Please see the Parish Council objections to the above applications. Villagers are encouraged to submit their own objections directly to Test Valley Borough Council
Monxton Parish Council Letter of Objection
|Application Nos:||19/01229/FULLN & 19/01230/LBWN|
|Proposal:||The relocation of the Black Swan to a new building erected on the Black Swan Car Park, construction of two 2-bedroom dwellings and the conversion of The Black Swan Public House to a single dwelling|
Monxton Parish Council strongly objects to this application on the following grounds:
The applicant’s Design and Access Statement intimates that, following a meeting on the 16/10/18, this proposal is supported by Monxton Parish Council (MPC) and that it also has support from the villagers following a survey for a new village hall (aka Hub) in 2018. MPC wishes to totally refute this statement, which conflates support for a new village hub with the relocated village pub. The applicant in claiming this application has community support has confused both villagers and TVBC consultees.
It should be noted that the village hall project was planned to be on the same site with the same developer but had to be abandoned due to the inability to agree commercial terms with the developer. This was, in part, due to the developer not owning a critical part of the land, which is occupied by the SSE sub-station and which is presently screened at the rear of the car park and not visible from the crossroads or the village green. We object to any plan to move the sub-station to the front of the car park/village green where it will be visible and materially impact the views from both the Village Green and the road.
This application does not comply with: Policy COM9: Community-Led Development
This is NOT a Community Led Development contrary to the developer’s statements in the application.
The development does NOT have the support of the Parish Council or the villagers and this has been confirmed by the results of the survey conducted by MPC following an open village meeting to discuss this planning application on the 13th June 2019.
There are no villagers supporting the application based on valid planning reasons, merely one person who wishes to have another pub, ignoring the fact that we already have a perfectly good public house, which could easily be re-opened.
We object to the change of use of The Black Swan to Residential
Policy E9: Heritage
Test Valley Borough Council states that heritage assets are ‘irreplaceable’ and ‘should be retained wherever possible’. Development affecting a heritage asset will be permitted provided that: a) it would make a positive contribution to sustaining or enhancing the significance of the heritage asset taking account of its character, appearance and setting; and b) the significance of the heritage asset has informed the proposal through an assessment proportionate to its importance.
The proposal for The Black Swan does not sustain or enhance the significance of this heritage asset.
The “relocation” of the Black Swan appears to be simply a mechanism to obtain change of use by replacing one community venue with another while appearing to offer facilities to the village for meetings and other functions. This is totally unnecessary as the current village hall will be revamped in the near future in a new project funded by the community.
The developer has, so far, failed to refurbish and re-open the Grade 2 Listed Black Swan, despite buying an on-going freehold pub business, which without the high rent and alcohol prices charged by Enterprise Inns could become profitable again. This is a fact based on the work undertaken by the team which looked at buying and re-opening the pub as a Community Asset.
The developer will need to undertake many of the refurbishments required for a residential property in any event and, therefore, it is extremely disappointing that they want to build a new pub when we already have “The Mucky Duck”, a well-known and loved pub with such an important historical pedigree dating back to the 17th century.
The logic which the developer has used to justify the building of a new pub appears very flawed, in that if there is a demand for a pub, the Black swan could be re-opened for a fraction of the cost of building a new pub. The new pub would have less car parking spaces than are currently available and there is no obvious demand or need in the village for two new houses with tiny courtyard gardens.
We object to the developer taking any land from the Village Green to expand the car park, which is contrary to TVBC Public Amenity Open Space policy.
Policy LHW1: Public Open Space
Development proposals that would result in the loss of existing open spaces or other recreation facilities will only be permitted if: d) the space or facility is not needed to meet the full range of leisure and recreational needs of the local community; e) the proposed development is for an alternative open space, sport or recreation facility for which there is such a need as to outweigh the loss; or f) any space or facility to be lost would be replaced by an equivalent or better provision in terms of quantity and quality and be in a suitable location.
This proposal would result in the loss of an existing open space which will not be replaced by an equivalent or better provision in terms of quantity and quality.
The village green is an iconic part of Monxton and provides the key to the character of the village being situated next to the idyllic Pillhill Brook, the ancient bridge and the original crossroads from which it is highly visible. It is critical to the village as it hosts both local and national events including, in the past, the Royal Wedding and the Queen’s birthday celebrations. The village green is the most important open space in the village, previously being used as allotments for the “Dig for Glory campaign” during World War 2. The villagers levelled the ground and laid the grass lawn seen today. Monxton Parish Council has maintained the Village Green for over 70 years under an agreement with Strong’s Brewery of Romsey, then Enterprise Inns and currently with DC Li Builders, in exchange for unlimited use by the village for events.
