Campaigning for the positive and sustainable development of Radstock

News Archive - Page 8

PRESS RELEASE FROM RADSTOCK ACTION GROUP - 14th September 2008

It is important that as many people as possible know exactly what is going to happen to Radstock if the most recent planning application is agreed.

That's why, given the failure of NRR/Bellway to organise any form of consultation or exhibition in Radstock, Radstock Action Group will be attempting to fill some of the gaps.

This coming Saturday morning (20 September) Radstock Action Group is organising a session where interested people can find out more and air their views.

Find out more about Bellway/NRR plans for Radstock

Radstock Methodist Church Hall
Saturday 20 September
9.30 am - 12.00 noon

It's clear from the amount of debate that's going on that the regeneration of Radstock is an important matter for many people.

Radstock Action Group is holding an event where you can come and put forward your ideas, find out what Radstock Action Group is doing and look at the plans for the railway land.

Drop in anytime. Bring your ideas and questions. Come and talk. Everyone welcome.

LET'S TALK ABOUT RADSTOCK

Download the flyer for this event. (157Kb pdf)

Amanda Leon for Radstock Action Group
14 September 2008


NRR's Open letter in response to RAG's Open Letter

Click here to download NRRs' response to RAG's Open Letter. (68Kb pdf)

View RAG's Open Letter (58Kb pdf)


Response to Planning Application 08/02332/RES

Click here to download Radstock Action Groups' response to the Reserved Matters Planning Application. (174Kb pdf)


PRESS RELEASE: BLAME IT ON BANES - Radstock Action Group meets NRR

Reportback from meeting with NRR

Last Thursday 28 August, a delegation from Radstock Action Group was invited to meet the NRR. The principal lesson learned was that we can lay all the ills of the current 'regeneration plans' at the door of BANES. We learned other things too, but, above anything else, we came away having been told at every turn that NRR could do nothing about the plans, as they were all determined by BANES.

Of course, the discussion did cover some other issues and began with an explanation of the history of the NRR, with great emphasis being put on how thoroughgoing the consultation process had been all the way along the line. NRR said they had listened carefully to all the consultations but that 'compromises' had been necessary. That was followed by the NRR outlining the relationship between the Outline Planning application and the Reserved Matters - this was not new to anyone who's been involved in the planning process to date.

We listened carefully and were given the opportunity to ask questions, but in reality, we came away with nothing more than a sense that any requests to NRR for changes to the plans are wasted as BANES holds all the power and also, Bellway, as the chosen builder who identified an architect, are responsible for the finer details of design in the 'regeneration' plan. They did undertake to consider what we said about wood cladding not being sympathetic to the town centre conservation area. There was no willingness to commit to anything else.

We also found out that:

  1. NRR has to produce something that will get planning approval - that what they had produced was as far as they could go without risking approval not being granted.
  2. BANES required the NRR to redesign the road system in order to get rid of the double roundabout. NRR regards the road as a strategic issue which, as such, should have been addressed by BANES as the strategic authority - in the view of NRR, BANES has failed to do this.
  3. There are likely to be a number of Reserved Matters applications coming up as the developers do not intend doing whole sites at once, but intend applying for Reserved Matters on specific parts of the separate sites.
  4. NRR said they would be interested to hear our views on some aspects of regeneration and on a use for the community building. We didn't feel confident that our ideas were of importance to their plans, as they repeatedly told us everything would continue as already agreed through the Outline Planning permission.
  5. NRR claims to be short of money and that they had their hands tied by this, with some suggestions that BANES might have been able to help in financial terms but had not done so.

We concluded that this is only an exercise in home building with absolutely minimal regeneration. There will be 50 homes built of the 83 mentioned in the Reserved Matters application - they didn't tell us which would be built, but it seems likely that it will be the 'affordable housing' which will be sold on to a housing association, plus a few other units.

