Thursday, January 11, 2007

Planning Applications Furore

There have been two recent Planning Applications in Combe Down village that have caused consternation to local residents.
The First is the ridiculous applcation for a mobile telephone mast on the grass verge outside Combe Down Garage. The company 'Three', visited Wags Firmin owner of the garage to ask if they could install a mast on his property. Wags refused, so the the company have proposed a mast as close as they can to the garage, but without encroaching on Wags' land.

The proposal should be refused on aesthetic grounds alone - an unsightly development in the Conservation Area and totally out of place. But there are also health concerns about the affect of these masts, particularly on children. So with a children's play area and nursery close by and on the route to and from Combe Down Primary School, the fear of health problems should also be a reason to refuse the mast. This mast proposal is close to the most densely populated area of Combe Down.

The company maintain that this is the only site for a mast. I say to the company "go back and look again", if this is the best you can come up with it may be that there is not a suitable site in Combe Down. The photo by the Chronicle shows Roger and Cherry with Wags Firmin, the Manager of Tadpoles Nursery and local resident Phyllis Brown.
The second Planning Application causing some problems is for a new Astroturf hockey pitch on Sears Field, just over the wall from Church Road in Monkton Combe Junior School. Fears of local residents include increased noise and disturbance, possible floodlighting and an increase in traffic already causing problems to people in Church Road and Tyning Road.
Our view is that this site is the closest to dwellings on the whole school site and although we are not opposed in principle to the school constructing an all weather surface in its grounds, there surely must be a better site. Neither can we support any development in the school until present traffic and pollution problems caused by parents bringing and collecting their children are addessed.
It is a shame that there was no discussion with local residents before the application was submitted. Simply discussing applications like this, which could have a great impact on local people, with planning officers is not enough - local councillors and local residents should be invited to make comments and ask questions before the submission of an application. Otherwise applicants risk opposition as in this case.
The Headteacher will meet local residents this weekend and Cherry and myself will meet him next week if possible. Local views may still be taken into account, but it is rather late in the day.
There is still an opportunity for people to comment on the application until 30th January 2007.


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