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Progress with Lowfields Carehome but concerns over open space continue

by westfield on 8 December, 2016

At tonight’s Executive meeting of the council there was progress made towards the provision of a Carehome on the former Lowfield School along with homes for elderly residents which have been called for by Westfield Ward Councillors in response to local residents’ requests. The proposed development on the school field has been of concern to local residents, along with a proposed new junction coming in off Tudor Road.

Pressure has been made for more information to be made available to residents in relation to the Police office, GP surgery, and Self Build proposals. The Westfield Ward team will be following this up.

All proposals would still need to go through the planning process which will give a further opportunity for residents to make representation.

Cllr Waller has represented Westfield residents views tonight and made the following comments;

Speech to Executive on 7th December 2016

Reference to Lowfield Development

The provision of elderly care and housing for older people on this site on the footprint of the school is not in question – this has been welcomed and I am pleased that representations made to the Calling In Committee on 16th March 2015 claiming that this location was unsuitable for this scheme has been reversed.

This proposal does at least redress the previous imbalance of provision which was weighted towards the East of the city with the Burnholme site.

However, during the consultation many concerns were raised about many other aspects of the plans. This is reflected in the petition we have received which many local residents have signed which has asked for consideration of the local plan revisions when reviewing the development of the former school field.

After lobbying from myself and my ward colleagues, the report now attempts to address a few of these issues. The changes are highlighted in Recommendation B.

It is important that there is consideration of the way that the development is laid out, especially as there are many more houses on this than consulted on in the local plan. This follows significant concerns from residents in Dijon Avenue.

I am very surprised that I have had to give stronger representation of residents’ concerns about the need for  a clear commitment tonight that the plans will prevent a ‘rat run’ being opened up between Tudor Road and Dijon Avenue.

I would also like to see further information provided on self-build housing – the report includes extra information, but this needs to be communicated to residents. We need to be clear to them that this will not be a building free-for-all. We have all seen the ongoing problems with the 2 years of development in the Our Lady’s School site which has seen a disregard for limits on delivery times, pressures on narrow roads and a number of issues which still need sorting out. This is not the only regard with which this development appears to mirror what happened over the Our Lady’s School site.

As one of the ward councillors, my aim over the coming weeks will be to make sure that the extra work promised in this report is delivered.  There will also need to be clearer description on what the Police office move will have.  Equally residents will want clarity on what is happening with the GP practice and offices.

The proposal still needs planning permission – and this will provide residents with another chance to have their say on the final site layout. I will encourage them to do so.

As an Executive we need to listen, and we need to make sure that while delivering a scheme that brings citywide benefits, we also deliver a scheme that local residents can support, and that there are new safeguards on the actual process of development as this is causing a great deal of anxiety in the area.

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