We welcomed the opportunity to meet with NRR and will always take up their invitations. But, having spent about one and a half hours talking, we all felt that the NRR wasn't really listening and was on the look out for others to blame for the shortcomings we identified in the plans. But we will renew our demands for BANES, NRR and Bellway to come to their senses and start looking at a people-centred way forward for the town. This will mean a lot more consultation than NRR, or any of the other parties, has been prepared to be involved in to date.

Further Details

A fuller account of the meeting will be on the website (radstockactiongroup.org.uk) by the end of the week.

Reply to Open Letter

We are expecting NRR's response to our Open Letter on Monday 1 September - as soon as we have it, we will put it on the website. There has been no response from Bellway or any other recipients at the time of this Press Release being issued. NRRs' response now available - click here to download. (68Kb pdf)

NRTC to consider the Planning Application - again.

On another issue, the NRTC Planning Committee is scheduled to discuss the Reserved Matters for a second time on Monday 1 September, but we understand that the meeting may not be quorate for a second time, as many councillors are still not around.

Radstock Action Group
31 August 2008


PRESS RELEASE FROM RADSTOCK ACTION GROUP - Monday 25 August

DELEGATION FROM RADSTOCK ACTION GROUP TO MEET NRR

Radstock Action Group has accepted an invitation from NRR to meet and discuss the latest Planning Application and the 'Regeneration' of Radstock. A delegation will meet Cate Mack, the Chair of NRR, Derek Hooper, their General Manager and Vicky Windsor, the NRR PR consultant in Radstock on Thursday evening 28 August.

The meeting arose as a result of Derek Hooper reading Radstock Action Group contributions to the local press and starts from his wish to 'explain the direct relationship between these details (ie. in the Reserved Matters - A.Leon) and the overall scheme that already has planning permission.

Radstock Action Group is pleased to have the opportunity to meet with NRR and will be going to the meeting in a positive mood, aiming to show that Radstock is all in favour of real regeneration. Contrary to the negative impact that the current proposals will have on the town, it is possible to build on Radstock's unique history and natural and built environment, to achieve meaningful regeneration which puts people at the centre of the plans. Radstock Action Group believes that if the current proposals go ahead, and this includes the ludicrous idea of building a main road through the centre of the town, there will be little left of what makes Radstock special - it will, instead be sucked into a major traffic system and a poor quality overcrowded housing scheme.

WHY NO PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON THE PRESENT PLANNING APPLICATION?

Radstock Action Group's request for a copy of the plans was agreed by Bellway but blocked by NRR on the basis that anyone who was interested could look on line or visit council offices in Bath, Keynsham, or (belatedly after a fuss) the Victoria Hall in Radstock.

The group believes that an exhibition plus a public discussion meeting would have made clear some of the major problems with the current application:

  1. Overcrowded housing right in the centre of town
  2. Unsuitable building materials - for example, most of the buildings will be clad in horizontal wood - something totally out of sympathy with the stone buildings that make up the town centre
  3. The destruction of much native vegetation (healthy large trees have already been chopped down for no apparent reason) and its replacement with ornamental non-native ground cover
  4. Green roofs as a mitigating offer to house local species - how many ground dwelling plants and animals are going to take up residence on the roofs of town centre houses?
  5. Lack of any serious commitment to a community building - an empty shell is all that's indicated on the plans. In the Victoria Hall, Radstock already boasts an outstanding community building which is consistently ignored in the plans - we welcome additional community buidings but think that the victoria Hall should be central to all plans and be properly restored and preserved fro future generations - the current road plans will have a detrimental impact on its fabric; it requires good stewardship now
  6. A totally unconvincing small set of spaces which will allegedly regenerate Radstock - Radstock Action Group wants to know what the logic is of putting in these tokens whilst building a road which will jeopardise the current buildings and businesses of the town

The above are just some examples of the problems with the current application which should be sent back to the drawing board by the BANES Development Control Committee when it eventually discusses the matter.

