October News Update

Hallo Campaigners, here’s an important update for you:

New sites for housing are now available in Coldwaltham: please come to the Parish Council Public Meeting on Thursday 19 October, 7:30pm at Sandham Hall. Have your say about where any new homes should go, how many we need and how many should be affordable. We will be there to defend the meadow and hope you can make it too; every vote will count!

Two new landowners have offered three alternative sites to the Barlavington flower-rich hay meadow that we are seeking to protect. These sites are shown on the following map together with a table which compares their suitability, using South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) criteria.
This is the land that is being offered:

See larger clearer version here

Here’s a comparative table for each site, based on the criteria for assessing housing land used by the National Park:

See larger version of the table here

The SDNPA has already decided that we should have up to 30 new homes in the village and we think it is unlikely we can stop them at this late stage, but we can still try!
We think we can get them to choose a better location but only if we can get widespread agreement and if we can put a strong case together with our Parish Council to the SDNP Planning Authority.

Some affordable housing for local people is needed in our parish, but not on site 1, owned by the Barlavington Estate. This is because it is the only flower-rich hay meadow we have left in the Arun Valley. 97% of meadows like this have already gone from the UK’s countryside in the last 30 years. The South Downs National Park Authority should be protecting this meadow and its wildlife, but instead they have allocated it for up to 30 houses in the proposed South Downs Local Plan. To make matters worse, the flower-rich hay meadow is one of only two fields that separate Coldwaltham from Watersfield. This ribbon development will spoil the rural character of both villages and will certainly spoil the view; it will be a blot on the landscape visible for miles from the South Downs Way and from Amberley Village across the valley.

Together we can demand that the National Park’s Planning Authority looks at the alternative sites for housing in the parish and selects another more appropriate site(s). The National Park has made a mistake; there is no need to destroy this beautiful meadow and spoil our views. Building on Site 1 is against all of the National Park’s Purposes, Objectives and Core Policies as well as its seven Special Qualities; these all dictate that the flower meadow is unsuitable for development and should be protected.

We don’t suggest how many houses should be built, but we can tell you that a proportionate number of new houses for the parish, based upon the number of houses to be built in the whole National Park, would be eight. We have been told that because we don’t have a Neighbourhood Development Plan, we have been allocated more than our fair share of new houses. But whatever the number, they don’t have to be built on a scarce wildflower meadow. We want you and our Parish Council to decide where any houses should go and not be dictated to by the National Park.

Now is the time to make your comments about all of this to the South Downs National Park. Please contact the South Downs National Park and tell them what you think of their Local Plan, especially the bit about building on the beautiful flower-rich hay meadow! You have only got until 21 November 2017 to do this, so please have a go. Both the National Park Authority and the Planning Inspector will take notice of your comments, especially if there are a lot of them, because it shows that our community cares!

How to make your comments
(They haven’t made it easy for us, but here goes…)

  1.  Click CMCG_Plan to find out what the National Park wants to do at Coldwaltham.
  2. Make a list of the comments you want to make. This will be useful because you have to put each main comment on a separate form, and if you’ve made a list, you won’t forget any! The National Park will not accept a lot of points on one form.
  3. Have a look at the comments form, which you can download from:
  4. When the page opens, scroll down until you get to the heading You Can Comment by and select either Consultation Page or Comments Form. The Consultation Page is for online comments, and once you have finished, they should automatically go to www.southdowns.gov.uk/localplan
  5. If you want to email your form, select the Comments Form as described above, fill each one in with your comments and then email it to: planningpolicy@southdowns.gov.uk
  6. If you want to post your forms, fill them in, print them off and send them to: South Downs Local Plan, Planning Policy, South Downs National Park Authority, South Downs Centre, North Street, Midhurst, West Sussex GU29 9DH.

(Please note that although the SDNPA have asked for submissions to be made using their forms, you can simply write a letter instead…)

What we are saying
We know that you have all expressed a number of concerns about the National Park’s plans for the meadow. There are many points to be made, and we shall be submitting as many of them as we can. We shall put our comments on the website once we have completed them, but in particular, we shall say:

For Part B, each question,

1, on each form, the Policy number will be SD64;

2 we shall say No, and put a cross in all four boxes;

3. we shall say No;
4. we shall say the following; (but remember that each point will have to be made on a separate form):

The Local Plan is unsound because:
• Policy SD64 (the meadow) clearly conflicts with the principles of sustainable development set out in the Local Plan and in the UK Government’s National Planning Policy Framework.
• Local people were deprived of a formal Regulation 18 Consultation about the plans for the meadow.
• The development is out of all proportion for a small village that has few services and it will increase the use of the car because we do not have an adequate public transport system. There are few jobs in the village and the new residents will have to drive elsewhere to gain employment.
• Policy SD64 is not effective because it is not deliverable. There are conflicts between Policy SD64 and Local Plan Core Policies SD4, Landscape Character, and SD6 Safeguarding Views. Despite assurances that landscaping will reduce the impact of the new housing upon the landscape, the new development will be visible for miles from the South Downs Way[] and across the valley. Landscaping will not improve or enhance the sense of separation from Watersfield, which will only be one meadow away from Coldwaltham.
• Policy SD64 conflicts with Local Plan Core Policy SD9 Biodiversity and the UK’s National Planning Policy Framework for Conserving and enhancing the natural environment. Building on the flower-rich hay meadow will not protect and enhance biodiversity, it will destroy it. The meadow is a scarce cultural heritage asset; 97% of the UK’s flower-rich hay meadows have gone from the countryside in the last 30 years. The meadow is important for bats and farmland birds and is the only flower-rich hay meadow in the Arun Valley. The SDNPA has no record of any other in the whole National Park.
• Policy SD64 will also cause negative impacts from increased recreational pressure (walkers with uncontrolled dogs) and urbanisation on Waltham Brooks SSSI and the Arun Valley SPA.
• Policy SD64 does not represent the most appropriate strategy for delivering 30 new houses in the village; other sites have been offered by local landowners that are more appropriate.

For No. 5, we will say, on every form, that Policy SD64 should be deleted from the Plan as it cannot be modified to make it sound.
For No. 6 we shall say Yes
For No. 7 we shall say that we feel it necessary to participate in the Examination in Public because you have asked us to!

Etc etc. Please feel free to use the above, if you wish, but please use your own words, not ours, otherwise the National Park may ignore them. Please also add points of your own. Whatever you say, please submit it before 21 November.

Lastly, we now have raised
#FF0000 Raised £2,192 towards the £2,500 target.
Thank you so much!