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Newtown St. Boswells Scotland
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Information on the village of Newtown St. Boswells in Scotland.
Back to: Newtown St Boswells Village Redevelopment News/Update
Comments submitted on SBC Development Framework
Newtown St Boswells Community Council Comments on SBC Development Framework May 2011
“DF Framework prepared by SBC in discussion with local community”
More community engagement has been requested many, many times
Purpose of the development framework
Disused north railway embankment
Vacated School site
Cooks Van hire site
Cooks Van hire site contd.
However the village understands that relocation to BJ is still not certain at this time and if this were the case a alternative site for relocation is needed.
Baxter Johnston Yard
North Oil Depot & adjacent field next to By-pass
Summary – in the past the community has been advised by SBC that the above sites can only be considered for change if a major redevelopment plan was carried out. SBC now has a major plans for the village but these sites, in there own right, are not included in the plans or any reasons given.
Community consultation and involvement
The Community Council has requested from the very start of the redevelopment project to have full involvement and real engagement in drawing up the plans for the village redevelopment but this has not happened.
The community is very disappointed that the DF consultation has been conducted in a way where SBC unilaterally decide on what has to be studied, SBC officers carry out studies, SBC make recommendations and only then was the community asked to make comments.
With respect to the draft DF the community were invited to a walk-in display board presentation in the Community Wing in December 2009 and SBC representatives were there
to answer questions but subsequently the community was given only a very short time to make written comments.
Despite many requests for information 18 months then followed with no discussions or feedback on which comments had been included. Then despite requests, verbal and in writing, to see the amended DF before it was approved for formal consultation the community first saw the document from a distance in the Public Gallery whilst it was approved by the Planning & Building Standards Committee.
Village Centre proposals
After a year of no engagement in February 2011, out of the blue, three members of the Community Council attended a mini presentation given by a consultant, engaged by SBC, who presented a diagram of a proposed new village centre. The village again had had no prior involvement in compiling the diagram but it was said that any comments would be taken into account. However at the end of presentation it was decided that the diagram could not be displayed on Notice Board or shown to other villagers.
A further presentation was requested for the full Community Council which took place where the Community Council members and a small number of people made comments. However some months later no changes to the proposal could be seen when the formal consultation commenced.
Also it must be said that the villagers are now becoming use to sitting in the Public Gallery at Planning & Building Standards and Full Council meetings watching the participants voting on major issues affecting Newtown St Boswells which villagers had no prior information on.
This occurred when the 900 houses were voted to be included in the Local Plan, it occurred when Planning Officers recommendation were not published before outline planning approval was given and more recently it occurred when the DF was approved to go out to formal consultation. In all these cases the community had not seen any of the documents or information given to the members of the Planning & Building Standards committee before they voted. It was know by SBC that the Local Councilor for Newtown St Boswells sitting on these committees had no contact or attended a single village Community Council meetings for several years.
12 week Formal Consultation period
During the 12 week formal consultation the village requested more information and discussions on important areas of the DF namely –
1. Village centre layout/parking and traffic movements
However whilst SBC did provide three names of Council Officers to contact only one meeting with the Technical/roads department actually took place, see overleaf.
12 week Formal Consultation period contd.
1/ Village centre layout/parking and traffic movements
2/ Improved community facilities and services
3/ Revitalization of village centre and business development
4/ Open space, parks and children’s play areas
Also, to our knowledge, the existing businesses in the village have not been consulted about any future development plans for their business
5/ Local Path and cycle network plan
Summary - 12 weeks formal consultation
The community council and village feel that the lack of participation and engagement has left them feeling detached from the development plans and very uneasy about being forced into formal consultation periods and uncertain about how much real involvement they will have in the future.
Summary 12 weeks consultation continued.
However despite the consultation dead-line 14th Sept. the village continues to request more information, real engagement and participation as recommended in the Scottish Executive Planning Advice Notes. It would like to be involved in discussions to jointly reconsider the DF plans and then to move forward to compile a plan to make the DF come to life and a reality.
To achieve this it is felt that a consultation and a project management plan for the future is urgently needed.
3/ Development framework
See previous comments under ‘Appraisal Process’
It is suggested that below Key objectives should also include :-
 To ensure that new development positively contributes to the vibrancy/ vitality/ success of the existing village and its community (Extract from SBC Development Brief 1)
 Provision of a tangible job creation plan for local people.
 Provision of improved community facilities for all ages
 Provide opportunities for tourism through marketing, facilities, signage and provision of accommodation (Extract from SBC development Brief 1)
New civic square
A fully pedestrian area is required separating people from traffic and making movement between shops, Health centre etc. possible with out crossing roads.