The decision to take the matter to committee has, in itself, been a victory - the decision on the Reserved Matters Planning Application was originally delegated to the responsible officer which means it would not have gone back to committee - but this has now been changed. Radstock Action Group expects that the matter will now be discussed in October at the earliest.

There is still ample opportunity for the developers to engage in meaningful consultation/dialogue with Radstock and we urge them to organise an exhibition and public debates on the regeneration of the town - plenty of people have strong feelings and positive suggestions to put forward. The long-term damage caused by not listening to local people could be pre-empted by a constructive, people-centred vision which will make Radstock a good place to live and work in and will build a thriving tourist operation.

OPEN LETTER TO BELLWAY AND NRR

Radstock Action Group has sent an Open Letter to all directors of both Bellway and NRR with copies to all Norton Radstock Town Council members and relevant members of BANES. The Open Letter can be viewed on our website at www.radstockactiongroup.org.uk (click here to view the letter (58Kb pdf)). We are always interested in hearing what other people think and you can write to the group via the website.

We are hoping for some positive replies to the issues raised in the Open Letter and will be posting them all on the website, when they arrive.

Amanda Leon
Secretary, Radstock Action Group
8 Colliers Rise, Radstock BA3 3AU

View Open Letter (58Kb pdf)


PRESS RELEASE FROM RADSTOCK ACTION GROUP - 10 AUGUST 2008

Meeting with BANES Case Officer

Last Wednesday 6 August, Radstock Action Group met with David Audsley, the BANES Case Officer for the current Bellway Railway Site Application, to clarify some procedural and planning issues as they prepare their response to the planning application. The meeting was wide-ranging and informative and included a closer look at the plans - they didn't look any better or more likely to meet the interests of Radstock. Discussions ranged across the apparent departures from the original Design Code - we were able to compare it with another Bellway scheme where there is clearly greater attention to quality and good design practice - to technical matters relating to such matters as flood risk issues, conservation area and environmental protection and traffic problems.

Probably the best news from the meeting is that the closing date for comments on the planning application has been put back and submissions will certainly be acceptable to the end of August. Members of the public can find out more by contacting the case officer, David Audsley.


Gagging at the Development Control Committee

Also on Wednesday 6 August, members of the group attended the BANES Development Control Committee and made a statement under Items from the Public, outlining some of the major problems and causes for dissatisfaction in the way the Radstock 'regeneration' planning is being handled by BANES.

The statement had to be submitted in advance of the meeting and had to be edited to obtain approval for presentation. BANES argued that the statement might impact on or otherwise influence future decision making on specific applications, even though no mention was made of any specific application. The censorship extended to having to remove all mention of the new proposed main road through the centre of Radstock, even though, according to BANES, this matter has now been determined. The full versions of all drafts submitted to BANES, alongside the one they finally agreed will be available on the Radstock Action Group website (please see links at the bottom of this Press Release). They provide a graphic illustration of the lack of transparency and genuine engagement at local authority level with the real issues of importance to the town.

The group was not impressed by the moves to stifle legitimate comment on the way local wishes and voices are being ignored.


Discussions on Plans

Radstock Action Group is about to take delivery of a copy of the plans and it is their intention to make them widely available in Radstock, in informal exhibitions and discussions, so that there can be debate around issues and clarification of what exactly they mean for the town. These will aim to complement any events organised by Bellway and/or NRR.

We are looking forward to putting together our response to the application. However, in the opinion of Radstock Action Group, the planning application should be withdrawn immediately as it departs significantly from the original proposals on the basis of which the outline planning permission was granted.

Radstock Action Group

Version 1 (30Kb pdf) | Version 2 (31Kb pdf) | Version 3 (Final) (29Kb pdf)


PRESS RELEASE: SERIOUS FLAWS IN THE PLANNING PROCESS COME TO LIGHT AGAIN

If nothing changes, on 12 August the chance of influencing any of the proposals in the latest planning application from Bellway, will be over. 21 days will have passed since some, but not all members of the public, were alerted to the submission of the planning application, and that signals the end of the period during which people can comment.

