Thursday, 24 June 2010

Council perform U-Turn and give in to Residents Association

Remember the Ashchurch Residents Association's campaign against the Council's desire to redevelop their neighbourhood into a high-density housing block? (They called it a "mediterrenean village" to make their money-spinning idea sound nicer)

The residents themselves got political and designed these postcards which urged people not to vote for candidates who "don't listen". Since the only candidate not to support their campaign was Conservative Shaun Bailey it seems pretty obvious who they didn't vote for. That, and other similar campaigns as residents who had also been brushed aside by our Council and developers collaborated, in my view made a real difference to the result.

Either way - they've won. The Council has finally realised that the political cost of this situation is just too much. So they've given up. In an email this week to residents Nick Johnson, Chief Exec of H&F Homes, said this:

"It is proving more time-consuming to resolve the many concerns raised by residents than we would have hoped. You will be re-assured, however, to know that we are now in active discussion with the possible developer, Places for People, to change the scheme completely in order to respond fully to the issues raised by residents.

"The current scheme will not be progressed, and I can confirm that you will be very fully consulted on the revised opportunities before any decisions are taken."

I bet Shaun Bailey wishes they'd seen the light a little before May. Local residents say that they now remain suspicious of the Council and will watch their next moves very closely. The campaign is not over , they say. Other residents will be hoping their victory in forcing the Council to think again will mean similar schemes don't get the go-ahead over residents views in future.


  1. This is very good news and yes I've seen the complete email but what practical form this will take remains to be seen. The first step is confirmation from NJ that he has withdrawn the planning permission granted in such a rush last year.

  2. ... This is odd for a number of reasons....What does Nick Johnson or H&F Homes have to do with a redundant site being sold by the borough. Places for People 'won' a design beauty contest against another Housing Association and gained planning permission. Completion of the sale should have happened by now subject to the S106 Planning Agreement. Presumably the sale price was agreed pre planning. Have PfP pulled out for some reason? I cannot see the council foregoing a much needed capital rect just to make residents of Ashchurch etc happy. Perhaps PfP's funding from the Homes & Communities Agency was a
    victim of the coallition's savage cuts in social housing? now that would be ironic!
    Iain Muir