News from Willand
Get the latest news here
Mrs Jenny Clifford
18 October, 2018
Dear Mrs Clifford
We object to this proposal in its current form. We feel that it should be deferred until further information emerges from The Parish Council who hold the freehold of this site for the people of Willand. We will however, make initial comments about this proposal later in this letter as a secondary issue.
The Proposed Health and Community Centre for Willand (your ref 14/01911/FULL)
At the time of the planning application in 2014, there was excitement and support for a Health and Community Centre from all quarters. It was seen as a one off opportunity. This enthusiasm remains the same within the Community itself. What on earth has happened? The Parish Council is conspicuous by its silence and the community needs answers from them directly and urgently about the current status of the project and its funds. With a number of housing developments planned in Willand, one would have thought that these could attract lucrative Section 106 agreements to revitalise this important Health and Community Hub for the village.
The Section 106 Agreement for the proposed Health and Community Centre for Willand
The Stables and its land were generously gifted to the village by the developer and assigned to "Community Use" status "Land which furthers the health, social wellbeing and varied activities/services to enhance the community cohesion of the village of Willand and surrounding areas". There is also a mention of affordable housing should the terms of this agreement not be met locally (see planning application documents 14/0911/FULL).
The first we knew of this second proposal for the above site was when your letter dropped through the letterbox on 9th October. We understand that only a few householders have received a letter despite the fact that this proposal replaces that for a Health and Community Centre to benefit everyone in the village. The majority of residents remain in the dark about:-
This is hardly a case study that one would use to demonstrate democracy, transparency and consultation in action.
The Application for Planning Permission by the Pre-School
One would perceive that this expansion of business will attract new families with younger children and probably babies as sleeping arrangements appear to be integral to the plan. It is essential that a full business plan supports this application for this second site. It should shows extent of operations envisaged as an upper limit, i.e., number of children, ages, holiday club proposals, hours of opening, activities etc.
An impact statement is also needed regarding :-
Further information , clarity and supporting documents are needed in response to the gaps which exist in the Building Survey prepared for the Parish Council then. ( see a copy of the Building Survey in documents associated with 14/0911/FULL). Is drainage still by septic tank and have specialists been deployed to seek out noxious substances? Many other issues were identified by the surveyor as needing further evaluation and tests by specialists in the field which would increase the £100,000 costs of basic refurbishment significantly. The value of the building was considered to be £180,000. So refurbishment could cost as much as its value in the end.
In our opinion the Pre-School would be better served by an eco-friendly, purpose built, modern unit maybe on the Industrial Estate at the top of the village. It would offer some relief for Gables Road's congestion and has ample space for safe parking by families. This would seem to be a far better option for a well funded pre-school, than being saddled with a lease on a cash and energy draining old building.
As a courtesy, we would like to see the Stables site go back to Westhaven homes, if they want it, because we know that they would regenerate the site quickly and sensitively for the community. It would compliment the good work which they have done on the Gables estate adjacent. Maybe a drop in café with a visiting doctor's facility could be incorporated into the plan there or in conjunction with the spacious village hall ? It would be a consolation prize for Willand but better than nothing.
The alternative will happen anyway if the terms of the Section 106 agreement are not met. The site will go to Mid Devon District Council to enable new, sustainable, affordable housing to be progressed, again hopefully with a proviso that they and the Parish Council fund a facility for the community.
|Comments submitted - 1||Add your comment|
On 01 Nov 2018, Amanda Jones wrote:
I have not received the mentioned letter about the change of use and agree with points about relocating the pre school to the outskirts of the village to ease the congestion, trying to get to the pharmacy at peak times is dangerous due to the hedge visibility and the school parking and would also mean mums with young children would be crossing this road to use the village hall car park so would need a crossing, the loss of the proposed original amenity would stop the village developing to be able to support all age groups. The amenities of the village are already out of balance with the size of this ever growing village which is really the size of a small town.