It is essential for Radstock's future development that the whole planning process is reviewed. Radstock Action Group believes that it is not appropriate for major proposals which will have a lasting effect on the way the town develops, should be dealt with under Reserved Matters - a technical stage in the planning process which anyone who even wants to modify their own home has to go through.

The particularly worrying features of this situation are:

  1. The plans in the current planning application differ substantially from those submitted in the earlier planning stage - on key matters like the design of the houses; the number of houses; the fact that they include a supermarket which was not agreed in the previous planning application; proposals to cut down healthy trees
  2. Although there is now, belatedly a copy of the proposals available for viewing at Victoria Hall, there have been no public announcements informing the residents of Radstock that the application has been made or that the paperwork can be seen in Radstock
  3. Norton Radstock Town Council is going to be considering their response to the application at the Planning and Environment Committee on Monday 4 August and yet, there is no detail available to any member of the public, in fact, unless you walked past Victoria Hall, it would not be possible to know that the matter was on the agenda. Members of Radstock Action Group will be at the meeting to argue for a more satisfactory way of addressing the situation.

We deplore the lack of consultation, transparency and democratic practices which are evident in this whole affair and will be arguing that the whole application should go back to square one since the Reserved Matters are not that at all, they constitute a change to the whole proposal.

Radstock Action Group


PRESS RELEASE - NRR/BELLWAY SURFACES IN RADSTOCK HOMES

After a prolonged period of silence and a total unwillingness to communicate with the people of Radstock, NRR and Bellway have come up with a public relations exercise which leaves a very dirty taste in the mouth.

If you live in Radstock you'll most likely have received a colourful little leaflet from the NRR and Bellway last week. If you know nothing about what the plans are really going to do to Radstock, you might be excused for thinking that everything was going fine, that having consulted the residents and businesses of the town, the 'regeneration' was going to bring untold prosperity and much needed affordable houses to the area, together with a range of other benefits.

Some people have even received a personalised letters from Cate LeGrice Mack, the recently appointed chair of NRR, expressing delight at the imminent 'development' of the former railway land.

Radstock Action Group urges local people not to be taken in by the claims made this past week by the NRR and Bellway. The NRR website reminds us that the goals of the 'regeneration plan' include 'A more attractive and vibrant town centre with strong local focus' and the 'establishment of a successful pedestrian and vehicular movement framework'. Exactly what we all want, but exactly what we won't be getting if this 'regeneration' really goes ahead.

The leaflet hides the realities of the new proposed development, which has nothing to do with the best interests of Radstock and makes misleading suggestions:

  1. The leaflet refers to 18 acres of 'empty and derelict land' - in reality the land provides a home for a valuable range of species of plants and animals and is the site of many important railway buildings which reflect the industrial heritage of the area.
  2. According to the leaflet, the work now being undertaken follows 'many years of extensive discussions with interest groups and the people of Radstock about the form and content of the development' - unfortunately there is virtually no evidence that on the rare occasions when there have been limited consultations, that the views and wishes of those consulted have been respected. In fact, every time that local people are asked, they express their opposition to almost every aspect of the proposals - so strongly have they felt about the matter that they voted out two key BANES councillors who had supported the NRR proposals, ad elected in their place two others who put opposition to the plans at the centre of their election campaigns; in a parish poll organised to get a clear indication of their views, voters also made it clear that they were not in favour of the plans; on the occasions when short, hastily constructed 'consultations' have been run, there has been equally strong opposition; not to mention meetings and petitions expressing other visions for Radstock.
  3. The leaflet claims that there will be 'improvements to the road networks'. Not exactly - the new road layout will bring all the Frome Road traffic straight past the Victoria Hall and into the Street, almost certainly leading to irreparable damage to the historic town centre buildings and to the small traders whose shops will be filled with the noise and fumes of traffic travelling in both directions.
  4. The use of solid concrete across the site will severely heighten the already serious flood risk to the area.
  5. The overcrowding together of the homes (largely two bed flats with a limited number of houses) will be matched by severe noise and air pollution from the new road system.

