The past year has been an extremely busy one for the BCA - most of the limited time the few committee members have is tied up with planning. The largest single issue has been the Draft Local Plan which was put out for consultation last autumn. The BCA arranged a public meeting to allow for debate, prepared briefing documents for residents and made our own response. As a result of many protests, the DLP was withdrawn and a revised Plan is expected soon.
One of the major areas of concern for Burpham in the DLP was the prospect of a development of 2,000 houses at Gosden Hill. Another was the proposal to build the Clay Lane Link Road. Our response to this has been robust and pro-active. The BCA presented GBC with alternative detailed and much cheaper proposals drawn up by one of our committee members who is a well qualified civil engineer. Despite cursory acknowledgment, no recognition of the effort involved has been forthcoming. We have responded to the CLLR consultation, prepared comprehensive information for members and will present a very thorough response when the planning application is lodged.
Another major concern has been the aftermath of the 2013/2014 winter flooding which damaged several homes, one very badly. There have been many meetings and discussions with various agencies, culminating in the formation of the Burpham Flood Forum. This will meet quarterly under the chairmanship of Anne Milton and with representatives of GBC, SCC, the Environment Agency and Thames Water. The inaugural meeting was in February this year; the next will be in July.
The new Aldi supermarket is now taking shape and there has been much concern about the new layout being constructed and especially the mixed pedestrian and cyclist footpath. The narrowing of the north bound carriage way is already causing even more congestion. We are in correspondence with SCC about this, and the parking along Burpham Lane by workers on the Aldi site. We have also been in contact with Aldi in relation to the proposed artwork on the 6 by 3 metre external panel at the northern end of the building. It was agreed that the upper half would have some artistic link to the Green Man and the lower half would be a series of panels depicting a timeline for Burpham. Members were asked for ideas and their suggestions were used to prepare a plan for Aldi. The result is artist 1, BCA nil and the panel will simply consist of his interpretation of Green Man.
GBC commissioned a parking review in Burpham last year. Many residents came forward with comments and a comprehensive report was submitted by the BCA in December last year.In September last year, we drew your attention to the new gate and track across the common land on Merrow Lane. This was done to give Network Rail access to their substation. We had been assured that the woodland would be restored but recent information from GBC suggests there may be a problem as some legal issues have arisen. A recent email from GBC stated: “We have asked for the gates to be removed and the area restored. We are expecting this to be challenged.”
Any connection between this and the proposal to build 2,000 houses on Gosden Hill is pure supposition.
An extract from the Chairman’s Report May 2014:
We are also working with our County Councillor to get some road improvements, notably repair of the appalling potholes along the London Road and Clay Lane, as well as the Woodruff Avenue/Coltsfoot Drive/Charlock Way area. The committee has asked for the timings of Burpham traffic lights to be altered to try and ease traffic congestion and has made some other proposals for traffic flow improvements and the relief of congestion. The only action that SCC has taken is to deal with the London Road potholes and resurface Clay Lane, presumably in preparation for the CLLR about which we are being consulted. Correspondence is ongoing.
The public consultation period on the Neighbourhood Plan prepared by the Forum has just completed and the Plan now goes for Examination. There will eventually be a Ward Referendum – the time scale is decided by GBC – and we hope that everyone will take the opportunity to vote on the Plan.
Both the web site and the BCA news in the Burpham Pages have been redesigned to make them more eye catching and accessible so that the community can more readily engage in our activities. We hope to add regular news and contributions from local groups such as schools, sports clubs and other organisations.
In conclusion the BCA helped initiate the Keith Crossman Memorial Fund to honour the memory of our late Chairman who died last October. This has caught the imagination of many sections of the community and a full update will be given later in the proceedings.
All news is submitted by members of the BCA - get in touch here to contribute!