Village's future under scrutiny
PUBLISHED: 19:00 24 March 2016
Plans to develop a brownfield site and create youth facilities in Claverham have been proposed by villagers who want to regain a 'modicum of control' over their community's future.
The Claverham Future steering group is in the process of putting together a neighbourhood plan for the village, which will set out the community’s needs and aspirations up until 2026.
Although they cannot supercede planning laws and policies, neighbourhood plans give areas the chance to outline how they would like their communities to develop – and the Claverham Future group says developing the UTC Aerospace Systems site, in Bishops Road, is crucial to the village’s sustainable growth.
The business is due to relocate to new premises this year and the group believes the site will likely be sold for housing.
This led them to designate the site as a mixed-use zone – which could see it be transformed into a mixture of housing, employment facilities and retail outlets – in its draft neighbourhood plan, which was unveiled and voted upon by more than 100 villagers at a meeting at the village hall on Friday.
Claverham Future chairman Nigel Cooper told the meeting: “It is about the community and what it is that we want.
“Even though the Government is trying to back-paddle on its localism, this is our opportunity to take advantage of that and gain a modicum of control over planning in our area.
“Claverham is a village we love and wish to stay in – and we wish to see it develop sustainably and (within its) character.
“We are essentially saying you can take this site and redevelop it, as long as it is sensitive to our needs.
“There could be a shop there, professional financial services, a small kind of office space or general industrial use, which it already is. It can also have other facilities, such as medical facilities.
“There is an opportunity for the person who develops the site to provide a fairly broad range, but it is likely to tend towards housing.”
In addition, the group also proposed plans to create a facility for young people in Claverham, as the village currently has no provision for older children or teenagers.
Although the details of the scheme have not yet been finalised, the group hopes any money Yatton Parish Council receives from the redevelopment of the UTC site could be put towards the project.
Mr Cooper said: “It (the youth building) would be inclusive, accessible, safely managed and planned in conjunction with the neighbours.
“If development happens on the UTC site, the council will receive a new homes bonus for every home built and a community infrastructure levy. If we have a neighbourhood plan in place, the parish council takes 25 per cent of that levy, so there is something which can fund some of these things.
“There will be some things which are impossible, but should it stop us aspiring for those things? I don’t think so.”
The group will now make final alterations to the plan and will then submit it to North Somerset Council for consultation.
The plan will then be examined by an independent inspector and will then be put to Claverham villagers in the form of a referendum.