As the nights draw in SALFV is busy preparing to kill Lodge Farm Village once and for all at the Examination of Rugby Borough Council’s Local Plan, which we currently expect to start in January.

We have a number of excellent technical arguments supporting the removal of Lodge Farm. The thousands of objections submitted last year against the proposal will also be considered by the independent inspector appointed to scrutinise the Local Plan.

Our supporters have been generous in the past supporting SALFV both with their time and money. As we prepare the case we will present at the Examination of the Local Plan we desperately need money to fund the expert team of professionals we have assembled, which includes:

  • Barristers
  • Solicitors
  • Heritage Consultants
  • Traffic Consultants
  • Pollution Consultants
  • Landscape Consultants

Today SALFV has launched a fundraising campaign – Save Rupert Brooke Country – which aims to raise £15,000 by the end of November. These vital funds will go a long way towards covering the costs of the professional team that will represent SALFV at the Examination of the Local Plan.

You can visit the dedicated website for the Save Rupert Brooke Country campaign at https://www.saverupertbrookecountry.org.uk

Over the course of the next few weeks we will be heavily promoting Save Rupert Brooke Country throughout Warwickshire and beyond – more news on that to follow soon.

SALFV needs your support in this crucial push for victory, through your donation made on the Save Rupert Brooke Country website.

A lot of work has been going on in the background within our campaign - and we are conscious that we have not provided an update in a while - since the unfortunate Council vote in June. You will recall that Rugby Borough Councillors narrowly rejected (by 20 votes to 18) an amendment to remove Lodge Farm from the Local Plan.

Since the vote, the Council has managed to submit the Local Plan to the independent Planning Inspector, who is presently reading the plan and the objections raised by everyone. It is understanding that at the last count approximately 6000 objections were raised.

Rugby Borough Council has still failed to provide these objections in an accessible format online as promised, as well as failing to provide a comprehensive Summary of Consultation Responses (SCR) document. The only document provided lacked many points raised in consultation and did not include thousands and thousands of responses.

What have we been doing?

SALFV have been focused on two main activities:

  • Fundraising
  • Appointing the best possible team to represent us, and our partner Parish Councils, before the Planning Inspector
We have instructed the well-regarded Cambridge law firm Richard Buxton to co-ordinate and advise on our overall representation to the Planning Inspector. Solid progress has also been made in appointing:
  • Transport/Traffic Consultants
  • Heritage Consultants
  • Environmental Impact Consultants

Local Plan Inspection Timeline

The provisional timeline is:
  • August/September 2017 - Inspector reviews the Local Plan and the objections raised against it.
  • September 2017 - Inspector writes to the people who have objected asking further questions, and asks if you are willing to appear to give evidence. If you would like to appear before the Inspector please let us know so we can coordinate.
  • November 2017 - Inspector holds the initial hearing for the Examination of the Local Plan.
  • November/December 2017 - Final hearings for the Examination of the Local Plan.

A recent study published in The Lancet and also covered in the Daily Telegraph indicates that air pollution is a significant factor in the onset of dementia:

"Increasing population growth and urbanisation has placed many people close to heavy traffic, and with widespread exposure to traffic and growing rates of dementia, even a modest effect from near-road exposure could pose a large public health burden."

Dementia afflicts nearly 1 million people in the UK and is the leading cause of death for both men and women.

If you are objecting against Lodge Farm Village (DS10) in the second Consultation or airing your views on the same to Rugby Borough Councillors, please consider raising the findings of this study in the context of the additional traffic through Dunchurch that can be reasonably expected should Lodge Farm be developed. As you may already be aware, the Dunchurch Crossroads is already a designated Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) due to excessively high levels of pollution.

 

We are now midway through February and lots is happening in the background, in the fight to remove Lodge Farm from the Local Plan. We also need your help to keep moving us forward:

1. Meeting with individual councillors:
SALFV Committee member have been and will continue to meet with individual councillors and political groups within Rugby Borough Council to present the key reasons why Lodge Farm is unsustainable and undeliverable. We have thus far met with more than half the councillors and the meetings continue.

2. The Local Plan timeline has been delayed (again):
In yet another sign the Local Plan is encountering "technical difficulties" the vote on the local plan has moved from March to May. It appears that Warwickshire County Council will be unable to update it's initially half baked traffic assessment in time to support the initial vote. More can be read here: https://www.rugby.gov.uk/news/article/1320/local_plan_timetable_revised

3. Conservative Majority is No More:
Following a number of councillor resignations the Conservative group no longer holds a majority in the Council chamber. Watch this space!

