This weekend has been devoted to displaying the possible plans for future development of the Caddington, Slip End and surrounding local areas. The venue for these discussions is the Heathfield site, which is itself a subject of the discussions. Another feature was an update of what was gleaned from the earlier consultation with local residents over the Chaulington Scheme.
I visited on the Friday evening and was a little disappointed in the number of those present – because those who had given up their valuable time to be there to answer questions and who were working on the project were in the majority, which I feel sure they found dispiriting. It was self-evident that considerable effort had been expended on the work that had been going on behind the scenes. I was intending to put up a photo of the map that was on display, but I see that it is available, (though without the designations of the possible development sites) on the CaddSE site. <http://caddse.info>
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I have produced two PDFs from the plans that were on view that show the added details presented on Friday and Saturday, here is close-up view of part of the map *:
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I did find that much of what was presented did seem somewhat open-ended; at first glance I thought that certain designated areas had more defined development intentions than it transpired. I also felt that they were too dispersed, which seemed to suggest that speed of implementation was considered inevitably to be a slow process over a protracted period of time, whereas my view was that a bold assessment of the defined future should be placed on the table for 2018, and that a path to that future should show the line of least resistance, set against the future targets five years beyond that. Means should be found to ensure that unnecessary delays had penalties attached.
By way of an example of fairly avoidable bad planning I explained that in the case of the Busway route, one only had to look at the original reason for that route when it ran trains, it was chosen because it did not disturb residential areas, whereas if a bus is to provide a service it needs to be close to those various residential areas. For trains A to a reasonably major terminal B, speedily and frequent is a target, but for buses it is for there to be several minor stops and is better represented as A to Z ,with the rest of the alphabet between, with schedules that used different combinations of stops that represented the best assessments for some A to Z trips, having alternative minimal stops, with others for more inclusive travel, even including Request-only points. The route in the current case should have involved a crossing of the A505 such that Caddington, Slip End, Chaul End etc were part of that route.
One overarching snag to the Neighbourhood plan and the Chaulington plan is Chaul End Lane, and I have yet to hear of a resolution to that issue. Several previous short-sighted plans have made this an issue that is far from easy to tackle. The Tesco site, the single carriageway A505 stretch, the No right turn junction at its junction with Chaul End lane – all these contribute to present problems. When you add in the Junction 10A roundabout linking the A6, and the fact that the locals of Slip End and Caddington suffer the noise of the M1, yet have real difficulty in reaching the Motorway quickly themselves, one begins to realise that a seriously bold and different approach to the future is needed for this neighbourhood.
I noted that one of the questions that had been asked was whether bridleways/ ccycle routes improvements for the area should be provided through local tax increases, and there had been surprise that people should largely be against this. I feel if our postcode was unlinked from LU1, then one might find villagers more amenable to considering such a proposal more favourably.
Local residents should definitely read the relevant information provided on site regarding the Neighbourhood Plan – <http://caddse.info> provided by the CaddSE N-Plan Steering Group. They provide a detailed map of the area involved as a link from the above website.
I feel that the guidelines for each site should have been suggested at this stage, because then residents can make a valid assessments of each, whereas at present these are far to vague, no reasons for their designation has been supplied, so only those immediately adjacent have any valid understanding of their merits or demerits, or of any knowledge of current ownership or plans for those areas by the landowners. I think that before the community as a whole is asked for their opinions this information should be supplied.
I may have missed them, but I saw no Assessment Principles, but since the Chaulington discussions seemed well-attended, that should provide a useful guide to the assessment principles at least from the residents side, then the local parishes and local authorities should add their considerations. Only at that stage should the allocated sites be reviewed overall by the residents for their own rating.
I shall be interested in the conclusions drawn from this consultation.
* The second PDF I created can be found here:
PS. I do not own copyright for any of the images reproduced in this piece. They are only provided for convenience