Three town councillors objected to the proposed 250-home estate at Bguley Rd before planning inspector Phillip Ware adjourned the four-day hearing until April24. Counsel for Gladman Developments produced an previously undisclosed argument to allow the houses which obliged Mr Ware to allow more time for TDBC to respond.
“I spoke at the inquiry this morning,” said Cllr Bob Bowrah “and highlighted some of the points that the applicants had made, in their presentation, reference was made to the “Takeaway” and Convenience store as if they were major establishments and invited the Inspector to visit these and also walk from the proposed site to Rockwell Green School to ask himself if he would allow children to travel the walk on foot, the answer is that Mums and Dads would drive them as the route is not suitable for public transport. “
“I highlighted the fact that the 60 proposed units for the older members of the population are a long way from the town and medical facilities,” said Cllr Janet Lloyd. “I also pointed out the traffic issues of cars parked in Rockwell Green on the way to the school that can hold up traffic and the Inspector confirmed that he would be walking the route in the next day or so he would be aware of the issues.”
Cllr John Thorne, who grew up in Rockwell Green, also gave evidence to the inquiry. “Rockwell Green has not experienced any increase in infrastructure to support the housebuilding that has already taken place. When I was a youngster, Rockwell Green had three pubs, The Weavers Arms, the Barley Mow, and the Clock Inn, as well as the Rockwell Green War Memorial Institute, known simply as The Institute.
“Today, The Institute hangs on by its fingertips after having come through turbulent times, and the Barley Mow survives, but only after a succession of new landlords each trying to make a go of it.
“The Weavers has been demolished and is now a TDBC affordable housing development nearing completion, and the Clock Inn is also a domestic residence.
“Rockwell Green had two petrol stations and garages for car repairs, Timewells and Spy Post, it even had a launderette, the Clock Launderette next to the former pub. Timewells is now a housing development, Spy Post is a pet food retailer, and the launderette was long ago converted to a home.
“Employment was available in the two nurseries I have mentioned, as well as the Westford Plastics factory and Hayman’s coal merchants. Westford Plastics is now a large housing estate and the coal merchants has also been converted to housing.
“All Saints Parish Church still serves the ecclesiastical needs of Rockwell Green, but the village also used to have a thriving Baptist Chapel, where I went to Sunday School, where my late parents were married, and where my sister was the last person to be married before it closed.
“There is a convenience store which provides a superb service to the local community, a chip shop which has always seemed to be popular, a butcher’s shop, although planning consent was granted a while ago for the butcher’s to be converted to a residential house, a sub-Post Office which survives only by being incorporated into a corner shop, a hairdresser’s, and a wonderful village hall converted from the Victorian school building where my late mother went to school.
“There is also a cemetery, but even that is almost full and needs to be extended, with plans to create space for 100 new graves announced last year by TDBC, but I am not sure this is the sort of infrastructure we really need to be concentrating on for potential new residents!”