Campaigning for the positive and sustainable development of Radstock

News Archive - Page 4

[1st August 2011]: Press Release: Time for a moratorium and a halt to planning chaos in Radstock

Time to settle down, introduce a moratorium and start again - this is the message Radstock Action Group wants BANES to take on board with regard to the future of the town. RAG challenges anyone to make sense of the following.

Radstock deserves a proper strategic approach to its future but a glance at the list of dates and deadlines RAG has put together, all from sources in BANES, unless otherwise stated, suggests that a bad bout of confusion which has been smouldering for some time, is now getting a serious hold.

Here are some of the dates:

  • 21 July: Deadline for comments on most Traffic Orders which will be implemented should the road scheme go ahead
  • 3 August: Deadline for Bus Lane Traffic Order because BANES put the wrong date on the original public notices
  • ‘Following deadlines, all comments received and recorded and passed to the relevant officer. Once the process is finished, and if it is deemed appropriate, a report is passed to the Councillor with delegated powers to decide if any changes need to be made.’ Transportation Department - Councillor with Delegated Powers in this case is Roger Symonds, (Councillor Member for Transport)
  • 14 September: Delegated decision on the Traffic Orders expected by this date But Councillor Syomnds may not be acting alone as, according to BANES website, the matter will be considered by Cabinet on this date

Meanwhile, in another department, plans to find someone to build the road are going ahead:

  • 10 June: Invitation for Expressions of Interest for construction of new road advertised (www.supplyingthesouthwest.org.uk).
  • 27 June: Deadlines for completing Pre-Qualification Questionnaires – five companies shortlisted to respond.
  • 20 August: Deadline for responses from the shortlisted 5.
  • September: (date unspecified) contractor appointed; no details of who will make this decision. Final Costs of road unknown ‘until the contractor has been appointed’.

And elsewhere, NRR/Linden Homes have submitted two new planning applications in relation to the whole site, for extensions and renewals of older planning applications. Comments from the public are currently being considered:

  • August or September: Objections to the Planning Applications may be heard at the Development Control Committee on either 31 August or 28 September; we are not aware of a confirmed date.
  • Date Unknown for the publication of the analysis of the Traffic Survey undertaken in 2009 - all of which could have a materialbearing on what happens next.

It is completely unsatisfactory that a major project which has the potential to cause anything but regeneration is being run this way. Public money is being spent - and now BANES says it doesn't know how much the road will cost until the contract is awarded but it is likely to come in at at least £1.2m. And developers are so poorly organised that they have to ask for extensions. It appears that this may be in order to bring in unacceptable new proposals without the submission of a full new planning application. This process of asking for extensions must not be used to give carte blanche to a set of unspecified changes.

There is no plan - just a series of fairly random dates, pulled out of the hat by three separate operations within the council. At least three departments are involved in this chaos: Development and Major Projects, Transportation, Planning and Transport Development.

Final date:

  • 31 July: Linden Homes and NRR say that this is the date by which the Homes and Communities Agency will have made a decision on the £1m needed to finance the proposed housing.

Radstock Action Group is asking BANES to call a moratorium on all of this confusion. It is time to acknowledge that decisions of key importance to the town's future cannot be made for as long as this unjoined up thinking goes on. All parties must agree to an immediate suspension of all decision making - there is no logic to what is going on.

It is time to start listening to the people who know about Radstock - residents, traders, visitors, other businesses, all of whom use the amenities of the town and this includes its road system. Far from abating, opposition to the plans is growing all the time. We all want regeneration but we do not want the confusion, lack of strategy and lack of respect for the town which is implicit in the botched up schedule above.

Press Release Issued by Amanda Leon, Secretary, Radstock Action Group


[25th July 2011]: Press Release: Are you Listening Linden Homes?

The current road proposals are, according to BANES and the NRR, essential to the housing development which they are pursuing in Radstock. Radstock Action Group has been looking at the website of Linden Homes, the latest would-be developer. Here's what we found under 'Community Engagement' (www.lindenhomes.co.uk/community-engagement.htm):

'Working with local communities comes as second nature to Linden Homes. We understand that if we are to deliver houses that not only meet the aspirations of those who seek to live in them but also enhance the existing neighbourhood, then we need to talk to and engage with local people'. It continues, 'By seeking out local knowledge, and listening to local opinion, we are able to build a fuller picture and progress our plans accordingly'.

