Burleyfields - A Missed Opportunity

These Pages (Borough Plan and Burleyfields) follow the story of the plans for the development of the area south of 'Doxey Road'; from the Borough Plan unveiled in 2011 to the passing of Bellway's plans in 2015.

The land has been allocated for housing in previous local plans. Both San-Gobain (then Universal Grinding Wheel) and Lord Stafford submitted plans for the area in the 1990s but these were eventually withdrawn.

The 2011 'Plan for Stafford Borough' offered possibilities for Doxey and these were generally renewed when Bellway and TaylorWimpey produced their outline plans in July 2013.

But Bellway's decision (Dec 2013) to independently develop the relatively small northern area (originally owned by Universal) resulted in the Borough Council rejecting its own good intentions and ignoring virtually all of Doxey's reservations.

The Bellway development - Mallard Walk is now (Mar 2017) well underway and Doxey residents will have to hope that the results will not be as bad as they feared. We welcome to Doxey the new occupants who are already taking up residence.

nb. The items on these pages are generally presented as they were originally published. The layout may have changed but the content hasn't [apart from deleting references to 'long departed' web pages]. They may not provide a complete (or unbiased !) point of view.

Time Line 2011 - 2015

Joint Presentation  (July 2013)

July - 2013 - Plans for the development of the area between Doxey and the Castle

On 16th July 2013  Developers Taylor-Wimpey and Bellway unveiled their 'Concept Plan' for the land between Doxey and Stafford Castle. At a public exhibition at the Church Hall more than 200 local residents examined maps and talked to representatives of the companies and local planning staff.

The plans, which are linked to the Stafford local plan which is due to be adopted early next year, cover the area between Doxey, Castlefields, Castle Golf course, the Castle and the M6 and includes the rest of the Saint-Gobain(ex Universal) works as well as the Stafford Rugby Club site.

Road access will be via Martin Drive and a new 'secondary' road which will join Doxey between Bradbury Rise and the School. Later it should link to the new Western Access route linking Martin Drive with Doxey Road and Foregate St

Background

Two years ago Stafford Borough Council published their draft plan for the area between Doxey,Stafford Castle and the M6. It proposed that 2,200 houses should be built in this area together with shops, school(s) and recreation areas. (see Map 1)

The council consultated all the local bodies including Doxey Parish Council. Details of the plan, so far as it affects Doxey, and the consultation are on the Doxey website (http://www.doxeyca.org.uk/dm_plans.shtml).

The final plan is due to be adopted in 2014, see Borough website (http://www.staffordbc.gov.uk/lp)

The New 'Concept' Plan

Now, after much behind the scenes talking, two major house building companies, Taylor-Wimpey and Bellway have come up with their joint interpretation of that plan (See Map 2), described as a 'Concept Plan', which was shown to the public at Doxey Church Hall (St Thomas & St Andrew) on Tuesday 16th July.

Comparison with Draft Local Plan

It generally follows the 2011 plan with housing in most of the space between Doxey and the extended Stafford Castle Golf Course.The area of the Saint-Gobain (ex Universal) works would be used for mixed development(shops, offices with flats above). The space to the north of Doxey Road (now the Saint-Gobain carpark and Chevron Car Centre) would allacated to 'employment' (workshops, warehousing and light industry). In one change the area of the rugby pitches are now allocated to housing rather than 'employment'. This is in spite of the widespead feeling that they should remain for recreation.

Features of the Plan

There is a large recreation area north of the Greenway which includes the current Doxey football pitch. South of the Greenway is a central services area with a school, shops, play area and other facilities (surgery etc). These are situated on an 'avenue' leading up towards Stafford Castle through the golf course. Near the M6 there would be a small wooded area with open space leading to allotments.

Access

Access would primarily be via Castlefields with an extension of Martin Drive running parallel to the Greenway and then servicing the various housing areas.  A 'secondary' road would exit in Doxey between Bradbury Rise and Doxey Primary School.  Without a direct access to the roads and villages west of Stafford, this is probably the most contentious aspect of the whole plan.

Note. The plan envisages that the 'Western Access' road will be built from Martin Drive to Doxey Rd in Castletown (via an extention of the existing bridge over the railway).  Eventually this will join Foregate St. near Halfords.  However we understand that this road will not be constructed until 400 new houses have been built.

Website showing details, Commenting on the Concept Plan

The plans are [were] outlined on a dedicated website [www.weststaffordconsultation.co.uk now gone] - which gives details of how individuals and organisations can make their views known.

