Potential housing sites cause concern

The latest newsletter from the VVSM residents’ group highlights the recent publication by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council of its ‘Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment’ – or  SHLAA for short.

It’s a long title, but, briefly, the SHLAA identifies potential plots for house-building.
It’s important to recognise that these are not plots of land singled out by planners, but are simply plots that some landowner and/or developer has indicated that they would like to start building on if they could get permission.
Potential sites in this area have been marked on maps that can be found on the council’s website.

On one of these maps you can see that – for our locality – there are marked sites all along the residential parts of Sandon Road in Cresswell, while in Draycott itself there are sites marked next to St Margaret’s Church and behind Draycott College, including its playing fields.
Poor old Totmonslow is off the map, so we can’t tell you if any sites are identified there!
If you want to see our exact map for yourself, just click here (the map opens as a pdf, then scroll down to page seven).

The council’s ‘site-details’ reports also make for sobering reading.
To be honest, we didn’t fully understand the implications of them (would someone try to explain these to us?) but The Housing Availability Assessment, which mentions Draycott on page 10, and the Individual Site Assessments reports – which mention all the pinpointed sites in Draycott-in-the-Moors as well as across other rural parts of the Moorlands – are definitely compulsory reading for anyone interested in the development of this area.
(By the way the Individual Site Assessments report is nearly 400 pages long, so it takes four minutes to download as a pdf.  To find Draycott or Cresswell or Totmonslow sites, you really should do a ‘search’ for the relevant word, eg ‘Cresswell’).

The council however is bound to take seriously these enquiries; and so the SHLAA is a definite part of the District Council’s ‘Core Strategy plan’ – which was forwarded to the Government Inspector last month.

Concerns

VVSM is clearly concerned about not just the number of these sites marked on the SHLAA, but the type of site – some of which they regard as highly unsuitable for environmental reasons.
It also is unhappy about how the whole housing consultation process works.

…so what happens next?

Well, a district council officer told us that the ‘best’ sites will eventually be selected by them (a number have already been deemed unsuitable and yet more are likely to be rejected) – and then a public consultation on these more suitable sites will be undertaken. This will take place next year.

So – in theory – nothing should happen before we hear about it. However, if you too are concerned, it is worth checking out VVSM’s views – click here.

Of course, new build does go on in Draycott – and, after all, the country does need more houses…

Building on the Bird in Hand site

New houses are going up on the site of the now-demolished Bird In Hand pub (on the road going to Hilderstone)

Down at the southern-most end of Draycott,  new houses stand where the old Bird In Hand once stood.

Community Conversation

You may remember however that many of us discussed this very issue of housing allocation in the so-called Community Conversations which were held last year. Members of the Draycott and Cresswell communities were asked to attend public discussions on these matters.

Well, the records of those two discussions have at last been published. The summary of the Draycott discussions can be seen by clicking here (Draycott was lumped in with Blythe Bridge and Forsbrook) while the Cresswell discussion summary can be seen by clicking here.

Frankly, we don’t think the notes are very easy to understand unless you were there, so if you are a bit doubtful about what they mean, it is worth contacting your favourite parish councillor and asking him/her to explain them. Parish councillors were monitoring both meetings.

Still, they make interesting reading (if you like this kind of thing!), especially the ideas about what particular sites might suit development (or not!).
As the summaries have only just been put online, there is not been time for a comment about them from either VVSM or the Parish Council (or indeed the rest of us).
We’re looking forward to reading the reactions…

If you too have a comment, please use the comments box below…

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One response to “Potential housing sites cause concern

  1. I would be worried about the sites where there are playing fields now and also where the (listed) rectory stands, one of the most historically important buildings in the parish.

    Matt

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