So why are these admirable sentiments not being applied to Radstock - is it possible that Linden Homes doesn't know that the proposals that they are in danger of being drawn into do not fit at all with their expressed aims? We shall be urging Linden Homes (address: Linden House, The Jacobs Building, Berkeley Place, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1EH, tel: 0117 930 4949) to consider the fact that there is overwhelming opposition to the road proposals - you only have to look at the extensive postbag in the press last week to see it.

Radstock Action Group suggests that Linden Homes:

  1. Acknowledges that the road which is a part of the scheme will certainly not enhance the existing neighbourhood.
  2. Recognises that the 'local knowledge' they refer to, in the case of Radstock provides a picture of a well-informed community which can give chapter and verse on why the road proposed in the plan to which Linden Homes is proposing to sign up, cannot work.
  3. Listen to local opinion and stop risking the good name of their company in an unsustainable and hugely unpopular scheme.

When Radstock Action Group met Linden Homes representatives,Simon Gait and Mark Rooney, on 22 June, we were not left with the warm glow and positive feeling suggested by the website, about their principled aims. We had 'a frank discussion' with them and they were honest enough to acknowledge that developers are not universally popular and that the job of commercial companies is to make money. They certainly didn't underline, or even mention, their company's commitment to the statements quoted above from their website. Linden Homes needs to match its boasts to the Radstock 'project'.

Meanwhile, last Thursday, Radstock Action Group presented the first batch of completed petition sheets, containing hundreds of signatures against the road, to the BANES Economic and Community Development Policy Development and Scrutiny. The meeting considered an internal report on Radstock regeneration which stated, amongst other things that Radstock Economic Action Plan is a project which 'aims to understand the key strengths and weaknesses of the local economy in Radstock and Westfield and develop a series of locally owned actions designed to support businesses to start and grow and broader job creation in Radstock and Westfield'. They seem oblivious to the fact that if the road goes ahead none of this can happen because Radstock will not have a future and will no longer be able to do other than watch as current businesses collapse and disappear - and with them the many jobs they currently provide.

In the first week hundreds of people signed our petition against the road, signatures are still being collected - we hope that Linden Homes will wake up and realise that the petition is just the latest in an ongoing stream of opposition to the road.

Press Release issued by Amanda Leon, Secretary, on behalf of Radstock Action Group


[18th July 2011]: Press Release: Campaign against the road has a positive and super-active week

Councillor Mansell’s remarks to the Press last week, should not be allowed to overshadow a week of positive activity in the campaign to stop the road. All that needs to be noted is that the ‘vociferous minority’ she refers to are not opposed to regeneration. Far from it, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone in Radstock who wants anything other than regeneration. However, many people are of the opinion that the road being proposed by BANES/NRR will lead to nothing less than gridlock and degeneration. So the campaign to stop the road plan will continue, as will our dialogue with BANES and all those who welcome discussion and positive suggestions.

On Tuesday evening, a Radstock Action Group public meeting on the road was attended by 45+ people. They came up with a series of ideas about what we need to be doing next. These included:

  1. Close consultation with heavy haulage and transport/coach companies
  2. Research on the impact of the road on businesses and industrial sites
  3. Contact with neighbouring councils such as Westfield, Midsomer Norton, Paulton, Kilmersdon and others regarding the impact and future disruption of road links between places

On Thursday 14 July, Radstock traders and residents demonstrated outside the Guildhall, Bath, before the Full Council meeting where Radstock Action Group members spoke against the road in public time.

At this Council meeting, BANES withdrew the most contentious and unpopular parts of the Bath Transport Package. Radstock Action Group argued that if a rethink was possible for Bath, then a rethink is possible for the Radstock scheme. What’s good enough for Bath is good enough for Radstock.

There was lots of applause from the public gallery, we hope councillors listened and we look forward to reopening discussions with BANES on alternative proposals – many alternatives are now being put forward by the community to avoid the ludicrous plans currently on offer. BANES should come to Radstock and listen to the alternatives put forward by the community.

Meanwhile, the deadline for comments on the Traffic Orders is 21 July; RAG will be commenting and we urge everyone else to do likewise. Full details of how to proceed if you wish to comment are available on our website at: www.radstockactiongroup.org.uk/stop_the_road.php

This week has seen new and old faces redoubling efforts to get the road plans reversed. We must all continue to pull together – if the road goes ahead, regeneration will be relegated to the department of pipe dreams.

Press Release issued by Amanda Leon, Secretary on behalf of Radstock Action Group


[18th July 2011]: Protest at Council meeting, 14th July 2011

Some of the 20 or so Radstock traders and residents who demonstrated at the BANES Full Council meeting on 14 July outside the Guildhall in Bath. At the meeting, BANES agreed to serious modifications to the Bath Transport Package including the scrapping of the most unpopular parts such as the Rapid Transit route - in public time, speakers from Radstock Action Group urged a similar rethink over the very unpopular proposed Radstock road scheme - what's good enough for Bath is good enough for Radstock.

