NAAG Publications and Documents
By Hugh Fort
October 20, 2011
Housing campaigners in Binfield have uncovered a crucial document they say gives them a reason to legally challenge plans to build houses on a popular local golf course.
Members of the Northern Arc Action Group (NAAG) have received paperwork following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to Bracknell Forest Council for details on the planning process back in 1990 when the Blue Mountain Golf Course in Wood Lane was given permission.
They say the response has given them hope they can prevent building on the course, which the council has earmarked to take 400 homes.
NAAG’s FOI request has uncovered a section 52 document, seen by The Bracknell Forest Standard, signed by Berkshire County Council and the council, which states: “Not to use the golf course land for anything other than a golf course or other sporting or other recreational facilities or as open space and not to construct any buildings on the golf course land other than as reasonably required in connection with any of the uses mentioned in this paragraph.”
By Hugh Fort
Empty office space could be used to provide almost half the homes needed in Bracknell and help rejuvenate the town, according to a campaigner.
And Bracknell Forest Council has confirmed it will consider using empty employment sites as housing areas in its future development plans, which will be discussed by the executive committee in November.
Nigel Rennie, chairman of the Northern Arc Action Group (NAAG), says he has calculated that if 5,000 of the homes were built on unused office space, along with the homes in Bracknell which already have permission, that would allow the council to hit its target of 10,780 homes.
Insensitive development in the media
MP’s pledge to villagers (Bracknell News, 7 Nov 2010)
- A CAMPAIGN group fighting the proposed 3,500 homes around Crowthorne has expressed disappointment at Bracknell Forest council’s decision to continue with its housing number targets. Crowthorne Fighting Overdevelopment, the umbrella group for the coalition between Crowthorne Village Action Group (CVAG), Wokingham Without Parish Council and Crowthorne Parish Council believes that the housing numbers on the sites currently proposed will result in an “urban sprawl.”
Campaigners home in on MP (Bracknell News, 26 Sept. 2010) – A CAMPAIGNER trying to reduce plans for thousands of homes in their area says that residents feel “encouraged” after a meeting with their MP.
Around 60 people attended a Binfield Village Protection Society (BVPS) meeting on Friday, September 17 to discuss concerns about housing development targets with MP Adam Afriyie …
Time to revisit data on homes (Bracknell Standard, Letters, p.8, 23 Sept.2010, Claire Jackman) – Further to the report last week by Hugh Fort Unused offices could be homes it comes as no surprise that the suggestion came from members of the public rather than the planning department of councillors of Bracknell Forest. In my view, none of them are fit for purpose.
In 2005, Bracknell Forest Council commissioned Vail Williams Research to conduct a study into employment potential in Bracknell Forest. The analysis and recommendations formed part of the basis for the council’s housing development plans, through to 2026. Although the planned housing numbers have been modified since the change of Government, our council has not seen fit to re-visit the data to ensure the plans are based on accurate and up-to-date information.
Throughout the report and its recommendations, one comment that was made time and again was that BFC needs to redevelop the town centre, in order to ensure Bracknells (sic) future attractiveness to new businesses. Five years on, still nothing has happened with the town centre redevelopment and it is no wonder long-standing residents of Bracknell are jaded and cynical as to whether it will ever happen.
In the report, representations from 200 local businesses were interviewed and, to quote from the report: “8.14 Image – The research has highlighted a problematic perception of Bracknell’s image. Expectations are high that the regeneration of the town centre will help to correct this problem.” Yet what have our council and our elected representatives done to address this? I think we all know the answer. The Vail Williams report also stated that, if there was a 30 per cent net take-up rate of office space, then there would be 12 to 16 years supply. What figure would that be now, in a very different economic climate where many local employers have downsized or moved away?
Doesn’t it make sense that the council investigate utilising all those empty structures for transition to affordable flats and homes. Yet our council and councillors trot out the same old answer – build more houses on the greenfield site (most of which are three or more bedrooms and not affordable for young people.) They have not taken into account the changes of the economic fortunes of businesses in the borough and don’t appear to have done anything to encourage more business to move here. Rather, they are haemorrhaging businesses and, therefore, work opportunities in the borough. In which case, who, pray, is going to buy and live in the houses they want to build on our green spaces?
The present planning department and councillors appear to be lacking the wit and imagination to come up with novel proposals to guide Bracknell back into a growing and vibrant place to be – for both businesses and residents. Perhaps they should collectively resign and allow people with fresh ideas and enthusiasm to take over.
