NeMTRA organisers put in hours over the year of being available and providing twice weekly occasions for people to meet and socialise in the Queens Walk Rec pavilion. As usual, got given 5 or more things to go and do, better.
After the business, various community issues were discussed. Progress has been made on crime and drug dealing since the public meeting last July and the community planning event in November. Only this week, a special exercise in Queens Walk Rec. TO BE COMPLETED.
A Planning Commission is being run by the Labour Party and it held a series of meetings in Nottingham. I was late for the Councillors and community reps session, but a whole series of demands soon tripped off the tongue – – new buildings have to come to planning meeting green standards; – the automatic granting of planning permission for housing within existing offices and factory units must be revoked; – the relaxation of planning permissions for extensions to houses must be revoked too – the neighbours have rights too. – Community reps were lining up with protests about the presumption for development, the challenges for their ideas for community projects and there challenges in getting their opinions heard. I’m less sympathetic on these points until you recognise that we used to do it better in an era of community development officers which led to The Meadows having a one-stop shop, welfare advice, more tenants associations, 2 community centres and a community gardens (with in-bloom projects). When austerity arrived, they were one of the first set of officers to go, just as youth services continue to be lost. For youth services, John McDonnell is proposing that the provision of youth services is a statuary duty. – So maybe a community development service could be statutory requirement too, with officers having some statutory duties too. 1. Pride: To publish and maintain a description of the neighbourhood / parish and its people, its assets and its facilities; and what it’s proud of; linking to other accounts and histories; a 21st Century version of the Domesday Book;, available on the internet; 2. Ambition: To state what the community is demanding and aiming to deliver; in the context of the planning policies from the country, region, local authorities; 3. New development proposals to reference these statements, and initial statements on these proposals to be required some time before the version that is finally considered at Planning committee. I’d see these statements as council led and hosted, but – what about the inexperienced project campaigners, awkward opponents and nuisance individuals? Often the frustration is cos they don’t know enough and don’t know what they’re asking for. If they were helped, the dialogue would be much more productive. We might even find that’ve got points to develop. And actually, community development officers told me in those years back that they need to be able to stand up to the local planning authority to be effective. So – 4. a statutory obligation for planning authorities, as applied to Planning officers, to advise members of the public and their groups; and to publish version précises of their ideas and alternatives alongside the plan.
Around 50 residents met to consider how the planning system could be used to defend the defining features of the Old Meadows, in a way that every property owner would have to obey.
Using a conservation order, of which there are 32 in the city, perhaps the three strongest ideas are –
– consistency in roof tiling – most rooves to be slate or slate lookalike;
(Visit Wollaton Park Estate to see what happens when the 1930’s design code was ignored);
– requiring front boundary walls to be kept in Bulwell stone (or its Ilkeston/Alfreton lookalike);
– keeping the depth of window reveals to be consistent with original specifications.
Could usefully have explored views on allowing higher walls at the rear properties, or not. (It seems unlikely that an adopted plan would be used to require property owners. to undo changes already made, )
The boundary proposed need to be reviewed too – should the more modern eco-houses be in or not?
And what might a conservation area do for the potential development sites at the former Old Toll Bridge pub site, and at the former Collygate school site off Wilford Grove?
OMTRA are now collecting opinions and will present a summary report to a future public meeting.