Radstock Action Group has some questions arising from the claims made by NRR and Bellway:

  1. Where is the 2 million economic boost going to come from and who will benefit? The business case for the development proposals has not been publicised and we think it's time that it was - we have yet to hear what it is.
  2. How can a retrograde step like driving a brand new main road through the centre of the town lead to 'an attractive and vibrant town centre'?
  3. How many and what 'employment opportunities' will be generated as boasted by the leaflet?
  4. What is the point of a proposal to 'support long-term population growth' when there is insufficient affordable housing and little employment for the current population of Radstock?
  5. Is the number of homes in the first stage really 50 or 83 as suggested elsewhere?
  6. How does the alleged 'strict Ecological Plan' ensure 'protection and management of .... a wide range of animal and plant species'? All the evidence so far is that it will decimate them, upsetting the biodiversity and ecological balance of the whole area
  7. How affordable and sustainable will the housing be?
  8. How does NRR/Bellway justify putting so many homes so close together?
  9. According to the leaflet, 48% of the land will be saved for wildlife. How does NRR/Bellway think any wildlife will be able to survive to take advantage of this rather dubious claim?

It is not too late for a rethink - we are looking forward to hearing that NRR and Bellway are really interested in working with the people of Radstock.

Amanda Leon
For Radstock Action Group


Press Release from Radstock Action Group

The winners of the Spot the Odd Object in the Window competition which was part of the Celebrate Radstock Weekend were:

  • First Prize: Josh Bolton - 20 voucher
  • Second Prize: Connor Yeates - 10 voucher
  • Third Prize: Gary Dowling - 5 voucher

Each winner will be able to spend their voucher in the shop of their choice - chosen from the group of participating traders.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Amanda Leon
For Radstock Action Group


PRESS RELEASE - 6 JULY 2008

EURO MP meets Radstock Action Group - Petition to European Parliament to follow

Radstock Action Group's Celebrate Radstock weekend went off well - a group of determined individuals even dodged the downpours to get to Kilmersdon and back along the cycle track, some on bikes and some on foot, on Sunday morning!

The Friday night meeting with Euro MP Glyn Ford got things off to a positive start - and gave us additional prompts for further actions. Members of the group were joined by councillors and local traders and had a lively discussion about the future prospects for the town.

Glyn Ford was an excellent listener and, as he'd had notice of some of the questions, he was well prepared with ideas, information and suggestions. It soon became clear that he agreed with the Group that the proposals for Radstock do not amount to a regeneration package in anything but name, but are, in reality, a property development operation. The plans for Radstock are not a regeneration scheme in a real sense.

As a result of the discussions, the group intends following Glyn Ford's suggestion that we table a petition to the European Parliament. This will be accompanied by a set of other activities to further expose the lack of consultation, the absence of benefits to the town, its residents and traders and the problematic situation that would arise if the road were to be built through the town centre. He pointed out that you can't just consult about the road (even if BANES' claim that it had consulted were true), since it would have a very considerable impact on the whole town.

Glyn Ford told the meeting that European financial support is available for regeneration, particularly in areas of poverty and high deprivation; although this avenue should have been explored a long time ago, the group will see whether there is anything that can be done at this late stage to engage with these possibilities.

The table sale, nature walk and other activities were also successful. Visitors to the table sale snapped up a range of homemade cakes, plants and tree saplings of many varieties and bric-a-brac of even more varieties.

On her guided nature walk, Deborah Porter identified species of plants, bats and insects living in the area and explained how they are dependent on food chains provided by the current local habitats, much of which would be broken if the plans go ahead. Her tour covered the river and nearby batches.