Protest at Council meeting, 14th July 2011


[15th July 2011]: PETITIONS AGAINST THE ROAD AND IN FAVOUR OF AN ALTERNATIVE

Help get petitions against the road signed: Petition against the Road (50Kb doc) | Petition in favour of a different solution (52Kb doc)

  • Download as many copies as you can use
  • Ask your friends to do the same
  • Return to the address at the bottom of the petition, no later than 20 July
  • Return sheets which are not complete by 20 July

CAN YOU SPARE HALF AN HOUR TO HELP COLLECT SIGNATURES IN RADSTOCK ON SATURDAY MORNING (16 JULY)?

If so, please come along between 10.00 and midday, and there'll be someone there around Fortescue Road, Street, Radco end, near bank.

Thank you for your help - we are all making a difference together.


[15th July 2011]: URGENT - SEND YOUR VIEWS ON THE ROAD AND NRR PLANS TO BANES NOW - deadlines looming

We've put together details of the most recent planning applications and traffic orders which members of the public can comment on - two important deadlines are 21 July and end of July. Read about them, then respond via one of the contacts provided.

Click here to download the document (96Kb pdf)


[14th July 2011]: PROTEST - THURSDAY 14 JULY 6.00PM - GUILDHALL, BATH

SAVE THE HEART OF RADSTOCK - STOP THE ROAD

  • Meet outside the Guildhall in Bath at 6.00pm before going into the full BANES Council meeting.
  • A couple of members of Radstock Action Group will be speaking on the road issue.
  • Come and add your voices outside the Guildhall before the meeting starts. Bring placards if you can. You will be able to sit in the public gallery for the meeting.

BANES Councillors must hear that Radstock doesn’t want the road.
Catch them as they go in to the meeting.
Talk to them, explain your concerns.


Press Release [12th July 2011]: A Responses to BANES' Latest Press Release About Radstock

This press release is a direct response to BANES own Press Release, which can be downloaded by clicking here (75Kb pdf).

BANES latest attempt to hoodwink everyone into believing their claims and supporting their arguments for the ‘regeneration’ of the town, have a familiar ring to them. Above all, they are clearly put together by people who don’t know anything about Radstock. This continued imposition of views and plans from elsewhere enrages people in the town and militates against getting a rational programme for regeneration. Anyone who knows the town can see that the plans are a recipe for destroying it.

Last Saturday morning on BBC Radio Bristol, Cherry Beath, Lib Dem Cabinet member for Sustainable Development on BANES, stated loud and clear, in answer to the interviewer’s question, ‘How important is it to you to listen to what people want to say in the town?’ – ‘Very important indeed’. She went on, ‘we are going to be listening to the business community and residents there, so we want to walk in step with the people of Radstock’ and ‘As people will know, when you’re planning regeneration you have to have that infrastructure in place. The public areas need to be there to serve the new development and for it to bind in, in a good way, with the existing town. That’s what we’re hoping will happen, beginning with new road infrastructures and public realm’. When asked, ‘Will you listen to the public if they don’t want where you’re thinking of putting the road?’ she replied, ‘We will, we will’.

So, we would ask her and her BANES cabinet colleagues to start listening now – residents and businesses in Radstock do not want the road because they know it will not work. Far from regeneration this will lead to degeneration. The town will be subject to even worse air pollution, traffic will be gridlocked, 'the best preserved mining town centre in the country' (English Heritage) will disintegrate, people wanting to travel through Radstock on the Bath – Wells road will be equally involved as they wait for local traffic to negotiate the new system. The health and safety of everyone will be compromised and the proposals should ring health and safety alarms.

Come to Radstock and you’ll see our poster ‘Save the Heart of Radstock – Stop the Road’ in the vast majority of shop windows; an NRR member agreed last night that the shops in the Street would be casualties of the ‘development’ ...

Radstock Action Group is all in favour of regeneration which is precisely why it is opposed to the road and the current proposals for housing. Can anyone identify a town where a new road is being built to bring through traffic right through a busy town centre rather than keeping it out?

Last night at Radstock Town Council, protesters and councillors listened to a hapless representative of Linden Homes (the current would-be housing developer) state that the plan is not viable at the moment because there is a £1,000,000 (yes one million pound) deficit to be filled. And yet, BANES is still determined to go ahead with this road, which they state will serve the housing which may never be built, owing to lack of funds.