Timetable

The projected outline timetable is :

Aug 13th 2013 Deadline to submit feedback
Summer 2013 plan reviewed, changes to 'concept plan'
Autumn 2013 revised (?) plan submitted to Borough Council
Spring 2014 Local Plan adopted
Late 2014 Outline Planning permission sought
Spring 2016 First new house completed

Developer's area of control

It seems likely that if the plan is approved that Bellway would build on the area north of the Greenway (on land currently owned by Saint-Gobain) and Taylor-Wimpey south (land owned by Lord Stafford.

The initial 400 houses would probably in the area just south of The Drive (Bellway) and south of the Greenway, adjoining the open space north of Castlefields (Taylor-Wimpey).

Areas affected by the plan
1. The Plan for Western Stafford - 2011

(click on map for larger version)

The beige coloured areas are allocated to 'Housing' including services and associated open space.

The blue areas are for 'Employment' (offices, warehouse workshops etc)

The dark red roads are part the proposed new Western Access Route on which the Development plans seem to depend. The lighter red roads are the links to existing roads. (nb. the line of the roads within the new development have not been decided)

Note - This map is NOT OFFICIAL - it is only our understanding of the areas affected and possible road lines.

Concept Plan
2. Concept Plan - Taylor-Wimpey & Bellway - 2013

(click on map for larger, clearer version or to download)

Thanks to Chris Fidler of Webb Associates for supplying large scale plan

The pale green area at the bottom is the extended Stafford Castle Golf course (now under construction) surrounding the Castle.

The main railway line is at the top right.

Doxey is at the top (current housing - grey)

The area (top-left) marked 'future phase' (Aston Bank Farm, Brookhouse Farm) is not under the control of T-W & B and therefore is not being used to provide a practical exit to the north-west of the development

Bellway's Plans (Nov 2013)

Nov-2013 Bellway's Plan for Doxey

(Updated - December 2014)

Bellway_plans
3. Plan as published by Bellway - November 2013
local plan of area
4. Concept plan published by Taylor-Wimpey & Bellway - July 2013

Shaded  area is that covered by new (Nov-2013) plan.

to get a full copy of this map see below)

Bellway goes it alone [posted Dec 2013]

In July we reported that developers Taylor-Wimpey and Bellway had unveiled their plans for the land between Doxey and Stafford Castle. The plans, linked to the Stafford Local Plan, provided a comprehensive view of the future of the area with schools, shops, and recreation areas serving 2200 houses. Road access would be via Martin Drive and a new secondary road joining Doxey between Bradbury Rise and the School. Then Martin Drive would be then linked to Doxey Road and Foregate St by the new Western Access route.

Now less than 6 months later we are presented with a unilateral proposal by Bellway to fill in the area adjoining Doxey (Road) with 170 houses, 2 exits onto the main road, no playing space, no amenities and no conceivable purpose apart from making money for Bellway (and Saint-Gobain?). This is put forward by Bellway with no reference to the development of the rest of the 'Burleyfields' area.

If the current plans went ahead Doxey would remain separated from the rest of Stafford with no possible alternative access to Stafford.

The Parish Council are hoping to discuss the proposals with the Borough Council and then call a public meeting to decide on future action.

nb. views expressed are those of the webmaster
Bellways More of the same  (May-Sept 2014)

May/Sept-2014 - Bellway's More of the Same !

Site layout May-2014
7. Bellways revised plan - May 2014 (Compare with previous plans)
The plans, again basically unchanged**, are up for a decision on 17th Sept. Only this time the planning department is recommending approval. They accept that the approval goes against their own Local Plan (see below).

** the only significant change seems to be the addition of transport links to the southern part of Burleyfields

Last November Bellway unveiled their plans for the area south of Doxey. They were fundamentally different from the those published, jointly with Taylor Wimpey, six months earlier. There was a half-hearted attempt to consult with an exhibition, arranged at very short notice, in the Church. The general feeling seemed to be that the plans were unsatisfactory in that they ignored the previous joint plan and Stafford Borough's plan for Stafford which is just about to be finally adopted.

It was hoped that the reaction would cause Bellway to rethink their plans to make them acceptable to local residents and the Borough Council.

No such luck !

Bellway have now resubmitted the plans with only minor changes.

