GAYDON PARISH COUNCIL
Clerk to the Council: Corinne Hill, Gaydon Fields Farm, Gaydon, Warwickshire CV35 0HF
2nd April 2017
Chairs Annual Report for April’17
The past year, has been an exceptionally busy one but one of notable landmarks and achievements that will ultimately shape both the medium and longer term character of our village and parish area.
Key themes that have dominated proceedings have included the acceptance of the Core Strategy and its likely impact on Gaydon, planning applications, the village environment and the impact of traffic.
With the acceptance of the Core Strategy by SDC and the focus of much investment by JLR, Gaydon seems to be at the centre of a boom of building and planning focus.
GPC has worked constructively with JLR and the BMM to shape their expansion in a way that minimizes the impact on residents in terms of visibility, drainage and light pollution.
The revised plans for the Environmental Area have been welcomed and will guarantee a green break that diverts runoff away from residents. There should also be a marked increase in biodiversity and habitat to the immediate North of Gaydon. The discovery of Roman settlement is a bonus. Works are to start soon.
The promised reinforcement of the hedging and tree line is also welcomed and should provide a barrier to limit visibility of the high tech building development of JLR and BMM. Residents should be assured that the buildings won’t be as high as the cranes that they may have spotted.
GPC has consistently voiced concerns about the ever growing light pollution with both SDC and JLR and has consistently urged solutions that minimize this. It has been recognized that there is already an impact: a good starting point.
GPC has been far less successful with establishing any sort of communication with the local garage. The unauthorized expansion of this garage adds to the light pollution problem, adds to the problem of littering, and makes a mockery of the planning process. It has been a real bone of contention. At no time have the owners engaged with GPC to reach agreements that would be of the interest of all.
With regard to housing applications, the number of new housing is very much guided by that has already received outline planning and by that set out in the Core Strategy.
The Paddocks development is progressing well having been shaped by GPC so as to reduce density and so as to be seen as an asset to the village. Issues that have arisen have been eased with timely interventions from GPC and the clerk.
Concerns about the integrity of the old Gaydon Inn have also been robustly investigated with no intention of permitting anything that will compromise its Grade 2 listing. Independent expert views have been very much sought and will inevitably guide any decision making. I do note however that the nearby Horse Chestnut tree was removed.
The 15 houses south of the Kineton Rd have also been largely supported by GPC though at SDC there seem to be a number of issues that have been raised. GPC has again assisted in the shaping of aspects of it. We are delighted that there is now an agreement to fund the extension of the 30mph zone that should also benefit residents of the barns development as should footpath links. It has been agreed that the development is to be managed by a management company: another example of compromise in action to resolve issues.
Smaller developments have also been much debated and given GPC approval (subject to comments) including ‘Ferndale’ (2 houses) and ‘Cottage Farm’ (offices). It has always been helpful to have the developer explain their proposals. Not all developments have been approved including ‘Hillside’ (up to 2 houses) and ‘Silverstone auctions’ (offices).
Further outline planning has been given for 3 houses in the grounds of the ‘Olde House’.
With such detailed and outline approvals, it does mean that Gaydon has now fully met the numbers of houses that it is obliged to permit as outlined in the Core strategy that lasts until 2031.
With regard to extensions, GPC has continued to look at each one on merit from a perspective that ensures that the street scape is safeguarded.
The village environment is always at the top of the agenda but is not restricted to housing alone.
GPC continues to support our village shop and welcomed the £1000 donation from C.Cllr. Chris Williams.
The Malt Shovel has been registered as a community asset.
The telephone box has been secured as a piece of village heritage for a host of yet decided potential uses.
The church clock has now been fully restored to working order as a war memorial following a successful bid from the PC as handled by our clerk.
Benches have been restored for those wanting to take a moment to reflect or catch their breath.
There was a litter pick around much of the village: ‘Clean for the Queen’ with another planned for later this month.