Radstock Action Group is now going to start planning for other events - we have learned a lot for future reference and hope to see more people getting involved as a result. The events got a warm reception from people in Radstock and Radstock Action Group would particularly like to thank the local traders who sponsored the events - their support made a big difference to the amounts raised - all of which will be used to continue working to make Radstock a great place to live, work and visit.

Amanda Leon for Radstock Action Group
8 Colliers Rise, Radstock BA3 3AU


DEBORAH PORTER EXPLAINS WHY THERE WILL NOT BE A JUDICIAL REVIEW OF THE RADSTOCK PLANNING DECISION

Deborah Porter is a leading Radstock campaigner who is active in the Cam Valley Wildlife Group, Friends of the Earth and Radstock Action Group. She has written the following Press Release to explain why, despite extensive, long-term research and work it has not been possible to move to a Judicial Review which would have enabled a challenge to the legitimacy of the decision making in relation to the 'regeneration' of Radstock.

This doesn't mean that she and others are giving up it means that other channels will continue to be explored. If you would like to ask Deborah about this matter then just click here.

Click here to download this Press Release. (39Kb pdf)


PRESS RELEASE - RADSTOCK'S RAILWAY HERITAGE NOW UNDER IMMEDIATE THREAT

On 4 June 2008, BANES granted final Planning Permission for 'the demolition of bridges, the underpass, former forge/wagon works, railway platforms and wall' in connection with the proposed 'redevelopment' of the railway land in the centre of Radstock. In other words, gave the go-ahead for the permanent and irreversible destruction of valuable parts of the town's industrial heritage and for potential damage to wild life sites on the railway land.

Members of Radstock Action Group who had submitted objections to this proposal were informed by BANES that the permission had been granted. Objectors received no notification why their objections were deemed inappropriate.

The group is urging anyone who feels strongly about this irresponsible threat to Radstock's historic railway heritage, to contact the Case Officer: Varian Tye (varian_tye@bathnes.gov.uk) at BANES to express their concerns. The case reference is: 06/03753/CA.

Radstock Action Group will be asking the Secretary of State to call in the decision. In particular, we are concerned that this whole process is being conducted out of the public eye.

If the demolition of all these structures goes ahead it will cause irreparable damage to buildings which are of very considerable historic worth and will further damage any chance of a future reinstatement of the railway links to Radstock - something that many residents have repeatedly expressed their support for.

There are also a range of environmental concerns. For example, all structures would have to be examined for bats before any works take place and a DEFRA licence issued if necessary. We have no indication that any of this work has been done.

Radstock Action Group will continue to campaign for the sustainable and sensitive regeneration of the town, in accordance with the expressed wishes of those who live and work there.

Amanda Leon
For Radstock Action Group
Colliers Rise, Radstock


PRESS RELEASE : CELEBRATE RADSTOCK WEEKEND 4-6 JULY 2008

Radstock Action Group is planning a Celebrate Radstock Weekend and wants as many local people and businesses as possible to join in events designed to emphasise why Radstock is a great place to live and work, and why it is worth campaigning to stop unwanted development and get serious regeneration underway. Regeneration which will bring economic benefits, affordable housing and an end to the new road proposals whilst preserving everything that makes Radstock unique and special.

The events will be launched, on the evening of Friday 4 July, with a meeting with Glyn Ford, MEP for the South West, who will be coming to discuss with Radstock Action Group and other organisations committed to a positive and sustainable future for the town, how the European Union might be able to help.

On the morning of Saturday 5 July, we'll be holding a table sale at Radstock Methodist Church Hall where you'll be able to buy goods, including plants, cakes, postcards, posters and books, in support of Radstock Action Group. There'll be plenty of information about the campaign so far and members of the public will be able to make their concerns known and make suggestions about further actions.

From then on, there'll be a wide range of activities in Radstock, including nature and history events and then, on Sunday 6 July, there'll be a sponsored bike ride, walk, wheelchair action and buggy push to raise funds, including for the costs of the legal action being taken to get a Judicial Review of the decision to build and develop the railway land.