4. SALFV is meeting with Council Leader (again):
In our continuing lobbying against the Lodge Farm proposal SALFV is meeting this week with Cllr. Michael Stokes, who is the leader of the council. We look forward to presenting Cllr. Stokes with the key reasons and updates as to why Lodge Farm continues to be a terrible idea. 

5. Finance Update:
As the first stage of the campaign concludes here are the headline financial figures:

  • Total campaign expenditure to date: £14,105
    • Planning consultancy: £5,713
    • Transport consultancy: £5,458
    • Other: (signs, website, flyers, printing) £2,934

Whilst we are still cash positive, your support and help cannot be overstated. This was the inexpensive stage of the fight. 

  • Estimated costs for next stages:
    • Representation at Independent Examination (June 2017): (Planning consultant, transport consultant, barrister) £10,000 - £15,000
    • Judicial Review of RBC decision to include Lodge Farm despite public opposition: £30,000

Whilst we are not at these stages yet - we need to have the cash and pledges available to enable us to fight this campaign, and to take every step possible to stop Lodge Farm, and protect Leam Valley.

We wish to thank all our contributors and donors, but we unfortunately the fight is not over so we need your help again. Please donate, either by cheque or online at: https://www.gofundme.com/salfv
Alternatively you can email us with your pledge which we will keep confidential until such time as it is required to pay for a specific invoice. (barrister, solicitor, planing consultant)

6. In the News:
The High Court has handed down recently a very interesting decision in the case of Regina (on the application of East Bergholt Parish Council) v (1) Babergh District Council, (2) Paul Bernard Aggett, (3) Sarah Jane Aggett.

In this case, the Parish Council filed a petition to the High Court to judicially review the planning decision of the Babergh District Council for additional homes in the Parish of East Bergholt.

“The judge decided that Babergh District Council had made a number of material legal errors, including misrepresenting to councillors what “local housing needs” means in the context of the local plan.

“Councillors had been told that they needed to take into account the needs of the district as a whole, when in fact they had to take into account only the needs of the core village and its immediate environs"

Whilst the case is not exactly the same as our situation (planning application as opposed to local plan) the judge's interpretation of the law fundamentally works in our favour: the Borough Council must take into account the views and needs of the Parish, which supersede the needs of the Borough.

More can be read here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk-38264017

7. What can you do?

  • WRITE TO ALL THE COUNCILLORS: If you have not already done so, send your objection directly to the councillors. Alternatively use one of our pre-made letters, or write a brand new letter letting every RBC councillor know how you feel. Remember - councillors do not necessarily get to see or read our objections, they may only see a summary. Every councillor's email address can be found here, in an easy to copy and use format: http://www.salfv.org/councillors-email-addresses
  • DONATE: The case of East Bergholt illustrates how a small community village stopped the Borough Council from building in their borough through Judicial Review. If we are forced to take this route, we need to be able to finance it. https://www.gofundme.com/salfv

A hardy group of Stand Against Lodge Farm Village campaigners recently braved the blustery December weather and made their way to the trig point (just outside the village of Barby) that overlooks the Leam Valley, including the site of the proposed Lodge Farm Village development.

At the trig point, overlooking the Leam Valley

The Leam Valley will be irrevocably spoilt if the unsustainable, undeliverable and unsupported Lodge Farm Village development goes ahead.

As we move towards the end of the second Consultation period offered by Rugby Borough Council on the Draft Local Plan, it is worthwhile re-doubling and re-focusing all of our efforts to oppose Lodge Farm Village (DS10).

You can continue to oppose Lodge Farm Village in a number of ways:

  • E-mail ALL Rugby Borough Councillors to express your opposition to the inclusion of Lodge Farm Village in the Draft Local Plan. The Councillors will not see the thousands of individual objections that have already been filed, so it is very worthwhile to make your views to our elected representatives known. You can find a list of e-mail addresses for all Councillors here and you may find this recent letter from David Thompson (SALFV Chairman) to the Councillors a useful reference on many of the key objections to Lodge Farm Village.
  • File additional objections to the inclusion of Lodge Farm Village (DS10) in the Draft Local Plan. Our objection guide can be found here and can be used to object on aspects of DS10 that you may not have had the chance to cover in the first Consultation.
  • Support the campaign financially. Beyond the second Consultation, significant funding is required to cover the planning consultants and lawyers who will be needed for SALFV to maintain effective opposition to Lodge Farm Village. Click here to donate to the campaign.

At the trig point, overlooking the Leam Valley
At the trig point, overlooking the Leam Valley