Response from Mr Peter Shaw, Heversham Parish Council
1. Mr Peter Shaw, Heversham Parish Council : 29 May 2008 10:13:00
Please state as clearly as you can the exact part of the Report you are commenting on by quoting the page number (if known), paragraph number, option name or number, or the number of the map, figure or table.
Mainly PO14 - Milnthorpe Functional Area, but comments also cover table on page 60, and sections 2.23 and 2.25.
Do you support, oppose or have an observation about this part of the Report?
Please write your comment or explain your reasons for supporting or opposing this part of the Report. You may also wish to refer to the tests of soundess in the glossary of the Preferred Options document before making your comments.
This response records comments made at a public meeting organised by Heversham Parish Council on 23rd May 2008. It is not to be construed as a personal response by any member of Heversham Parish Council.
1. Scale. A recent SLDC South Lakeland News states “The Council realises that South Lakeland is a special area and its character and identity needs to be protected while ensuring a future for our communities”. There was general agreement that Heversham (which includes Leasgill throughout this response) could accommodate a small number of dwellings but would prefer these to be within the cost range of young families so that local people can stay local.
The 2001 census showed “310 household spaces” in Heversham. That number will have increased slightly but an extra 80 houses (2 hectares at 40 houses per hectare) – an increase of around 25%, does not seem to fit the definition of “moderate scale development” (Section 2.25). The increase in Milnthorpe seems even less “moderate” with 640 houses (16 times 40) on top of a 2001 census figure of 955.
There is no justification in the report for the relationship between residential and commercial space, and the Milnthorpe KSC seems to have been singled out for special treatment. The ratio is 18 residential to 9 commercial in Milnthorpe, but in other areas seems to be much smaller. For instance, Kendal is 50 to 42 and Grange 12.5 to 10.
There is a fear that Heversham would become a dormitory area for people travelling great distances to work. It is not clear how the employment opportunities being created would enable occupancy by locals other than at the affordable level. Prices are too high and wages/salaries too low.
In addition (table in section 3.71), there is little “Urban capacity” identified in the Milnthorpe KSC. Although the “Housing target” is 792 (9% of 8,800), the “Residual” figure of 721 is 15% of the total “Residual”. In other words Milnthorpe KSC is being asked to provide far more than 9% of the new land for housing.
Finally, in this section, the 1.5km line does not include all of Heversham, but Heversham is included in the Milnthorpe KSC, whereas Beetham and Sandside, which also lie partly within the 1.5km line, are not being asked to contribute to the needs of the Milnthorpe KSC.
2. Infrastructure. The main concern is about roads and the volume of traffic. Many people commented on the difficulty of accessing new housing from Woodhouse Lane (site 4) which is narrow with not even a verge along much of its length. There are similar problems with sites 3a and 3b which would have to be accessed from the busy A6 or existing village roads.
Section 2.23 talks about “better services and access to them”, but does not cover basic utilities. The people of Heversham are not convinced that the basic utilities would be adequate for a sharply increased population, and cannot see any commitment to improving them in the report.
Also noted was the lack of provision for increased medical and dental care. Local hospital services are being reduced. Yet these expansion plans increase the requirement for doctors’ and dentists’ surgeries of at least half.
There are no shops in Heversham. As a result new residents would have to travel to do all of their shopping.
In Heversham we have a primary school which is already close to capacity and does not have space to expand. Where would any extra children receive their primary education without having to travel?
3. Landscape. There is a fear that the scale of expansion suggested would undoubtedly harm the character of the landscape around Heversham. For instance, the view of St Anthony’s Tower is to be preserved from Milnthorpe, but may not be to the south from Heversham! There is also a fear that the view of Heversham from Heversham Head and from Farleton Fell would be harmed by excessive development in Heversham.
4. Comments on Specific Housing Sites.
It was noted at the meeting that “Heversham/Leasgill was not included in the Employment and Housing Land Search Study” (Table 6, Page 168). The meeting trusts that the “Further work” will be completed thoroughly before any decisions are made.
Site 4. Comments on access have already been made. Housing behind Woodhouse Lane would result in the loss of good agricultural land, and would spoil the view and amenity for many residents of Woodhouse Lane, Parkhouse Drive and Dugg Hill. A planning application to build houses in this area was rejected as impractical some years ago.
Site 3b. Access is again a problem, and again it is agricultural land. Some of it suffers from drainage problems. One field is very steep and was purchased some years ago by a “land bank”.
Site 3c. Access and agricultural again. A well used footpath crosses the land, and housing would spoil the view and amenity for many residents of south Heversham.
Alternative Sites. It was suggested that Dallam School be contacted to see if any of the Heversham campus might be available for housing.
What change(s) would you suggest for this part of the Report?
The number of extra dwellings being suggested for Heversham/Leasgill is much too large. It cannot be described as "moderate", and would change the nature of the settlement.
Please indicate if you wish to be notified when the Core Strategy has been:
Submitted to the Secretary of State for independent examination
Adopted by the District Council