Neighbourhood Plan


BPC Neighbourhood Planning Group

Neighbourhood planning was introduced in 2011 through the Localism Act. This allows local residents and businesses to have their own planning policies in a Plan that reflect their priorities, deliver tangible local benefits and have real weight in planning decisions.

Work on the Brinkworth Village Plan started in 2019 with a survey of resident’s views on the Parish of Brinkworth with Grittenham. The results of this survey were known in December 2019, and published in Outlook. Further work on the plan became hampered by Covid 19 but this is a brief summary work undertaken by the Neighbourhood Planning Group to date.

Work on producing a draft Brinkworth Neighbourhood Plan is progressing in four main areas:-

Housing and Development (including Businesses)

Brinkworth is classified as a small village, and there is, therefore, NO OBLIGATION to meet any Wiltshire Council Local Plan mandated building targets. The Brinkworth Parish Council (BPC) policy will reflect both Local and National policies, and associated regulations. The BPC aspires to improve on current building standards to ensure sustainable benefits for the community as a whole and to ensure this plan meets residents wishes for the future of the village.

The rural nature of the parish is much appreciated, as is the Church, School, Village Hall, Recreation Field and the Pub. Affordable and social housing were the most acceptable types of any new building in the parish but there should be no development on any greenfield land or on any land susceptible to flooding. The BPC aspires to improve on current building standards to ensure sustainable homes are built which, meet anticipated future building needs including issues that include climate change, energy usage, resource efficiency, accessibility, the use of public spaces and service infrastructure. A Village Design Statement (VDS), is not considered appropriate for Brinkworth due to the eclectic mix of property design and construction methods

There is an expectation that any building applications, including additions to existing buildings brought before BPC for consideration will outperform present building regulation standards.  Designs are to include work-from-home space, maximum use of loft-space, provision for electric vehicle charging, solar and wind energy harvesting, heat-pump technology, rain and grey-water harvesting, passive solar gain design, super-insulation etc. In effect, a ‘Fabric-First’ approach.

The emphasis will be on buildings benefitting the community as a whole. Flats and big private houses are not popular with residents who prefer any new developments to be sympathetic with their surroundings and on two or three brown field sites near to the center of the village.

BPC recognises the importance of supporting and sustaining local businesses. New business ventures, including micro-businesses, are encouraged if they can bring employment opportunities and economic activity to the parish. A survey of businesses in the parish will be undertaken to establish the mix of different businesses and whether these expect expansion to increase employment opportunities particularly for local residents and any housing needs. 

 

Communications (including Transport, Footpaths and Bridleways)

A fifth of employed residents work in the village but with 80% working elsewhere, transport and highway improvements are important. A large majority are concerned with traffic speeding and a lack of parking in the village center, although parking may be alleviated if an application for a car park in the Glebe field next to the Village Hall is approved by Wiltshire Council. If approved the car park could be fitted with charging plinths when being constructed, with equipment installed at a later date. Residents consider it essential that the center of the village has sufficient parking for all, including visitors, i.e. to the church, pub, school, village hall, walkers etc.

Speeding through the village is a concern for all residents. Brinkworth Parish Council now has 2 Speed Indicator Devices for use in rotation; The Street, Barnes Green, School Hill, Stoppers Hill and Callow Hill. The feedback data from the devices indicate that there is a general drop in the average speeds through the village, but there are still many motorists who ignore the signs.

Reducing the speed of eastbound traffic just before Longman Street at Causeway End by changing the 50mph sign to a 30mph sign is under consideration.

Maintaining a regular bus service through the village from Malmesbury to Swindon, is essential for interchange and connectivity with other bus/train services for onward travel to wider destinations, particularly for those without cars or other forms of transport.