Unused offices could be homes (Bracknell Standard, p.4, 21 Sept. 2010, Hugh Fort) – Empty offices could be demolished and replaced with houses, council bosses have confirmed. The announcement comes as the Northern Arc Action Group (NAAG), a campaign group in Binfield battling the council’s proposals to build a large chunk of its 10,780 home allocation on land around the village, has put forward alternative plans …
Villagers’ fury as scrapping 2,000 homes still leaves 20,000 (Bracknell Standard, p.4, 21 Sept. 2010) – Campaigners are unhappy at the high percentage of homes proposed for the Binfield area despite councillors reducing housing numbers by around 2,000 for the borough … Campaigners say coupled with a similar plan in nearby Wokingham, which will see 1,500 homes built in Emmbrook, as well as the Jennett’s Park development, 700 homes at Amen Corner and other developments, there could be 20,000 new homes within a five mile radius of the village …
Binfield folk urged to meet MP (Bracknell Standard, 16 Sept., 2010) – People in Binfield will be able to put questions on the housing issues facing the village to their local MP. Windsor MP Adam Afriyie will be meeting members of Binfield Protection Society tomorrow evening. Mr Afriyie will be speaking and answering questions at the event, which is held at Binfield Primary School in Benetfeld Road …
Homes plan for borough halved (Bracknell Standard, 16 July 2010, Mike Pyle) – Bracknell Forest Council’s executive agreed to cut back the number of homes planned up to 2026 by 2,000 to 10,780 at a meeting on Tuesday night.
‘Sense of dread’ over plans for new houses (Bracknell Standard, 6 July 2010) – Worried people from Binfield turned out in force for a public meeting of a local society to express their concerns about the possibility of huge increases in housing in the village. It was standing room only at the annual meeting of Binfield Village Protection Society. The gathering had the theme ‘Your Voice Can Make A Difference’ …
Welcome for ban on back garden developments (Bracknell Standard, 21 June 2010, Hugh Fort) – New rules which will put a stop to the developers’ tactic of garden grabbing have been welcomed in Bracknell, but a builders’ group says they will have a massive effect on the market. Last week, the new Conservative decentralisation minister Greg Clark announced that gardens would no longer be classified as brownfield land, which will make it far harder for developers to build on them. The practice involves builders buying up large homes with extensive gardens, demolishing the existing houses and building a higher number of homes in their place …
New hopes to stem housing developments (Bracknell Standard, 14 June 2010) – Communities protesting over excessive housing in Bracknell have welcomed the news they may have seen the back of a hugely unpopular plan which would have led to more than 13,000 homes being built in the borough. The new Conservative Liberal Democrat coalition Government has announced it is scrapping the South East Plan which imposes housing numbers and has told local authorities to put their homes plans on hold …
Homes plan will ‘threaten wildlife habitats’ (Bracknell Standard, 1 June 2010, Hugh Fort) – A wildlife group has raised fears over the potential loss of three “special areas” that are earmarked for housing which are home to a number of rare species. The Bracknell and District Urban Wildlife Group has submitted a response to Bracknell Forest Council’s Site Allocation document, which proposes areas where the council thinks 13,000 homes could be built by 2026 …
Homes plan – fight is on (Bracknell News, 23 May 2010) – Representatives from the Northern Arc Action Group (NAAG) walked out of a meeting with Bracknell Forest Council and other Binfield groups on Tuesday, last week saying that the council was acting like the plans for housing development had already been decided. Chairman of the group David Edwards said: “The overall impression of the meeting was to design the new layout of the housing in Binfield and we thought it was going to be a general discussion. “The council had made the assumption that the decision had already been made …”
Homes meeting ends in walk-out (Bracknell Standard, 18 May 2010, Hugh Fort) – Anti-housing campaigners from Binfield walked out of a meeting with council bosses after being asked to comment on a development they claim may ‘never happen’. The meeting between Bracknell Forest Council and other groups in Binfield disintegrated after members of the Northern Arc Action Group (NAAG) left saying they were asked to play a “planning game”.
The “game” involved campaigners saying where they would place 3,000 homes the council is proposing for the Blue Mountain Golf Course in Wood Lane and Cabbage Hill areas of Binfield. The homes are part of the council’s designated areas for development strategy, a planning document which sets out where 13,000 homes demanded by Central Government could be built. However, the group say nothing has been decided as the document is yet to be approved, and they are incensed council staff were talking like the decision had already been made …
Thousands object to housing plans (Bracknell News), 14 May 2010) – There was standing room only at the meeting of the Northern Arc Action Group (NAAG), led by Binfield Parish councillor David Edwards and formed after the Facebook group ‘NO to 13,000 homes in Northern Arc of Binfield/Bracknell’ attracted 1,645 members in just four weeks. Concerned residents of Binfield, Warfield and Temple Park met at the Binfield Club in Forest Road, on Monday, to discuss a campaign against Bracknell Forest Council’s plan to concentrate housing developments in a “Northern Arc” – reaching from Bracknell to Binfield and Warfield.