Additionally, the other chosen partner in this ‘adventure’, the Norton Radstock Regeneration Company, looks totally unfit to be involved in any activity allegedly leading to the regeneration of the town.

In the ten years of their existence, the NRR has received vast amounts of public funds and there is very little to show for it. But such is their lack of relevant skills that they have been ‘functioning’ from a mobile phone and Post Office Box number for some time and have just let it be known that they can’t afford to run a website.

This project has long been mired in dubious practices, lack of consultation and a determined refusal to listen to local people. The latest press release does nothing to dispel our objections.

Radstock is a wonderful town, with a great history and a great future. We, along with many others, intend to go on fighting for it. We do indeed look forward to planners walking 'in step with the people of Radstock'.

Reminder: Radstock Road Rage meeting tonight Tuesday 12 July @ 7.45pm at Radstock Methodist Church

Press Release issued by Amanda Leon, Secretary, Radstock Action Group


Press Release [10th July 2011]: MP Backs Bottom Up Approach to Regeneration at Radstock Action Group Event

Jacob Rees-Mogg, MP, flanked by Simon Allen and Eleanor Jackson, Radstock's BANES Councillors, opened 'Radstock Works', the latest Saturday event (9 July) organised by Radstock Action Group to consider the future of Radstock. Mr Rees-Mogg welcomed the event and underlined that Radstock has a promising future plus a unique and valuable history and heritage.

He said that we should say what we want for Radstock to be regenerated, developed and renewed, and that top-down solutions rarely work. He thought people should grasp the opportunity for Radstock to determine its own future and respect what Radstock has. His message was strongly about a bottom-up approach, with people determining their own town's future.

At times, the Working Men's Club resembled Piccadilly Circus as people came in and out between work responsibilities, family commitments and the inevitable pressures of a Saturday. At least fifty people (new and old faces, traders and residents) joined in the event during the day, and participants were treated to up-to-date figures from BANES’ Duncan Kerr, on the state of the economy and business in Radstock; details on the triumphs and pitfalls of organising a Community Plan from Paulton's Kerr Stirling and John Bull and an outline of small business needs from Angela Ladd of Small Business Focus. Dom Chambers of Somer Valley FM explained how community activities could be highlighted and contributed to by the use of community radio and the day continued with people talking in greater detail about practical steps that could be taken to regenerate and develop the centre.

Inevitably, the day's proceedings were overshadowed to a considerable degree by the threat posed by the latest moves from BANES to push a new road through the town centre. An overwhelming majority of people who spoke opposed the road, believing that it could only bring Radstock to a standstill with increased pollution and a very serious threat to traders, shoppers and visitors in the town.

Councillor Simon Allen who had, prior to the recent election, opposed the road, declared his support not just for the road but for the NRR; Cate Mack of the NRR also tried in vain to convince the meeting that the road is necessary. However, it was clear that most people still cannot see who, if anyone, will benefit from the road and are determined to continue campaigning against it.

NEXT ROAD EVENTS PLANNED:

RADSTOCK ROAD RAGE - STOP THE ROAD - public protest and planning meeting organised by Radstock Action Group. Radstock Methodist Church Tuesday 12 July at 7.45pm. Everyone welcome.

BATH AND NORTH EAST SOMERSET FULL COUNCIL MEETING Demonstrate against the road. Thursday 14 July. Meet outside the Guildhall, Bath at 6.00pm for 6.30pm meeting.

Press release issued by Amanda Leon, Secretary, on behalf of Radstock Action Group


Press Release [4th July 2011]: Radstock Road Rage - Stop the Road - Tuesday 12th July

A meeting organised by Radstock Action Group

Tuesday 12 July
Radstock Methodist Church
7.45pm

The announcement from Bath and North East Somerset that they are hell-bent on continuing with their plans for the unwanted road through the town centre has upset many people, some of whom were unaware that the idea was still being pursued by the council, the NRR and developers.

This meeting has been called to consider how to continue the campaign - further details will be available on the Radstock Action Group website shortly.

The questions that need answering are very simple:

  1. Where is the evidence that the proposed road will work?
  2. What is the business case for building the road?
  3. Why haven't the results of the 2009 traffic survey been published?
  4. How will the road aid regeneration?
  5. How much is the road going to cost and who, apart from the Homes and Communities Agency, is paying?

Radstock Action Group will be going to the next meeting of Radstock Town Council (July 11) to urge them to oppose the latest proposals and we urge everyone who values the town centre to join us.

And, of course, come to the RADSTOCK ROAD RAGE: STOP THE ROAD meeting on July 12.

