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Friends of Ashby Bath Grounds

 BULLENS FIELD OUTLINE PLANNING APPLICATION WITHDRAWN

The planning Application, 17/01445/OUTM, for 13 three bedroomed ‘single story buildings’ has now been withdrawn thanks to pressure from the Friends and other local community groups and residents. Bullen's field is a historically important green space and forms part of the ‘green corridor’ between Royal Hotel and Ashby Castle.


The photograph shows the Bath Grounds viewed from the Castle across Bullen's Field.

The Friends consider a development of this nature to be unsuitable in one of the most important heritage areas in our town. This green space contributes positively to the character and appearance of the unique ‘green corridor’ and vistas between the Bath Grounds and the Castle and the current ‘countryside in the town feel’.

This photograph shows the Castle viewed from the Bath Grounds across Bullen's Field.

The Friends submitted an objection to this planning application and urged our supporters to add their own objections as individuals. Some of our reasons for objecting are set out below.

  • The applicants have ignored that this site has been designated as LOCAL GREEN SPACE within the ASHBY NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN. The draft Neighbourhood Plan underwent three pre-submission public consultations, the first being in November 2015, and this site was included as Local Green Space in each draft with no objections being received and considerable public support for the policy.
  • The Neighbourhood Plan Local Green Spaces Supporting Evidence document, dated July 2017, affirms that this site:
•is “essential in maintaining the views of the castle from the Bath Grounds, as well as the views from the castle”,
•“enhances the view for tourist’s visiting the castle”,
•“forms part of the green corridor from Station Road to the castle” and
•“is important to the character and setting of the local area”,

  • Policy NE1 of the Neighbourhood Plan states that, on Local Green Space, “new development is ruled out other than in very special circumstances" and "the construction of new buildings on Local Green Spaces is inappropriate.” The applicants provide no evidence of “very special circumstances” for this development.
  • The applicants ignore the fact that the site covers a large portion of the infilled remains of Ashby castle’s ancient medieval fishponds and gardens, shown as “Moats” in the 1735 estate map. These are believed to "form part of the designed landscape of the castle and its park, and therefore form part of the setting of the Scheduled Monument of Ashby Castle”.
  • The applicants do not state the height of the buildings. The buildings are described as “single storey”. However, the drawings supplied indicate their height to be approximately 7m, unusually high for bungalows. This is more than enough to interfere significantly with the views of the castle from the Bath Grounds (see photo above).
  • No affordable housing is offered on the site, contrary to the policies of the Local and Neighbourhood Plans.
  • Whilst targeting the development at elderly residents wishing to downsize, the developer does not make any commitments to limit sale of these properties, in the first place or in later transfers, to a specific age group.
  • The Environment Agency Flood Risk classification for this site indicates that the majority of the site lies in Flood Zones 2 and 3 (medium and high risk) and would fail the sequential tests included in the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) and the District Council's own Strategic Flood Risk Assessment. According to these policies, the application should be refused as there are reasonably available sites located within flood zone 1 to cater for such limited numbers (land for 2050 dwellings allocated to Money Hill in the Local Plan). 

The applicants ignore the fact that the site covers a large portion of the infilled remains of Ashby castle’s ancient medieval fishponds and gardens, shown as “Moats” in the 1735 estate map. These are believed to "form part of the designed landscape of the castle and its park, and therefore form part of the setting of the Scheduled Monument of Ashby Castle”.

The applicants do not state the height of the buildings. The buildings are described as “single storey”. However, the drawings supplied indicate their height to be approximately 7m, unusually high for bungalows. This is more than enough to interfere significantly with the views of the castle from the Bath Grounds (see photo above).

No affordable housing is offered on the site, contrary to the policies of the Local and Neighbourhood Plans.

Whilst targeting the development at elderly residents wishing to downsize, the developer does not make any commitments to limit sale of these properties, in the first place or in later transfers, to a specific age group.

The Environment Agency Flood Risk classification for this site indicates that the majority of the site lies in Flood Zones 2 and 3 (medium and high risk) and would fail the sequential tests included in the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) and the District Council's own Strategic Flood Risk Assessment. According to these policies, the application should be refused as there are reasonably available sites located within flood zone 1 to cater for such limited numbers (land for 2050 dwellings allocated to Money Hill in the Local Plan). 

Click to download photo of view from Bath Grounds

Click to download photo of view from Castle

Click download Heritage Board showing location of fishponds

No Public Consultation

The friends attended a Town Council meeting on the 10 July 2017 where the applicant was to explain the proposals for the site. It transpired that this was a private meeting with certain members of the Town Council, which was closed to the public. Indeed, members of the public were turned away from the meeting. Therefore, it is our view, that there has been insufficient community consultation on this development.