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Hadleigh Society Comments on the Babergh Local Plan Alteration No 2 Issues Report

Members of the Hadleigh Society Executive Committee have each studied the plan and, as far as is possible, consulted locally. Attached are their collective thoughts distilled into what is hoped is as clear a response as the Issues Document is clear. The Committee felt that regardless of our response to the content, the clarity and user friendliness of the publication was worthy of particular congratulation. The Society would like this to be put on record as endorsing the effort that has been made to convey sometimes difficult issues in such a clear way. Particularly interesting is the way that the environmental matters and sustainable development strategy were incorporated to reflect the Agenda 21 and particularly the Local Agenda 21 as found on the Babergh website. The Society is naturally concerned about the long term issues, which are being raised initially at the Rio conference and subsequently, and it is therefore pleasing to note effort being made to generate local appropriate strategies.

Section 3  - A SUSTAINABLE APPROACH TO THE CONTROL OF DEVELOPMENT

Sustainable Residential Development. The importance of respecting environmental constraints is strongly endorsed.

Sustainable Employment. Some mention might be made to correlating existing employment patterns, trades skills and professions with the potential forms of employment in the future.

Section 5 - SETTLEMENT POLICY AND HOUSING

Issue 6 THE STRATEGY FOR ACCOMMODATING HOUSING GROWTH

Option 2 - Continued and Reasonable Steady Growth - Hadleigh.

The Society strongly endorses Option 2 with respect to Hadleigh. Subparagraph ‘Hadleigh’ is probably simply wrongly worded. The whole area, which encompasses the old MOD site, has the allocation of some 220 houses, in the Society’s understanding.

Hadleigh - Land off Gallows Hill. This is a particularly sensitive site within the landscape. Any building design should be at low level.

Option 3 — Major Growth.

Whilst strongly endorsing the statement, even if a high level of growth was imposed on the district it is felt that if Hadleigh was to bear the brunt of substantial growth, this would be more appropriate adjacent to the newer areas of the town.

Section 6 Issue 19 - Employment - Hadleigh Area.

Clearly the Lady Lane Industrial estate is well suited but if it were necessary for it to grow more land might be found to the North of the present allocated area. It is recognized that this land slopes and is in fact the site of a previous waste tip, but it has the advantage of being ‘behind’ the hill. However, more important is to create a proactive approach to existing industrial units so that these more match the local needs particularly as travel becomes more expensive. In this context, although the provision of a supermarket on the Pound Lane site is adamantly opposed, this small industrial area creates employment by providing small scale ‘starter’ business accommodation. As service sector requirements accelerate, this area, if developed appropriately might well serve a very useful need without having to greatly impinge on the character of the High Street. Whilst there is some uncertainty about the Brett Works Site, speculation is liable to continue. If, however, the owners could be persuaded to invest in the site to provide more starter facilities, a good solution might have been found. For example, software company employees possibly generate only two car movements each per day. (See ‘Sustainable Employment’ comments above and Issue 62 comments below)

Issue 23 - Pond Hall Industrial Estate

Perhaps views concerning a small amount of growth of this Industrial estate might be modified if road access was provided from the A1071. This is clearly possible along the alignment of a small road and track running across land in the possession of the County council, (County Farms).

Issue 24 - New Retail Strategy

The Society strongly concurs with the principles reflected in the proposals and particularly feels that an emphasis should be given to definition of Town Centre areas. Concurrent with the policies as stated some particular reference might be considered to the potential of home and internet shopping as it might relate to the local retail strategies.

Section 13 Hadleigh Town Centre

Context

It is felt that this paragraph suggests that the town has to compete on a one for one basis with other centres of shopping. These, however, may not have the responsibility that comes with the particular character of Hadleigh’s town centre. The balance is extremely delicate, small changes possibly having a significant long term and adverse impact. There is always the temptation to feel that this is countered by cosmetic improvements rather than guidance of the underlying trends. For example, Hadleigh’s vibrancy is partially created by the presence of vehicular traffic, but if this becomes excessive, radical change may create sterility. It is considered that a very good start has been made to this low key approach in the revision of the car parking utilisation, although experience has illustrated that some fine tuning may be necessary.

Issue 61 - Car Parking

The Society agrees wholeheartedly with the views expressed. (and see paragraph above)

Issue 62 - Shopping

The position concerning another supermarket has been well aired by public inquiry, Local District Plan Revision and Town Council Policy. It is encouraging to see that the Council have taken seriously all of the recommendations of the Inspector and have agreed with both the content and the spirit of the Inspector’s report, but this site is not without value as an asset to the town if utilised in a sympathetic way. The Society strongly endorses Issue 62 and the removal of policy LP167.

New Issue 63 Hadleigh Health Centre

The proposals as stated seem to suggest that here are the two alternatives, whereas a third might be a combination of the first two. Dependent on the overall design, disruption of the existing Market Place (Duke Street) garaging might have to be considered and an alternative offered. This area might well be the site for the growth of the ancillary medical facilities, but integral to this concept might be an overall plan for the Market place area to provide a focus for town centre activities, by for example, encouraging stall holder trading.

A lottery funded full design study competition for the Market Place/ Duke Street/ Guildhall area might be a way forward. However, it is to be hoped that the need for increasing medical facilities can provide the impetus for siting the Fire Station more appropriately, (presumably on the Lady Lane Industrial Estate). 

Issue 65 - Community Hall

In the life cycle of the local Plans, it might be prudent to include some mention of the possibility of more community use for St Mary’s Church, the Deanery Tower and The URC building, particularly as the former is about to benefit from Lottery funding.

Issue 66 - Undergrounding of Overhead Wires

The Society concurs with the change in emphasis in undergrounding overhead wires, and suggests that the statement might well be expanded to cover the whole of the conservation area. Moreover with the likelihood of cable television etc. being made available in the smaller towns the groundworks should include those parts of the town not already provided for. Overhead wire removal works planned for Church Street should also include Queen Street. 

Issue 67 Market Place / Duke Street Garages

(see Health Centre comments above)

General Comments

1. The Society feels that much of the local debate on various issues for the future would be helped by a clear single sentence statement of what the District Council’s vision is for Hadleigh and its immediate area. For example ‘The Council’s aim is to foster the character of a historic market town.’ Such a statement would then clarify and provide a pointer for any form of development. Industrial , housing, social, conservation and other issues might then fall into a logical pattern which is more transparent to those who are less involved. Such a strategy seems to work well in other parts of the country, is progressiveprovides a clear focus for future developments and gives a ‘proactive’ stance to the Local Authority.

2. The Hadleigh Society has reminded itself that the Local authority is the only organisation that can create and be the guardian of public open space. In deliberations over providing a lead for use of the general area again under threat as a supermarket site, the Society feels that this is probably the only site left that might be used attractively for some form of natural, environmentally sensitive public open space.

The Hadleigh Society