A plan for our part of the County proposed a total of 1400 new homes to be built over a 20 year period between 1976 and 1996.
This plan has been approved by the Secretary of State for the Environment and is therefore unlikely to be changed.However, in the first 5 years of this period (1976 – 1981) 800 houses had already been built, leaving only 600 to be built over the next 15 years.The area designated for these 600 houses (called Zone 6) includes Southwell, Lowdham, Burton Joyce, Wood borough, Farnsfield and all the villages shown on the map.
Over the past 5 years and during the 1960s & 70s Southwell bore the major share of new house building in the zone. Newark District Council’s planning policy was based on the assumption that two thirds of the zone’s housing requirement should not be met within Newark District. Half of these new dwellings have been built in Southwell. A simple continuation of this trend would mean a further 200 dwellings (over and above those for which planning permission already exists, i.e. 130) could be built in Southwell. The fundamental question therefore ia whether this trend should be accepted and planned for, or whether development should be restricted to a lower level. The planners have in fact proposed 125 extra dwellings.Members of the District Council’s planning department met Southwell Parich Councillors on October 13th to hear their views on this matter.
Forty members of the public were also presnet and were able to make their views known to the planners. Southwell’s Parish Councillors stressed the problems experienced in the town in recent years with the sewage system. Cllr. Fred Wesson was adamant that no further building be allowed until the problem associated with an apparently already overloaded sewage system were solved. Councillors were assured that the Seven Trent Water Authority was preparing a thorough report on the town’s system after an extensive examination of the trouble spot on Lower Kirklington Road, Leeway Road and Kirklington Road and that this would be presented to the Newark District Council in the next few weeks.
Cllr. Anne Wood raised the perennial problem of overcrowded schools in the town asking why development could not be halted in Southwell and mobved to some of the nearby villages where schools were threatened with closure because of falling rolls. New houses in Bleasby, Hoveringham, Averham and Halam would bring young families into the villages and help fill the emptying classrooms of village schools. The planners answered that the villages did not want any extra expansion.
The question needs to be answered here as to why Southwell’s desire for no further expansion is constantly overruled by the District Council while villages losing their shops, post offices and possibly schools because of declining population can persuade the District Council against any further development.
The County Structure Plan of 1976 warned ‘Schools in Southwell are operating close to or in excess of their theoretical capacities’ and that ‘The Southwell Water Reclamation Works are hydraulically overloaded at present’.
Why had it taken until 1982 and a public outcry at the overspill of raw sewage into residnts gardens and garages for the Wayter Authority and District Council to ‘investigate the adequacy of the sewage systme’.?
Why must Southwell’s children be taught in classes well in excess of 30, cramped into buildings built for numbers far smaller than those a present using them, when County schools within Zone 6 exist with emptying classrooms and under threat of closure because of too few pupils?
The planners MUST answer these questions to the satisfaction of Southwell’s residnets before they can expect the town to readily accept their recommendations for any more houses.
Extract from the Bramley in November 1982