Press release issued by Amanda Leon, Secretary, on behalf of Radstock Action Group


Press Release [4th July 2011]: Radstock Works: Saturday 9 July

Radstock Works
Radstock Working Men's Club
Saturday 9 July
10.00am - 2.30pm

Radstock Action Group's RADSTOCK WORKS will kick off at ten o'clock on Saturday 9 July at the Working Men's Club with an opening welcome from local MP Jacob Rees-Mogg. He will be followed by a range of speakers who will set the ball rolling for what promises to be a busy day of debate about identifying priorities for the future of the town, particularly how we can encourage more jobs and businesses - this in the absence of the Masterplan which had been promised by BANES about two years ago and which they have failed to produce.

We believe there’s no better way to plan than by hearing hard facts and figures, the experiences of other community groups and places with similar issues, and those who are already talking about how to get jobs and business growing in the town. But jobs and business do not come without proper housing, transport infrastructure and the creation of a positive environment in which to live and work.

In addition to speakers from Paulton, Shepton Mallet and Radstock Small Business Focus, we look forward to meeting Duncan Kerr, BANES' newly appointed Principal Economy, Enterprise & Business Officer, who has been busily researching the latest facts and figures on the state of business and employment in the town. But the main emphasis of the day is on getting everyone involved in discussions on how we move forward and what the major priorities are.

This is the third in RAG's series, 'What's Next for Radstock?' - the first two aired major ideas on key issues, now the time is ripe to look at how we can get some action on regeneration. We have also scheduled in as a last minute addition at the end of the event, a quick update on the road situation.

EVERYONE WHO IS PASSIONATE ABOUT RADSTOCK IS WELCOME

Download Introduction (78Kb pdf) | Download Programme (51Kb pdf)

Press release issued by Amanda Leon (Secretary) on behalf of Radstock Action Group


[28th June 2011]: Radstock Action Group response to BANES latest road proposals

Click here to download BANES' Press Release (62Kb pdf)

"This cynical announcement is further evidence of the complete disregard of BANES for the clear opposition of Radstock to the building of a new road. Simon Allen (Lib Dem) and Eleanor Jackson (Labour), our two very recently elected BANES Councillors are both opposed to the road and yet our and their views, as usual, count for nothing. The '...strong feelings...' referred to are nothing to do with inconvenience caused whilst work progresses, but to the whole concept of the new road.

This road, if ever built, will spell the end of Radstock town centre and the conservation area - 'the best preserved mining town centre in the country', according to English Heritage. Can anyone point to any current thinking where building a road through the middle of a town and thus introducing through traffic to a shopping centre is regarded as a good idea?

The NRR's planning permission to demolish the underpass and bridges in the town centre should have been implemented by 4 June 2011. Nothing can be done until this demolition takes place and Linden Homes has recently applied for an extension and Radstock Action Group will be opposing it.

The involvement of the Homes and Communities Agency in financing the road appears to have been won by suggesting that the road will aid the regeneration of Radstock - it will not. This is institutional vandalism which can only lead to degeneration.

BANES' contempt for the democratic process and for Radstock was evident yet again last week. In response to our request for the new applications to be made available at the Victoria Hall, Geoff Webber, BANES Senior Professional - Major Developments, Planning Services, told Radstock Action Group, 'Please be advised that we do not make copies of documents available for local inspection as you suggest. It may be that Radstock Town Council will provide that service, but our standard procedures are based around on-line access to the submitted plans and documents.'

BANES needs to prove that all this will constitute 'significant improvements' - the road/traffic survey from 2009, has yet to be published and is rumoured not to support the case for the new road. BANES has consistently rejected our requests for it to be prioritised for publication. No other documentation has been produced nor a business case made to support the proposed new road.

So what will the new road, BANES' 'significant improvements', mean for Radstock?

  1. All the through traffic using Frome Road and currently skirting the town centre will pass straight in front of the Victoria Hall and The Street will become a two way road
  2. Shopping in Radstock will become a far less pleasant experience as pedestrians battle with the fumes, noise and congestion of all through traffic using the roads outside the shops
  3. A threat to the continued existence of the Victoria Hall and the buildings in the conservation area - they were not built to withstand the force of major through traffic and will be structurally weakened
  4. An end to any possibility of reinstating the railway
  5. Increased noise and air pollution as large lorries, cars and trucks all enter the town centre and get stuck in traffic jams
  6. With traffic trying to turn into Fortescue Road, which will run in the opposite direction to present, there will be chaos - it has already been shown that long and large vehicles will be unable to make the turn.

These are just some of the obvious impacts of the new road.

