LEVEN PARISH COUNCIL NEWS – AUTUMN 2016
As a Parish we hold our Annual Parish Meeting in May every year and it is well advertised both on our website and in the village notice board. This is your opportunity to come along and hear about some of the things that we have been dealing with upon your behalf over the last twelve months. Sometimes we are fortunate enough to have one of our ward councillors attend and this year was no except. Cllr. Phyllis Pollard gave us a brief update regarding the work that she is doing on behalf of the communities she represents.
On the agenda there is also an item listed as Residents Open Forum which is an opportunity for you to raise serious issues or highlight problems that you would like to bring to members’ attention. It varies from year to year as to how many may or may not attend. We appreciate that in this day and age everyone leads a busy life and at the end they just want to get home and relax. Some people might find the business on these occasions quite routine or even boring so do not bother to attend, that is why on behalf of the Parish Council I wanted to ask if residents would be more inclined to attend the AGM if we invited a guest speaker, maybe an officer of the ERYC on a particular topic of interest to the village or a representative from the local Wind Farm Community Fund informing about grants and how they can benefit the local community. Let us know. The contact details for Sally our clerk are published in the Leven Life and on the Parish Web site, as are all the details for your Parish Councillors.
PARKING ISSUES – Sadly this year we have had reported to us a number of problems associated with cars parking outside the school entrance on High Stile, both first thing in a morning when children are being dropped off and again in the afternoon when they are being collected. There are white lines at the school entrance indicating that at certain times of the day when children are going to school and when are collected at tea-time DO NOT BLOCK THE ENTRANCE, not even for a few minutes. It appears that some drivers believe that this does not apply to them and are ignoring the warning lines and parking in such a way that they are obscuring the visibility of not only the children trying to cross the road on foot but also other road users and some have also been abusive to nearby residents when they have tried to point out the problems. It is easy to say “I’m only there for a couple of minutes” when it takes literally seconds for a child to be injured or even worse and I am sure no one would want that on their conscience for the sake of taking a little more care.
So when school starts up again after the summer break, park sensibly or better still park in the New Inn Car Park and walk that last few yards. The Parish Council would like to express their grateful thanks to the owners for allowing parents to use their carpark when doing the school run.
Your Parish Council are working closely with the school, the police and ERYC in order to resolve this matter. We are in discussions with the ERYC regarding enforceable measures that can be implemented to improve the situation in that area and we are confident that a solution can be found.
There again whatever measures are put into place will only work if the parents on the school run and other road users buy into them because as we all know High Stile is an extremely busy area of our village, not just for residents living along there but also because of one of the school entrances being on it together with the doctors’ surgery, pharmacy as well as the junction of The Orchard, all of which are within a few hundred metres of each other. All these facilities are extremely import to the wellbeing of our community and we would not be without them but they create their own problems with the sheer volume of traffic toing and froing. Residents at the top of The Orchard suffer badly from on street parking, nose to tail, outside their homes, even blocking the entrances to their drives. Please have some consideration for the residents in this area, the Parish Council have no desire to see the matter get out of hand again.
WEST STREET JUNCTION/SOUTH STREET JUNCTION – Another busy, well used area of the village with the post office, pub and shop. For many years there has never been a problem due to cars parking outside the post office, on the main road and adjacent to the corner turning into West Street. Everyone knows that this is a highly dangerous corner and until earlier this year car users have exercise common sense and as a matter of good practice have either turned down East Street and parked or gone down West Street, parked well away from the corner or in the pub car park, not any more. Vehicles are regularly parked on the corner or tight up to it, often on both sides of the road, making it virtually impossible to turn into West Street or drive out of it, especially if you are driving a lorry or a tractor and trailer, even worse a combine harvester. These vehicles are having to utilise both sides of the road in order to turn and proceed.
Think about were and how you park your vehicles in this area so that we can avoid accidents and unnecessary upset. In May I met with officers from the ERYC on site to show them exactly what was happening and with the intention of trying to find a solution. It was a good job that they were not handing out parking fines on the day we met or a considerable number of drivers would have been poorer.
LITTER AND DOG FOULING – Two issues that do not seem to go away or get better. Just to remind residents that a number of litter bins located around the village, they are there for your empty cans, half eaten sandwiches, nappies, pizza boxes and any other rubbish, better still take it home. Likewise, DOG POOH, it is your responsibility to clean up after your dog. Use the litter bins or bag it up and take it home. We live in a rural area do not spoil the hedges, verges and footpaths with your mess.
JUBILEE GARDEN – I hope you will agree with me that the Jubilee Garden has been absolutely magnificent when all the spring daffodils were in bloom. A real riot of colour and it can only get better. The beech hedges are establishing well and I only hope that some do not disappear as happened last autumn/winter. We will be re-seeding the bald patch of grass at the appropriate time.
LEVEN BRIDLEWAY No.8 and CATWICK BRIDLEWAY No.1 – There has been an application to divert part of these two footpaths. Leven No.8 is the one at the southern end of the village just before White Cross roundabout. It takes you towards the Leven Bye-pass across the road to meet up with the Catwick Bridleway No.1. If it goes ahead, you will not be able to cross at this point in the future but instead will have to walk alongside the bye-pass road down towards White Cross and then cross to the Catwick side. If you are interested in our bridleways and wish to know more about them why not go onto the ERYC website were more information can be found.
NEIGHBOURHOOD PLANNING –I will give more information about this in the next issue of the Leven Life. It is a matter for the community as a whole rather than just the PC. You can go on to the ERYC web site and find out more information regarding this matter.