Whilst it is mentioned that shops and small businesses are planned for the village square in the DF document none are seen in the consultants diagram. Also the village knows of no strategy, plans or resources allocated to make this happen which is a high priority item for the community to bring back life and vitality to the village centre.
The Food Stores positioned, on an island with roads around all sides, is not considered a good idea or acceptable since with this arrangement people have to cross a road immediately outside the building to walk home or to visit other facilities in the village square. This is not considered acceptable on grounds of safety particularly for elderly and the less agile and the Food Store access should open onto a pedestrian village square.
The Square should be of sufficient size to hold Farmers markets and other village gatherings and the surface should be level for ease of use and safety for the elderly and less able.
New civic square contd.
It is suggested that the position of Health Centre between the village square and the village Green needs discussion since the building positioning could bring more light and grass in to square.
The village has no information about the planned restoration of the Mart building which is a central feature in new village centre. This is a listed building and the village would like to have discussions to find out what options are available for it’s use and more information about how it is to be restored.
Car Parking & traffic movements
Car parking, traffic movements and safety are considered by people in the village to be very high priority therefore a Transport Assessment study has been requested. Two previous TA have been carried out but neither cover the new village centre per se or the total growing population of the new village.
There is a need to ensure that adequate parking space is available as the village population expands in accordance with Local Plan. To achieve this it is important not to allocate all space around village centre, as shown in diagram, to housing leaving none for car parking expansion.
Whilst it is accepted that the DF is at a ‘high level’ stage the diagram does allocate space to housing, village square, Health Centre etc. including street car parking. However it is not possible to make any valid comments with out further information from a Transport Assessment analysis of road layout, traffic movement and parking requirements as the village quadruples in size to that approaching the size of Jeburgh.
It is felt that the requested TA study needs to be designed not as a one ‘snap shot’ assessment but for use as an on going tool where initially assumption on the shop levels etc. can be used which can be firmed up as the project develops. We feel it should take into account different stages of house build numbers i.e. at 400 houses, at 600 houses, at
4/ General development requirements
Housing and design
The adoption of the Place Making and Design SPG guide in the DF is very welcomed.
Some affordable housing are required for local people however it should it should be born in mind that Newtown has already 87% of existing houses originating from Council housing and many terraced properties. It is important to bring a better balance to the village so that all social groups are represented in the community.
With regard to affordable and rented accommodation priority to be given to local people which we understand has been discussed previously at government level.
More sheltered housing is required for local people.
The DF makes no mention of any plans to use the existing school site when it is vacated and the community would like to be involved in discussion for it’s future use.
We are told by SBC that village should talk to NHS for more information on this new facility but when speaking to NHS they advise us they have no knowledge of the latest new Health Centre Plans ? At a community requested meeting with NHS management they asked if they could have a copy of the SBC/consultant’s sketch of the village centre proposals because they had not seen it before !
Improved Community Facilities
DF mentions that ‘there is an opportunity to reinforce the provision of community facilities ( such as arts and cultural services, sport, health and physical education services and community learning and development) and perhaps a community library plus a broad range of services) but the village has no idea how this will happen ?
No discussion have taken place about the restoration of the Mart octagon building or it’s possible usage by the community.
The community have requested to have discussions with SBC about what community facilities are required to accommodate the large scale population growth created by the Local Plan, This would enable community to make valid comments before the formal consultation dead-line expires. Despite requests to meet appropriate SBC Officers this did not happen.
The village wishes to see the same urgency placed on a plan to create new jobs as that put on the house building plans. However no discussions or information has been given to the community this ?
We are told that jobs will be created in the planned Tweed Horizon business Park but no information has been given to the community as to when this is likely to happen ?
One matter we would like to discuss how employees from this site will access the new village centre – pedestrian bridge, tunnel since not mention of this seen in the DF ?
Does SBC support mixed housing and small/clean business development on the new housing sites ?
The community has request to have discussions with Council management about developing tourism business would create local jobs in this area so as to be able to make valid comments before the formal consultation dead-line expires. This did not happen.
It has been suggested that access to the Mart development could be assisted with a new road alongside Langlands Mill which would help keep traffic away from village centre. However this is not included in DF.
When the south and west developments are completed the village will have some 95% of population plus the new school on the opposite side of the main road to the new village centre. In the interests of ease of access and safety a pedestrian a bridge across the main road should be planned for installation as the population increases. 70 years ago the railway could justify a pedestrian bridge to assist people across the road to the Station so why can it not be justified now with a significantly much larger population ?
Local Path/Cycle Network
The village has been requesting to be involved in the Local Path/Cycle network to be included in the development plan for over two years. However in 2010 were told that discussions would happen early 2011 but to date we have heard nothing or been consulted.
Submitted 13the September 2011
Comments submitted on SBC Development Framework , Scotland