6th July 2016

Glastonbury Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group held on Wednesday 6th July 2016 in the Council Chamber at Glastonbury Town Hall at 7.00pm

PRESENT: Gerard Tucker (Neighbourhood Planning Officer), Cllr Jon Cousins, Cllr Lindsay MacDougall, Robert Macbeth, Helen Moore, Paul Lund, Malcolm Higgins.

APOLOGIES: Cllr Emma George, Cllr Alyson Black, Kevin Redpath, Paul Manning, Katherine Clarke.

IN ATTENDANCE: Matt Day Rural Community Council for Somerset

  1. Welcome and introductions. Jon Cousins welcomed everyone to the meeting. Due to there being less than half the Steering Group present and in accordance with the Terms of Reference, the group was not quorate.

Housing Needs Assessment surveys – Matt Day of Somerset Rural Community Council is currently working on twelve Housing Needs Assessments, with many more planned. One of the smallest commissioned is currently being assessed for the parish of Batcombe, with Wells and St Cuthberts without being the largest they have been asked to deliver.

Why undertake a survey? The average cost of a residential premises is considered in the south west to be between 7 and 9 times the average earnings. In Glastonbury, it is actually 8.4 times the average earnings for the area. Therefore pressure on finding suitable premises which are considered affordable is an issue. The reasons include:

Shortage of affordable homes
High cost of housing
Decline of local facilities
Helps to guide the town and district councils on sites suitable for housing
Evidence for Neighbourhood Plans

Matt further explained that based on detail gathered by the Census and other local information, the number of people living in Somerset aged 75+ will grow by 28% between 2013 and 2021. Similarly the number of births will increase, although not so dramatically and net migration will increase by 1,300 each year in the same period. A completed Housing Needs Survey provides:

An overview of the needs of a community captured at the same time
Identifies the demand for affordable housing.
Captures the anticipated demand for older peoples housing requirements
The anticipated demand for new, open market housing
Possibly identifies prospective sites for development.

Matt confirmed that providing an overview of the possible demand for co-operative or community housing could be obtained through a Housing Needs Survey. Evidence may also be forthcoming on the demand for rural exemption housing.

The cost of undertaking a Housing Needs Survey is based on the number of households. In Glastonbury, this equates to 4,035. The cost of Rural Community Council for Somerset overseeing the survey will therefore be £9,772. This could be reduced by £1,775 if the delivery of the Survey was undertaken by volunteers. The cost includes:

Detailed discussions on the content and design of the survey
Postage to every address in the defined area
Cost of return postage of completed forms
Analysis of the information provided
Preparation and presentation of a report summarising the results of the survey

Funding may be available from Awards for All, although large conurbations such as Glastonbury have not yet been tested by an application. From commencement to completion, the survey is expected to take approximately six months. Unanimously, those in attendance voted to appointment the RCC Somerset and begin the process of seeking appropriate funding from Awards for All.

3). Update on progress since the previous meeting:

i. Mendip District Council opened the six week consultation process for the designated area of the plan on 7th June. This will be completed on 19th July. To date, there have been no challenges.

ii. Declarations of interest are not an issue for either of the District Councillors who sit on the planning committee, providing that they declare their involvement with Glastonbury NHP where appropriate. Similarly a professional involvement with My Community is not considered an issue.

iii. Funding has been secured from Locality (administered by Groundworks) for the costs associated with the setting up of a website, printing, social media training and some support towards the costs associated with consultation. Gerard has met with Kevin Redpath and discussed the preparation of a website. The value of this grant is £4,061 which has already been received.

4). Discussion on the consultation process. How to reach the hard to reach? – Defined as:

People living in short-term rental property
Working class people – working long hours with little social activity in their lives
Shift workers
16 – 18 year olds
Migrant, multi-national community where English is not their first language
Elderly and infirm
Single parents
Those being supported in social care
The blind and illiterate

Various ideas on how to engage with each of the groups identified above were discussed. The solutions included engaging with schools, doctors surgeries, health workers, old folk gatherings, door knocking, using the PCSO and Village Agents. In conclusion, Gerard is to look at each of the above groups and breakdown ideas on how to engage with each of them. This will be presented at the next meeting with an analysis of the requirements to enable this to be undertaken between September and November.

There being no other business, the meeting closed at 9.15pm