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Next Meeting of Ponteland Civic Society

26TH SEPTEMBER 2016

"Mr Grainger's Market"

Freda Thompson

This meeting will be held in St Mary’s Church Hall, Thornhill Road, Ponteland, NE20 9PZ starting at 7.30pm
(Entry free to members. Guests are welcome and are invited to make a donation of £2 towards expenses)


"Dissington Garden Village"
Proposals for a huge extension of Ponteland

Several people have received an invitation from the Prince’s Foundation seeking – at rather short notice –their attendance at a Public Meeting on the evening of Sunday the 11th of September. This concerns a proposed “Dissington Garden Village” and is to be held at the DoubleTree Hotel at Newcastle Airport. Yes, it genuinely does come from Prince Charles’ organisation but originates from Northumberland County Council, with the backing of Lugano. The likely objective is to soften the local population to the proposed building of houses on the Dissington Estate, in response to the Government's "Locally-Led Garden Villages, Towns and Cities" scheme, and to tick the "consultation" box necessary for such a bid. The area comprises land immediately to the north and west of Ponteland (i.e. Darras Hall) bounded on the north by the Small Burn, to north-east by the A696 and to the west as far as Dissington Hall and beyond (all Green Belt). This latest proposal has been described as “Birney Hill x10” and you can see why by looking at the Map below; the part of the Dissington Estate we are talking about is coloured red.

Dissington Garden Village

The initial meeting will be followed by three all-day closed sessions on the 12th, 13th and 14th of September to which personal invitations have been issued, to be followed by a wrap-up Public Meeting on the evening of Monday the 26th of September. The opaque title of the whole process is “Enquiry by Design” which is not a methodology but turns out to be the name of a subdivision of the Prince’s Foundation. The operation of the sessions has been subcontracted to a consultancy named "Local Dialogue" who specialise in “Stakeholder Engagement”. They boast that “we know how to consult on, or communicate, complex projects successfully – to often sceptical stakeholders.” The person in charge of the Ponteland presentations is a Mr. Will Rogers, who is a graduate in Politics but appears to have no current qualifications in Planning or Architecture.

OUR RECOMMENDATIONS
We think that anyone who attends these meetings will be seen as supporting the proposals and we advise our members not to go. Past experience suggests that 95% opposition will be reported as if it were a “constructive meeting” and referred to much later as part of a successful “consultation” – but the majority community view will be effectively ignored. On the other hand, non-attendance could be interpreted as lack of concern, so we need to explain why we are not attending. At a joint meeting on the 5th of September our view was shared with other local groups, bodies and representatives. It was agreed that we, with the support of our MP and Councilors, would make a joint response saying that this proposal has no community support whatsoever and therefore we will not be attending any presentations or workshops. The joint respnse can be viewed by clicking here.

THE RULES
All this has provided an opportunity for Lugano because the Government has requested offers from Local Authorities for twelve “Garden Villages” across the Country. The basic requirements for the offers are summarized as follows:

  1. Each Garden Village is to comprise between 1,500 and 10,000 homes;
  2. Garden Villages must be new discrete settlements and not an extension of an existing town or village;
  3. The proposals must demonstrate a strong local commitment and show how the community will be engaged at an early stage;
  4. The proposals must include for all necessary new Infrastructure.
  5. Expressions of Interest must demonstrate how a proposed garden village will be well-designed, built to a high quality, and attractive;
  6. The proposals should be part of a wider strategy to secure the delivery of new housing to meet assessed need;
  7. Expressions of Interest will be encouraged which will make effective use of previously developed (brownfield) and/or public sector land.

CONCLUSIONS
Lugano’s proposals do not comply with all the Government’s terms; the whole exercise is probably a precursor of, and justification for, the release of green belt land by NCC for future house building by Lugano, probably to be marketed as a “Garden Village”, and potentially over the whole Dissington Estate. There will no doubt be various cash incentives, as we have seen before. The planned meetings are not only an attempt at large-scale manipulation of opinion but are intended to provide evidence of prior consultation, as in (3) above.

