This topic relates to the proposal to build new houses to the south of Buckden
In April of this year, just before the Easter holiday, Gladman Developments Ltd submitted to Huntingdon District Council (HDC) a planning application for ‘up to 180 dwellings on land west of Lucks Lane, Buckden’. In this application they have said that up to 40% of the dwellings will be affordable housing. The planning application can be viewed on the HDC website here. The planning documents are, in the main, marked as ‘General Document Public Access’ and are on the later pages.
The land in question is largely the field bordering the A1 between Buckden and Stirtloe Lane. Access to this site will be via Lucks Lane.
Gladman circulated a ‘Consultation’ leaflet to a few houses directly affected by the development and HDC sent letters to 61 houses advising them of the application.
A small group of concerned residents immediately called a meeting for Buckden residents, held at the Community Centre, and in spite of the very short notice over 170 people attended the meeting. The overriding view expressed was opposition to the proposed development.
A group of residents agreed to form an action group to try to co-ordinate objections to the proposal and the Protect Buckden’s Future group was established.
At the time of writing over 180 comments have been submitted to HDC the vast majority objecting to the proposal. These can be viewed on the HDC website using the above link and here.
You can also view entries made on this web site by clicking here
Considering that approximately only 60 houses received notification of the proposal this shows the depth of concern felt in the village.
Gladman. Who are they?
Gladman are based in Cheshire and seek to ‘obtain residential planning consents on edge of town greenfield sites and use our expertise and financial resources to proactively promote the sites and secure planning permission’.
They do this by locating such sites where they feel the local housing plans are weak or out-of-date and then approach the local land owners, or the land owners approach them, to put forward their plans. Recent relaxation of planning regulations has made their objective much easier to achieve.
They agree with the land owners a fee for the purchase of the land, subject to receiving planning permission, and then resell that land to housing developers at a profit. Usually all costs are borne by Gladman – the land owners lose nothing if permission is not granted. Of course, land with housing permission is far more valuable than without it.
An interesting press article on Gladman can be seen here.
We believe that Gladman have been working on the Buckden project for at least two years. They employ highly qualified, professional staff and consultants. They have invested considerable time, resources and money to reach this stage. To proceed with the application they must feel confident of success.
Gladman are NOT a company to be underestimated. They are thorough and persistent. But, as history shows, they CAN be defeated.
Does it affect you?
In a word, ‘yes’. Apart from the increased traffic and strain on our local services which are all detailed in objector’s comments on the HDC, and this, website, there are other less obvious issues.
Gladman anticipate that it will take 5-6 years to build the development. During that time HGV’s delivering materials and contractor’s vehicles will need to access the site. This will all be via Mayfield and Lucks Lane. There is no possibility of the Highways Authorities allowing access via the A1 and Stirtloe Lane. This would be accidents waiting to happen. As we all know building works tend to start and finish early. Therefore this traffic will be using the roads whilst our children are going to and from school and when we are trying to get to work.
Also, this traffic will significantly increase the wear and tear on Mayfield and Lucks Lane which are already in a poor state. Who will pay for the repairs to these roads? We can assume it will not be Gladman and therefore it will fall to the local highways authority. The authority’s accounts are already stretched due to funding cutbacks and the contribution they have to make to the development of the A14. So this cost will eventually fall to us by increased council tax bills.
In Gladman’s Consulation document they recognise that the local primary school is near capacity and state ‘a contribution will be paid to the local education authority to ensure that sufficient school places are made available’. In the planning application they are more circumspect and state ‘The capacity of local schools and other facilities will be investigated and, where appropriate, contributions to effectively mitigate the impacts of the proposal will be provided’.
In fact for developments of less than 200 dwellings there is no obligation on the developer to provide any funding and Gladman are well aware of this. We understand that Gladman are not very forthcoming with handing out ‘contributions’; why should they – it reduces their profits!
In fact the obligation falls on to the local authorities and therefore, ultimately, on us as council taxpayers.
Affordable Housing. Is it?
Most peoples’ definition of affordable housing is either council housing, housing association property or shared equity. Most people welcome affordable housing in that it will allow our children to stay in the village instead of moving somewhere cheaper or it will bring in new families who will bring new life to the village.
Gladman see it somewhat differently. They interpret it as defined by changes to legislation which are explained in this press article.
In effect affordable housing on this development will cost upward of £250,000. Can our children and young families afford such prices?
What can you do?
There are two ways in which this application can be defeated.
