Bramley Parish Council
Considered response to the LDF Core Strategy Consultation
Approved at a meeting of Bramley Parish Council on 19th March 2012
Bramley would prefer not to accept any further housing during the current LDF period. If this cannot be avoided, we must not be asked to consider any approaches from developers in the short-term and we must be allowed time to consider necessary infrastructure improvements before the problems already being encountered are exasperated to a point where Bramley is no longer a desirable area to inhabit.
We would also require significant assistance from the Borough Council in preparing a robust Neighbourhood Development Plan and Neighbourhood Development Order to ensure that the housing type and density results as much as possible in an integrated and serviceable community.
Bramley Parish council, following an extraordinary public meeting on 5th March 2012, proposes in this response to represent the considerable local concerns about the LDF Core Strategy. This document allocates 200 new homes for the village over the next 15 years, in addition to the large development which falls mainly within the Bramley Parish boundary at Razor’s Farm, and also the large reserve site at Cufaude Farm.
The core strategy acknowledges that Bramley has been required to accept a large development on the East side of the village known as the German Road development, which is only at completion in early 2012. The impact of this development, which has a high proportion of affordable housing, has been significant in highlighting the inadequate infrastructure of this ribbon village which is bisected by the level crossing. 
Bramley has significant problems with car parking, traffic volume, traffic queuing, speeding, heavy vehicles passing through the village, and other concerns such as the village hall, Doctors surgery and small local shop with its’ diminished post office services being unable to meet the requirements of the newly increased population. There has been a recent loss of public transport as one of the two bus services has been cut. The primary school, with an expansion currently being funded by HCC to accommodate the intake from the new development, has made a representation to the Parish Council that they would be alarmed at the suggestion of further significant growth within the catchment area.
It might take some years for the infrastructure and the community to adapt and comfortably accommodate the significant recent changes to both the population and the demographic. It might be considered disastrous for Bramley to be forced to expand further before this course has been allowed to realize.
It is considered that the statement in the Core Strategy document that Bramley is to accept 200 new homes is misleading as it does not encompass the large proportion of the proposed Razor’s Farm development which falls within the Bramley Parish boundary. Furthermore, a question arises about the allocation of any Community Infrastructure Levy resulting from this development, which may be directed towards Chineham Parish in order to provide nearby infrastructure and community facilities. If this were the case it must be clarified whether there would be any intention to move the parish boundary so that the dwellings which would otherwise fall within the Precepting authority of Bramley Parish might instead become part of Chineham Parish.
If a proportion of this development remains within the Parish of Bramley it should be acknowledged that the village is being asked to accept considerably more than 200 new homes.
Furthermore, Bramley would expect nomination rights over a percentage of the affordable housing at Razor’s farm. If this development accommodates a reasonable proportion of affordable homes – anything up to the 40% stated in the core strategy document, given that we also have an exceptionally high proportion of affordable housing within the German Road development, the Parish Council feels this might negate the need for further affordable dwellings on other sites. Bramley Parish Council would expect to reserve the right not to build more properties in the affordable category, rather than to build more affordable housing which is taken up by newcomers into the Parish. We would expect the opportunity to review the housing register and make an informed decision about the percentage of affordable housing during this LDF period because it would be more satisfactory to accept phased housing designed to benefit current residents and allow them to remain within the parish for their ongoing housing needs, consequently encouraging the natural progression of the population along the housing ladder. This might allow Bramley village to grow more organically.
The significant question of a proposed train station and accompanying car park at Chineham is particularly relevant for Bramley, as if this does not remain part of the plan for improved infrastructure in the Razor’s Farm development, Bramley’s parking issues are certain to increase significantly. Bramley is already in critical need of a long-stay car park to accommodate the vehicles currently travelling from the far ends of the village and other nearby villages to access the railway station. Nearby residential roads are choked with an excessive number of vehicles parked all day. If this matter is not addressed as a matter of urgency, in partnership with the Parish Council under the local authority’s power to provide parking, then the village will be unable to manage additional traffic from the area of Razor’s farm to access the rail links. This is a particularly emotive concern for the residents of Bramley.
With regards to the allocation of 200 new homes for Bramley, if we are forced to accept this number, it is felt that no development should be allowed in the very early stages of the current LDF period as the community is still adapting to the recent expansions.
For and on behalf of Bramley Parish Council