Sponsorship forms and further details and publicity will be available very soon.

If you want to get involved, Radstock Action Group wants to hear from you. They'd also like to hear from you if you've got an activity that you'd like to organise over the Celebrate Radstock weekend.

You can contact us via our contact form or by phoning 01761 433070.

Issued by Amanda Leon on behalf of Radstock Action Group.


PRESS RELEASE

Radstock Action Group believe they have evidence that the land on which the War Memorial was originally built (opposite Victoria Hall) was owned by the people of Radstock, but they need to find out more about some of the people who were involved.

An article in the Somerset Guardian of Friday 21 February 1925, describes how work was to proceed at once on the War Memorial Scheme, the land having been given to the Radstock War Memorial Committee. But more information is needed and it may well be in family papers which have been handed down to family and friends since 1925.

Although no deeds or other paperwork detailing the hand over have yet been found, the article does list people who attended the meeting of the War Memorial Committee, as reported in the Somerset Guardian. They were Mr G.E.J.McMurtie, the Rev. A.N.Bax and Messrs W.S.Biggs, F Hearse, H.Coombs, E.Taylor, B.C.Maloney, C.Hearse, J.G.Gregory, J.G. Bryant, Rev, T.A.Agius, Capt. Hockey, Mr Lye (British legion), Mr.C.H.Perry and Captain A. Coles (architect). The article also names a Mr.H.Tovey (of Midsomer Norton), who had sent in a tender for the supply and erection of the cross. The article also explains that Mr.W.W.Mattick and Mr.A.R.Swanton had also each offered sites.

Radstock Action Group would like to hear from anyone who may have known or be related to any of the people mentioned above - does anyone have any old documents which might help shed further light on the exact events which led up to the donation of the land and the erection of the Memorial?

Please write to Radstock Action Group, 8 Colliers Rise, Radstock BA3 3AU or contact us via the Radstock Action Group website (click here for our contact form), or phone 01761 433070.

Amanda Leon
For Radstock Action Group


RADSTOCK ACTION GROUP LETTER TO THE LOCAL PRESS ON LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

Dear Editor,

Readers may remember that BANES (Bath and North East Somerset) Council has submitted a Statutory Declaration of Ownership of the original site of the War Memorial in Radstock to the Land Registry, despite there being absolutely no evidence so far that they own it.

At two consecutive meetings of Norton Radstock Town Council Planning and Environment Committee, Radstock Action Group argued and gained support for opposing BANES' move. In fact, at the meeting on 17 March it was agreed that the Land Registry would be notified of the committee's opposition.

When Radstock Action Group enquired of Cllr Rob Appleyard (Chair of Norton Radstock Town Council) if this had been done, he replied as follows:

"I understand the concerns re ownership but I do now feel that this issue is only being promoted by your group as a possible foil for the NRR redevelopment....even if ownership of the piece of land is deemed to be with NRTC I suspect the council will not use this in the way you may hope. It is also an action that would possibly be seen as insensitive given the history of the piece of land."

"I will always promote activity in any area that lays question to asset ownership of NRTC."
(Email, 28 March 2008)

Radstock Action Group opposes the take over of the War Memorial site by BANES because the only reason BANES wishes to take it over is that it stands in the way of the planned new two way road from Charlton corner to The Street. We would oppose the take over under any circumstances, since many, particularly older residents have told us how much the land means to them. We also collected 230 signatures on a petition opposing the BANES land grab.

Notwithstanding all this, at the full Town Council meeting on 31 March, the council voted 6:2 to take no action to oppose the BANES move to take possession of the site.

On the same day the NRR/Bellway plans to build over 200 houses and the new controversial road system in the centre of Radstock were ratified by BANES Planning Department.

At the next public meeting of Radstock Action Group, Rob Appleyard appeared and in answer to a question about what Norton Radstock Town Council was going to do to oppose the implementation of the road plans, he replied, "I don't think there's anything we can do or want to do".

