Updated 10 October 2006
Note: this is not an official account of the first ANTAS meeting of 2001. But it may help those people with web access to provide an early account of the proceedings to their members. Any errors are mine: they will be quickly corrected as soon as I am told.
|The Buckingham Vision and Design Statement team. From left to right: John Townsend, Carolyn Cumming, Charles Macdonald (standing), Pat Brook and Tony Parker.|
The Chairman of the Buckingham Society, Ed Grimsdale, gave a dramatic welcome to those attending, summarising the fascinating history of the historic town of Buckingham in just five minutes. Many of us did not know that for several centuries, Buckingham was a place of pilgrimage, and since February 2000, St Rumbold's Well has been a scheduled ancient monument. Ed introduced the member of the Executive Committee responsible for University Liaison, Prof Alan Brook, who described the almost equally interesting history of Buckingham University, still the only independent university in the UK, with just 800 students but currently representing 80-90 nationalities.
ANTAS Web Site
After the approval of the minutes of the meeting of 17 April 2000, and the Chairman's and Treasurer's Reports, Chris Woodman described the new ANTAS website. Chris emphasised that while there was already quite a lot of material on the site, the value of the site would depend very much on the information that members societies were able to contribute. The site should be regarded as an asset of all the members of all the member societies, and not just those who attend ANTAS meetings. For example, there was space available to publish on-line the text (though perhaps not the illustrations) of newsletters of the ANTAS member societies if they wished, and the ANTAS site could also provide a page of space for those member societies (the great majority) who do not have their own site.
The meeting decided unanimously that ANTAS should pay the small annual sum needed to move the site to a more easily found and remembered web address (www.antas.org.uk). It was agreed there could be a "Help wanted" page on which members could seek help from other societies, and topics for early exchanges should include digging up roads, school travel and people's experience with membership drives.
The Buckingham Society said that there was a problem with dustbins - put out on Wednesdays - obstructing footpaths and causing real difficulties for "walking buses" (accompanied groups of children walking to school) and partially sighted people.
Hertford (Andrew Sangster)
Hertford described how they had successfully opposed the building of a Sports Hall on a greenfield site on the District boundary. The Secretary of State had called the application in, and the Society had found themselves opposing both the developers and the planning authority. They had learnt a lot. Previously they had hired expensive barristers but on this occasion they had represented themselves; they had found cross-examination was within their capability, although sometimes they had gone into too much detail. E-mail had been very important in working up their case, and when their representativeness had been challenged, they had been able to point to all the e-mail exchanges. In his remit to the Inspector, the Secretary of State had listed 5 questions, based on Planning Guidance. The Society had focused on those questions, to their advantage, whereas the developers had not.
A bypass for Hertford was now becoming an issue again, and the Society now needed to revisit their stance on this. Andrew asked for contacts with experience in this area. One of their members, Don Grattan, had developed expertise in noise.
With regard to Community Strategies under the Local Government Act 2000 (see also below), Andrew said the Hertford Society were now involved in a Town Centre Management Board.
There was now an issue over the Marlow Gravel Pits area, east of the Marlow Bypass (A404), and what recreational and other use should be made of the area.
The Marlow Society participates in the Marlow Town Centre Forum, but there was a problem in that the area was drawn too narrow, and "didn't work". Many issues involved land outside the Town Centre, but were ruled outside the purview of the Forum.
St Albans (John King)
The St Albans Society had run a very successful tree-planting scheme. An article would be provided for a future issue of the ANTAS newsletter.
High Wycombe (Frances Presland)
The District Council had failed to provide for any public consultation on a major Sainsbury's supermarket development in the town centre which also included substantial housing provision, many other retail units and a leisure unit, as well as a new petrol station. Whereas there had been full consultation, supported by models, over the neighbouring Western Sector development, the Council had been content, despite 9 months of discussion and modification of the planning application, to rely solely on the statutory procedures for a full planning application. Sainsbury's themselves, however, had been very willing to arrange an exhibition when asked to by the Society. The Society considered the Government needed to issue guidance encouraging non-statutory consultation in such cases.
Aylesbury (Martin Bourn)
Tesco/BPC were applying to redevelop their Tring Road store. The Society had objected, with the aim of limiting the "shop by car" culture and requiring new settlements to have their own shops. Their objections had led to the development having to be re-advertised as part of the development plan.
Hitchin (John Davies)
The Developers had twice applied for judicial review of North Herts Council's decision to withdraw the huge West of Stevenage proposal (for description of earlier stages, see the Autumn 2000 ANTAS Newsletter), and had twice been turned down. The proposal must now be considered as dead.
Any Other Business
Chris Woodman, High Wycombe Society, said that the Wycombe District Council was taking very seriously its responsibilities under the Local Government Act 2000 to develop a Community Strategy, and he had himself participated in a forum on the Environment and Transport part of the Strategy. Nothing had been heard from the Bucks County Council, however.
Peter Diplock, Chairman, announced a new publication, The Marlow Historian, the first issue of which was now on sale, price £4. (It is beautifully produced and absolutely fascinating.-Ed.) In the past, the Marlow Society's History Group had done a lot of good research that had remained unpublished. Their future efforts would now see the light of day. Volume 2 was planned for before the end of 2001. Enquiries for copies should go to Peter.
...will take place in Potters Bar on Saturday 20 October 2001.
28 April 2001