Cllr Cyril Caulkin

Goostrey Parish Council:

It is with deep sadness that we notify the village of the death of Councillor Cyril Caulkin who collapsed on the golf course on Wednesday (23rd March) and was pronounced dead on arrival at Leighton Hospital.

Cyril CaulkinCyril, who has lived in Goostrey for the last 30 years, was in his second term as a Parish Councillor and was heavily involved in many local organisations and societies.  He will be greatly missed by a swathe of the Goostrey and Holmes Chapel residents who will remember him for his warmth, optimism, enthusiasm and cheerful nature.

Cyril leaves a son, Andrew , a daughter-in-law Sara and three grandchildren and a twin brother, Keith.

The funeral service will be held in St Luke’s Church, at 10.30am on 12th April 2016.

Goostrey.info

Developer’s legal challenge quashes adopted N’hood Plan

Why a legal challenge led to the quashing of a Buckinghamshire neighbourhood plan’s housing policies.

“…developers and land traders with deep pockets can employ lawyers to comb neighbourhood plans for the inevitable minor errors and oversights … and then pursue unrelenting legal action contesting those neighbourhood plans until the will or financial ability of communities who created them to defend those plans is exhausted…” 

Experts have suggested that councils might need to provide better support to volunteers undertaking neighbourhood planning after developers successfully quashed the housing element of a neighbourhood plan adopted last September.

Earlier this month developers successfully quashed the housing element of a Buckinghamshire neighbourhood plan adopted in September last year. Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) decided to drop its fight against a judicial review brought by developer Lightwood Strategic to the Haddenham Neighbourhood Plan. In doing so, it accepted that an error by volunteers preparing the plan meant that it was unlikely to win the challenge and conceded defeat.

Haddenham Parish Council, which prepared the plan, accepts that it submitted erroneous sustainability score for two sites being assessed for housing allocations. The score for a site being promoted by Lightwood was lower than it should have been, while another site had been marked too high. While the parish council claims this made no material difference to the outcome, Lightfoot argued – and the district authority conceded – that its site received a lower allocation of homes than it would have done under the correct scoring.

James Sorrentino, co-director at Lightwood, expressed frustration that the error did not halt the plan at an earlier stage. He said: “Throughout each consultation process, we and other developers and local residents made representations that mistakes had been made. However, it wasn’t until a judicial review was raised that an error was admitted that invalidated the housing part of the plan.”

However, in May 2015, the independent examiner of the plan, Nigel McGurk, said that the mistake should not prevent the plan going to referendum. His report said: “I am mindful that neighbourhood planners, by their very nature, tend not to be professional planners. There are examples – especially in neighbourhood planning – of where the ‘experts,’ whether planners, lawyers or other practising professionals, have failed to properly grasp legislation. Given this, it would seem unreasonable to expect neighbourhood planners to get everything right all of the time. Most of us are human and we make mistakes.”

Carole Paternoster, cabinet member for growth strategy at AVDC, claimed that the decision to drop the case has no impact on other neighbourhood plans being brought forward in the district. “This decision should not be seen as a lessening of the authority’s support for neighbourhood plans generally, as the exact circumstances of this case are very specific to the Haddenham Neighbourhood Plan,” she said. However, Paternoster added that the council will review what measures might be put in place to reduce the chances of similar errors occurring again.

The outcome of the case suggests that councils might need to provide better support to volunteers undertaking neighbourhood plans in future, according to Stephen Tapper, spokesman on neighbourhood planning for the Planning Officers Society. He said: “The fact is that a neighbourhood plan has to be approached with the same rigour as a local plan. It needs close cooperation from the council in order to get a robust solution. That needn’t undermine the independence of those preparing the plan.”

And Jamie Lockerbie, associate at law firm Pinsent Masons, said that instances in which a neighbourhood plan has to allocate sites due to the absence of an up-to-date local plan, such as at Haddenham, are particularly risky. He said: “If there had been a local plan in place then the neighbourhood plan would not have been able to depart from these policies. Either you wait for a strategic plan to follow or you push ahead, but that puts a bigger burden on you in terms of evidence required, and the greater the risk of a challenge.”

