KWNP AGM 6th November 2021, 10.30am at Roots - website updated 6th November, 2021
Report of Chair 2019-2021 - report of the Partnership’s Chair for the last two years, adopted at the AGM.
Introduction This report covers the two years since the last AGM, held in November 2019. Since the Covid-19 pandemic struck four months later, the Partnership has been able to do relatively little; at the same time, there have been fewer of the usual issues to contend with. Some of our partners, especially Roots Café and Community, have been heavily involved in issues arising from the pandemic including isolation and food supply. Although the pandemic is clearly far from over we hope that in the coming year the Partnership will again be able to address the issues which concern people most. We were very sad that David Bush, who for many years had been a dedicated supporter of the Partnership and contributor to its work, died in 2020. Despite the severe restrictions then in force, the Partnership was represented at his funeral. The City Council elections planned for May 2020 were postponed until this year, and coincided with the County Council elections. Jeremy Hilton was re-elected to both authorities. Isabel Brazil stood as a candidate in another City ward. We should belatedly like to thank her for her contribution to the Partnership’s work from 2016. We welcome Isabel’s successor in the second City Council seat for Kingsholm ward, Angela Conder. In-person meetings resumed with a special meeting to discuss the County Council’s initial proposals for parking arrangements in parts of Kingsholm on 28 th September, and the first scheduled monthly meeting took place on 12 th October. We hope that these will continue. The following provides a summary of recent and current topics.
Former York House Public House
In late 2019 the Gloucestershire Charities Trust, provider of residential accommodation for the elderly in the City, sought planning permission to convert the former York House pub on London Road to provide a café and community hub. The organisers of Roots Café and Community were anxious about the possible adverse effect of this proposal on its own activities. The Partnership meeting in January 2020 was addressed by the Chair of GCT and potential difficulties were discussed. Planning permission was granted in February but although work started shortly afterwards, it is still in progress.
Gloucester City Plan
The Partnership had made representations on the City Plan, notably in respect of the long disused office block on the corner of London Road and Heathville Road. We objected to the latest draft of the Plan on the basis that it now proposed the conversion of the building to flats rather than redevelopment; we felt that better could be expected in a Conservation Area. The City Plan underwent a virtual Examination which concluded on 9 th June. The Inspector has recommended the changes she considers necessary to make the Plan sound, but has made no reference to this site. In other words, the conversion of the former office building is the most likely outcome.
Kingsholm Primary School: Until this term the school has been closed to non-essential visitors but other work has continued via Zoom. The school has long been one of the most important parts of the local community and the Partnership will be able to maintain links with it through Nina Hargrave, a governor of many years standing and my predecessor as Chair of the Partnership. Denmark Road High School Coach Service: Changes to the road layout on Lansdown Road as a result of the Redrow Homes development resulted in a difficult and potentially dangerous manoeuvre for coaches serving Denmark Road High School. There have fortunately been no incidents or injuries. The coach service transports a considerable proportion of the school’s thousand or so students, but given the size of the catchment area, most of the rest are brought to school by car. The school is concerned about the extent of inconsiderate parking by parents at the end of the school day which it cannot itself control.
Redrow Homes Development: Section 106 Monies
Despite a pause in the early part of the pandemic, work has proceeded steadily on this site. It is still not clear however exactly how and where some of the Section 106 monies will be spent. We remain concerned that Kingsholm will receive little benefit from these funds. The local members have taken up the matter with the Council’s officers.
Kingsholm Open Gardens
The Partnership organised, in collaboration with St Catharine’s Church and the Friends of Hillfield Gardens, an open gardens event in July. Half a dozen residents welcomed visitors, the Friends set up a stall in Hillfield Gardens, the garden at the Heritage Hub was also open and a plant sale was held at the church. Despite some remaining Covid restrictions and understandable nervousness about mixing, all venues attracted a sizeable number of visitors. The event was considered a success and will be repeated next year.
