HISTORY OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN HOPWOOD
1st June 2009-
Well after a couple of hideous years fighting this most inappropriate housing development work has finally commenced on site and the houses will be completed by summer 2010.
This all against the advice of planning officers and other qualified organisations, but the unqualified planning committee following like sheep Gordon Browns comment "if you cant find Brown Belt land to build on you must use Green Belt instead" they sanctioned this development even though proof of need was manipulated by local councillors.
This is just the means to make this a norm from now on and we will be seeing a lot more Green Belt land being used by Government funded Housing Associations and Spatial Strategies so that they can build affordable housing on the cheap.
Englands once Green and Pleasant land is too desirable now to these money pinching Councils who's obvious thriftyness, when it comes to paying out for appropriate building land, is so that they can preserve their coffers in order to get their snouts further into this public trough.
8th May 2008.
E-mail received by( Ash Lane Residents Committee member) from Gary Fowler the new BDHT spokesman!
6 May 2008
Article in The Village Magazine
Hopwood homes date
"We will be finished on site in July next year," he told Alvechurch Neighbourhood Committee. They were cur- rently carrying out environmental checks at the site off Ash Lane. "It has taken more time to do the environmental survey than we will take to build the development," he added.
Mr Fowler said the trust was receiving phone calls "all the time" from people interested in moving into the homes.
It seems a shame that BDHT are eagre to talk about this development:- as stated in this earlier quote from Mr Brown.
Mike Brown said the group was pleased that the plans had been given the go-ahead and would be contacting residents shortly to hear their views.
Obviously BDHT are beavering away talking to everyone else about these houses but some how seems to have forgotten about the people who are most concerned and they are the residents of Ash Lane and Smedley Crooke Place!
28 April 2008
There are lots of rumours running around about the site; ...not being built for 2 years (The head of the Parish Council, Mr.Puckering, said that this was what Roger Hollingworth had told the Councillors)...... who will be getting the houses?...... These are questions that some of the Residents have asked but unfortunately our Parish Councillor for Hopwood, Mr. Hollingsworth has been less than willing to give out any information... If the aim is to build a relationship with the residents of Hopwood this must be some new method we have not heard heard of..!!
In Brosmgrove Mike Brown held meetings with residents prior to planning applications. He didn't bother asking Hopwood. There is a need for affordable part ownership housing in the area, but there is NO need for social housing as we have no ammenities to support people who may find it financially difficult to access the nearest shops in Alvechurch (2 miles away) or the schools or the doctors.
We have heard that land next to the new school has been purchased for housing development.If so this is excellent news as that is where affordable housing is needed, but we can not find out officially what is happening as one of our committee has been excluded from the Parish Community meetings that she was originall invited to. Democracy Strikes Again!
16 January 2008
Planning officials agreed that the Bromsgrove District Housing Trust (BDHT) application should be approved because of the need for affordable housing in Alvechurch Parish.
That now means that BDHT can build the homes on land off Ash Lane and Smedley Crooke Place.
BDHT chief executive, Mike Brown said the group was pleased that the plans had been given the go-ahead and would be contacting residents shortly to hear their views.
He said: “Our goal now is to work with the existing community to build a development which they will be proud of and which will benefit them - this is a step in right direction and shows that the housing crisis affecting Bromsgrove district is being taken seriously.
“At the moment, buying a house in Bromsgrove is not an option for many people and we are committed to working with the council, local residents and other partners to resolve that.”
From the Bromsgrove Advertiser, first published Wednesday 21st Nov 2007.
I WRITE as a resident of Hopwood and wish to comment on the decision taken by the Secretary of State not to recall Bromsgrove District Council's decision on new homes in the village.
It would appear that no consideration has been given to the feelings of the greatest majority of Hopwood residents in making this decision. On July 23 this year during a meeting convened by the district council to include Bromsgrove Housing Trust and Hopwood residents, a petition against the plans containing 163 signatures, representing a large majority of the Hopwood population, was handed over to the secretary of the Alvechurch Parish Council, who had been appointed by the chairman of the meeting, Councillor Roger Hollingworth, to act as the secretary to the meeting.