We’ll be lost in a sea of homes (Bracknell Standard, 7 May 2010, Hugh Fort) – A rallying call has gone out to people living near Binfield, Winkfield and Warfield to join an action group battling plans for thousands of new homes in the borough. The Northern Arc Action Group was formed on Tuesday as an official body to fight proposals from Bracknell Forest Council, which could site 3,000 new homes in Binfield, including 900 on Blue Mountain Golf Course in Wood Lane, and a further 6,000 homes on sites in Winkfield and Warfield …
Pledge to scrap homes plan
THE South East Plan would be scrapped if the Conservatives formed a government.
That is the pledge from Grant Shapps, Tory Housing spokesman, speaking exclusively to the News on Wednesday.He said the South East Plan – which is the driving force behind Bracknell Forest Council’s bid to identify sites for thousands of homes to be built by 2026 – would be shelved in a matter of weeks if a Tory government was elected.
By Victoria Corbett
May 13, 2009
Pledge to scrap homes plan (Bracknell News, 18 April 2010) – The South East Plan would be scrapped if the Conservatives formed a government. That is the pledge from Grant Shapps, Tory Housing spokesman, speaking exclusively to the News on Wednesday. He said the South East Plan – which is the driving force behind Bracknell Forest Council’s bid to identify sites for thousands of homes to be built by 2026 – would be shelved in a matter of weeks if a Tory government was elected …
Time extended on Binfield homes plan (Bracknell Standard, 16 April 2010, Hugh Fort) – The extension of a deadline over proposals for more than 3,000 homes in Binfield sparked a flurry of campaigning from people dead set against the plans. Bracknell Forest Council last week announced it had extended the consultation into its Site Allocations Development Plan Document by a week, until today …
Comment on housing now (Bracknell News, 15th April 2010) - Bracknell Forest Council (BFC) has suggested eight potential sites where 5,500 homes could be built by 2026 to meet Government targets. The council is drawing up a Site Allocations Development Plan Document and has extended its public consultation by a week. The council has identified sites that could be used in south west Sandhurst, Broadmoor, north east Crowthorne, west Binfield, east Binfield, north Warfield, Long Hill Road in Chavey Down and east Bracknell. However, it is proposing to concentrate the development in a “Northern Arc” in Binfield and Warfield …
Extra week for consultation over 3,000 homes (Bracknell Standard, 9 April 2010, Hugh Fort) – An extra week has been added to a public consultation on the possibility of more than 3,000 homes in Binfield and Warfield. Bracknell Forest Council announced today it has extended the consultation on its Site Allocations Development Plan Document, which asks for people’s views on the idea of 2,000 to 2,300 homes on land between Binfield and Wokingham and another 900 on the Blue Mountain Golf Course and Wyevale Garden Centre to the east of the village …
Last chance for protest against urban sprawl (Bracknell Standard, 9 April 2010, Hugh Fort) – People living in Binfield and Warfield have their last chance today to add their voice to protests against plans for more than 3,000 homes which campaigners say will mean “no more village”.
Last days of consultation on homes plan (Bracknell News, 7 April 2010) – More chairs had to be set out in Binfield Memorial Hall on Thursday, March 25 to accommodate the 70 people who attended Binfield Parish Council’s annual parish meeting. Most had come to find out more about Bracknell Forest Borough Council’s plans to concentrate thousands of new homes in a “northern arc” between Bracknell and Binfield and Warfield …
Home plan could devalue property (Bracknell News, 26 March 2010) – RESIDENTS flocked to a public exhibition in Warfield on proposals for thousands of homes to be built to the north of Bracknell. As the News reported last week, Bracknell Forest Council (BFC) is under pressure to meet government housing targets and build more than 5,500 homes by 2026.
New homes will link up villages (Bracknell News, 20 March 2010) – Bracknell Forest Council (BFC) has identified eight sites around Bracknell which could house nearly 4,000 new homes to meet Government targets but it is proposing to concentrate the development in a “Northern Arc” reaching from Bracknell to Binfield and Warfield.
Binfield Village Protection Society (BVPS) is dismayed at the plans and its chairwoman Margaret Foster said: “Such a massive concentration of new homes will overload local facilities, health centres, roads and schools. The community will be overwhelmed and the uniqueness of the village eroded.”
Have your say on new homes (Bracknell Standard, 3 March 2010) – The people of Bracknell can now give their views on where they think new homes and communities should be built in the borough. Bracknell Forest Council has devised site allocation plans to outline where new homes, shops, businesses, roads, schools, parks and leisure facilities could go in the next 30 years …
Have your say on new homes (Bracknell Standard, 26 Feb 2010) – Winkfield people will have a chance to have an input into Bracknell Forest Council’s plans for sites for new homes.
The consutation roadshow will be at Winkfield Parish Council offices in Fernbank Road on Saturday, March 13, between 10am and 1pm.
Call Winkfield Parish Council on 01344 885 110
Wokingham’s future: the core strategy explained – part one (Wokingham Standard, 13 May 2009, Victoria Corbett)