Kingsholm Parking Review and Environment
As everyone knows, the problem of parking in most of Kingsholm has increased in recent years. In some streets. most if not all houses lack off-street parking and the area is used by staff at Gloucester Royal Hospital, where they, like visitors, must pay. Pressure on on-street spaces has risen further recently as a result of the increase in the number of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), many occupied by students at the University of Gloucestershire. The County Council issued for consultation sketch draft proposals which cover all streets as far out as, and including, Estcourt Road. The proposals involve a combination of waiting and loading restrictions with resident parking only. Householders would be required to pay about sixty pounds for the first car and another sixty for the second. Permits for visitors would also be available. At the meeting on 28th September it quickly became clear that no consensus could be obtained, so all present were encouraged to submit individual responses to the County Council and ask their friends and neighbours to do the same. Consultation closed on 15th October and the outcome is awaited.
Litter is still a problem, especially on Kingsholm Road, and may get worse again now that matches have resumed at Kingsholm Stadium. Work to improve the area known as the Rose Garden at the junction of London Road and Great Western Road, which had been boarded up for a couple of years, has just begun. Hillfield Gardens is one of the few public open spaces in the Partnership area. We are concerned that the Council’s role in the day-to-day maintenance of this important and well- used asset seems to be now confined to emptying the litter bins and removing green waste, and even then not frequently enough. Elsewhere, the Sebert Street recreation ground is well-used and on the whole well respected. In its response to the City Council’s draft Open Spaces Strategy, the Partnership suggested that a tour of all the public open spaces in the area be undertaken in order to identify items for improvement. The Council has not yet taken up this suggestion. Thanks: I am grateful for the support of the Partnership’s officers and those who have attended the few meetings that we have been able to hold. Thanks are also due to Roots Café and Community for making meeting space available and for their broader support.
The pandemic has given us the opportunity to reflect on our future. In recent years, the partnership element - the very reason for our existence - has diminished, as the three most important providers of services in the area, the City Council, County Council and the police, have all suffered cuts in resources which reduces their ability to engage with us. At the same time we need more resources of our own, in particular younger people who could help us make better use of social media and connect more effectively with existing networks. In that way we could become more representative of the local community and better informed.
I look forward to the discussion after the conclusion of the formal business.
David Crofts, KWNP Chair
28th October 2021
Kingsholm heritage trail
Just before ‘lockdown’, KWNP re-issued our Kingsholm Trail. It can be found on this website (below), or pick up a copy outside 34 Denmark Road.Download booklet with map and guide
Take a walking tour revealing the history and present of a part of Gloucester from Roman times.
Open Spaces Strategy 2020-2025
KWNP Draft Response to ConsultationClick here for Gloucester City Council Draft Open Spaces Strategy 2020-2025
Kingsholm & Wotton Neighbourhood Partnership welcomes the opportunity to comment on this document. We deal with the eight sites in the ward in turn. We note that Kingsholm and Wotton ward has less open space of all kinds (4.12 hectares) than all but one of the wards in the City. The focus must therefore generally be, as the report itself acknowledges, on the improvement of what we have. The need for improvement is reinforced by two other factors. First, Kingsholm and Wotton ward is very diverse in the age, type and quality of its housing stock and the environment in which that housing is set. This is in turn consistent with the extent of deprivation in some parts of the ward. Whatever the relevant indices say, the ward is certainly deprived of open space. This emphasises the need to create the best possible living environment for its residents. Secondly, the lack of open space increases the need for what exists to be cared for properly. Unfortunately, some spaces, for example KW2 and KW6, have been neglected.
We very much hope that this consultation exercise can include a “walk round audit” of these areas with councillors and officers to make sure everyone is fully informed and aware of possible potential.