Radstock Action Group is very concerned that Norton Radstock Town Council, which voted three times before 19 March 2007 to oppose the current NRR plans, appears to have abandoned this commitment.

There are numerous indicators including petitions, the parish poll and the results of the BANES elections, that the people of Radstock do not support the current NRR plans. It is the responsibility of the Town Council to support the policies which they have themselves agreed, and to take note of the wishes of the people that they represent, both at Town Council and BANES level.

It is a particular regret that there has been no proper consultation with local residents and businesses over the proposals to regenerate Radstock since 1998. Radstock Action Group will continue to work for real regeneration, including opposition to the new road scheme, support for affordable housing, promotion of local businesses for Radstock people, respect and protection of the natural environment and promotion of the historic worth of Radstock, including its centre which is recognised as the best preserved mining town centre in the country.

Amanda Leon
On behalf of Radstock Action Group


PRESS RELEASE - BANES Signs Off 106 Agreement and Reveals Total Disregard for Local People's Wishes

At the very last possible moment Bath and North East Somerset Council (BANES) has signed off the paperwork that gives the green light to developers/Norton Radstock Regeneration Company to go ahead with the controversial redevelopment of the centre of Radstock.

The plans remain largely unaltered and will lead to a new road carrying traffic from Frome Road through the centre of the town, 210 houses being built despite the Government Inspector saying there should be a maximum of 50, and the destruction of valuable and distinctive natural habitats. BANES acknowledges this last point but says that the social and economic benefits outweigh the ecological priorities.

Radstock Action Group cannot see any of the social and economic benefits which the council is claiming will result from this plan. BANES is aware of the threat posed to the conservation area but has chosen to set this aside in favour of mythical economic and social development.

There is nothing in the proposals which provides for real long-term, sustainable regeneration and progress for Radstock. Can Radstock really support this development? Far from expanding the existing shopping centre, it is more likely to compromise the viability of current businesses.

Residents and businesses have repeatedly expressed their opposition to the plans. The Parish Poll resulted in 85% of voters saying 'No to the Development'. The 2007 Council elections saw those supporting the developments lose their seats.

This is only outline Planning Permission and there will be several full Planning Applications relating to sections of this development in the future, giving further opportunities to objectors to have their say.

Radstock Action Group is meeting on Thursday 3 April at 7.45pm at the Methodist Church Hall in Radstock. Everyone is very welcome to come and find out more and discuss the next steps.

Amanda Leon
On behalf of Radstock Action Group


RAG challenge BANES on Radstock War Memorial

At the Thursday 27 March Bath and North East Somerset Council Meeting, Radstock Action Group will challenge BANES current attempt to seize possession of the land on which the Radstock War Memorial was originally sited. Click here to read RAG's full statement.


War Memorial Petition, Radstock

Petition at War Memorial, Radstock

This photo shows Radstock Action Group member Deborah Porter talking to a signatory to the petition against BANES, who are attempting to get ownership of the site of the War Memorial in Radstock. In the first hour, despite the wet weather, we collected over 100 signatures.


A Railway for Radstock

On Thursday 22 November supporters of Radstock Action Group mounted a demonstration in support of having a rail link for Radstock.

About 50 people took part in the meeting and procession which started at the Victoria Hall and was lit by a colourful mixture of torches, lanterns and candles.

Speakers told the gathering that a rail link would enhance Radstock's business and trade, would protect valuable wildlife and provide a viable, sustainable alternative to the current road proposals which would lead to the decline of Radstock and the destruction of both our natural and built heritage.

A lively march with placards marched through the centre of Radstock - to the surprise of onlookers who were greeted with the chant "Rails for Radstock'.

Participants and onlookers alike expressed their support for this event and for anything that can be done to ensure Radstock's future. This was a big YES for keeping open the rail-link option and a big NO for the new road proposals.