Cherry Beath must come to Radstock and explain how such developments can be classed as 'improved public infrastructure' and reconsider the view that this investment 'will make the public space in the town a more pleasant place for local people, help manage traffic more effectively, and provide access to the proposed new homes and business space on the former railway land.'

We urge everyone to join the campaign to stop the road, by writing to BANES, to their MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, their BANES councillors, Eleanor Jackson and Simon Allen, and to the new Radstock Town Council.

We say:

  • Remove the electricity sub-station and reconfigure the roundabouts at the corner of Frome Road
  • Reinstate the rail link
  • Ensure that any housing in Radstock is built to the highest standard
  • Create an environment which will attract new jobs and businesses, not deter them through inevitable gridlock and degradation of the work environment

We have been unable to track down the dates for submission of comments to this scheme but we will certainly continue to press for clarification.

If this wasn't so outrageous and sad for Radstock, its future (and its history), it would be laughable. But BANES is looking for somewhere to be a dormitory town for Bath and that is why they are hell-bent on destroying the valuable town centre, its shops, amenities and natural environment.

We will update our website as this latest BANES offensive develops. In the meantime, if you feel passionate about Radstock, come to our 'Radstock Works' day on Saturday 9 July and help plan a real future and regeneration for the town."


PRESS RELEASE: Radstock Works - a day of activities and discussion for people who are passionate about Radstock and its Future - 27th June 2011

WHAT'S NEXT FOR RADSTOCK? PART 3

RADSTOCK WORKS

DATE: Saturday 9 July
TIME: 10.00am - 2.30pm
Doors open at 9.30am
VENUE: Radstock Working Men's Club

Everyone Welcome

There's never been a more pressing time for a gathering of people who feel strongly that Radstock has an exciting future and that it needs to involve everyone who feels passionately about this.

Radstock Action Group's third Saturday in the series, 'What's next for Radstock?' will bring together a wide range of people who want the very best for the town. we've invited representatives from other communities who are facing similar challenges in a period of economic 'stress' and who have experience of moving forward.

We've invited representatives of our local organisations including businesses/retail, young people and our elected representatives.

This is going to be a day about trying to fill the gaps - Radstock needs a masterplan to act as a framework for future development. It's about talking to each other and bringing together people with different ideas and experiences.

The aim is to end the day with some concrete, specific aims and suggestions for achieving them - whether in relation to housing, transport, jobs and business, young people's needs, older people's needs, exploiting the town's unique natural and built environments, addressing the issues of climate change and energy.

A full detailed programme will be finalised and available on our website within the next couple of days.

Issued by Amanda Leon on behalf of Radstock Action Group


PRESS RELEASE: New Planning Moves Afoot and Radstock People are the Last to Know - 20th May 2011

Purely by chance, Radstock Action Group found out that there are new planning applications in the pipeline for Radstock Railway Land. However, dates, details and purpose are not immediately available, but they seem to be related to the renewal of the old applications. The Nash Partnership, which appears to be acting for Linden Homes, subtitles its 100 page supporting document: Application for a new planning permission and replacement of conservation area consent in order to extend the time limits for implementation.

Later in the document we read. 'Therefore, in order to ensure deliverability and to maximise regenerative benefits for Radstock, Linden Homes Western as the new developer for the site wishes to thoroughly review the proposals and to consider submission of revised reserved matters for Areas 1 and 2.'

Changes appear to be under consideration.

So what is going on? Geoff Webber, BANES Senior Professional - Major Developments, Planning Services, seems not to be remotely worried about the lack of clarity or accessibility to the latest developments.

Radstock Action Group emailed him last week asking for copies of all relevant papers to be made available at Victoria Hall, to which the reply was, 'Please be advised that we do not make copies of documents available for local inspection as you suggest. It may be that Radstock Town Council will provide that service, but our standard procedures are based around on-line access to the submitted plans and documents.'

Also, in response to our request for public notices etc to be displayed we were told, 'As I am sure you are aware, interested persons do not need to wait to be notified by us about an application - comments can be made at any time after the registration of an application'. to which we can only reply that few people make it their business to be scouring the web pages of the BANES Planning Portal on the off chance that they may see something of interest.

We cannot, at this point, comment on the latest developments themselves as we are still awaiting further clarification. However, these papers were registered at the end of May and we need to vigilant in case a closing date for comments emerges. The date of the meeting for which comments need to be prepared is, according to the website, 'No details'.

Radstock Action Group regards the refusal of BANES to involve the people of Radstock as further evidence that the council is hell-bent on building the new road and a housing development which is now out of date and inappropriate, simply to turn Radstock into a commuter dormitory for Bath.