KW1 Dean’s Way Meadow
This appears to be a reasonably well-used amenity. The Partnership supports its maintenance and improvement. The Twyver Triangle Residents Association (via KWNP) has supported the idea of improved surfacing on the lumpy mini football pitch - with appropriate field markings and new posts the Deans Way Meadow could facilitate netball/basketball, 5 a side football and training equipment. This is a potential site for outdoor gym equipment. Some of the Section 106 funding arising from the Redrow Homes development could help create much needed exercise facilities for this area of Kingsholm. Some more general efforts are needed to make the area more welcoming.
KW2 Kingsholm Rest Garden
We consider this area, located next to one of the busiest roundabouts in the City, to be of very limited value in its current condition. We wonder whether many local residents are even aware of its status as public open space. Its condition has declined in recent years, mainly as a result of the (presumably unauthorised) removal of a number of conifers adjacent to the boundary of the garden at 102 Kingsholm Road, and the dilapidated appearance of the garden fence does not help. We are not sure that the Council is correct to say, as it does on page 100, that the “development of Civil Service site will disrupt this space”. Building has recently resumed on this site and there is little to indicate that the Rest Garden will be affected either way. In itself, the Rest Garden would appear to have no value for development, so there would be little point in the Council disposing of it. Indeed, it would be an advantage to retain it, to help prevent the kind of development in the rear garden of number 102 Kingsholm Road proposed by planning application 15/00163/OUT and at least one subsequent application. Some new planting as the document suggests might be helpful, but we consider that there are more urgent priorities for planting elsewhere. Instead, this is another useful potential site for some gym equipment as part of a trim trail around Kingsholm and Wotton. It would be easily accessible from many parts of the ward and it is en route to Plock Court. In addition to gym equipment, a couple of seats and a waste bin would be helpful and not costly.
KW3 Sebert St Recreation Ground
This is a well-used and on the whole well-respected amenity. The Partnership is currently in discussion with the Council about the potential for Section 106 monies arising from the Redrow Homes development to be applied here. However, there is a potential danger of over-development. Any expansion of the play facilities here should only take place after full consultation with the users and local residents.
KW4 Hampton Court (Lansdown Rd)
This area is located at the end of a long cul de sac, at least 400 metres from the junction of Lansdown Road with Heathville Road. Other pedestrian access to it is little easier, via Posy Lane or the public footpath running between Estcourt Road and Lansdown Road. The most recent edition of the Ordnance Survey sheet at 1:25,000 scale shows a public right of way leading to the area from Posy Lane but this does not exist on the ground. As a result, the area is probably only used by, perhaps even only known to, residents in the vicinity. Its continued maintenance and improvement are nevertheless supported.
KW5 Hillfield Gardens
We expect that the Friends of Hillfield Gardens will be making a detailed response. The Partnership considers that the Gardens are a major asset to the area which receive insufficient attention from the Council. We recognise of course the diminishing resources available. For some years now, since the formal opening of the sensory garden in 2013, most of the effective maintenance work has been carried out by volunteers. The Partnership hopes that some kind of service level agreement can be drawn up to identify resources, define responsibilities and set priorities.
KW6 Great Western Rd Rest Garden (London Rd)
We note what the document says about this area on page 100. Like KW2, it is too small for any development, and is unsuitable in other ways. Also like KW2, it is located on a major junction on one of the City’s main radial roads. However, whereas KW2 is in practice indistinguishable from the grass verges of the highways land, KW7 is an easily identifiable site. It is on a pedestrian route to the City centre from many parts of the ward. It is located in the London Road Conservation Area, and has listed buildings (Northgate House, Wellington Parade) nearby. For all these reasons we consider it very important that the area is improved with a robust and easily managed scheme which will deter the kind of anti- social behaviour that led to its closure and boarding up. We understand from the local menbers that an application for a grant to improve this area has been made to the GWR Community Fund. In the event of this application being unsuccessful, we hope that the Council itself will be able to fund improvements.
