It has now been four months since your new Parish Council started work and I wanted to write and let you know what we have been up to and what is coming up.
But first, a very sincere word of thanks to two Councillors who stood down in May. Edwin Rose whose family have lived in Long Compton since Adam was a lad, brought a wealth of local knowledge and experience to the Council. Ken Treadaway has brought an enormous amount to the village since he and Jan moved here. Ken was a moving force behind the Neighbourhood Plan and his time as Vice and Chair of the Council has been marked by real innovative thinking and what has seemed to me to be a much more active and positive role for our Parish Council within our community. The village owes a huge debt of thanks to Ken and, I know, as his successor as Chair, I will have some big shoes to fill.
Development at Weston Court
A couple of weeks ago, we together with Warwickshire Rural Housing, held an Open Day at the Village Hall to present plans for the new buildings I was delighted with the turnout and level of support the plans received. In particular the need for affordable housing was underlined, as was the need for a small play area. There were concerns re impact of construction traffic and parking spaces once houses are up. The builders were sympathetic to these concerns and agreed to work with residents to reduce pressure in busy times. All nine new houses will have two parking spaces each and that we have allocated a further four parking spaces to help relieve pressure along the whole of Weston Court.
We were asked about plans for the undeveloped half of the field. As there were one or two rumours circulating I would like to clarify the position. If the current development is successful – that is, if we are able to fill the rental housing and sell the open market houses – it will generate sufficient funds for us to develop the other side of the field in a similar way. A new Housing Needs Survey will need to be carried out to justify this probably towards the end of next year. Also I want to be clear that we have no plans to connect up Weston Court and Butlers Close.
The next state will be to obtain formal planning consent and then move into construction – probably next Spring/Summer. We hope to have the development complete and new houses occupied by Spring 2017
The plan is that Warwickshire Rural Housing will appoint a builder – Heythrop Homes of Banbury to complete the build. The rental properties will ultimately be managed by Orbit Housing. The Parishh Council have met all of these people several times and have visited homes they have recently built – we will stay very close to the operation throughout.
The process of creating this has taken over two years but ours should be the first Parish Plan in operation in South Warwickshire. There are two steps to go before our Plan ‘goes live’. First the Independent Examiner must conclude her examination of the plan, which, we hope will be very soon.
Secondly there will need to be a Village Referendum to confirm that the Plan really does represent what the village wants over the next fifteen to twenty years. At present we expect that this will occur later this year.
It is important that the Referendum receives your fullest support. I have no doubt that our plan will be challenged over the coming years and to be able to say that it was voted in with a large turnout and large majority will add considerable weight. You can see the document in full on the village website.
As a Local Service Village, Long Compton has been set a target for the number of new homes it needs to deliver over the next twenty five years. The Neighbourhood Plan describes how this will be done. But it is much more than simply numbers:
- The Plan insists on a good mix of expensive and affordable homes to buy and rent – it will allow us to attract new blood to the village but at the same time it will provide places for existing villagers to live and bring up their families.
- The Plan will protect those things which make our village special – it will ensure we keep our green lanes, the ‘green fingers’ of grass coming down to the main road, the use of the right sort of building materials and new homes which fit in with the village in size and appearance.
- The Plan will take care of the environment within the village and across the whole Parish – It will not permit damage to our Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or Conservation Area, it will not allow built up areas to extend into the green fields beyond the current borders of the village – and, very importantly, it will ensure that new developments do not increase the risks of flooding in our roads, homes and gardens.
- The Plan will encourage our farmers and new businesses to bring jobs to the village – it will allow the village to carry on being a place eto work as well as a place to live.
Also, in the past four months, we have been working on improving communications within Long Compton. Many of you are already connected with our Facebook Page and will, perhaps, have noticed that our website is back in operation. We intend to have a new – all singing and dancing – website up and running within a few months. The will be available to all of the village’s community groups and we hope it will become a true hub for information about what is going on in Long Compton. Finally, and for those without easy access to the internet, we are in the process of building a case for a ‘digital inclusion’ grant which, hopefully, will bring good quality wifi to the Village Hall.
Finally, traffic remains a serious concern and it was good to see that we were chosen as the top priority for police traffic action over the summer. 17 speeding offences were registered in Long Compton from 2000 movements.