If implemented, the Housing and Planning Bill’s proposed “permission in principle” measure could mean that councils will become keener to ensure plans are robust before they go to examination and referendum in future, according to Neil Homer, planning director at community planning consultancy rCOH. He said that, should a neighbourhood plan seek to make allocations for the proposed permission in principle, “it is going to increase the risk of legal review by parties that have not been favoured in the plan”.

This, Homer said, could make planning authorities demand that neighbourhood plans making allocations provide more evidence than is currently required. He said: “It is only going to make councils more risk averse. Given it is them, not parishes, that have to deal with judicial review and the costs, you can see that they are going to want to see more to be happy about making decisions on whether plans go to referendum.”

The parish council, upset that the district ended the fight against Lightwood, said that the outcome could even threaten the entire or neighbourhood planning process. In a statement, it called for “urgent action by central government to prevent a situation where developers and land traders with deep pockets can employ lawyers to comb neighbourhood plans for the inevitable minor errors and oversights … and then pursue unrelenting legal action contesting those neighbourhood plans until the will or financial ability of communities who created them to defend those plans is exhausted.”

Lightwood co-director Phil Chichester also suggested – from a very different viewpoint – that the survival of neighbourhood planning is at stake. He said: “We believe that neighbourhood plans can be very successful as long as the checks and balances are properly adjudicated, otherwise poorly managed neighbourhood plans will soon ruin the reputation and concept of neighbourhood planning in its entirety.”

Planningresource.co.uk

Playground campaign in Knutsford Guardian

MONEY from a housing developer will be used to pay for a new playground – but in the wrong village to the dismay of Goostrey residents.  Knutsford Guardian 27th March 2016

Goostrey resident David Johnson is in the process of setting up a Friends of Booth Bed Lane Playground and is about to survey users on their priorities for improvement and development of the playground.

playground

He was hoping that section 106 money, from the Bloor Homes Woodlands development which is within 700 metres of the playground, could be used to implement the resulting changes requested by the playground users.

Section 106 payments are intended to make a development proposal acceptable by providing funds to compensate councils for the extra demands that the development will make on local facilities.

But David was told that the money had been paid to neighbouring Cheshire West and Chester Council and was earmarked for a playground more than 3km from the development in the village of Allostock.

“We are not blaming Bloor Homes for this situation,” said Cllr Peter Godfrey, chairman of Goostrey Parish Council.

“The houses, although adjacent to Goostrey, are actually in Allostock Parish in Cheshire West and Chester.

“As a condition of granting Planning Permission, CWaC Council required the developer under a Section 106 Agreement to pay a contribution around £84,000 towards education and around £40,000 towards the provision of open spaces, £20,000 of which was earmarked for formal play areas such as the Booth Bed Lane playground.

“Nobody has done anything illegal here but what residents and the parish council are asking for is for a bit of common sense to be applied and for the money to be put towards the facilities which the people occupying the new houses will actually use.”

David added: “Parents and children living in the new houses will be able to walk to the Booth Bed Lane playground in less than 10 minutes – how many of them will get in their cars and drive to Allostock?”

Cllr Godfrey added: “Surely, even at this late stage, CWaC could recognise the unfairness of the current situation and agree to transfer the funds to where they will be needed to provide facilities to the people occupying the new homes.

“Goostrey is a small village with limited facilities.

“Goostrey Parish Council and many residents objected to the Bloor Homes planning application on the grounds that people purchasing the 38 houses would swamp the existing village facilities; however CWaC approved the application even though it adjoins Goostrey and Cheshire East. It is ironic that they are now holding onto the funds intended to provide facilities for the newcomers.”

CHESHIRE West and Chester Council said it could not help as it does not have any formal reciprocal agreement with Cheshire East Council whereby Section 106 monies from one development could be used in another borough.

Cllr Brian Clarke, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Infrastructure at Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “As is usual in many residential applications, the developer is required to make financial contributions towards education.

“As the houses will be in the Cheshire West and Chester area, the council is legally required to ensure sufficient school places are available, therefore a sum was secured from the developer towards such school places within West Cheshire.

