Eighteen months after the original planning application for the new Cresswell housing estate & industrial park extension was approved, the so-called ‘Section 106’ agreement for it has now been has now also been signed off.
This ‘S106’ is the formal agreement between the district council (Staffs Moorlands DC) and the developer (Scentarea/Malcolm Barrett) about all the nitty-gritty things that must be done before the development can go ahead – stuff like provision for proper transport links, playgrounds etc.
The negotiations are carried out behind closed-doors, in secret, so no-one from the local community has been allowed to get involved.
We asked around to see what some members of our local community thought were the most important points… With their help, we wrote this little guide up for everyone. We hope it’s helpful.
Fifty pages long
The document is fifty pages long, including a list of forty ‘conditions’. If you want to read it through it yourself, click here and then scroll to the bottom of that page, where you will find the S106 Document (split into five parts).
The first lot of it is the usual definitions stuff, saying what exactly is what and who exactly is who. Then it gets interesting…
S106 Part One
* Housing. It looks like the developer has to promise to build at least 33 out of every 100 homes as ‘affordable housing’. Of those 33-out-of-100 homes, 21 must be ‘affordable rented’ homes, and 12 be shared-ownership or similar.
That seems to mean that the other 65 of every 100 homes built by the developer (or their appointed housing company) can be at any price he likes to sell them at. He can even build luxury homes if he wants.
So… if 160 homes are built (as planned), there will be (roughly) only just 35 homes for rent. Not as much opportunity for our young families as we’d hoped.
* Leisure. The agreement indicates that Blythe Cricket Club, which is just up the hill from the planned housing estate, will stand to gain around £250,000 if the whole estate is built. This is the sum that the developers state they will pay the club if the club allows use of their playing fields to the local & incoming population.
* Cars. The agreement speculates that parking space for three vehicles might be needed for any house that has four bedrooms. A lot of cars!…
What it doesn’t say is how many four-bedroom houses there will be…
* Children. A ‘multi use’ games area – for use by children under 12 – is promised.
* Schools. The developer has promised to pay over a million pounds to support the need for extra school places – half to go to William Amory Primary in Blythe Bridge, and half to Blythe Bridge High.
S106 Part Two
* Transport. The developer promises to pay just under £300,000 to helping create a good local bus service (in 3 instalments)
S106 Part Four
* Traffic. A ‘Travel Plan Coordinator’ is going to be appointed. This person will try to encourage sensible travel, including less car-use. Apparently, this TPC will form a local community-based group, which will try to monitor traffic & travel flows, and will try to report back to the TPC.
* Education. The county council will get behind the construction of forty new teaching spaces at Blythe Bridge High… Seems a lot – can they really do it?
* Infrastructure. A new pavement will be built opposite the Izaak Walton pub. (The local community-action group VVSM group expressed great surprise at this clause – where exactly is it being built, and how wide will it be?)
S106 Part Five
* Traffic. There will be two new major roundabouts on our lanes.
* Development. Site clearance can start at any time
* But, before any house-building can start:
…. a ‘traffic management plan’ must be presented
…. a survey must be carried out on site to check for any old industrial-products contamination; and a plan must be put in place for any pollution leakages from historic contamination
… an archaeological survey must be carried out (Condition 31)
… a plan to look after the area’s wildlife must be drawn up (Condition 33)
There is lots lots more to the S106 that you might spot if you read the whole thing – but these items we’ve mentioned here are the highlights that people have alerted us to.
If you spot anything that has been overlooked in our brief guide, would you email us and let us know? We’d be grateful!