We need to Act Now to Protect our Heritage

A precedent could be set for development on any National Heritage sites

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Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire is a Grade 1 listed building which welcomes 120,000 visitors from home and abroad every year. The Hall and immediate gardens are owned and run by the National Trust, the wider setting, which is now under threat, is owned by a group of trustees. The Robert Adams setting of Kedleston Hall has been protected for over 200 years. That is why we can all enjoy it today as an oasis amid the urban sprawl and hectic routines of modern life.

Since the changes to the National Planning Policy Framework in 2012 our beautiful open spaces are under threat from developers. Across the land there are groups of people fighting to protect their environment.

You may imagine that the nationally recognised heritage site of Kedleston is protected and safe from the clutch of developers but, like many other cherished open spaces, this land is currently under threat from two planning applications.

There is massive local opposition and an action group called Kedleston Voice (www.kedlestonvoice.com) is fighting to save our heritage. Perhaps surprisingly for its members, who might expect a robust defence of a Grade I listed asset, the National Trust has given a rather understated objection. Thanks to Kedleston Voice representing a vast number of residents much has already been achieved and the application was refused by Amber Valley Borough Council on the grounds of harm to a heritage setting.

The developer has now appealed to the Secretary of State and there is a Public Inquiry this summer. Kedleston Voice has Rule 6 status and is instructing a barrister to represent residents at the Inquiry. There has now been a second smaller application and this will also be considered at the Inquiry incurring more costs. It is an expensive process.

We are at a pivotal moment which could be nationally significant. Please help us, for the sake of all heritage sites and open spaces, to stand up to the bias towards building on green fields rather than the many available brown field sites.

Kedleston Voice is a non political coalition of local people .

They have set up a crowdfunding site at http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/protect-our-national-heritage.

Please help by visiting and sharing this link.

We have to take a stand not just for today but for the sake of future generations.

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"UK housing crisis: four in 10 renters fear they will never own a home" 

Exclusive Observer poll finds 37% say home ownership is out of reach for good while 71% couldn’t buy without family help

 

The Observer article can be found here:

http://gu.com/p/4tnx2?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

 

'no-one in their right minds wants to return to the land-eating, unsustainable sprawl of the 1930s'

- although in rural Britain it feels as though we are well on the way! 

 

The article makes the case for a state house building programme - which would seem far more constructive and honest than trying to pass off applications on sites such as the Kedleston one as panacea for housing problems and as helping the homeless or vulnerably housed. 

 

Such applications exist to make as much money as possible for the landowner and developer and offer no solution to the housing crisis. They are different worlds but the beneficiaries hide behind the altruistic notion of house crisis relief. This needs to be recognised and separated.

 

I recently cycled around the smaller streets in Derby and was struck by the vast numbers of affordable terraced houses that were either up for sale or to let.

 

Where are all the people needing these homes?

 

The Observer report highlights that the building of council houses would create jobs.

 

  • Private builders could stabilise their work by working with local authorities.

 

  • More council houses would negate the need for the massive amount of government money paid out in housing benefit to private landlords

 

  • In principle councils can take more care with landscaping and the spaces between buildings, as volume housebuilders have to strive more to compete on internal features, such as bathrooms and kitchens.

 

There is extra risk to council house building from the electoral cycle. An expert suggests a 10 year project should be given cross party consensus of a kind that existed in the 1960s.

 

We are aware that the Kedleston land outcome can be affected by a change in the local political picture. Housing should not be at the whim of politicians.

 

A more daring proposition would be to use compulsory purchase powers to take over sites left undeveloped by private owners – there are quite a few of these in Derby.

 

Local people should have a say in where housing goes and what it looks like.

The Neighbourhood Plan is credited with enabling this.

 

In Quarndon we are just at the beginning of forming a Neighbourhood Plan (NP). It is not for the faint hearted and takes at least 18months – 2 years of hard work and consultation. It has become apparent to us that local councils are not well briefed about NPs and don’t know how to use them. Communities need to be reassured and to see NPs given status and recognition if people are to put in the commitment.

 

On 19th July there is a Public Inquiry at Ripley to consider the two applications on the Kedleston fields.

The residents’ action group, Kedleston Voice, has instructed a barrister and experts to oppose the appeals but still needs to engage a Transport expert. This necessitates raising a further £10,000 in the next 3 weeks.

This is a non-party political coalition of local people concerned about our Derbyshire countryside and unnecessary urban sprawl close to a treasured National Trust property.

If you can help please visit the crowdfunding page at: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/protect-our-national-heritage

 

http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/may/01/housing-social-innovation-ideas-from-across-world

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