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Promoted by R Gambba-Jones & C Lawton on behalf of South Holland and The Deepings Conservative Association all of Office 1 10 Broad St Spalding PE11 1TB. Original printed by Welland Print Limited of West Marsh Road Spalding PE11 2BB
Updated at end of the entry
As a member of the district council’s planning committee you get used to hearing the people’s concerns and sometimes even their anger about proposed new development.
However, once the public concern has died down, most if not all of those issues resolved and the development built, there can be details that come back to bite you.
The pictures below show such minor details within much larger areas of development at Wygate Park.
The first 3 photos are shocking, both visually and potentially, literally. How anybody could think it made sense to place a utility box, with a mains electrical power feed in the direct path of vehicles entering and leaving a heavily used residential car park, escapes me.
Having done so, how can they then consider that two cheap wooden planted tubs, already falling apart, are an adequate form of protection against moving vehicles weighing up to 3000kgs?
The second set of photos are of an issue that I thought I’d already addressed, when I found the original bollard lying on the ground, due to the bodge job that had been carried out installing it the first time – how long did they expect 4 long wood screws in plastic plugs normally used in brickwork to last in Tarmac?. With the help of the our planning enforcement officer, I got the bollard refitted with bolts instead of the wood screws used originally – who do these people employ? Even then the refit was poorly done, but at least it was more secure than the original amateur job.
Imagine my shock then when I visited the site again sometime later, only to find that the bollard had now disappeared completely. It appears to have been displaced in favour of new Tarmac and a services cover. The location still has plenty of space for a correctly positioned bollard, using a nearby lamp post and low wooden fencing to block off the path that would otherwise allow vehicles to pass through easily.
The first photo in the second set show where the bollard is now, notice anything? That’s right, it’s now in a completely useless position. It now serves no purpose whatsoever, because vehicles can drive around it with ease, using the Tarmac area serving the properties to the left and drive over the gravel strip as shown by the white tyre marks in the second photo and continue on along the nice new Tarmac footway.
I had considered approaching the site manager directly rather than via our planning enforcement officer about both these issues. I’ve already tried this with the utility box and planters. This has been met with a deafening silence and I was only asking for the name and contact details of somebody within Kier management.
Ignoring these seemingly minor issues, prior to new development being handed over to the council – the formal term is adopted – stores up problems for the future. The utility box is of course the dangerous one; I don’t even know what it does, but if it gets hit and badly damaged, the residents will expect somebody’s help getting things sorted out and one things for sure, it won’t be Kier doing it, especially if the car involved is a hit and run.
The useless drive around bollard will very definitely end up in the district council’s complaints box. Those living beyond the far side of Minsmere Close and wanting to get to and from the school in a hurry, are soon going to starting using this footway as a rat run. This will be followed by residents in properties along that footway becoming justifiably very unhappy and complaining to the council and their local councillors. This means that, unless this ridiculous situation is resolved now, local council taxpayer will be footing the bill to fix it instead of the developers.
Therefore, given the silence to date on the utility box, I’m using this unsubtle approach and going public (not that I’ve really got much public to go public with), to see if that gets me anywhere.
Then just as I was about to post this article, what should appear in today’s Daily Telegraph. Nothing but empty promises in my opinion when they are coining it in as in the case of Persimmon. Until we have a much larger pool of developers seeking our business and greater range of housing for buyers to choose from, these sharks will keep knocking out their photo-copied designs and building them as cheaply as possible.
I’m very please to be able to offer an update to this sorry tale, having now been able to make contact with somebody at the right level. However, the answer I received could so easily have come from the site manager had he bothered to respond.
The electrical box and its associated crumbling planters, are apparently remnants from the old sale office that was in that location as the site was being developed out and should have been removed at the same time as the sales office.
The lonely and ineffective bollard is another piece of unfinished business by the onsite team. This one is about the installing of something called a knee rail. This would be a low level fence along the length of the narrow graveled strip to the left and designed to prevent vehicles crossing over.
Government mouth pieces defending the indefensible – in my humble opinion. The most senior of them conveniently sidesteps a key question from MPs, ‘If you sell a house at a discount, how do you buy another one to replace it?’. Answer, ‘Spend what money you do get, fixing up the houses you’ve already got’. That’s helpful isn’t it.
The MJ online By Martin Ford | 22 January 2019
A top Marsham Street official has defended the Government’s Right to Buy policy as ‘good value for money’ following demands for its abolition.
The scheme came under fire from MPs and the London Assembly this week, when it was accused of undermining councils’ efforts to build social housing and sapping funds.
At yesterday’s meeting of the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, Labour MP Liz Twist said: ‘How can you expect councils to invest in new social housing if they have to sell the house at a discount under Right to Buy?
‘It seems a bit strange we are wanting councils to build and yet they are having to sell these houses at a discount down the line.
‘It doesn’t seem to make financial sense.’
Permanent secretary at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), Melanie Dawes, said: ‘What we get in terms of economic benefits is that housing associations have receipts they are able to build with so we get the usual benefits from new housing supply.
‘We also get distributional benefits because generally we are talking about lower-income families who are able to buy who otherwise wouldn’t be able to.’
Highlighting London Assembly research published that found 42% of Right to Buy homes sold in the capital are now in the private rented sector, committee chair Clive Betts said: ‘It’s unfortunate many of them end up as buy-to-let properties.’
The London Assembly research by member Tom Copley also found the capital’s boroughs spend £22m each year renting back right-to-buy properties.
Mr Copley said: ‘Something has gone very wrong when tens of thousands of homes built to be let at social rents for the public good are now being rented out at market rates for private profit, sometimes back to the very councils that were forced to sell them.
‘Right to Buy is failing London and should be abolished.’
Cllr Darren Rodwell, London Councils’ executive member for housing, said: ‘These figures reveal the immense costs and inefficiencies caused by misguided policy at a national level and, with boroughs enduring a 63% cut in core funding since 2010, it’s clear we can’t carry on like this.
‘The Government should end its restrictions on the use of Right to Buy receipts so that all money raised from council house sales in London goes back into building more homes.’
MHCLG director general, Jeremy Pocklington, told the select committee: ‘We think it is good value for money.
‘The case for Right to Buy is it helps people into home ownership that would not otherwise be able afford their own home, which is something this Government strongly supports.
‘It does release resources that councils can use to invest in their stock.
‘While homes are being sold – which is enabling people who would not otherwise be able to own their own home – a great many more homes are being built through all the interventions, looked at in the round.’