Somehow when ever I see the words ‘master plan’ I give a tiny shudder. I think of evil dictators and ‘James Bond villains‘, the ‘black hats of cowboy movies too.
The saga of the Foxhill regeneration master plan that ran on Combe Down for 5 years or so has elements of the things that give me the ‘master plan’ shudder.
Ordinary folk living their lives as best they can, given that they had been described as living in an area that was designated “in the most deprived 20% of the country”, who are given a master plan to regenerate their community by the housing association that owned many of the affordable homes in the area and a council that granted the housing association outline planning permission.
That outline planning permission was, later, adjudged, in a Judicial Review, to have been given without: ” due regard to the need to remove or minimise disadvantages suffered by persons who share a relevant protected characteristic or to take steps to meet the needs of such persons The relevant characteristics were age, disability, race and pregnancy or maternity … The grant of outline planning permission on 30 November 2017 was unlawful, and that outline planning permission will be quashed.”
So were the housing association and council black hats or blunderers? Only you can decide what you think, but I’ve laid out the main elements of the Foxhill regeneration master plan.
It seems to me that two of the key documents are:
- In February 2016 a Final report prepared by Centre for Local Economic Strategies was presented to Curo entitled ‘SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC REGENERATION PLAN FOR FOXHILL & MULBERRY PARK’. One of the ‘overarching principles’ in it was: Working in partnership with residents.
- The Foxhill Regeneration and Development Charter adopted by BANES and Curo on 7 September 2016, which was full of fine sentiments but also seemed on page 12 to almost preordain want happened afterwards.
- the CLES report was published in February 2016
- the Foxhill Regeneration and Development Charter was published in March 2016
- the ‘public exhibitions‘ were held in June, July and September 2016
- outline planning permission was applied for in November 2016
- that the ‘exhibitions and outline planning application proposed the “demolition of up to 542 homes“
it’s difficult to see that much “working in partnership with residents” took place.
N.B. There’s a great video made by the residents: