The Mead, Westbury

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below we have prepared a written response to a number of anticipated FAQs. As necessary following the public consultation event and responses received on completed questionnaires, this page will be updated.

The landowner and its intentions for the site

The Landowner

The site is owned freehold by Warwickshire County Council and it is the County Council who will submit outline planning application for housing development on the site.  If the application is successful the County Council will market the site for sale and would expect it to be acquired by one or more national house building companies who, at a later date, would prepare and submit applications for reserved matters which would confirm how many houses are to be built, together with details of their size, tenure and style, as well as the community facilities and schools.

I understand that a tenant farmer currently uses the site; what will happen to the tenant farmer?

The site is subject to a rolling agricultural tenancy and the tenant farmer has been informed of the County Council’s intention to sell the site if outline planning permission is obtained.  During the pre-application consultation process dialogue will be maintained with the tenant farmer, who will also be informed when the application is submitted to Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council for determination. 

If the site is sold, how will the receipt from the sale be spent?

By bringing the site to the market the County Council is acting as a responsible landowner, responding positively to help meet pressing housing needs within Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough, whilst also delivering on its own business strategy aimed at maximising the value from the property it owns to help meet the challenges of delivering and maintaining high quality services across the County.

Development proposals

What is proposed to be built on the site?

The development will include:

  • Up to 1,750 new homes;
  • A Primary School and land for a Secondary School;
  • Local centre including a multi-functional community hall
  • Formal and informal outdoor open spaces, sports facilities, children’s play and allotments; and
  • New and enhanced public transport, pedestrian and cycle links.

How will the development benefit the local community?

The development will have the following key benefits:

  • Delivery of good quality, predominantly open market family homes to meet growing demand;
  • Delivery of much needed affordable housing (up to 25%) to meet existing and forecast needs in Nuneaton and the Borough;
  • The retention and enhancement of where possible of existing habitat (e.g. hedgerows) to provide an attractive and sympathetic landscape framework for the development with opportunities to improve biodiversity within the site;
  • Improvement to existing social and community facilities in the area through provision of retail and other services within the local centre, a multi-functional community hall, and open space and sports facilities;
  • Opportunity to improve pedestrian and cycle links to Weddington and St Nicolas Park as well as into the Town Centre; and
  • Opportunities to help bring forward highway improvements to the local road network to improve road capacity and ease peak hour congestion.

When will a planning application be submitted?

Following detailed consideration of feedback to public consultation on the development proposals, and the conclusion of ongoing discussions with Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council and other statutory consultees, Warwickshire County Council will refine the development proposals before submitting an outline planning application to Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council.  It is currently anticipated that an outline planning application will be submitted later this autumn (2016).

What will the outline planning application include?

The application will seek approval for the main principles of the development and to agree key issues such as access arrangements, and the overall scale of development. The layout of buildings within the proposed development, their precise height, width and length, together with details of their appearance and site wide landscaping will be the subject of separate ‘Reserved Matters’ applications to be submitted at a later date by chosen developers/housebuilders.

The outline planning application will be supported by a suite of technical documents which will demonstrate how the proposals meet the planning policy requirements of the saved Local Plan, together with relevant Supplementary Planning Documents issued by NBBC and the emerging Borough Plan.  These reports will collectively assess the environmental, socio-economic and technical effects of the development.

Key documents in support of the planning application will include:

  • Planning Statement
  • Design and Access Statement
  • Transport Assessment
  • Environmental Statement
  • Utilities Statement
  • Arboricultural Survey
  • Topographical Survey
  • Sustainability Statement
  • S106 Agreement - Draft Heads of Terms (detailing planning obligations).

A Statement of Community Involvement will also be submitted which will explain the consultation process and demonstrate how the scheme has responded to comments made by all consultees, including where changes to the scheme have been made, and where this has not been possible, the reasons why.

What happens after the Outline Planning Application is submitted?