There are a number of well used footpaths and bridleways in the parish but many become blocked by vegetation and very muddy, and slippery, during wet weather. For pedestrians the parish is spread over a wide geographic area and contains a number of small settlements as well as the center of Brinkworth around the church, pub, village hall and school. Going forward connecting these settlements with the center through a network of footpaths should form a key part of the Vision for Brinkworth (VfB) plan. Brinkworth has an active Footpaths and Bridleways Group, affiliated to BPC, which organises working parties to help repair and maintain these when possible.

Wiltshire Council planned to construct the footpath from the Old Methodist Chapel (Barnes Green) to Farm Hill and in a second phase to complete the public Footpath from Farm Hill to Lower Box Bush Farm. This would give Brinkworth a continuous Public Foot Path from the Old Bakehouse at Fritterswell to Causeway End. Unfortunately the work starting on Oct 18th was suspended because recently laid wi-fi cables from Gigaclear were not deep enough for the work to continue. This paved access, linking both ends of the village, is seen as essential by the Vision for Brinkworth plan. The unpaved network of footpaths and bridleways away from the main roads offer a number of walks and are regularly used by villagers. Some could and should be made accessible for people of reduced mobility.

There is currently good BT Broadband provision in Brinkworth with users obtaining on average between 70 and 80mbps. The recent Gigaclear cabling allows up to 30mbps. There have been very few comments complaining about poor broadband provision and the village.

Environment (including flooding, climate change, farming and biodiversity)

These suggestions are covered by DEFRA in their proposed Landscape and Local Nature Recovery, the Wiltshire Local Plan and Wiltshire Council Core Policy. These policies form basis of the village plan to enhance the environment and help to combat climate change.

·        Maintain and increase: permanent pasture (including SSIs approx 5000 acres), network of hedgerows and woodland (currently approx 500 acres) - in line with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

·        Planning policy to restrict grubbing out of hedges and trees as a condition of planning approval

·        Where necessary use min-till rather than plough to avoid disturbing soil which releases CO2 into the atmosphere – (see Wiltshire Local Plan, addressing climate change and biodiversity)

·        Follow best practice for good pasture management: this includes rotational or paddock grazing.

·        More intelligent use of artificial fertilizers, insecticides, weed killers and sprays which can endanger insects/wildlife and produce toxic run-offs into watercourses.

·        Dig out ditches to avoid unnecessary flooding (Wiltshire Local Plan - Protecting Green Infrastructure).

·        Network Rail to maintain and service their drains.

·        Avoid building on flood plains which act a sponge for overflowing brooks, thus avoiding damage to built-up areas further downstream (Wiltshire Core Strategy - policy 52). Allow for water table to rise considerably by 2036.

·        Keep watercourses healthy to avoid polluting further downstream

·        Keep meandering nature of watercourses to slow flow of water.

·        Create wetlands (Wiltshire Core Strategy - policy 52.)

·        Produce food locally: allotments, diversification of local dairy farm products/sold direct to customer (see Wiltshire Local Plan: section 3.37/GBI strategy 4.9) through local markets and farm shops

To summarise, Brinkworth and Grittenham covers 6000+ acres and is well placed to sequestrate CO2 into its soil because of the large percentage of permanent pasture, hedgerows and woodland on predominantly clay soil. It is estimated that each tonne of carbon sequestrates 3.67 tonnes of CO2 A recent report (Kingshay Hill Farm Report) proved that with good practice the clay soil in this area can sequestrate higher than average amount of carbon to combat climate change

Community Spirit

There is a good community spirit in the village due to the organisations and facilities in the village, including church, village hall and groups using the hall, pub, school, Brinkworth Sports and Heritage Society, recreation field, sports, social activities and events.

Timescale

Much of the work necessary to write a Draft Brinkworth Neighbourhood Plan has been done. The BNP Group meets monthly in Brinkworth Village Hall and it is planned that the meeting in January 2022 will be an open meeting for residents to ask questions and/or provide information about the plan before the draft plan is written.

The aim is to complete the plan before the end of 2022.

Comments and questions to the Neighbourhood Planning Team will be welcomed