Stratford Town Trust have released a survey to its members asking for their views on what to do with 7 Benson Road and the land behind, following the refusal of planning permission in June. But Rowley Fields Forever believes this survey to be unbalanced. One of the options given is to appeal the planning application, but there is no information on the costs of doing this and the likelihood of success. The Trust must have been advised on these key issues given it is now four months since the refusal of planning permission coupled with the fact that the Trust have only 2 weeks between the December meeting referred to in the survey and the deadline for submitting the appeal. Secondly, whilst being pleased that the Trust now agrees to the designation of all of Rowley Fields as open green space, the survey fails to say that this significantly reduces the likelihood of ever gaining planning permission. We have written to the Trust to ask them to clarify these, and other issues we have raised, to ensure members base their decisions on balanced, unbiased information. All of Rowley Fields, including the portion at the rear of Benson Road, was meant for community use, and we urge the Trust to now protect this land for the longer term.
Please help us by using your vote.
Planning permission was last night refused for development at the rear of Benson Road. This was despite an officer’s recommendation to the contrary. The councillors on the Planning Committee placed weight on the core strategy which looks likely to be approved on Monday.
A great result and thanks everybody for their support. We wait to hear what the Town Trust have to say about it all!
Please help us to fight the planning application submitted by Stratford Town Trust for development at the rear of Avenue Road and Benson Road in March 2016. The application is for the demolition of 7 Benson Road and the erection of 5 detached dwellings. We all know that this land is part of Rowley Fields and that development of this land could open the way for the rest of Rowley Fields to be developed.
This is the supposedly responsible Town Trust trying to sneakily gain planning permission in the knowledge that the application is contrary to the 5 year housing supply and the draft neighbourhood plan and that the core strategy is about to be finalised.
The deadline for objections has passed, but this site will be updated with what happens next. You can also track the progress of this application by going here This link takes you straight to the planning application. Go to associated documents -comments section to see the objections that have been made.
Thanks to everybody for their continued support.
Surely those of us who attended the AGM were dreaming, because there is no way a responsible, well managed, listening organisation could possibly have acted at the AGM in the way that it did. The Chair lost control of the meeting. The Chief Executive ranted and raved. The members who attended were treated like children.The Trustees simply did not listen. The members were told that the Rowley Fields issue was really down to a few people who don’t want houses built near them. But it is much much more than that. Rowley Fields just demonstrates everything that is bad with the governance of the Trust. It could have been a completely separate topic, but the problems would have been the same. Because the heart of this issue is the way the Trust is run and managed and until something is done about that nothing is going to change.
Look here for a great summary of what went on at the AGM.
Join the Facebook site The Welcombe Hills if you have not already done so.
And just to let you know that the deadline for submission of comments on the neighbourhood plan referred to in our last post has been extended to 27 July.
Please continue to look at our site for further updates.
Thanks for your support
Despite all its promises Stratford Town Trust has confirmed in writing that it will be objecting to the proposed designation of Rowley Fields as designated green space in the draft neighbourhood plan produced by Stratford Town Council. Such a designation would protect Rowley Fields from inappropriate development.
This is the very land that the Town Trust publicly said in February 2015 ” we have decided to stop our plans for a housing development on this land”.
Yet only last week it said ” The Trustees have a legal obligation to protect the land at Benson Road and Rowley Fields for the future of the charity and we do not support the designation of the land as Open Green Space and we shall be lodging an objection, we are duty bound to do so”.
RFF understands that it will also be objecting to the land at the rear of Benson Road being classified as Rowley Fields in the first place, which is clearly incorrect given that the Trust themselves have sought to register this land with the Land Registry as Rowley Fields.
This u turn is wholly unacceptable.
So what can you do?
- Provide feedback to the Town Council by 3 July giving your support to the inclusion of Rowley Fields as designated green space. The policy is CLW 4 included in Section 11 of the draft on pages 102/103. Follow the link here
- Attend the Trust AGM tonight 1 July if you are a member and make maximum use of your vote.
- Speak to your local councillor and write to the Herald to voice your concerns.
As we know, the Trust has agreed to withdraw only one ‘site’ ie the 7.8 acres from their plans for development of part of Rowley Fields and has stated that they intend to continue with the 1.48 acres Benson Road parcel.
This is not only wrong but completely contradicts their promises. The Trust put both sites up for inclusion in the Sites Allocation in the first place without any warning or prior consultation, and only decided to allow consultation and an EGM when it realised the strength of public feeling. It then eventually caved in to pressure, called an EGM and announced it would hold two consultation events including both parcels of land ie, the 7.8 acres at the top of Maidenhead and the 1.48 acres behind Benson Road. The Chair Alan Haigh himself agreed that they would be bound by the result of the EGM vote on both sites. Probably realising that they would lose the vote, the Trust decided to cancel the EGM, announced that they would withdraw the 7.8 acres but continue with the development of the 1.48 acres behind Benson Rd, citing reasons of ‘sub-judice’ as they were involved in a High Court action, an action brought by themselves. The court case in no way prevents them from withdrawing the site if they wished.
The Trust’s actions over the 1.48 acres have been:
- Fencing it off illegally to prevent the public from using it – then saying it was going to be used purely for cattle which mysteriously never appeared.
- Speculating £600k plus on 7 Benson then leaving it empty for 2.5 years as an eyesore to deteriorate without income.
- Not consulting at any stage until being forced into the recent public ‘consultations’ on RF where it was first included – but then suddenly withdrawn by STT – supposedly because of ‘sub-judice’ reasons just to give them a fallback if they lost the vote.
- Refusing the traditional Land Registry route for settling registration disputes and instead attempting to intimidate the objectors into withdrawing by Instigating a hugely costly and distressing High Court action against objectors and in the process further risking Trust money potentially running into hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Rowley Fields comprises 21.2 acres not JUST 7.8 acres and it should be dealt with as a whole.
The Trust are holding a meeting this week when we believe they will decide formally to withdraw the 7.8 acres. However, this decision will not include the 1.48 acres unless we can put enough pressure on each trustee to reconsider.
Please help as follows:
- Anyone who is a Trust member write to the Chair Alan Haigh requesting in the strongest possible terms that the Trustees reconsider and withdraw both sites, as they had originally agreed, asking him to copy each of the other Trustees.
- Write a letter to the Herald to bring readers attention to this matter and how the Trust has acted. Letters can be submitted on line. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Thanks for your help.
Rowley Fields Forever would like to offer a sincere THANK YOU to the 350 plus people who signed letters of objection to the development of Rowley Fields. Obviously, our outrage was felt and understood by Stratford Town Trust.
We will now work towards securing the remaining 1.48 acres of Rowley Fields that the Trust says it still plans to develop. We will continue our fight until ALL of Rowley Fields is permanently secured for recreational use.
Please become a member of Stratford Town Trust so that you can attend the meetings and ensure that the Trust never again makes decisions that are contrary to its objectives and the will of its members. We hope you will join us in ensuring the trustees are held accountable for their role in this whole affair which undoubtedly includes huge publicity and legal costs, money which would have been better used on grants.
Please contact us through this website or through firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to continue to help us.
Again, many thanks!
Rowley Fields Forever