Naseby Square demolition

You will recall that just over a year ago we were appalled to hear that Waterloo Housing Group were planning to apply to HDC for permission to demolish a large number of the ‘Social Housing’ bungalows in the Naseby Square complex. (Previously under the care of 7 Locks Housing) CTH helped highlight this via a letter in the Harborough Mail and asking Churches to support a petition which would be submitted to HDC when the planning application was submitted. After many meetings we are now coming to the point where we again require action to be taken by individuals to register their reactions to the loss of Social Housing provision and their community’s Community Hall where so many activities were run for the benefit of both the residents in the Naseby Square complex and local residents in the wider community.

We found that the proposals were initiated by HDC! They came to an arrangement with Waterloo Housing Group for the destruction of bungalows and flats, the 7 Locks Office and the Community Hall to give access to adjacent land where they wished to develop well over 30 houses for sale and rent. However, they are not replacing those properties being demolished.

The local population demographic shows a clearly growing population among the post-retirement age group so it stands to reason that the loss of appropriate single storey properties will be a major loss. Not every retired and elderly person can afford the escalating costs of apartments with service charges. We need to increase provision in this sector not lose it.

We would thus implore as many of you as possible to write or email the HDC Planning Department on behalf of those who are losing their homes. Those supposedly not affected are also feeling extremely anxious about the future turmoil and stresses that they will face as the demolitions, site clearances, and then the new builds are put into action.

Further below is more information dealing with an outline of headings that the Planning Department will confine it’s judgements to when making their decision. A general letter unfortunately carries very little weight. I would therefore encourage as many of you as possible to read the below and try to ensure that you mention problems arising under those headings. One heading does cover feelings and reactions to the proposals – so feel free at that point. Like me, you may err slightly and add a resultant ‘feeling’!

The planning application reference has been confirmed as: 19/01069/FUL. Responses, with the reference number at the top, should be sent to the council planning committee to arrive before 30th July. (Contact details below).

God bless,
Dave Tomlin, Rev’d
pp Tenants’ support group

PS Those of you who kindly responded by signing the Petition Forms a year ago may wish to know that Petitions are treated as of far less account than individual letters/emails of objection. We would therefore ask you as a matter of great urgency to find time to contact the Planning Dept. creating such a volume of objections that they will have to take them into account.

Residents have been told that the right to speak is limited to just one at the Planning Meeting. This does seem odd as it looks as though 3 may speak for 3 minutes both FOR and AGAINST the proposals. We have a tenant able to make their presentation in a forceful and hopefully effective way. Fortunately we also have 2 Ward Councillors on board who are supportive of our objections, but they’re not members of the controlling Party or on the Planning Committee! So please do pray for them and the Committee.

Letters/Emails of Objection to the Proposal for the Redevelopment of Naseby Square and adjacent land

The Planning Committee will only accept people’s comments based on these points, so please adhere to them.

Noise

Residents are exceedingly anxious about the noise that will be created as heavy lorries and equipment demolish the units that are only a matter of yards from their front doors. Being hard of hearing will not cut out the vibrations that disturbing the ground will transmit into their homes. Bulldozing buildings and excavating foundations for the road to other parts of the site will then lead to continuous heavy traffic to and fro for over a year. Not helpful for 80-90 year olds peace of mind.

Disturbance

They will lose 8 flats, 11 bungalows, the Office unit and the Community Hall. Losing that many friends will destroy a mutually caring and supportive community. No longer having Housing Support Staff on site has eroded their sense of stability and security. Night time security is a major issue whilst they live on the very edge of this construction site. Vulnerable adults shouldn’t have to cope with dust and dirt for as long as a year or so.

Traffic

Will be a nightmare during the day. Earth moving excavators and heavy lorries removing mountains of demolished buildings and the wonderful wild nature reserve in the centre of the site where ancient apple trees and myriad young saplings crowd together. This has become an oasis for wild life over the past 15 years. Add the construction lorries bringing the building materials for well over 30 houses will all have to go past the front doors of remaining Waterloo tenants.

Traffic will be a nightmare in adjacent narrow streets. The only street not always having cars parked upon pavements on both sides during working hours is Stuart Road. People in Naseby Close will compete with heavy goods vehicles for access to their homes. Visitors to those living in the Square’s remaining properties will need to park on Stuart Road. Highways Dept. hopefully will visit and make helpful suggestions to minimise the problems. But some seriously doubt this will have any impact on the problems they will have to face. Impact on existing residents already suffering from a total lack of adequate on street parking is likely to be worsened by traffic using Newcombe Street as a cut through to Stuart Road where cars on both sides have to park up on the pavements to allow passage to other users.

Feelings

Some residents have already moved out because they were so upset and anxious about staying. Some are so angry that they are refusing to leave what they believed to be their final homes. Others are too confused and incapable of coming to terms with having to move. There is much frustration that their welfare and well-being is ignored simply so that a new development can take place for profitable gain by people who don’t live in this area. There does not appear to be any empathy being shown to them, or understanding that their resilience is so low that they don’t want to cope with any disturbance whatsoever. They feel the loss of support that they used to get from 7 Locks staff in the existing office. Contact with Waterloo means phoning an office in Birmingham for maintenance work etc. We’re told there is no money for maintenance at the moment! That leaves them very angry and frustrated. They feel let down by Waterloo, who as Landlord should have known Social Housing requires an effective support system for tenants. We want the units demolished replaced with appropriate Social Housing. That also goes for retaining the Community Hall.

Rights of way

For 50 years pedestrians have established rights of way by daily walking between Naseby Close, Newcombe Street and Stuart Road. The proposals show fencing blocking all of these. HDC put vehicular access blockages which permit pedestrians full access but now intend to deny it.

Ecology

A few years ago HDC could not find a developer for the former garages site. Local residents explored the possible use of it as a community garden, thus saving the remains of an ancient apple orchard and former pond site where a rare Moth was identified. HDC blocked this as they wished to explore a more profitable outcome. Today it is an oasis of a wild life friendly area surrounded by housing. With HDC’s House building already on target why try to cram more into such a small site which will offer 3&4 Bed family homes with only a few square metres of garden for their children.

Letters should be sent to: Planning Committee, Harborough District Council, The Symington Building, Adam and Eve Street, Market Harborough, LE16 7AG

Emails should be sent to: