the Parish Council. Reply with quote

Cllr Denham asked me to post the following response on her behalf...

Charles has forwarded me a copy of your inaccurate e-mail sent to the Uplyme Forum, it would perhaps have been courtesy to send a copy to me.
As you are at the Uplyme Parish Council meeting on Wednesday last it would have been advisable for you to have voiced your concerns during the public forum and then all the parishioners present would have heard the Parish Council response and the matter would have been put in the proper perspective
Replying to your e-mail:
1."Cllr |M Cawte on hearing at last nights council meeting"-Cllr Cawte was well aware of the details and had sent me an e-mail regarding this matter at least two weeks ago, on Wednesday he wished to make his concerns clear to the Parish Council. "Cllr Beryl Denham said as the scheme will not be unveiled until that evening"- I did not say the scheme would not be unveiled until the evening of the meeting. As things stand at the moment we have very little to unveil and we have asked all the presenters to bring their own displays and to set them up.

2."not being able to make a fully considered response..." It is not a case of opposing or not opposing the scheme. The presentations are being made so that the Parish Council and parishioners know exactly what is being suggested. After the presentation there will be an open discussion and anyone present can make a presentation or voice their concerns or as you put it"make a case against specific proposals" ( if we do not know exactly what the proposals are we cannot make a case).

3. There will not be voting slips but a short questionnaire. At the Parish Council meeting which you attended, it was clearly stated that the questionnaires must be returned by 1st December. The "healthy discussion" will take place at the public meeting, that, in case you missed it, is the whole point of the public meeting

4."Geoff browne has said the whole Parish should be consulted" everyone is welcome at the public meeting.

5. "should we be concerned at the make up of the committee". The committee was formed at the Parish Council meeting in September for the sole purpose of setting up the public meeting- this committee is in an administrative capacity only and is composed of Cllr Whiting, Cllr Burton, the Clerk and myself. The implication of being "set-up"is disgraceful and a slur on the good name of the Parish |Council

6. Parishioner will be entitled to express their opinion on the questionnaire to be handed out at the meeting or indeed may write in( as a few have done already). I cannot help feeling that you are purposely trying to create a debate with inaccurate information-this is not helpful. The Parish Council is endeavouring to be fair to every one. As I said on Wednesday night, The Parish has been offered this land and the Parish must decide whether or not to accept

In conclusion I am disappointed that you have seen fit to convey ill informed information concerning this very sensitive issue to the Uplyme forum. In the interest of fair play no doubt you will give this response an equal airing.

Beryl Denham. Chairman Uplyme Parish Council
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Rhodie



Joined: 14 Sep 2005

Posts: 422
Location: Rhode Hill, Uplyme

PostPosted: 14/11/06, 10:09    Post subject: Reply to Beryl Denham. Chairman Uplyme Parish Council Reply with quote

The email was not addressed to any particular person and I indeed considered it a gesture of courtesy to inform the parish council of the post that I had made on the Uplyme Forum website. I believed that official access to the parish council was via the parish clerk. Surely you must support this means, as the only email address given on the parish council’s website is that of the clerk.

1. It is quite irrelevant that Cllr. Cawte had emailed his concerns to Cllr. Denham two weeks before the meeting except that the council had an early indication that the balance of the meeting may be questionable, giving your committee a chance to rectify the matter. It obviously chose not to do so.

As my "Cllr Beryl Denham said as the scheme will not be unveiled until that evening" was not in quotation marks I thought it obvious that it was paraphrasing of what you had said. You now say, "As things stand at the moment we have very little to unveil and we have asked all the presenters to bring their own displays and to set them up". Exactly it will be unveiled on that evening.

The council may not be privy to the actual plans for this development but you are aware that there is considerable opposition to any development in the Crogg Lane area. Cllr. Mason indicated his concern at the August parish council meeting and then as chairman of the Uplyme and Lyme Society, in his newsletter to members, said, “...your committee has agreed that the Society must, oppose it”. Could not Cllr. Mason have been invited to put forward his society’s objections to any development in the area?

3.
It is irrelevant what you choose to call the slips that will be distributed at the meeting. I assume that the council will base its decision on whether or not to support the scheme on the proportion of returned slips indicating support of the project or otherwise. To me that is a vote.

4.
Of course everyone will be welcome at the meeting but many will be unable to attend. For instance my two daughters and many other young people will be away at university or working and living away. Whether or not they settle in Uplyme after completing their studies/training could be influenced in part by the availability of affordable housing. It is these and people in similar circumstances who may want to debate the issue on the forum. Whether or not they are going to be officially invited to comment by the parish council is not at all clear.

5.
Any concern that the parish council has not been completely open in this matter must rest entirely with the council. You will remember that the meeting that took place before the July parish council meeting was advertised as "Interested in Affordable Housing? Then come along to a presentation to be given by Sue Southwell Rural Housing Enabler for Devon". There was no indication that a site had been identified and that a proposal was to be presented at the meeting. At the following meeting in August you said, and in this I paraphrase, that you were very disappointed that only two people turned up for the meeting. Your disappointment can be understood but you surely could not have been surprised. You felt that anyone concerned about the Crogg Lane development should have gone along to the meeting, however you did not explain how these same people would have known about the true purpose of the meeting. Your reason for not correctly advertising the true reason for the meeting was given to be that the tenants of the fields bisected by Crogg Lane had not been informed of this possible development. Which suggests that the parish council or the owner of the fields had contacted the tenants between the posting of the notices on the notice boards and on your website and the actual meeting so giving you carte blanche to discuss the proposals at the meeting. I assume that the tenants were contacted, if indeed they were, at the eleventh hour as I did go to the parish council website immediately before the meeting and the true purpose of the meeting was still not given.

Can you therefore wonder why there was a degree of suspicion from the beginning regarding this matter?

In these circumstances further suspicion was bound to happen when the committee responsible for the wording of the questionnaire and the overseeing of the 24th November meeting was seen to be made up of the three councillors who most strongly supported the project at the July meeting. These members may not purposely set things up to bring about an outcome that they would be pleased with but with nobody representing the opposite views and human nature being what it is open to question . It would have been reassuring to know that at least one person who was not initially and completely bowled over by the proposal was included on the committee.
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Rhodie



Joined: 14 Sep 2005

Posts: 422
Location: Rhode Hill, Uplyme

PostPosted: 27/11/06, 09:40    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Crogg Lane – Affordable Housing meeting duly took place on Friday night with a great turnout of parishioners.

Unfortunately what we were presented with was an extremely vague picture. It was suggested that eight houses could be built on either side of the lane with just one service road on each side of the lane accessing the two separate developments. The land agent said that this would leave the lane and its trees, and I assume the road width, completely intact. A planning inspector recently said that development on a vacant plot in Rhode Lane can only go ahead if planning permission was obtained for a splayed entrance at the site, which would mean the removal of a historic Devon bank and its trees. With this in mind one must surely question the presenter’s knowledge, thoroughness or honesty in making this suggestion. Compared with Rhode Lane, Crogg Lane is narrower, not level and not straight. An unchanged Crogg Lane would remain one-way. I need not spell out what this would mean with the increased traffic.

It was not until Cllr. Beryl Denham wanted to wind up the meeting, after a lively Q&As session and with a good hour of the scheduled time still left and with no sign of the supply of questions drying up, that the subject of the Questionnaire was raised. We were told that it had been arranged to issue the Questionnaire when people left the hall, so nobody knew the form that it would take or the questions it included until the meeting was over. Considering the importance that will be given to the results of this survey it was odd that no time had been allocated to going over the details.

It was not until this last question was begrudgingly allowed that we understood that the availability of the questionnaire was going to be limited. Yes everyone at the meeting would be given a numbered sheet, although a record of who was issued with which number was not taken, and additional forms could be taken for members of your family not attending the meeting although obtaining extra forms was reminiscent of getting blood from a stone. We were told that other people not attending the meeting could also fill in a questionnaire but the sheet would not be freely available at the most obvious places – the village shop and I assume neither the parish council website. To obtain a form one would have had to contact either Cllr. Denham herself or the parish clerk, although as with the advertising of the July meeting it was not clear how people would know of this. Apparently after the meeting the parish council has had second thoughts and made the concession for the questionnaires to be available in the village shop.

The wording of the questionnaire was as follows:



AFFORDABLE HOUSING QUESTIONNAIRE

Do you believe that the presentations have been informative? Yes/No
If not, why not.

Do you support the principle of Affordable Housing in the village? Yes/No
If not, why not.

Do you support the project outlined this evening? Yes/No
Whether you answer is yes or no it would be helpful to indicate your reasons.

Are you answering the questionnaire in the capacity of a possible candidate for Affordable Housing? Yes/No

Thank you for taking the time to answer this questionnaire. Please place in the box provided or if you wish to take it with you for further consideration please place in the box provided at the Post Office by 1st December 2006.


You will see that this questionnaire was designed to be completed by those attending the meeting. If you did not attend the meeting then you will obviously not be able to answer question 1 and 3. As for question 2 the vast majority of parishioners would say yes but they would not be saying that the Crogg Lane was a suitable location. As for question 4, alone it is of little use for we were told that the number wanting affordable housing was eight, twenty-three or was it seventy? Whether these grossly inconsistent figures refer to individuals or families is not clear. Incidentally as this meeting was widely advertised, unlike the July meeting, it is surprising that more of the ‘70’ people wanting to live in affordable homes in Uplyme were obviously not in the audience. As was made clear at the meeting these lists and the people on them must mainly be taken on trust. Why is there a stigma attached to wanting to live in affordable homes?
Ultimately, if their dreams come true, the anonymity of people on these lists will no longer exist.

To answer ‘NO’ to the question, “Do you support the project outlined this evening?” will not mean that you are completely against any affordable housing in Crogg Lane. It may means that you are not happy with the vague details outlined on Friday. Of course those not attending the meeting will not be able to answer the question anyway. A most important question to add would be, “Are you completely against any affordable houses being built at the proposed Crogg Lane site?”

It would have been interesting to know if the ‘70’ people on the ‘list’ were going to have questionaries sent to them, but the meeting was wound up before this and other questions could be asked. Cllr.Denham’s statement on this forum, ‘The "healthy discussion" will take place at the public meeting, that, in case you missed it, is the whole point of the public meeting’ should be read in this light.

It does seem that not enough thought had been given to the questionnaire, its questions, its availability, whether it should be directed to all parishioners or just those attending the meeting. This is what was feared through not having a cross section of opinions on the committee. Now that the questionnaire will be available at the village shop perhaps the committee will consider making it available on the parish website. Because of this it would now be advantageous to extend the deadline of 1st December and perhaps, because of its insignificance to those not attending the meeting, the questionnaire should be rewritten.
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Rhodie



Joined: 14 Sep 2005

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Location: Rhode Hill, Uplyme

PostPosted: 02/12/06, 13:08    Post subject: Reply with quote

The deadline for responding to the questionnaire has now passed with no indication on the parish website of an extension to the time. Neither was a more appropriate edition of the questionnaire, for those who did no attend the meeting, available on the website. Incidentally I did enquire at the village shop if the questionnaires were available and yes a number were placed there. Unfortunately someone took all they had at the time, about 15, and these were not replenished. One must wonder what someone would be doing with 15 questionnaires. Shocked
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geoff



Joined: 17 Sep 2005

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Location: Lyme Rd, Uplyme

PostPosted: 04/12/06, 22:23    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for keeping us up to date on this story Rhodie.
Have you received any response from the PC re the questionaire ?

Geoff.
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Rhodie



Joined: 14 Sep 2005

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Location: Rhode Hill, Uplyme

PostPosted: 14/12/06, 08:03    Post subject: Reply with quote

The results of the “Questionnaire” were disclosed at last night’s December Parish council meeting, although the way that they were communicated read remarkably like it had after all been a ‘poll’. We were given the results in numbers and percentages. The result was clearly that although the people ‘voting’ approved of the parish supporting affordable housing they were almost unanimously against the proposal to build it in the Crogg Lane area.

I assume that the exact figures will be posted on the parish website, www.uplymeparishcouncil.org

It is interesting to compare the result of the questionnaire with the poll here. Admittedly the one on this site only had four votes cast. The results completely opposed each other. What does this indicate? Please discuss. It does suggest to me that I should not be too keen on launching a poll in future for a number of reasons. Embarassed

Some publicity was inadvertently given to Uplyme Forum last night. It was said that this thread had attracted over 200 hits. That figure can now be updated to over 600.
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Rhodie



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PostPosted: 12/01/07, 09:07    Post subject: Reply with quote

The results of the questionnaire have now been posted on the parish council website as part of the minutes of the December meeting: www.uplymeparishcouncil.org/December%202006.pdf

The parish council in, “the parish has voted overwhelmingly against development in the Crogg Lane/ Tappers Knapp area” now seems to accept that after all it was a vote.
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