On receipt of the Outline Planning Application, NBBC will undertake statutory consultation on the submitted development proposals.  The public will then have the opportunity to formally submit comments to the Borough Council on the proposals for the site. If the outline application is approved, and before any work can start, the next step would be the submission of detailed (Reserved Matters) applications.  It is unlikely that the first detailed application would be submitted before late 2017/early 2018, at which time the public will be able to comment on the proposals during a further period of statutory public consultation.

When will development start on site and how long will it take to complete?

It is anticipated that the earliest any construction is likely to start on site is late 2018. Having regard to the size of the site (able to support more than one housebuilder at the same time), the local housing market and already approved residential schemes in the area, the assumed average rate of construction is 110 dwellings per year.  The proposed development should therefore take approximately 15 years to build-out with completion anticipated in 2033/34.   

Housing issues

Why do we need more housing in the Borough?

Although the number of houses being built in England, changing household formation rates, immigration and natural population growth are causing a shortage of housing has resulted in a shortage of housing. This is evidenced by factors such as long housing waiting lists and a rise in the age of people living at home with their parents.  The Government has repeatedly stated that building more homes is a priority to alleviate this shortage, and that local authorities should make every effort to meet the housing (and other development) needs of their areas.

The emerging Borough Plan makes provision for 10,040 dwellings to be built between 2011 and 2031. However, because there is a requirement for the Borough to also accommodate a share of some of Coventry’s housing need, need that cannot be met within the City’s own administrative area, it is necessary for the Borough Council to make provision for more housing within the Nuneaton and Bedworth area.

The Borough Plan is at an advanced stage, the Submission Draft having been consulted on in 2015.  However, due to the requirement for the Borough to accommodate some of Coventry’s housing need, NBBC will be consulting again on a revised Submission Draft later this year.  It is likely that further sites will be included in the Borough Plan in addition to those already identified.

Why is new housing proposed on land at Top Farm in particular?

To deliver the Borough’s future housing requirement up to 2031, NBBC has assessed suitable locations for new development in and around Bedworth and Nuneaton.  Based on the findings of this work it was found that land to the north of Nuneaton was the most appropriate and sustainable location for large-scale development outside of the Green Belt.

In the Submission Draft Borough Plan, Warwickshire County Council’s land at Top Farm forms a part of the proposed strategic site allocation HSG1 North of Nuneaton for a total of 3,530 new homes. 

Shouldn’t we be building on brownfields sites first?

Although there are brownfields (previously developed) sites within the Borough there are not enough in suitably located positions and of sufficient size to meet existing housing needs.  This limited supply of brownfield sites within the Borough means that greenfield sites on the edge of the main urban areas need to be released to meet pressing housing needs.

Greenfield sites should not be confused with land in the Green Belt for this land has a greater degree of protection from all forms of built development, including housing. 

Land at Top Farm does not lie within the Green Belt.

What are the types of housing that will be built?

Responding to existing market conditions it is intended that there will be a mix of tenures and sizes of dwelling on site of between 2- to 5-bed market family housing.  The actual type of dwelling proposed on the site will be a matter addressed through Reserved Matters applications.

Will there be any affordable housing and, if so, how many and where will they be built?

Subject to financial viability considerations, up to 25% of the housing on site will be provided as affordable homes.  This is in line with NBBC’s local policy requirement.  The affordable dwellings will be located at a number of locations within the development and will blend in with the market housing.

Will Warwickshire County Council build the houses?

No.  Once outline planning permission is secured, the site will be marketed and will be sold to a developer / housebuilder.  The sale process will be carefully managed by the County Council to ensure that, amongst other things, the housebuilders chosen are able to deliver the quality of housing and other aspects of the development which it and the rest of Nuneaton wishes to see delivered in the local area.

Transport and access

How will the roads cope particularly at rush hour and school drop off times?  

A Transport Assessment (TA) will be prepared and submitted in support of the development proposals for the site.  The scope of the TA has been broadly agreed with the Highway Authority and will be confirmed once the Highway Authority’s Strategic Transport Assessment and Strategic Traffic Model are available for review/testing.

