It is so frustrating to see community facilities left unfinished and unused for months or even years after a new housing development has been finished. In Bishopstoke, the allotments and cemetery at The Chase still have not been handed over from the developer to the Borough Council. This is due to concerns that the developer has not finished preparing the sites.
At the Bow Lake Gardens development, new allotments were handed over by the developer to the Borough Council in November 2020. The Council will then wait for a full year before handing over them to the Parish Council for use in case there are any problems. This has been a smoother and faster process than at The Chase, but still feels unacceptably slow. There were incidents of vandalism and anti-social behaviour in the allotment building.
Facilities that should be assets to our community are left unused and have been subject to vandalism. This is unacceptable.
We are pushing the Council to plan better with developers so that facilities like these are available for use by the community much earlier and certainly before the last house is sold on a new estate. And we want the Council to appraise every new development to learn what could be done better in the future.
Cllr Gin Tidridge has requested that Planning Enforcement report on their performance holding developers to task on community benefits as a separate section in their reporting. We are also asking for a “lessons learned” session after every new development of 11 houses or more so that planning conditions improve.
And yes, we are also pushing for the allotments at Bow Lake Gardens & The Chase and the new cemetery to move into use as soon as possible.