KW7 Great Western Rd Rest Garden (Horton Rd)
We think the Council is right to link the future of this area with the redevelopment of the site identified as SA05 in the submitted City Plan. In fact, this site as depicted on page 95 of the Plan appears to include all of area KW7. We ask the Council to raise this matter with any applicant in pre-application discussions as a legitimate recipient of S106 contributions.
KW8 Dean’s Way Allotments
KWNP supports the continued protection of allotments. We expect that the Friends of Hillfield Gardens will be making a detailed response. The Partnership considers that the Gardens are a major asset to the area which receive insufficient attention from the Council. We recognise of course the diminishing resources available. For some years now, since the formal opening of the sensory garden in 2013, most of the effective maintenance work has been carried out by volunteers. The Partnership hopes that some kind of service level agreement can be drawn up to identify resources, define responsibilities and set priorities.
Any views on Open Spaces?
Kingsholm heritage trail
Take a walking tour revealing the history and present of a part of Gloucester from Roman times.
We hold monthly meetings open to all residents. We’d love you to join us for coffee and conversation.
- Date: Tue, 14th December 2021, 12:30 pm
- Venue: Roots, Alvin Street
- Focus: Follow-up to AGM
Future meetings for your diary
Other local information
Does your neighbour need your help?Click here for further information
Kingsholm Primary School AdmissionsClick here for further details
Prospective parents or anyone who is interested in the school can contact Lucy Newton (Early Years Lead) on 01452 530777 or firstname.lastname@example.org, giving an email address and/or contact phone number.
Gloucester Heritage Hub in Alvin Street
Interested in family and local history? See what the Gloucestershire Archive has to offer.Go to the Heritage Hub archive
Community Engagement Event
Local PCSOs from the neighbourhood team will be holding a Police Surgery at various times. Please see Police Calendar of Events for further details:Gloucestershire Police LINK
Redrow’s Second Application Succeeds
At the meeting of the Planning Committee on Tuesday 8 January 2019, the City Council granted planning permission for the application by Redrow Homes for 100 dwellings on the site of the former Civil Service Sports Ground. This followed the Committee’s refusal on 4 December of the earlier application for 89 dwellings on the same site.
The meeting was attended by three of the Partnership’s officers and a number of residents. The discussion of the application followed the usual format: the presentation of the officer’s report, followed by representations against and for the proposal, questions, debate and finally the vote. The case officer went through her written report, emphasising the difference between the two applications in relation to the three reasons for refusal agreed last month. On design, she explained that changes to the layout meant that it was now acceptable. In respect of affordable housing, the applicants had altered the type and mix of units to reflect what was most needed. In terms of alternative sports provision, the applicant’s offer for the improvement of facilities elsewhere in the City was also now acceptable.
Speaking against the proposal, Councillor Jeremy Hilton referred to traffic impact, a lack of consultation with the community, and the inconsistency with what the draft City Plan proposed for the site. Lack of consultation with the community and traffic impact and road safety were also raised by John Price, the Partnership’s secretary, and a local resident, who shared the five minutes allotted to objectors. The applicant’s planning consultant then spoke in favour of the proposal. After a fairly lengthy debate the proposal was approved by 6 votes to 3 with 2 abstentions.
The outcome will no doubt be disappointing to many residents especially those living close to the site. The Partnership remains concerned that the local area will receive few if any benefits and is not persuaded that road safety issues relating to the coach service to and from the Denmark Road High School were properly taken into account. The application was approved subject to sixteen conditions. The Partnership will take steps to ensure that these are adhered to. Since the application was in full rather than in outline, Redrow could well start work on site fairly soon. The decision also means that the inquiry into the first application for 89 dwellings due to start on 12th March will now almost certainly not take place.
Civil Service Development 106 Agreement for new sports provision
KWNP officers have met with Gloucester City Council to make a strong case that Section 106 money from the Civil Service site development should remain in Kingsholm and Wotton for the benefit of local residents.
Interested parties have met with representatives from the City Council to discuss potential bids, and have agreed a way forward and to ensure that the monies are used for the maximum benefit of our community.
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