The work completed to date confirms that whilst the proposed development will have an impact on the highway network, mitigation measures can be implemented to alleviate this impact where necessary.  The level of mitigation required will be investigated using the Highway Authority’s Strategic Traffic Model, which will be made available in early August .  An assessment of the anticipated trip rates has been undertaken, which will be incorporated into the modelling work. 

The site offers a sustainable location for development being within easy walking and cycling access of existing and proposed local services and facilities.  New residential development on peripheral /rural sites within the Borough would, in comparison, inevitably lead to more traffic as people would choose to drive into Nuneaton to access jobs, shops, schools and other services and facilities. Development within close proximity to existing services and facilities provides residents with a choice of modes rather than compelling them to utilise a private vehicle.    

How will the roads cope with additional traffic impact from the MIRA expansion, as well as this development?

The Highway Authority is currently finalising traffic modelling, the results of which are to be published in August 2016.  Although some modelling work has been done already, this further transport modelling will determine the capacity of local roads, and mitigation required, to accommodate the developments to the north of Nuneaton as well as the proposed MIRA expansion.

Where are you proposing the accesses into the site?

The main access into the site would be served off Higham Lane towards the northern part of the site.  Discussions are currently taking place with the Highway Authority to determine the appropriate form of access to serve both this site and the adjacent Persimmon site i.e. whether it will be a roundabout or signal controlled cross roads.  It is proposed that this access will link through to the new Taylor Wimpey (Lower Farm) development being constructed to the west, as well as the Persimmon site to the east, forming a section of the link road linking the A444 to The Long Shoot, reducing the need to travel through the town centre.  Further accesses into the site off Higham Lane will also be created.  

Will there be enough car parking spaces?

Yes.  Car parking provision will accord with NBBC’s adopted standards.

Will there be improvements to public transport?

The site lies in close proximity to a public transport (bus) corridor into Nuneaton, and it is proposed that the bus services will be extended to serve the development and discussions are currenly being held with Highway Authority officers to discuss the future strategy for the local area. 

Social, community and serviceinfrastructure

How will existing social and community infrastructure cope?

We are currently in discussion with NBBC, and those responsible for the provision of social and community services, to help determine what social and community infrastructure is available in the area and, whether it has the capacity to meet the needs arising from the development.

The development will include a local centre, the uses of which have not yet been decided and will depend on what the local community would like to be included.  It is proposed that a multi-purpose community hall will be provided which could accommodate a range of uses. 

Sports and recreation facilities will be provided.  We are in discussion in discussion with WCC Education and NBBC to determine whether the sports pitches to be attached for the school will also be for community use, or whether additional pitches will need to be provided.

How will local schools cope?

Following discussions with NBBC, it is proposed that a new 420 place primary (2 forms of entry) and new 1100 place secondary school will be delivered on the site.  New primary schools are also to be provided on the adjacent Lower Farm site in Weddington and on emerging development sites east of Higham Lane.  Together these facilities will cater for the school place demands arising from the proposed development, together with the demands arising from some of the other residential schemes in the area.    

When will the schools be built?

This will be determined by the WCC Education and Borough Council, and will be delivered at an appropriate stage of the development once capacity in existing local schools is reached.  It is, however, understood that a new secondary school is required by 2020/2021 i.e. in an early phase of planned development at Top Farm.

What will be included in the local centre

The local centre will include a convenience store, such as a Sainsbury’s Local/ Tesco Metro, and other uses which are yet to be determined.  It would be helpful to understand what the local community would want in the local centre, and what is lacking in the local area, to determine the uses that could be included.

Will the sports pitches be for community use of just the school?

We are currently in discussion with Sport England, the Local Education Authority and NBBC about this.

How will services infrastructure cope (water, gas, electricity etc?)

It has been identified that there are existing utilities and services close to the site. Further assessment of these will determine whether any reinforcement works will be required, or additional connections needed to serve the development. 

Is there enough capacity in local health services?

Based on discussions with NHS England, adequate GP capacity exists/ is planned for in the area.   A GP surgery is to be provided in the nearby new development off Weddington Road to the west, to which a financial contribution has been requested. 

Ecology, open space and recreation

What will be the impact on local ecology?

The majority of the site is in active agricultural use and is of limited value in terms of biodiversity.  If, however, any protected species are identified on site (e.g. bats, badgers, great crested newts) mitigation plans will be presented as part of the application to show how any negative effects to protected species will be avoided, reduced or managed through tailored mitigation measures.

It is proposed that most of the existing trees and hedgerows on the site will be retained, and new ecological habitats will be established to encourage wildlife on site. 

What types and how much open space will be provided?

Over 25% of the proposed development site is devoted to Green Infrastructure, including open space under NBBC’s following typologies:

  • Parks and gardens (private)
  • Natural and semi-natural green spaces
  • Amenity green space (i.e. site-wide landscaping)
  • Provision for children and young people

How will the areas of open space be managed?

The public open spaces on site will either be managed by:

  • Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council if the open spaces are adopted by the Council.  Under a binding legal agreement (Section 106 Agreement), an agreed financial contribution (commuted sum) will be made by the developer to pay for the maintenance for a specified number of years; or
  • By a maintenance company and/or Community Trust.  The cost of this work would be covered by an annual maintenance charge which each household on the development would be required to pay on top of their normal annual Council Tax payment.

Miscellaneous

Will the development increase the risk of local flooding?

Surface water run-off from the development will be carefully managed through the introduction of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS).  This will include balancing ponds being constructed to ensure that water draining from the site does so in a controlled way and so avoids flooding downstream/off-site.  These features will be suitably designed through discussions and agreement with NBBC, WCC-flood risk team and Severn Trent Water to ensure that localised flooding is not increased either on the site or within the surrounding area.  As the underlying soils are predominantly clay-based during high rainfall events surface water currently washes off the site; the introduction of SUDS features should therefore result in an improvement over the existing situation and reduce flood risk downstream.

What about contamination from the foot and mouth burial pit, what will be done about this and is the land safe to build on?

Detailed survey work of the area affected by the burial pit is proposed to be undertaken and, subject to the results, the contaminated material may be removed off site under licence from the Environment Agency.  The land will be remediated to ensure that it is safe to be built on.

How will the impact of construction work be managed?

A Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) would be prepared and implemented by the contractor.  This would outline measures to minimise the risk of adverse environmental effects from construction activities.  Measures that would be included to:

  • prevent pollution spillage, for example by the bunding of construction work areas to prevent run-off reaching watercourses;
  • minimise dust generation by locating material stockpiles away from sensitive receptors, covering and/or damping down material stockpiles and implementing wheel-washing facilities close to the Site exit to minimise the spread of dust off-site;
  • control traffic movements by specifying which routes traffic should follow;
  • minimise noise, for example by maintaining machinery, using less noisy machinery, enclosing machinery (where needed) and locating machinery away from sensitive receptors so that other features (for example material stockpiles) screen noise from the machinery;
  • where possible, retain topsoil on site for reuse in landscape works;
  • protect the structure of soils during their stripping and storage;
  • undertake work in accordance with the Environment Agency’s Pollution Prevention Guidelines;
    bund chemical and fuel stores to 110% of their capacity;
  • ensure the implementation of a pollution incidence response plan to deal with any accidental spillages or leaks;
  • maintain and re-fuel vehicles and equipment on hardstanding areas; and
    ensure the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for site workers.

Subject to agreement with NBBC’s Environmental Health Officer as to the details set out in the CEMP, construction activities, including deliveries to the Site, would be limited to 08:00 until 18:00 Monday to Friday and 08:00 until 13:00 on Saturday with no working on Sunday or public bank holidays.

 

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