The first is to raise objections which counter the claims made by Gladman. These are not difficult to find but, as said earlier, Gladman have been preparing this for two years and will have their counter arguments already prepared.
The second is by sheer weight of numbers. It would be a very brave planning inspector who is prepared to fly in the face of hundreds, if not thousands, of objectors.
Please also write to your local councillors and MP. These are our elected representatives and they should be in no doubt as to which path we expect them to follow. Their future jobs may depend on it!
It is not too late. We have until at least the 20th June 2016 to make our objections and the more that are made the better our opinions will be recognised.
We believe that Gladman may be using this application as a ‘test case’. If they succeed with this application no settlement in Huntingdonshire and the surrounding countryside will be safe from their attentions. Consequently if you know anyone in such a place please inform them of this issue and ask them add their objections to this proposal.
We will keep this forum updated with developments so please keep watching.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article.
Protect Buckden’s Future.
Last Edit: 1 year 4 months ago by phoward46.
Since this topic was opened the Protect Buckden’s Future (PBF) Group has run a poster campaign and hopefully you have seen these on lamp posts and notice boards around the village. Possibly because of this campaign a number of new comments have been made to HDC and these can be seen on their website here. The number of comments is now 207 with 200 objecting and only 2 supporting.
Other than that, up until the end of May there hadn’t been a lot of news. Then on the 25th and 26th May, just before the Spring Bank Holiday (there’s a pattern emerging here), Gladman responded to the County Council’s Transport Assessment and to Buckden Parish Council’s Recommendations. Respectively they can be seen here and here.
In their response to the Transport Assessment they quote lots of facts and figures and conclude with:
"In light of the above the following conclusions are reached:
i) The site is located in a village with a good range of local facilities. All of these are accessible on foot or by bicycle for most residents of the development.
ii) The nearest main urban centres (Huntingdon and St. Neots) are accessible by public transport throughout the day for a range of trip purposes including work.
iii) Peterborough, London (and some major urban centres in between) are accessible by train from Huntingdon.
iv) Access to the required design standards can be provided.
v) There are no material traffic impacts.
Overall therefore the transport impacts of the development cannot be classed as severe".
So, in effect, they are saying that the council and all the people who have raised objections with regard to the traffic impact are wrong and they are right.
In their response to Buckden Parish Council’s Recommendations they try to counter all the objections raised by the council but significantly introduce their document with the following paragraph:
"I have reviewed the Parish Council’s reasoning for its opposition to Gladman’s proposed development off Luck’s Lane, Buckden. We would welcome a constructive discussion with the Parish Council as to their aspirations with regard to contributions should the application be granted planning permission. The same opportunities would not arise should the proposed scheme be decided by the Planning Inspectorate".
The last sentence is obviously a threat implying that if the council doesn’t play along they will ride roughshod over the wishes of the community.
Then on the 3rd June, some good news. Highways England responded to the application by recommending that ‘planning permission NOT be granted for a specified period’. Their response can be viewed here. In their summing up they say:
"We asked the applicant’s transport consultants to undertake an independent Road Safety Risk Assessment of this junction testing scenarios with greater numbers of trips using Stirtloe Lane to access the A1. This confirmed that if a significant minority of north or westbound trips selected the Stirtloe Lane route there would be a significant increase in safety risk that would warrant mitigation measures.
The applicant’s transport advisors maintain, however, that the numbers likely to choose this route would be negligible. On the other hand, given that there is nothing to justify this assertion, we continue to maintain that the number could be significant enough to trigger serious safety issues. We have asked them therefore to undertake additional work to address this issue. To allow sufficient time for this to be undertaken and to respond to it we therefore recommend that planning permission not be granted before 1 July 2016"
The residents of Buckden and the surrounding area will be fully in agreement with Highways England’s concerns and likewise note Gladman’s attempts to trivialise it.
It is still not too late to send your objections to HDC. Full details of how to do this are in the previous post. If you have any concerns please raise them.
You may have some local knowledge, unknown to others, that will be critical to the success or failure of this application.
This is an update (28th July 2016) from the Protect Buckden's Future Committee concerning the proposed development of 180 houses off Lucks Lane, Buckden.
Firstly, a big thank you to the 221 Buckden and local residents who have taken the time so far to write to HDC objecting to this planned development; your voices are being heard! We have noted that many of the objecting authorities, including Cambs County Council and Highways England, have referred to the public's local knowledge and experience contradicting the developer's remote allegations and sweeping statements. By comparison, a similar development on the outskirts of Brampton had 12 objecting letters, little opposition from other authorities and was recently approved.