The maintenance of grassed areas is always a difficult one – those areas maintained by our contractor looking good. The village green has been enhanced by summer flowers and spring daffodils. Other areas have not been looked after to the same standard – please note that GPC is not in a position to command those from SDC though it has put pressure upon them.
The cemetery (having benefited from input from JLR last year) is an alternative place to walk and reflect. The central meadow areas are especially rich now with flora and fauna. The newly planted trees (2 Crab Apple and 1 Oak) (one CA has been replaced) look ready to burst into life again.
The new recreation area – is extremely close to being secured for the Parish Council. This has taken much longer than expected but should prove to be an invaluable community asset for centuries to come. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all parties that have been involved for making this happen and thereby a key aspect of the parish plan.
The state of the layby has for many years been debated with little achieved. However, with the adjacent landowner in partnership with GPC and our proactive D.Cllr, some of the problems (though not all as they require more support from WCC) are now being addressed.
The old Warwick Rd and cut off section of the B4451, has led to many heated debates. The persistence of GPC has been needed in getting WCC to recognize the problems as created by the building of the road colloquially known as the ‘Starlight Express’. These have included: fly tipping, overnight parking and countless drivers needing to dangerously and destructively turn and reverse – including a funeral party – after mistakenly thinking that it is a through route as it previously had been. Signs have now appeared, the gate has been replaced and there is a welcomed commitment to remodel the entrance to both the old Warwick Rd and the cut off section of the B4451. I really do believe that countless hours and pounds would have been saved had GPC been listened to both historically and currently. But, it is what it is: progress is progress.
No progress has been made with regard to the sparkling string of lights that adorn the new road despite pressure from GPC and the support of many other PCs who can see them from miles around. New blinds and curtains for one resident were offered and there was a glimmer of hope with regard to finding a solution with improved shields that gave great hope to many of us. Such hope was quickly snuffed out.
The impact of traffic in the village – has been a continued priority as outlined again in the old Parish Plan.
Thankfully, the impact of queuing has been massively reduced with the opening of the new road.
A working party was established to investigate the other impacts of traffic in the village: tasked with proposing solutions. It is amazing what can be achieved: a full presentation was made, a plan drawn up and recommendations were made and approved by GPC. These have since been presented to WCC officers and openly and frankly discussed. It really was a most constructive process and has meant that GPC has now a clear vision of what realistically can be achieved and is already working to find ways to fund them. Furthermore, it has been excellent to hear that residents have trained to undertake traffic calming measures in accordance with WCC and Police policy. I look forward to seeing these being undertaken to reinforce the message that speeding in villages is totally unacceptable.
The living village environment and sense of community is something that GPC supports. The Diamond Jubilee Party was a great success and worth highlighting: a wonderful afternoon tea, concert and evening BBQ. It was good to see this well attended … and in receipt of good funding.
GPC is always looking to plan ahead, financially and structurally.
Costs have been kept to a minimum. Although the budget has risen, due to more houses in the village, the actual costs to individual households have been ever so slightly reduced. 20p doesn’t buy an awful lot these days but such a reduction is in stark contrast to all the other rising costs that so many are experiencing.
GPC is set to expand to 7 Cllrs in order to fully represent those that both live and work in the parish. It has absolutely no intention (at this stage) of being absorbed into a new council as has been suggested so as to protect and enhance the unique character.
To protect this unique character, a new Parish Plan (or more ambitious equivalent) is required in partnership with residents.
Do we want more housing?
How do we want to use or develop recreational facilities?
How do we ensure that the roads are safe?
What else does the village need to do so that it thrives?
Are there new areas that need prioritizing in the next 15 year or so as GLH is constructed?
Does Gaydon want to retain its independence or is it best safeguarded by being part of GLH?
Our new Cllrs will be expected to take a most proactive role in developing this plan: exciting times potentially ahead.
In the meantime, I want to thank all those who have attended and contributed to meetings , to our District and County Cllrs for all that they have achieved for Gaydon, to the team of Cllrs who have taken the time to fulfill their areas of responsibility and to our clerk who works with undiminished commitment to our village.
Report compiled by J Brine.