“As no informal or formal space was provided within the actual development site a contribution was secured for the provision of informal open space and for the provision of formal play space within the local area.

Martin Aston, design and technical director for Bloor Homes North West, said: “The vast majority of The Woodlands site, including 38 of the 39 houses, falls within the Cheshire West and Chester local authority area.

As a result, the Section 106 planning agreement for the development, which includes a contribution from Bloor Homes of £39,748 towards a play area and public open space, was made with Cheshire West and Chester Council.

“During initial discussions about the development, we encouraged Cheshire East Council to enter dialogue with Cheshire West and Chester Council regarding the allocation of S106 funding.

“However, the responsibility for deciding where the money is allocated ultimately lies with the local authorities concerned.”

Cheshire East Council was asked to comment on the situation.

Knutsford Guardian 27th March 2016

Local youth bands raised £700 for Hut

Local youth band Cheshire Youth (Music for Life) Big Band and the Love Music Trust Saxophone Orchestra performed on Friday night 18 March at Goostrey Village Hall to rapturous applause.

Sell out concert for the Scouts

Sell out concert for the Scouts

Their ‘sell-out’ concert was organised by former Goostrey Scout, Catherine Flanders, and raised almost £700 towards the Goostrey Scout hut and Youth Centre project.

Catherine Flanders organised Jazz concert

Catherine Flanders organised Jazz concert

 

 

Catherine, herself an accomplished musician, decided to organise the concert to help raise money towards the new Scout Hut and Youth Centre. This is the second charity concert arranged and managed by Catherine, who organised everything including posters, ticketing, and booking the venue and bands.

David Giles; Group Scout leader of Goostrey Scouts commented;  “We are truly indebted to Catherine and very proud of her for organising this fundraising concert, which was not only a ‘sell-out’ but also raised much needed money towards the new Scout Hut and Youth Centre. It was wonderful to see so many talented young people giving up their time for the good of our community and especially gratifying that one of our former Scouts has given so much of her time in helping to raise money towards the new Scout Hut and Youth Centre for the enjoyment of all the young people in Goostrey. I am also very grateful to the loyal group of people who helped behind the scenes and to run the bar. This project has truly captured the hearts and minds of the people of Goostrey and I am very grateful to them for supporting our fund raising events.”

Cheshire Youth (Music for Life) Big Band performed an evening of jazz for the residents of Goostrey. The band performs regularly across the North West, with recent appearances at The Cinnamon Club, Bowden, Alexander’s, Chester, Southport Festival (Jazz on a winter’s Weekend) and Manchester Jazz Festival.

Goostrey Scout Group have now raised over half the money needed towards the cost of building a new Scout Hut and Youth Centre and hope to begin construction this year.

Donations can be made directly to: https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/1stgoostreyscoutgroup

More land for Scout Hut

Good news for Goostrey’s Scout Hut and Youth Centre this week:

1st Goostrey Scouts has now agreed to lease additional land around the hut for outdoor activities.

Group Scout Leader, David Giles, said “After reaching half way in our fundraising target, I am delighted to announce that we have now agreed with the landowner the lease on additional land. This will allow us to have extra play/activity space around the new Scout Hut and Youth Centre, which will provide us with more flexible facilities for a wide range of outdoor activities for local young people.”

Donations can be made directly to the Scout Hut and Youth Centre at: https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/1stgoostreyscoutgroup

Competition: Name the Scout Hut bear

Can you help the Scouts name their Bear mascot?

Screen shot 2016-03-14 at 13.39.16

 

 

 

Minimum donation £1 per name: labels available from Mrs Kettle’s.

 

Screen shot 2016-03-14 at 13.38.51

All funds raised will go to the new Goostrey Scout Hut and Youth Centre.

How to enter:  Visit Mrs Kettle’s shop to complete your label and make your donation.

Mrs Kettle has kindly donated the mascot, who will reside at the new Scout Hut and Youth Centre – when it has been built!

The winning name will be announced on Sat 14 May when the Scouts celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday (and there will of course be a beary good prize).