8th March 2017

Glastonbury Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group held on Wednesday 8th March 2017 in the Council Chamber at Glastonbury Town Hall at 7.00pm

PRESENT: Gerard Tucker (Neighbourhood Planning Officer), Cllr Jon Cousins , Cllr E George, Cllr John Keery, Robert Macbeth, Paul Lund, Kevin Redpath, Katherine Clarke, Paul Manning. Natasha Durham – Planning Policy Officer – Mendip District Council

APOLOGIES: Cllr Steve Henderson, Cllr Lindsay MacDougall,  Helen Moore, Malcolm Higgins

1). Welcome and introductions. Kevin Redpath (Deputy Chair) presided over the meeting as Cllr Cousins had to leave the meeting early to attend a presentation. The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.

2). Housing Needs Study – presentation of key findings from AECOM report

Due to various physical constraints restricting sites for development and recognising that Glastonbury unfortunately has areas of deprivation, AECOM were receptive to completing a housing needs assessment on our behalf.  Gerard provided an overview of the key findings of the report which included:

  • There is an imbalance of housing, with a particular shortage of social, affordable and elderly accommodation.
  • The affordability of housing in Glastonbury is difficult as there is less disposable income due to lower than average wages.
  • House prices in Glastonbury compete with properties across the county.
  • The demographics of age has changed dramatically in the past 10 – 15 years. There are now less young people in Glastonbury and more retired people.
  • If left unchecked, this will eventually lead to pressures on health care, schools, employment and recreation/leisure

3). Policies – a discussion led by Natasha Durham on early stage policies.

Natasha led a discussion on our progress to date, identified areas which have been well researched and delivered. Also informing of areas where there is more work to be done to demonstrate the robustness of the plan. This is particularly important when demonstrating to an examiner that we have a robustly researched and documented the proposed policies.

Weedon Bec in Northanptonshire was identified as a location where the examiner felt the NHP had been insufficiently researched and documented and prevented the plan going forward to a referendum.

Glastonbury needs to consider relatively quickly if it is proposing to identify additional development sites. MDC are currently working on Local Plan II and this information will possibly influence this plan and the NHP.

In summary, Natasha informed that Glastonbury’s NHP has created a solid foundation from which to build on. The well attended consultation event in October, AECOM’s Heritage and Character assessment and Housing Needs Assessments are considered useful, well documented information. However, there is a need to undertake much more research that can prove beyond doubt that the suggested policies are deliverable, have not been included in existing polices and are robustly consulted.

4). Town Meeting – consultation opportunity

The annual town meeting is scheduled to take place on Tuesday 18th April. This is considered to be a useful opportunity to re-engage with parishioners and residents. Rather than focus on all the activity of the NHP to date, it was suggested that we should focus particularly on areas where additional help is required, in anticipation of developing specific focus groups to look at subjects such as – historic sites, open spaces, art and tree planting.

Action: A small sub-group to be formed to plan the next stages of the NHP development. To consist of Emma, Jon, Kevin and Gerard

5). Business Survey. The survey now been converted to an electronic format and is ready for distribution to businesses throughout the town. A compliments slip size information leaflet needs to be created to sign people towards the NHP and Chamber websites where the survey can be found.

7). Date of next meeting. It was agreed to hold the next meeting on Monday 3rd April 2017 in the Council Chamber, Town Hall.

There being no other business, the meeting closed at 9.30pm