Black Swan Planning Application

If you have already objected to the Black Swan planning application 19/01229/FULLN then please also advise TVBC that you also object to the related planning application 19/01230/LBWN by simply emailing Emma Jones the case office at TVBC (ejones@testvalley.gov.uk) to that effect.

In addition, if you have not already commented either to support or object, please do so as soon as possible, while the application is still under consideration and before the TVBC planning committee meeting expected at the end of August.

This includes ALL the Monxton and Amport villagers and not just the immediate High Street, if you wish to have the Black Swan back as a pub and the village green kept in the current state and not reduced in size with trees cut down by the developer.

Parish Council Objection to planning application for former Black Swan and Car Park

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 GreenThe 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:

Trees

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.

Village Survey

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.

Summary

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.

Black Swan Planning Application

The Planning application for the Black Swan (ref 19/01229/FULLN) currently has a date for comments of the 14th June. However, it has been called to the TVBC Planning Committee by our Borough Councillor, Maureen Flood, which means that the new date for comments will be sometime in July/August and all comments received up to the day of the planning meeting will be considered.

Village Meeting – 13 June, 8pm

So villagers have the opportunity to attend the meeting/open forum on the 13th June at 8pm in the Monxton & Amport Village Hall and then provide comments either to support or object on the TVBC website and to the Parish Council.

Some villagers have commented that the application is somewhat confusing in that it mentions a village hub while also talking about a village pub. This confusion appears to be a conflation with a previous plan, which was supported by the Parish Council for a new village hall (aka Hub) on the Black Swan car park with this plan to build a new pub and change the current Black Swan building to a residential property.

Another clarification is that the developer has also used the term “relocation of the Black Swan” when in reality they intend to turn the current pub into a residential house and build a new building (pub) at the end of the car park, plus two houses at the front of the site. Normally they would need to get a change of use agreed by TVBC from pub to residential, which does not appear to be included in the planning application.

Villagers should note that Monxton Parish Council is currently neutral with regards to this planning application, despite the developer implying MPC support in their Design and Access Statement document. Monxton Parish Council (MPC) wishes villagers to advise whether they want to support this development and if not, advise any objections using valid planning grounds.

MPC suggests all interested villagers come to the meeting on the 13th June at the village hall as the developer will attend to address any questions.

MONXTON PARISH COUNCIL OPEN MEETING – 13 June

There will be a village open meeting facilitated by Monxton Parish Council at 8.00 pm on Thursday 13th June 2019, at Monxton Village Hall to discuss plans for the Black Swan.

This meeting is solely to allow villagers to review the following planning applications: 19/01230/LBWN & 19/01229/FULLN put forward by DC Li Builders and discuss any issues or concerns with Joe Li who will attend.

In summary, the plans are to convert the current Black Swan to a residential dwelling.

To build a new public house at the rear of the Black Swan Car park.

To build 2 new 2-bedroomed dwellings at the front of the Black Swan car park.

Villagers from Monxton and Amport are welcome to attend the session to discuss the proposals with Joe Li (the developer).

Any queries please contact The Clerk for Monxton Parish Council heather.bourner@googlemail.com or by telephone on 01264 773976

The meeting will be an open forum with plans laid out on tables with the developer from DC LI Builders attending to answer any concerns or questions villagers may have with their proposals.

In addition, the Parish Council will review the feedback from the meeting to inform the decision as to how it will comment on the proposals by either supporting, Not Objecting or Objecting to the plans with any planning issues.

We look forward to all villagers from Sunny Bank, Monxton and Amport attending.

 

Black Swan Update: Project Cancelled

We regret to announce that the meeting tomorrow evening (Wednesday 22nd March)  has been cancelled. The team has reviewed the information received from the survey and from research &  investigations with other community pubs, the team has concluded that the project does not meet enough the key success criteria to be a viable project as a community-owned pub.

However, should an individual, or group of individuals, want to buy the pub, then there is enough evidence to suggest that the Black Swan could easily ‘fly’ again, especially as a free house. The team are very willing to share the red book valuation, our business plan and suggested forecasts. We would all be delighted if the Black Swan were to remain as a pub.

Critical Success Factors for a Community-Owned Pub

  • Community of +/-2000 required for optimum response
  • No or limited competition nearby
  • Local benefactor to act “swing financier”: eg “soft” loans
  • Good staff accommodation
  • Limited refurbishments required
  • Enthusiastic support from community
  • Ability to raise an average of £1,000/head (ranges of £500 through to £40,000)
  • Ability to pull together a Team with following skills (or free access to these skills): Legal, Commercial, Pubs/hospitality, Financial, VAT, Communications/Marketing

We would like to thank those people who donated money to the fighting fund, which we partially used to fund the ‘red book’ survey/valuation. If you would like the balance of your donation (approximately 50%) to be donated to the Village Green possible purchase, or Village Hall renovations please let us know. Otherwise the monies will be returned by cheque.

Monxton Parish Council will continue to try and purchase the village green on behalf of the parish, and potentially the car park, subject to costs and any conditions imposed by Enterprise Inns.

The team would like to thanks villagers for the support provided to date. If anyone wishes to discuss any aspect of the project please contact Sarah Dowding on sarah@classictravelling.com or Mike Cleugh at mikecleugh@hotmail.com