Keep It Green 2014
Knock-ons from Spawforths Drop In Session on 8 July 2014
In Newsletter 10 we reported that we were awaiting Spawforths’ response to a list of
questions. We have new received this and a copy is enclosed. Their responses to our
questions are in red and we have added further comment in blue.
In the very first question, they assert that the proposed visits are a response to your
requests. Our understanding of what transpired at the drop in session, is that such visits
were offered, which is a very different matter. What is your recollection? Was it just a tick
in a box?
Visit to the site by Mr Dan Jarvis, MP
Mr Jarvis was unable to accept the invitation to our second walk, but said he would like to
met the Group. That meeting took place on 17 September 2014, preceded by a tour of the
site to point out the issues. Here are the key points:
• Need to mobilise and motivate residents
• Establish a list of people who will assist in various ways, to spread the workload
• Work with local politicians, where they are prepared to show support
• Avoid activity that will leave the group open to accusations of Nimbyism
• Marshall arguments to support our case
• Consider ways to best communicate our ideas and concerns, especially noting the
pressure of the national agenda the Council has to respond to
• Recognise that this is going to be a difficult struggle
• Use the media where possible
• Establish a “coalition of the willing”, including specialists such as CPRE
• Find ways of encouraging residents to get involved. Templates, petitions, form
letters, etc will not work
• The opposition to the expected Local Plan content is likely to be expensive. Start
raising funds by holding social events, which have the advantage of maximising
communication and identifying who will help in the process
None of the above will be a surprise to you, but getting confirmation from Mr Jarvis, an
experienced campaigner, was useful.
Mr Jarvis stressed the importance of individual involvement in responding to the Local
Plan, which we touched on in Newsletter 10. As stated then and at the discussion after our
second walk, we will work hard to provide you with the tools for this job. We must stress
that the fight ahead could get expensive. You’ll need to think about how much you value
your Green Belt.
On the subject of resident involvement, we hear that Councillors in at least one ward have
arranged for a select few of their constituents to attend a meeting with planners, where
they will be briefed on the Local Plan process and how to respond. How this is intended to
be translated into informing all residents is a mystery at the moment. We are waiting to
hear back from BMBC on the matter and have also asked the Dodworth Ward Councillors
what they know and plan to do about it.
In a similar vein, we reported in the discussion after the second walk that we were worried
about the Council’s intentions after the Draft Local Plan Consultation ends. We had
assumed that the results would be made available, with analysis, as they had been for
earlier consultations. We have been told that they have no intention of releasing this
information before the release of the Formal version of the Local Plan next July. This has
been questioned and we await the Council’s response.
The reason this is important, is that the “heavy lifting” phase of the Local Plan Consultation
process will be done at the Formal version stage. Whilst the results of the Draft
consultation may be denied to residents, if they stick to their guns, you can be certain that
this information will be released to those proposing the development, so that they can
come up with counter-measures for any criticisms raised at the Draft stage. In this time
between the Draft and Formal consultations, we will also have to marshal our arguments
and, probably, engage specialist help, to reinforce our arguments. Without the feedback
from the Draft consultation, we will be flying blind, which is unfair to say the least.
We will report further on this when we have heard from the Council.
Finally, here is a link to a Council site called “Open Door”. Some of you will have seen
paper copies of the news articles on the site. In the latest edition (no. 25), there is a short
piece about the Local Plan, which you may like to read. It all sounds very reassuring, but
is not actually what we are expereincing so far.
Keep It Green 2014
Response from Spawforths to list of questions about street-by-street consultation
Below is the list of questions put to Spawforths (as covered in earlier newsletters). Their
responses are in red (our highlights) and our comments thereon are in blue.
1. Is this part of the street-by-street approach, suggested at the drop in session?
At the event [the drop in session on 8 July 2014], members of the public requested a
meeting. I am in the process of coordinating this. This is a starting point with the hope of
future events and meetings subject to the site being allocated as part of the Councils Local
Is this statement correct? The impression we were left with after the drop in was that local
consultations were offered rather than requested. What can you remember about this?
2. What is the precise purpose of the “event”?
To understand in more detail what issues the residents have and to help inform the future
It should have been clear at the drop in – the proposals should be abandoned altogether.
3. Which streets are involved this time?
Due to data protection I cannot disclose peoples addresses, however, at this time we are
not covering streets just a handful of residents that requested a meeting.
This is fair enough, technically, assuming their answer to the first question is correct, so we
will have to rely on you telling us if/when you are approached.
4. How are you making sure all residents are aware?
Those involved have been contacted by phone. This is not a public exhibition, however, if
the site is successful future meetings and events will be held and people will be informed
via; flyer drop, posters in the local area, emails and press articles where appropriate.
“… if the site is successful”, cannot be gauged until the Local Plan has been approved by
the Government Inspector. It is up to us all to do our best to ensure that this does not
happen. The map enclosed shows what we assume will be the area they will canvass if
this does go ahead (see question 7).
5. Where and when will the “event” be held?
Yet to be determined.
We will have to rely on your feedback for this information.
6. Can anybody turn up?
Unfortunately not. This is with the residents that requested a meeting at the event.
There it is again. Have you requested a meeting, or are Spawforths following up a tick in
a box on a form you filled in at the drop in? We will assume that there will be no
prohibition of a neighbour attending at the invitation of the original contact, to maximise
dissemination of information.
7. Which streets will you be addressing next (ideally, do you have a roll-out
programme you could share with us?)?
A consultation strategy will be adopted if the allocation is successful as part of the Councils
Local Plan, however, the likely area covered would be the same as before and is attached.
We suspect that this is quite a bit larger than their original flyer drop but will depend on the
outcome of the Local Plan, as noted.
Keep It Green 2014
Suggested distribution map for Spawforths ‘PR’ campaign for the Local Plan
Based on Spawforths’ file PR DISTRIBUTION AREA.jpg included with their email 15.9.14