Points for  consideration when making comments

Submissions 

Submissions to Stafford Borough Council regarding Bellway's Plans (click to read)

- Doxey Parish Council - 13th June 2014
This describes the history of the project and describes objections
- Doxey Parish Council - Sept 2014
Repeats objections and discusses traffic
- Doxey Resident (webmaster) - Sept 2014
Concerned with how the application has been handled and the 'sabotage' of the local plan
+

Plans submitted May/November 2014

Plans May 2014
5. Plans submitted May-2014

Differences from November 2013

new Master Plan
6. Master Plan -November 2014

Differences from July 2013

The above maps [updated Dec 2014] show the area covered by the Bellway plan. As can be seen it fills in the only remaining open ground south of the Doxey and the only vehicular access to the area covered by the July-2013 plan,

Features New Bellway plan Nov-2013 Joint Plan - July 2013
Connections to 'Burleyfields' (and to Martin Drive) Footpath - no access to Martin Drive 2 roads plus footpath
Access to Doxey Road Two roads  (both with housing) single access (no houses)
Footpaths - Public Runs beside and over roads Wooded walkway
Play areas None Incorporated
Other Amenities
None Incorporated

The main benefits of the joint (July '13) plan are that it is a comprehensive plan for the area which includes :

The new Bellway (Dec '13) plan includes none of these or assumes that they will be provided at a later stage and/or by someone else.

(29th Nov more details including Parish Council's response when available )

Bellway's plans Put off (17th Sept)
[Sept 17th]

Bellway Plans - (put off) Decision Day !- WEDNESDAY (17th) - A partial victory ?

After a busy few days contacting Doxey residents,  a meeting was held on Monday attended by about 100 people. The issues were explained and a petition signed. The meeting was attended by Parish Councillors, our Borough Councillor and our M.P.  The Borough Council was informed (again!) about Doxey's concerns and by Wednesday evening the Planning Committee chairman had decided that a decision should not be made without a site visit. This will be scheduled sometime in the next few weeks which gives us time to re-iterate our arguments and get some press publicity. (see the Newsletter) Over 20 Doxey residents attended the Committee meeting and heard the Chairman's decision.

Area Affected (south of main road)
Image used in Publicity leaflet
Doxey Says to Stafford Borough Council - Stand By Your PLan
Banner used to lobby Planning Committee

If Bellway's Plans go ahead it will prevent the proper development of the area and will reduce the facilities available for Doxey

But the planners say it doesn't matter !

[Oct 1st]

The planning committee is expected to re-convene towards the end of October - More news when we have it.

A_Master_Plan_but_no_Consultation (Dec 1st)

A Master Plan but no Consultation (and it doen't seem to apply to Bellway 14/20425/FUL)

In September the Stafford Borough Planning Committe decided that a decision on the Bellway Housing  Apllication should not be made without a site visit.  This followed a meeting attended by over 100 residents, Councillors and our MP,  protesting against the failure of the developers to produce a 'Master Plan' for 'Burleyfields' (the area between Doxey, Castletown, Castlefields, the Castle and the M6) as required by Policy Stafford 3  of the Plan for Stafford Borough(otherwise 'The Local Plan'

A petition with over 650 signatures, demanding that the Borough stuck by their Local Plan was later presented to Borough Council.

Some weeks later we heard rumours, later confirmed, that Bellway and TaylorWimpey were, after all, going to produce a 'Master Plan' for the Burleyfields area as laid down in the Local Plan. A partial victory for local democracy.

Then on Wednesday 26th November it was announced that the unchanged planning application would again come up to the Planning Committee on Wednesday 3rd December, again with the planning officer's approval. Only this time the decision would be be preceded with consideration of new Master Plan.

There are no plans for any Consultation on this Master Plan even though it will determine the next 20 year's development of the 'Burleyfields' area.

The Local Plan says "The Master Plan for the whole site should be produced .. and agreed by the Council prior to applications being submitted>". This Master Plan is being produced  6 months after the application was submitted.

The New Master Plan

The Master Plan submitted by the developers (Bellway & Taylor Wimpey) and landowners (Lord Stafford's Estate and Saint Gobain) is based on that presented to the public in July 2013 which was then rejected by Bellway in their 'consultation' in November 2013 and the planning application of May 2014.

The Plan seems to be a reasonable approach to development of the area (assuming that any development of the area is reasonable) but suffers from some defects

[Dec 3rd]
A Victory (of sorts!)  (3rd Dec 2014)

Another Victory for common sense (& Doxey)

The Planning Committee told Bellway that their Master Plan had to go through consultation procedures before it could be accepted. Comments (objections?) had to be listed and addressed.

The Planning application (14/20425/FUL) would  not be decided until this consultation had taken place.

Consultation  (25th Jan 2015)
[Jan 25th]

Consultation at Last

TaylorWimpey and Bellway organised an exhibition at Doxey Church Hall on Monday 19th January which was attended by around 300 people. The Master Plan was on show and representatives of Bellway, TaylorWimpey and the local councils were in attendance. As indicated below the master plan appeared to rubberstamp the existing Bellway application.