We urge everyone to contact their councillors and MP to express their concerns and seek clarification.

We have a meeting with Mark Rooney of Linden Homes on Wednesday and will be making clear our concerns to him.

It is time to take Radstock seriously and value its history and its potential. Not trample on it.

Issued by Amanda Leon on behalf of Radstock Action Group


PRESS RELEASE: What's Next for Radstock? No.3 Radstock Works - 23rd May 2011

The third Saturday event in Radstock Action Group's successful series focussing on Radstock and its future will centre on Jobs, Business and the need for the development of a Master Plan for Radstock.

WHAT'S NEXT FOR RADSTOCK? PART 3

RADSTOCK WORKS

DATE: Saturday 9 July
TIME: 10.00am - 2.30pm
VENUE: Radstock Working Men's Club

Everyone Welcome

Radstock Action Group is inviting a range of speakers to include addressing Master Planning, Retail Activity, Youth Employment and more - as usual the programme will be flexible and not too formal, with plenty of chances for participation and getting to know other people involved in developing the future for their communities.

Issued on behalf of Radstock Action Group by Amanda Leon, Secretary


PRESS RELEASE: Can Radstock's Elected Representatives Stop the Road? - 16th May 2011

The possibility of the proposed new road through Radstock continues to threaten the town centre and future regeneration. Radstock Action Group is looking to the new intake of councillors at BANES and Town Council level, to fight the proposals with renewed energy.

New councillors oppose the road

The recent BANES and Parish elections clarified a number of things - none more important than what we can expect from our new representatives at BANES and Town Council level on the question of the NRR's ongoing determination to construct a new road through the middle of Radstock, a road that will bring all the heavy traffic from the Frome Road into the core of the community, its shops and services, threatening the continued existence of the town centre.

Our questionnaire, sent to all would-be councillors before the elections, asked, among other things, 'Do you support the NRR proposal to build a new road from Frome Road, past the Victoria Hall into the Street in Radstock?'

Our two BANES representatives, Eleanor Jackson and Simon Allen both replied that they are against the road.

We also know that of the eleven new Town Councillors, six are definitely against it - they are Deborah Porter, Eleanor Jackson, Elizabeth Deri-Davies, Gael Doswell, Hilary Boulton and Lesley Mansell; two are definitely in favour of it - Chris Dando and Fflyff McLaren; one, Peter Sas, said he didn't know and needs more information; another, Roger Baber feels that he is 'not fully informed about the road and its impact and reserves judgement till then'; one - Anne Marie Jovcic-Sas - hasn't responded.

All this is mildly encouraging, although we do think that anyone wishing to represent Radstock should have made it their business to find out about this key issue and reach a position.

Funding to build a new road based on false premise and no reasoned argument

Things are getting more complicated. In mid September 2010, Radstock Action Group asked BANES, under the Freedom of Information Act, for details of all communications between BANES, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and Bellway/NRR, in relation to NRR/Bellway and the Radstock Railway Land. What we got, at the end of October, was a response under the Environmental Information Regulations, which may have allowed BANES not to give us the full picture.

We have since asked the HCA for clarification on a grant recently made by the 'HCA to NRR (or possibly other) in relation to the Radstock Railway Land'. The HCA replied that it has not been possible to invest £2.1m, in the NRR site, as envisaged. The spokesperson added that 'the HCA provided £800,000 grant funding to the Local Authority, Bath and North East Somerset Council, in order to facilitate public highway works in the centre of Radstock. The improvement of the public highway network in Radstock had been a long held ambition and identified as being necessary by the Council in early 2006.'

This raises several key points:

  1. Where is the evidence that the proposed road would 'improve the public highway network in Radstock'? We have looked very carefully at all the documentation released under the Freedom of Information request and failed to find any supporting materials sent to the HCA to convince them of the case, although clear mention is made of the possibility of funding the road.
  2. If, indeed, the improvement of this network is a 'long held ambition' (presumably of BANES) you would have expected them to have approached the matter with some rigour. However, the most recent traffic surveys conducted (2009) in connection with traffic management and flow in Radstock, have yet to be published. In fact, recently Radstock Action Group was told by David Trigwell, Divisional Director Planning and Transport Development at BANES, 'It is clear from my investigations that there is a considerable amount of work that is needed to be done on the matter before officers will be able to bring forward the final report..... I regret that I estimate it will be some months before the work will be completed.'
  3. Who is going to pay for the housing proposed by the NRR? Certainly BANES seems unclear about whether it has any money, but maybe they are encouraged by the signing up of the HCA to pay for the road that almost nobody apart from the NRR wants and will be looking for ways of financing the housing.
  4. Where is Linden Homes in all this? What is the nature of their agreement with BANES/NRR? We have been trying to meet a representative for some time now and the first date they have been able to offer us is at the end of June.

