Hastoe Housing Association
in association with the Marshwood Community Land Trust
held a Public Meeting 23rd April 2013
at Blackdown Village Hall
Notes from the meeting
Rob Aspray (Regional Development Manager)
Mark Richardson (Architect)
West Dorset District Council
Paul Derrien (Rural Housing Officer)
Karina Walker (Housing Officer)
Michael Robinson (District Councillor)
Community Land Trust
David Hitchcock (Chairman)
Ali Edwards (Director)
Rob England (Director)
Charles Somers (Director)
Fred Bailey (Director)
Emma Turner (Secretary)
Anne Marie-Chapman (Director) Apologies
Notes of the proceedings
David Hitchcock welcomed 57 members of the public and introduced his CLT directors and the Hastoe team.
He started the session by confirming the agreements reached at the last public meeting in this hall in June 2012.
- Agreement to set up the Marshwoood Community Land Trust
- To select Hastoe as our Housing Association
- The choice of the Thane Farm site for the houses.
- The evidence of housing need.
The questions and answers from this session were documented and answered at the time or in writing/email later.
The Chairman confirmed that he had been requested late in 2012 to take on the chairmanship and was happy to continue. On taking over the role he had
distributed a letter, in Jan 2013, to the community outlining the situation within the CLT and his plans for the future. He then made specific mention of recent correspondence regarding the various suggestions from Mr Van de Weyer over the availability of Mr Strawbridge’s free land for Housing, a Health Centre, Shop and a Post Office. The Chairman confirmed that Mr Strawbridge had not made such an offer and had only offered his land for the housing and that he had now received notice from Mr Strawbridge that the offer of the land had been withdrawn and that Mr Strawbridge’s offer of land was not in competition with the Thane Farm site, but should be seen as a reserve option.
As evidence of housing need was an essential element of a planning application, the CLT had organised a session at the school, together with WDDC’s housing officer, where potential housing register applicants could be given advice and get themselves on the register. This was a success, despite awful weather – David thanked all those involved. It was clear that some of the problems with getting an accurate list of applicants was the need for them to re-apply annually to stay on the list (this did not seem to understood).
In January, there was a further meeting with the District Council’s planning officers and the County Council’s highways officer to discuss the layout of the site, AONB and highways issues. As a result of this meeting, Hastoe their architect and the WDDC officers had a series of meetings to agree a “farmstead” design, access and AONB impact mitigation (screening and single storey dwellings). This finally resulted in the plans, which are here today – 7 affordable houses including 2 single bedroom houses plus a site for the landowner.
The Chairman explained that the landowner had wished to incorporate a playground in the site. The County council’s highways officer rejected this, due to the potential increase in traffic visiting the site.
In February, we had the CLT’s Special General meeting where the Directors were appointed and paid–up members had a chance to vote on Directors and officer positions. Subscriptions of £1 will carried through to 31/3/14, due to year-end being 31/3/13. Our next AGM will be held in September when we are all up for re-election to the board. Currently there are 32 members of the CLT (high in comparison to other CLT’s).
The Chairman reported that, recently, Mr Van de Weyer had proposed that we should incorporate a Health Centre as part of the Thane Farm development. He said he had spent time researching this possibility with Beaminster and Lyme Regis (Virgin Health Care) practices and also with Dorset’s Clinical Commissioning agency. He concluded that there is no short-term possibility of a local health centre being established. Other options e.g. Shop and Post Office will be looked at when the time is right, in the meantime, we will be concentrating all our efforts on getting the 7 houses built.
He continued by saying that he was confident that the Homes and Community Agency would approve the grant to Hastoe to proceed with the building of the houses in May. Hastoe hoped to have the application lodged with WDDC before the end of May and start work on the site in the autumn.
Soil and drainage testing on the site has been completed, and if anyone wants see the site he had pegged it out to show the layout and plot sizes and this would remain for a week or so.
The Chairman then thanked everyone for coming and opened the floor to a question and answer session.
Could the single bedroom dwellings be converted into two flatlets?
Answer – as they would be single storey dwellings this would not be possible.
A gentleman asked whether there any particular energy efficiency arrangements planned for the new affordable houses?
Answer – referred to Rob Aspray of Hastoe, who answered as follows –
Hastoe’s houses are built to higher standard than that required by the building regulations. They will be built to code 4, which is +25% higher than required. We are considering a ground source heat pump system for this community. This would mean that they would not only enjoy a lower rent (than that charged by private landlords for similar accommodation) but also lower heating costs.
There was concern that there may be inadequate parking arrangements for the site?
Answered as follows – The parking arrangements meet current planning standards i.e. 2 per property, except the 1-bedroom dwellings. You will notice on the plans that there is generous space on the entry drive to the site, which could be used for visitors. Experience shows that cars will fill the available space on such sites. We will look at the individual circumstances of the prospective residents and do what we can do to help.
There were no further questions.
The chairman explained that as part of the constitution of the CLT, it was required that we should have the support of the community and to this end he asked for a show of hands for support for the project.
There was 1 person against the project and 2 abstentions out of 57 attendees. All the remainder voted for the project.
The Chairman then invited questions on other topics expecting that there would be some, however even asking a second time if anyone had anything they wished to ask, the hall was silent. A cup of tea was then offered to those present.