On Friday 23rd January a Doxey Parish meeting chaired by David Hughes (the new Chairman of the Parish Council), was held to discuss the Master Plan. The various issues were discussed and Mark Winnington (County Councillor) talked about the implications of the new Western Access Road which would eventually serve the area.

The meeting passed a resolution [to follow] saying that the Master Plan was welcome but the Bellway area must conform to the master plan as laid down by Stafford Boroughs Local Plan.

It was important that residents comments were submitted as these, and the developerss response,  would be taken into account by the Planning Authority.

[webmaster's view] In my opinion the plans might be acceptable if they didn't try to exclude the Bellway development area from the proposals for the rest of the area. These include large areas of open space and wide footpaths, linking to the Greenway and the Castle, suitable for family walks (including the dog). The Bellway area, which includes NO recreational area, is marked as if the plans were already approved. The purpose of a Master Plan is to provide a framework for forthcoming developments, not to rubberstamp plans aready proposed."

Parish Meeting - Consultation  (25th Jan 2015)

Parish Meeting - 23rd January 2015

On Monday 19th January around 300 people attended an exhibition was held where the developers displayed their 'Master Plan'. Many questions were asked regarding the plan and why the area of the Bellway development was not subject to the same constraints as the rest of the area.

The same questions were asked at a Parish Meeting held on Friday 23rd when a resolution was passed 

  1. To thank Taylor Wimpey and Bellway for putting on the consultation event on Monday January 19th 2015.
  2. To raise the issues with the main access especially in relation to the proximity to Doxey School.
  3. To put forward the concerns about Bellway who appear to be exempting their site in Doxey from the consultation of the overall masterplan.
  4. To highlight the importance of retaining the footpath which runs from St Thomas and St Andrew Church providing access to Stafford Castle. This needs to be retained as a "green corridor" as shown in previous plans provided.
  5. To raise concerns that community facilities will not be available until the first 1000 houses have been built.
  6. To raise concerns that a specific provision for a Doctors surgery has not been included.
  7. To request that construction traffic is closely monitored to reduce impact to residents.
  8. To put forward community concerns that the Bellway Development does not include adequate green space for the size of development.
  9. To note that all elected representatives, Parish/Borough/County Councillors and local MP, should monitor closely the implementation of the Masterplan

It is important that individual comments are made and should be sent to the developers or via their website

(for a 14 page .pdf giving background and some views of the proposals here)

Decision Day (11th March 2015)

Decision Day - 18th March 2015

On Wednesday 18th March at 6:30pm the Stafford Borough Planning Committee will discuss firstly the 'revised' Master Plan produced by Bellway/TaylorWimpey and then the re-submitted Bellway plan for 170 houses south of Doxey.

The result of the much vaunted "consultation" is that TaylorWimpey will leave a little more space around Castlefields and will put more effort into preserving the footpath by the Golf Course up to the Castle.  As expected Bellway will put no more effort into preserving the footpath from Doxey Church to the Greenway or to take into consideration the views of residents of Doxey.

The road layout near the school and the rural footpath running down estate pavements are still Doxey's main concerns.

The revised Master Plan is part of the agenda for Wednesdays Planning Committee Meeting (18th March) and can be found here.

It is hoped that the members of the committee will be consistent and refuse to approve a planning application that does not conform to their own Local Plan.

Let down by planning committee (25th March 2015)

Burleyfields - Doxey Let Down by Planning Committee

When the Bellway planning Application was considered by the Stafford Borough Planning Committee last Wednesday (18th March) consistency and democracy were rejected and the developers were appeased.

Although Doxey's case had very been very ably argued by two of their own supporters, the controlling group won the day on the chairman's casting vote after the committee had split 4-4 on party lines. The 170 houses  will go ahead with virtually no recreation facilities, potentially dangerous road junctions and the obliteration of the one green footpath link from Doxey to Greenway and the Castle.

The vote was restricted to those committee members who had attended the earlier site visit.

The whole of the "consultation" procedure that Doxey fought so hard for, has proved to be a farce with the Committee and the developer ignoring petitions, meetings, and pleas by residents, the parish council, our Borough Councillor and our MP (see letter below to Councillor  Isabella Davies)

All developers will now see Stafford Borough as an easy touch, or as Parish Councillor Neil Thomas put it "... the message will go out to all developers that they can easily get round the need for a masterplan by submitting a planning application before one has been drawn up. Your planning officers then will not have the backbone to stand up to them."

Letter from Jeremy Lefroy
Letter from Jeremy Lefroy M.P. to Councillor Davies
Amended : 18-04-17 TOP