There is still a long way to go. Owing to the developer Gladman's dissembling and delaying tactics, the Planning Officer has extended the deadline for his decision until at least August 18th 2016. The good news is that, based on the development not being allocated within HDC Planning Policy, the harm to highway safety, the impact on traffic flow, the detrimental effect on the Buckden/Stirtloe landscape and rural nature of Lucks Lane coupled with unresolved archaeological issues and the risk of flooding, the Planning Officer is inclined to refuse planning permission; however as stated above he has permitted Gladman at least an extra month to provide further evidence countering these objections.
Hunts District Council Refuse Planning Permission for Proposed Development of 180 Houses off Lucks lane
On 15th August 2016, Hunts District Council refused planning permission for the proposal to build 180 houses off Lucks Lane. Their detailed letter is available on their planning website (Ref: 16/00576/OUT, Documents, Page 4, Decision Notice dated 15/8/2016) or at this link: docs.huntingdonshire.gov.uk/AniteIM.WebSearch/(S(coluf145iw5xojzzsna1o355))/Download.aspx?ID=1357197.
In summary, their reasons for refusal were that the plans were unsustainable within the meaning of the National Planning Policy Framework, based on the significant environmental harm that would be caused by the proposed development, including:
• the erosion of the rural character gap between Buckden & Stirtloe
• the illustrative layout proposed cramped, over-intensive housing of insufficiently high quality which failed to integrate into the rural landscape
• the possible destruction of archaeology
• the anticipated increase in outbound vehicle trips from the development via Stirtloe Lane onto the A1 making it ‘extremely likely’ that collisions of ‘serious harm’ would result
• the developers were unable to demonstrate that the traffic impact of the proposed development on local highways, within and around Buckden, would not be severe
• possible flooding risk from Grafham Water
• the refusal should be considered in the context of the HDC’s being able to demonstrate a 5 year housing plan (including 5% buffer) without reliance on this proposal. And even if the HDC were not able to demonstrate this, any benefits of the proposal would still be outweighed when assessed against the NPPF policies overall.
This is good news for all those wanting to protect Buckden from unwanted expansion into the surrounding countryside, a massive increase in population and excessive traffic; many thanks to all who wrote in to HDC opposing this plan. BUT, it is likely that the developer will appeal the HDC’s refusal within the next six months or will submit amended plans for a smaller or different development, so we must remain vigilant. The Protect Buckden's Future Committee will continue to monitor the situation and will keep the public updated.
Unfortunately, but as expected, Gladman have appealed HDC’s decision to refuse planning permission. The appeal has been lodged with the Planning Inspectorate who will now, effectively, make the final decision.
We have not yet seen Gladman’s grounds for appeal but it would not be unreasonable to assume that it is based on their view that HDC’s 5 year housing plan is deficient. This is their normal method of operation as described in my first post.
Also in my first post I suggested that Gladman may well use this planning application as a test case. It looks as though they feel reasonably confident because as you may have seen in last week’s Hunts Post they have now made proposals for a housing development at Warboys.
If they are successful no village in Huntingdonshire will be safe from their attentions.
Gladman can be defeated but it will take considerable time and effort. The Protect Buckden’s Future Group will do all it can to assist both the Parish and Huntingdonshire councils to achieve this.
If you feel you can do anything to assist please contact us via the e-mail address below.
We would welcome help from residents of other villages in Huntingdonshire. Remember it may well be your turn next.
Last Edit: 11 months 2 weeks ago by phoward46.
A public meeting was held this evening at the Buckden Village Hall where the Protect Buckden Group explained the actions of the Group so far and the actions being performed to prepare for the public enquiry to be held in May.
The Group were pleased to see over 130 people attend the meeting and it was apparent from the question and answer session that followed the chairman’s presentation that villagers remain concerned and firmly object to the proposed development.
So far the members of the group have self-funded all activities and expenses. Now that the time is coming where professional services are required an appeal for funds was made. We were very pleased with the reaction of the people attending the meeting and a number asked how they could contribute.
If you can help our cause and make a donation we would be very grateful. Payments can be made by cheque (made payable to Protect Buckden’s Future Group) or by cash to James Quick, PBF Treasurer, 16 Lucks Lane (tel. 810843) or by bank transfer to the PBF account no: 30681960, sort code: 30 97 81.
Thank you for your support.