Abolition of Regional Spatial Strategies: a planning vacuum? - Communities and Local Government Committee Contents

Written evidence from Dundry Residents Action Group (DRAG) (ARSS 85)

My name is Debbie Nicholls I represent DRAG: Dundry Residents Action Group we are one af a number of many groups fighting to save the Greenbelt within the South West.

I trust that my submision below is accepted on behalf of my group.

The committee I believe has decided to undertake an enquiry into the revocation and the abolition of the regional spatial strategy (RSS). The committee will be focusing particularly on the implications of house building.

The RSS had been introduced & was about to be imposed on people who had very little knowledge or no knowledge at all of the implications it would have.

I ask that you read my submission & Decide in favour of Protecting The Greenbelt & find yourselves able to give the general public a Firm Irrevocable & Lasting Commitment to The Retention & Protection of All Current Greenbelts within the South West & the Entire UK. I also ask that you uphold the decision to Abolish the RSS.


Dundry Residents Action Group was formed in August 2008 when we learned that Developers planned to build 9500 dwellings on our much valued Greenbelt we felt the need to inform local people of the impact that the massive proposed South West Regional Spatial Strategy (SWRSS) housing developments would have on our village and the surrounding area. We felt it necessary to form this Group because the RSS had been imposed upon us with very little open easy accessible consultation.

In the case of the planning application submitted to North Somerset on behalf of the Developer in which over 9500 dwellings a "Major Application" that was to be given the name of Ashton Park covered a swathe of land that was all protected Greenbelt. We learned that the Developers had already put into place options on most of the greenbelt land, thus giving open access to vast swathes of land if the RSS was agreed to.

The "Build" was to take place over a period of between 10 & 15 years in Three Phases: Social & Affordable Homes were of High Density with No Gardens & No Parking Facilities (giving the less well off no incentive to better themselves). These Ghetto like dwellings were to be built in phase three!!!. The LAST Phase. If built at all, surly these should have been the first thus ensuring that the developer did not run out of money.

This would see the gradual destruction of all of our Greenbelt over a period of time causing catastrophic implications not only to the local community who would be living on a building site for many years but to the well being of the general public and also a major loss of wildlife which in the case of this location is vast.

We are not opposed to Social & affordable homes should the need be proven, given the planning application submitted these home were to be built last it was not hard to work out that most of the proposed development was driven by Greed & Not Need. Quick profit & Luxury Houses as opposed urgently needed homes!!!

We were fortunate enough to be asked to be included in a programme made by the BBC featuring Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen called "Englands Green & Pleasant Land" in which our plight was highlighted The programme went out on Easter Monday & was viewed all over the country. The volume of response was unimaginable people could not believe that Central Government could on a Whim choose to allow Developers who in most cases were only seeing Vast Profits being made, being allowed to build on Currently Protected Greenbelt which should only ever be built on in Exceptional Circumstances. This application could show No Exceptional Circumstance.

GOSW in Bristol received well in access of 37,000 letters of ojection from the South West alone, an unprecedented amount & the largest response ever received.

Within the SW as a whole we feel that house building targets should revert to a proven need.

North Somerset council has its core strategy in place & firmly agrees that the Greenbelt should not be encroached upon. Any building required I am lead to believe will be overseen with Local Councils in consultation with Local Communities .Taking this approach we hope to see developments that have a good infrastructure in place prior to any build & that this will also eliminate rural ghettos & buildings of a shoddy nature.

The implications of the abolition of regional house building targets can only prove to be seen as a Positive move.

The country now has an opportunity to abolish the RSS and build on the concept of local community involvement.

Drag was instrumental together with groups from Shortwood, Warmley & Siston in forming our umbrella group "SOGS" Save Our Green Spaces. We are now a respected body and have many Groups that cover the entire South West all with the same aims.

A delegation of SOGS members met with Mr Steve Quartermain a short while ago at DLCG, London & had a very positive meeting with him.

September 2010

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