The whole community is suffering from “Consultation Fatigue” – we have had 11 significant consultations since 2012 and even more major modifications are scheduled for the Core Strategy. Added to that – controversial proposals for new schools to be shared with a rebuilt Leisure Centre have left the whole Town of Ponteland in confusion and with very little faith left in the County Council.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
If you agree with the above then write to Guy Opperman MP, putting it in your own words and whatever detail you think fit. If you have had a personal Invitation, decline to attend and refer to our joint letter. Circulate copies to me and our local County Councillors – Peter Jackson, Richard Dodd, Eileen Armstrong and Veronica Jones; We will forward them for you if necessary.
Guy’s postal address is: The House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA and his email address is: guy.opperman.mp@parliament.uk. (Email is the preferred means of communication.)

Northumberland County Council Background.

On Tuesday 12th July Northumberland County Council's Cabinet considered proposals for a 'Garden Village' on the Dissington Estate.

They resolved to accept Officers' recommendations that Cabinet:

  1. Notes the content of the report and agrees to the submission of an Expression Of Interest (EOI) to DCLG for support in developing proposals for a new garden village at The Dissington Estate, Ponteland and
  2. Following further discussion with DCLG as part of the EOI process, approves the making of further modifications to the Northumberland Local Plan Core Strategy, requiring further public consultation, to allow the garden village proposal to be brought forward through the Plan.

The report noted that:


Leisure Centre Consultation
July 2016

This consultation finished on 11th August 2016. The consultation document can be accessed on Northumerland's website here.

This consultation only really covered the facilities to be provided and not the location and integration with schools requiring use of greenbelt land. It tried to suggest that this has all been agreed as part of the schools consultation but that is not true.

The document also confirmed that public access will be limited during the school day. It is silent on what happens to accomodate schoolextra-curricular sports sessions.

The consultation document can also be accessed on our own website here
.


Re-think on Schools' Location included in School Organisation consultation

On Friday 18th March Northumberland County Council launched a consultation on proposals for a change from the 3-Tier to a 2-Tier school organisation in Ponteland.

As part of this consultation a map has emerged showing the schools sharing the current Leisure Centre site with whatever Leisure Facilities are provided Click here to view this map. The map shows an area significantly reduced from that currently occupied by the leisure centre and schools and is silent on housing proposals

In a further development Ponteland Middle School, which was threatened with closure under the proposals, has applied for and received approval for becoming an academy school. With this status Northumberland County Council is obliged to grant the school a 125 year lease on its current site.


Northumberland Core Strategy Consultation on Major Modifications

A further phase of consultation began on the 15th June and closed on Wednesday 27th July.

Click here to visit Northumerland's consultation page.

The following documents can also be downloaded from our own site but be aware that these may not always be up to date.
Brief guide to the major modifications consultation
The Proposed Major Modifications to be commented on.(June 2016)
Proposed Minor Modifications (For Information Only) and
The Full Draft as Modified (For Information Only).

Greenbelt Map

The modified greenbelt plans for Ponteland show loss of greenbelt for housing to the east of Willow Way, mixed use of the triangle of land between Rotary Way and Ponteland Road (with the beige area 'safeguarded' for future use) and employment use at Prestwick, abutting the airport.


The Listed Buildings of Ponteland Photographed 2015

An excellent document showing Photographs of The Listed Buildings of Ponteland in 2015 has been produced. Click here to view or download a copy. (151MB)


Draft "Local List"

A Draft “Local List” of buildings, open spaces or other local features – not otherwise formally Listed – has been drawn up for possible incorporation into the emerging Neighbourhood Plan for Ponteland.Do you have any comments or proposed additions? Click here to view or download the draft list. Comments may be submitted to pontcivic@hotmail.co.uk


Pre-emptive Library Move?

Northumberland County Council intend to move the library operation away from Thornhill Road, to the Leisure Centre in the near future. Click here to view Northumberland's Press Release.


Callerton Lane Landscape Study

The Society has produced a Landscape Study concentrating on the eastern side of Callerton Lane. We believe that this landscaping makes a huge contribution to the rural feel of Ponteland. This study may be useful background reading before the Drop-in Session and before responding to the Ponteland Proposals Consultation.

The study can be downloaded by clicking here (8MB).


Requirements for Conservation Areas

There are legal requirements for Conservation Areas and information can be found on the Historic England website.


Older information can be found in our Archive Area click here to view.


Disclaimer: Information is provided in good faith. Ponteland Civic Society uses reasonable endeavours to check the accuracy of information published or made available on this website. You should note however that the Society does not warrant that such information will be error free. Third party information included may not always reflect the views of the Society.


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