BANES must respect the wishes of the local community, adopt more professional and transparent practices. We are convinced that if they were to do so, there would be a reasonable and acceptable solution to the traffic issue.

Issued by Amanda Leon on behalf of Radstock Action Group


PRESS RELEASE: Another exciting professional contribution to the debate on the future of rail in Radstock - 9th May 2011

Radstock Action Group reminds everyone of the meeting this Wednesday relating to the future of the railway in Radstock, with an account from a rail professional of:

THIS WEDNESDAY

Trains and Systems for Sustainable Railways
Olly Wise, First Great Western

Date: Wednesday 11 May
Time: 8.00pm
Venue: Radstock Methodist Church Hall

Olly Wise, who works for First Great Western on the technical side, will be giving a presentation on the most up-to-date thinking about how our trains and rail system can contribute to the development of sustainable transport.

The meeting comes at a time when interest in the reinstatement of the railway between Radstock and Frome is gathering huge momentum.

Everyone is invited to come and hear from someone who is right at the centre of the industry and who combines technical expertise with infectious enthusiasm for 'all things rail'. Your chance to ask all those questions about rail development.

Press release issued by Amanda Leon (Secretary) on behalf of Radstock Action Group


PRESS RELEASE: A Radstock Action Group event on 11 May - 1st May 2011

Trains and Systems for Sustainable Railways - a presentation by Olly Wise, First Great Western

Date: Wednesday 11 May
Time: 8.00pm
Venue: Radstock Methodist Church Hall

Olly Wise, who works for First Great Western on the technical side, will be giving a presentation on the most up-to-date thinking about how our trains and rail system can contribute to the development of sustainable transport.

The meeting comes at a time when interest in the reinstatement of the railway between Radstock and Frome is gathering huge momentum.

Everyone is invited to come and hear from someone who is right at the centre of the industry and who combines technical expertise with infectious enthusiasm for 'all things rail'.

Press release issued by Amanda Leon (Secretary) on behalf of Radstock Action Group


PRESS RELEASE: Short and snappy answers from the election candidates - 1st May 2011

Last week, Radstock Action Group sent the candidates in the forthcoming Parish and BANES elections a series of easy to answer questions, requiring nothing more than fourteen short and snappy answers. The first six questions simply required either a Yes or No answer.

Find their replies at: www.radstockactiongroup.org.uk/who_will_you_vote_for.php

No fewer than ten replied - a mixture of Independent and Labour candidates, but there was not a single reply from the Lib Dems or Tories. Very disappointing, some might even call it worrying ...

Only one candidate for BANES has responded, thus making her views clear on the issues that Radstock Action Group really sees as central to the town's future development and prosperity.

The headline findings include:

  • An overwhelming majority opposed to the proposed road and the NRR development plans
  • A similarly overwhelming majority in favour of keeping the Victoria Hall in public and community use
  • Likewise huge support for the reinstatement of the rail link to Frome

The town council candidates came up with a huge range of suggestions for uses for the Victoria Hall and equally creative ideas about how to regenerate the town. We look forward to incorporating them in future campaigns.

Find the details at: www.radstockactiongroup.org.uk/who_will_you_vote_for.php

Radstock Action Group is encouraged that these views are so varied and positive, and that there is overwhelming support on key issues. We urge all voters to look at the responses of the individual candidates before making up their minds. If the new Radstock Town Council can pursue these ideas, things will certainly be looking up for the town.

Responses from other candidates will be put onto the website as they arrive. But in the meantime, all looks set for encouraging discussions at the new Radstock council. A shame that prospective BANES councillors are less forthcoming with their ideas.

Press release issued by Amanda Leon (Secretary) on behalf of Radstock Action Group


Who Will You Vote For? - 30th April 2011

Radstock Action Group asked local election candidates for their views on a range of issues concerning Radstock and its future. Click here for more information, and to find out how the candidates responded.


PRESS RELEASE: Radstock Action Group asks candidates for straight, short answers - 26th April 2011

As the local elections approach, Radstock Action Group is sending all candidates a short questionnaire to find out what they think about key issues facing Radstock at the moment. The questionnaire can be view by clicking here (34Kb pdf).

All the responses will be posted on the Radstock Action Group website.

Press release issued on 26 April 2011 by Amanda Leon
Secretary, Radstock Action Group.