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New Barns Estate - Brave New World on the Hill

Thursday 28 July 2011, 16:12
By John Baxter

At the hastily called public consultation on Monday afternoon, 11th July, I was able to take shots of the latest maps (still provisional) and listen to the discussion. Later I returned for the Town Council meeting where I heard town councillors and concerned residents express their misgivings about the proposed plan.

Basically the problem centred on the distribution of the affordable housing. Should they be grouped together at the base of the site, or placed in small clusters around it? The opinion of Wincanton residents and the Town Council was that they should be grouped together. The District Council planning officer, Adrian Noon thinks differently and put the affordable houses in clusters on the latest map.

The Town Council can pass motions and advise, but it cannot decide on planning issues. It can and did pass a motion however. This motion accepts the whole plan except for the clusters arguing that all the affordable housing should be kept together at the bottom of the site. This recommendation will be taken forward by our District Councillors, Colin Winder and Nick Colbert.

I found it very hard to visualise what is really happening just from looking at the prettily drawn plans. Also the New Barns estate is in a part of the town I had not visited since the Health Centre building was started so I drove over this morning to see what is happening for myself. I was amazed.

As the photos show, many of the homes are already built or nearing completion and quite a few are already occupied - which cannot be that much fun as the earthmovers roar past and an army of white helmeted builders go about their work. Still, I thought it all looked quite attractive and cleverly laid out with parking and open spaces, despite being pretty high density as now has to be expected.

The challenge that I feel now faces us is to think about how these new residents and their families could be helped to begin to feel part of the town. Part of a friendly, local community. This gives groups, societies, churches, clubs and individuals an opportunity to be welcoming and friendly, to discover newcomers with interest and enthusiasms who have things to contribute.

Any ideas or suggestions?

Aerial view of New Barns site before development began
An aerial shot of the entire area, long before development began

Complete plan view of the New Barns development
Complete plan view of the New Barns development

Social housing area
The area outlined is the area originally favoured for affordable housing.
The Town Council has voted preferring that the social housing should be kept to this area.
The District planning officer would prefer they were spread around.

Large houses with gardens
This part of the estate is for larger houses with their gardens. No social housing here.

The top of the estate, joining with West Hill
This shows the top of the estate which, when complete, will have a road lining up with West Hill at the top.
Notice they are close to the old farm building where evidence of Roman remains have been found.
As building proceeds care will be taken to deal with any finds appropriately. So far not much has been found.

6 types of house, 212 houses total
This shows how the estate is made up of 212 two, three and four bedroom properties.

Proposed school site, near estate entrance
This simply shows the road coming up from the roundabout which goes
past Rochfords and the new Health Centre and turns into the estate.

The new health centre under construction
The new Health Centre under construction



Roger Red Hat's house

Parking and garage areas


Brick terrace

Mixed terrace

Looking up to West Hill

Space for a new Primary School?

Looking down from near West Hill

A new road snakes up to join West Hill


Victor Meldrew
Posts: 1
New Barns
Reply #1 on : Fri July 29, 2011, 16:25:46
I see that there are differing ideas as to how the affordable/social housing should be placed in the new development. I have no problem with any of them, but surely it is better,as the Planning Officer wants, to sread them around the whole site, rather than place them in one specific area. I suppose the argument is that those who have purchased their dwellings do not wish to have `council tenents next door. Well that works both ways. I know of no problem with the residents, both private and housing association in Rickhayes and Penn View.Placing the social housing in one place may just turn the area into a ghetto-like place. Perhaps those opposed to the disbursment around the development should look at their reasons for wanting it in one place. Snobbery?
Posts: 1
New Barns
Reply #2 on : Mon August 08, 2011, 20:51:18
Please do bear in mind that the new site is not a small site like Rickhayes and Pennview. The new site is 200 plus homes in total. Also the majority of the housing authority homes will not go to local people in need but those who have more points ie the more children the more points granted. The way social housing is allocated these days is very different to the past I believe, for example it is no longer given to those looking to start a family.

I don't believe it is snobbery, but the Government at fault, why should each new housing development have to build so many housing association houses on it!!

Come on who wants to pay say 200k for a new home, work really hard to pay the mortgage and really want to start a family but be worrying about cashflow and for example (but not in all circumstances) know the next door neighbour has 6 children and only one of the parents works. Oh and I believe next door also get solar heating!!

I can't be alone in my view take a look at both the other development in Wincanton and the new Bruton development not exactly sell outs!

Oh well much more important things in life to worry about.
Nick Colbert
Posts: 1
New Barns
Reply #3 on : Thu August 11, 2011, 11:39:20
South Somerset District Council often put in their litrature "Local homes for local people," they don't mean it! Colin Winder was told at a town council meeting that 25% of the social housing at New Barns would be for local people.
This was left out of the 106 agreement and now we are told was never the case.

I suggested the remaining 25 to be built should be built for people with a local connection. I was told by the council leader that it would not be enforcable. The 25 further social houses at New Barns should not proceed as social housing in that area, in my opinion, unless we can phase them to satify local demand.

It appears South Somerset District Council wish's to force the full quota of social housing on us so they can house their surplus from Yeovil and other surrounding large towns, rather than cater for local need.

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