She delivered this document to the district council offices for the attention of Cllr Hollingworth, who had been present at the meeting and was aware of the document's existence, on July 26. This petition was never passed on to the council's planning officer, Dale Birch. The reason for this has never been revealed. To date, it appears that this document, which represents the feelings of the local residents, has never formed part of the decision making. So much for democracy and Gordon Brown's promise to listen to the people Instead local district councillors have - it seems, knowingly misused statistics showing that currently 22 Hopwood residents require rehousing, in order to make the claim that the houses to be built are required to house homeless people of Hopwood.
The fact that none of the people on the list they refer to would qualify for the type of housing being built, a fact made clear to them by the council's own planning officer, was deliberately ignored during the planning meeting. However, this statistic would look good in the eyes of the Secretary of States Office, when making a decision.
The building of 20 houses in the area would take the total from 60 to 80 an increase of approximately 33 per cent in an area which cannot sustain such a growth, without having serious adverse effects on the local community and environment.
Indeed a number of the local councillors and the local MP, Julie Kirkbride, who have bothered to visit the site, have themselves stated that the area could not sustain the extra population. Despite this some of the same councillors voted for or failed to cast a vote against the planned build at the planning meeting on September 10.
There are a number of issues which require answering in the way this whole sorry affair has been conducted. I believe that a full public enquiry should be convened, to consider all of the facts surrounding this planning application together with the actions of those involved throughout the origins and life of the application.
Peter Higgins Ash Lane Hopwood
From the Bromsgrove Advertiser
© Newsquest Media Group 2007
Ms Julie Kirkbride MP. came to see us at Ash Lane on Saturday 14th July, and we showed her around the proposed development, so that she is now fully conversant with this large scale housing site that BDHT and Alvechurch Parish Council want to develop in Hopwood.
This would solve Alvechurch`s total allocation of affordable housing which is 20, (a coincidence, perhaps), this being a 1/4 of Bromsgrove District Council`s allocation for the whole district, which is a total of 80 for the year.
Obviously affordable housing is necessary to a limited degree within rural settlements, but not when it is going to infringe upon the sensitive nature of the Green Belt buffer zone of Hopwood and cause an inappropriate character change of the country side and its Lanes. Affordable homes should, we think, be spread throughout the District in a fair and sustainable manner that shows some common sense, and not just allocated to a brownfield site that BDHT own, and intend to increase by the acquisition of a green field site, that adjoins it, in Ash Lane. This green field site has always been turned down for planning, but now that affordable housing is the flavour of the month, BDHT are taking the opportunity to use socially minded issues to set a precedance and overcome objections to build on Green Belt land.
Obviously by their letter, they do not feel that this is dubious! Far more sustainable sites are available in and around the Parish, but we have the opinion that BDHT do not want to pay the going rate to purchase such a site, surely affordable planning should come down to appropriateness and sustainability which is just not the case in small hamlet of Hopwood.
Just to let you know that Julie Kirkbride MP, came round on Saturday 14th July morning, and I showed her the proposed plans and then walked her round to Smedley Crooke Place and also along Ash Lane and along the footpath leading to the cricket and rugby ground, so that now she has a good idea of the surrounding area of the building site and all accesses.
She gave us a positive thought that Bromsgrove District Council should probably refuse the application due to the size of the development, and the sensitive nature of this buffer area between Birmingham and Redditch.
However she said that if this eventually went to appeal to the Secretary of State in Westminster that would be a different matter all together as the new Prime Minister`s latest campaign is to get as much lo cost housing built as possible.
So we still need to keep plugging away with our objections, but at least we now have a supporter on the oppositions front bench in Westminster, and I gave her a copy of the plan;a picture of the houses to be built, and also a photo of an overhead view of Hopwood so now she has a reference. ..