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[16th June 2014]: Lib Dems issue press release about Radstock
Mon, 16 Jun 2014 09:07:00 +0100
So the election season is rapidly approaching! Or so it would seem from the latest BANES Liberal Democrats Press Release
As RAG was mentioned, we'd just like to clarify a few key issues:
- RAG is an organisation which welcomes people of all political persuasions and none. We try not to get involved in party politics and we work with anyone who is interested in making Radstock a better place to live and work.
- RAG has been accused by the Lib Dems of 'doing everything they can to stop this redevelopment'. What this really means is that we see the regeneration of Radstock differently from the Lib Dems. We have been working for many years to forward the interests of Radstock, including by campaigning successfully to stop the closure of the Frome Road; to raise the profile of the arguments in favour of reinstating the railway; to ensure that the Victoria Hall was redeveloped for the community. We are long-standing members of the Somer Valley Partnership, now being revamped to make it more fit for purpose, and have regularly participated in Somerset Towns Forum events. When Radstock was 'closed' due to the Wessex Water activities, we organised in practical ways to help the traders.
- RAG is very much in favour of regeneration and have contributed to the Core Strategy and surrounding discussions and our contributions were a substantial element in the debate and subsequent paperwork.
- Amongst our current focuses is the question of contamination on the railway land and attempting to ensure that, should there be homes built, the health of residents will not be endangered by ongoing toxin presence and that children in the adjacent school will not be endangered either.
- Should the current proposals go ahead, there will be no possibility of re-opening the rail link to Frome - one look at the plans shows there will be insufficient space.
[26th May 2014]: When RAG met Linden Homes, the would be developers of the Radstock Railway Land
Mon, 26 May 2014 12:55:00 +0100
Last week Linden Homes finally came to Radstock to meet six representatives of Radstock Action Group - they didn't want more than six. Their four representatives were led by Managing Director, Clive Wiltshire who opened his remarks by saying that he thought there would be a lot of things on which we would not be able to reach agreement. How right he was.
A full report of the meeting will be posted on the RAG website as soon as possible, and once Linden Homes have had the opportunity to comment, but these are the key points:
- Linden Homes made it clear, repeatedly, that they are in it to make a profit for their shareholders. Full stop.
- They cannot pay the Section 106 money proposed as this would prevent them making a profit for said shareholders. Section 106 money is the contribution that developers are asked to pay towards infrastructure costs incurred in the provision of new services needed for the new residents. This means that it will be the people of Radstock who will be paying through such contributions as Council Tax.
- They are going to be building less than the originally planned number of affordable homes - in other words, they will be building more for normal commercial sale.
- They expect purchasers to come from within a 20 mile radius - we made the point that we need homes for Radstock people not people from a 20 mile radius who will use the town as a dormitory suburb for Bath or Bristol.
- Linden Homes claim their plans comply with the requirements put forward by BANES so any complaint should be addressed to BANES not them - this is particularly relevant to our discussions about contamination. They were unable to allay our fears.
- On the subject of safeguarding the railway route for future reinstatement of the line to Frome, they said that this would be the case. However, we pointed out that current plans show, amongst other obstacles, building over it.
- They had no answers to complaints about parking problems.
- A question emerged about the transfer of land from NRR to Linden Homes - we regard this as a central point in the whole affair and will be pressing for answers which were not forthcoming from Linden Homes on the grounds of commercial sensitivity.
It is not too late to stop this unscrupulous development in Radstock
All in all, a highly unsatisfactory meeting. We have asked them to come and speak to a public meeting in Radstock. We hope they take up this invitation. This development must be stopped.
[22nd April 2014]: Linden Homes on Contamination - RAG is not convinced
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 08:45:00 +0100
Radstock Action Group has had a reply to their letter to Linden Homes about contamination on the Railway Land in Radstock, but it lacks any indication that they are taking the matter seriously. For example, they use as a defence for the continued use of the ground investigation done in 2005, that it was accepted at the time. What they fail to mention is that it was part of a flawed process which the then would-be developer applied.
Where's the evidence that they have a practical plan?
They also claim that additional investigation was undertaken in December 2013. It is clearly not possible to comment on this without knowing the extent of the alleged work. However, we have seen nothing on the site to suggest recent trial pits or installed monitoring wells. We think that Linden Homes must publish detail for their claims to carry any conviction.
BANES must say where they stand
Additionally, we have yet to hear whether what Linden Homes has done has satisfied the BANES Officer responsible that her original substantial reservations about the way the developer proposed addressing the contamination issues.
Call-in rejected - how does this match listening to local people?
This came in the same week that Eric Pickles announced that he will not be calling in the NRR/Linden Homes Planning Applications for the Railway Land. His refusal was on the basis that he prefers to give more power to local councils and communities - this doesn't help where the council and the local community do not agree.
Will Linden Homes organise a public meeting to tell us their plans?
So far there is no indication that Linden Homes are organising a public meeting in Radstock, despite their declaration that they want to be in touch with the community. We suggest that they organise the meeting as a matter of urgency as, according to BANES, work could start very soon. At this meeting, they will be able to present the exact work they will be doing and Paul Crossley will be able to explain how he thinks this will bring 'new homes, new jobs and new opportunities to the people of Radstock, as he claimed this week'. After all, we know that Radstock people will not be priority cases for housing. There is no indication that there are jobs in the long term. The railway reinstatement will be impossible, thus quashing one of the main chances for new opportunities.
We urge everyone to continue to object to these plans.
DONATIONS: If you wish to financially support the work of the Group, please send a cheque, made payable to RADSTOCK ACTION GROUP, to Treasurer, Radstock Action Group, 8 Colliers Rise, Radstock BA3 3AU. (If you would like to receive a receipt, please include your name and address.)