PLANNING – ERYC LOCAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN to 2029. This has just finished going through all the processes necessary and it has been ratified by the Government Inspector, who said that some communities had to take more than the original allocation of development proposed by ERYC and unfortunately Leven was one of those. We are now classified as a Rural Service Centre as opposed to a Selected Settlement which we were in the previous Development Plan. This is because we are fortunate enough to have good facilities including a school, doctors’ surgery, sports hall, recreation hall, pubs, post office, a good bus service, shop etc. and as such we are expected to absorb sustainable growth by building an additional 210 homes up to 2029, which is the life of the plan. Within this allocation there has to be a certain amount of affordable homes, which the Parish Council hope will be aimed at local first time buyers.
This whole process started in 2010 when the ERYC invited people/owners to put forward potential development land for consideration within the Draft Local Plan. For Leven over fifteen sites were put forward by ERYC, local people and others. The PC were asked by ERYC to comment upon which sites they considered were acceptable and which were not. Please note that as a Parish Council we are an advisory body not a consultee. Now many of you will say what is the difference. Well the difference is the PC can only advise or suggest what they consider is the right thing to do, whereas when a consultee responds the ERYC they have to listen and take on board what they have said. The Government Inspector, Environment Agency, Internal Drainage Board, ERYC Highways, Yorkshire Water, Natural England and similar bodies are all statuary bodies in the consultation process.
Your PC held a special meeting which excluded any member who had or could be construed to have an interest in any of the land put forward or in the allocation process. A number of sites could be discounted immediately because they were either for one dwelling, land locked, on the site of the allotments or an ancient ridge and furrow field of historical interest. Others took a great deal of consideration, as were extremely mindful of the recent catastrophic events that occurred in 2007 – flooding and how it had occurred and what was needed to prevent such events occurring in the future.
One of the sites put forward was situated to the south west of the village and had the potential to accommodate 400 homes, which is a huge number considering at that time we were only being asked to look at possible sites to accommodate 170 dwellings. We advised against this site because it was remote in terms of association with the main village, it was considered to be far too big a site for our needs and if developed it would create a satellite estate with little or no connection to the rest of the community and therefore we did not consider that it was sustainable in planning terms. Additionally, there was the possibility that it could contribute to drainage and flooding problems already highlighted within the main village.
We then went one to consider land to the east of the village adjacent to High Stile. At that time the allocation now known as Leven A was not considered to be at any risk from flooding apart from a small area towards the bottom of the site in flood zone 3. This site is partly a continuation of the already existing development known as Rosedale and additionally the field next to it. Although far from an ideal choice it was considered to be acceptable as it was adjacent to already existing development, had good connections to services and facilities within the village and would be a sustainable development. We added a strongly worded comment that no future development should take place on this land until such time as the Leven Flood Alleviation scheme had been built in order that no additional pressure was put on an already overburdened system and in view of the floods suffered nearby in 2007.
Throughout the whole lengthy process, the PC have re-iterated that we believe no development should take place on any of the allocated land until such time as we have an alleviation scheme in place for Leven.
The ERYC and the government inspector have had the final say in all of this process and it is the government inspector who has imposed upon us the additional allocation but he also backed up the PC comment that an alleviation scheme should be in place before any such development takes place but he went on further to say, unless it can be proven that mitigating measures can be taken on site to prevent potential flooding of the development and of the surrounding land. Which in itself is very strong support of what the PC has said.
As a PC we understand people’s concerns regarding flooding and how it affects everyone. Since 2007 I have been involved with the Flood Liaison Committee at ERYC, attending numerous meetings and generally making a nuisance of myself over Leven’s plight and the need for an alleviation scheme. Despite ERYC initially commissioning a scheme to be drawn up by Mason Clark, this was put on hold when the ERYC and the Environment Agency decided to look again at the River Hull Strategy. Our original scheme was scrapped as it was thought that a Holderness Drain Flood Alleviation Scheme would have far reaching benefits for not just Leven but for other villages such as Tickton, Bransholme and North Hull. The intention being to get the water away quicker from the dykes and drains into the River Hull. After all it is a fact that Leven flooded in 2007 because the water entering into our system from other areas such as Hornsea etc. could not get away fast enough and therefore collected at the low point in Leven. Also it did not help that they switched the pumps off at Tickton in order to save parts of Hull.
Since this land was accepted into the Local Plan the Environment Agency has re-classified the part that was flood zone 3 to flood zone 2 which makes it essential that we have a scheme in place before anything goes ahead. It is not good enough for the ERYC and its officers to say that measures can be taken on site to mitigate any risk of flood. They should be looking to safeguard existing residents and residents of any new homes to make sure that flood risks are eliminated and protective measures are in place for the future.
At every stage of the process since 2010 this PC has informed Leven residents of this potential allocation in the ERYC Local Development Plan to 2029. We wrote to the school to ask their opinion regarding extra homes, also the Doctor’s practice and neither raised any concerns regarding extra numbers to us. Additionally, via Leven Life and the PC quarterly articles we have been telling you what has been going on with the local plan. If you refer to our monthly minutes which are posted in the notice board and on the web site, you will see that we have at all stages informed you the residents of what has been going on and the comments we have made. Notices have been put up in the village notice board explaining how you could be involved in the process and how you could have a say on any aspect of it. Also were open exhibitions were being held for you to visit and make you views known.
To the best of my knowledge not one resident contacted the PC whilst this whole process was going on.
We will continue to push for an Alleviation Scheme but it would help us to help you if you would write to all three of our Ward Cllrs, the Environment Agency, ERYC Strategic Planning at County Hall, Beverley, saying that we need this scheme to be in place before any further significant development takes place within the village. Tell them they have a duty of care to their residents to make sure that they and their homes are safe for the future. The more fuss we make about this now the better, it is not a question of being polite any more, get vocal.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and remember contact details for the Parish Council are on the website and in the Leven Life.
Best Wishes, Pat Ablett – Chairman.