DC Li Builders Ltd confirmed at our village meeting on13th June 2019, that to give them space for the expanded car park, they would require a section of about 6-8 feet of the green and, to do so, they would need to remove the existing mature hedge and replant it in a new location This is unacceptable and represents an intolerable attack on our village green and, as TVBC has defined this area as Public Amenity Land, no permission should be granted to take any land from the village green or to remove hedges or fell trees in the Conservation Area. Monxton Parish Council has successfully obtained an order to make the village green the subject of an Asset of Community Value (ACV), which provides additional protection.
We are also concerned that the very poor quality drawings make it very difficult to assess the measurements of the land being taken from the green and the size of the buildings. We request TVBC to make the developer submit new detailed plans with precise measurements plus a current and a proposed detailed site map including the views of the new pub, car park and new houses.
Village Green – The application is in contravention to Policy E2: Protect, Conserve and Enhance the Landscape Character
To ensure the protection, conservation and enhancement of the landscape of the Borough development will be permitted provided that: a) it does not have a detrimental impact on the appearance of the immediate area and the landscape character of the area within which it is located; b) it is designed and located to ensure that the health and future retention of important landscape features is not likely to be prejudiced; c) the existing and proposed landscaping and landscape features enable it to positively integrate into the landscape character of the area; d) arrangements for the long term management and maintenance of any existing and proposed landscaping have been made; and f) it does not result in the loss of important local features such as trees, walls, hedges or watercourses.
The proposed alterations to the Village Green and pub car park do not protect, conserve or enhance the landscape or character of the village.
We object to the felling of any trees on the Village Green
The developer has defined four trees as needing to be felled, which includes a mature Lime tree at the right-hand north corner near the river. This tree has important amenity value and its removal should not be permitted, especially as it is to allow the expansion of the car park and the building of a pub/hub which is not required.
This has been confirmed by the TVBC tree officer in their objection:
This area of the village is highly prominent at a crossroad and the trees on this land are of high amenity value, which contribute greatly to the character of the area.
The submitted arboriculture information identifies that three trees, T3, T4, T5 and a hedge, H6 will need to be removed to achieve the proposed development.
T3 has been identified as an ‘A’ category tree and its removal has been highlighted within the arboriculture information as having a significant impact on the visual amenity of the local area and the wider landscape. The constraints of this tree need to be taken into consideration at the design stage so that the tree can be retained.
Objection to the loss of an ‘A’ category tree with high amenity value within the Monxton conservation.
We object to any works that will have a detrimental impact on the Bus Shelter
Monxton Parish Council has owned the Bus Shelter for over seventy years as it was built by villagers in 1948. There is no mention in the application regarding the Bus Shelter and the applicant has not approached MPC for consent to move it, which would be needed to enable the two proposed houses to be built on the present Bus Shelter site. There is not another suitable location in the village to relocate the Bus Shelter.
We object to the impact on the Monxton High Street and parking in the village
The two semi-detached houses at the front of the car park have their parking spaces sited directly on the High Street, which means cars will have to back in to or out of these spaces onto a very busy road which would be very dangerous for all road users. The number of spaces is inadequate, being only one per household, which will lead to even more vehicles parking on the High Street. In addition, cars and delivery vans exiting the proposed pub car park will have very poor sight lines and, therefore, reduced visibility of the traffic coming from either direction, which could cause serious road traffic accidents.
We object to the over-development of the site
The site is simply not big enough to support a pub with 15 car parking spaces, two semi-detached houses with car parking spaces for the occupants and a new site for the sub-station at the front of the green/car park. We also have serious concerns that, as to facilitate the proposed pub, the SSE sub-station would need to be moved and that it may get sited on the village green. The drawing submitted is unclear on this point.
The application is contrary to the Monxton Village Design Statement
The Monxton Village Design Statement (VDS) was adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance on the 5 May 2004 to help to provide the necessary guidance for appropriate change within the village. Any new development in the village should be informed by this document to ensure that it is carried out sensitively and in harmony with the setting and style of the village. The village context is summed up as “nestling in the valley of the Pillhill Brook between chalk uplands”. The VDS acknowledges that new houses contribute the character of the settlement, “Monxton is given its distinctive character by its pleasant mix of old and recently built houses.” The VDS sets out various Design Guidelines to which particular attention should be paid: • Any new houses should be built in similar style and scale to nearby dwellings.
The proposed two semi-detached houses are not in keeping with the neighbouring Listed thatched properties.
We have now reviewed the results of the village survey following the open evening on the 13th June 2019, which the developer attended to answer questions from the public.
The results show that there are zero % supporters, zero % not objecting and 100% of villagers object to the proposals. This clearly underlines the fact that whilst the developer has claimed villagers and MPC support their proposal, this is not correct, and their attempt to justify the proposal on the grounds that this development is community-led is false as, in fact, it has no support from either the villagers or the Parish Council.
TVBC should reject this application, which would cause considerable harm to the village landscape and character and would have a major impact on the village and is without any support from Monxton Parish Council or it’s residents.