More Houses for Downton?
Though not yet a campaign, the Society is preparing itself for the fact that Persimmon Homes has expressed an interest
in building up to 100 more homes on the site next to Bishops Mead on the A338. The developer will be discussing
proposals informally with the Parish Council on 2nd September. The PC have pledged to support the policies of the
Downton Neighbourhood Plan, but because of the Government’s recent proposals to change the planning laws, there is
concern that Neighbourhood Plans will be undermined.
The Downton Society will support the PC in their plans to review and, if necessary, update and strengthen the Neighbourhood Plan, which was strongly endorsed by the community in a referendum at the end of 2016. We will provide more feedback to members at the beginning of September when Persimmon’s intentions will become clearer.
Watch this space for our next report.
From time to time, we ask members to get involved in village litter-picks, bridge cleaning etc - and, when his happens, we look forward to your support. We expect to be increasing these initiatives greatly in the run -up to "Downton In Bloom" early next year.
Traffic Flow and Parking
Traffic flow and parking in Downton remain problematic and although a Parish Council working group, in which society members were involved, found that there were few ways of improving the availability of parking in the village, we address this issue whenever a planning application is made for new development. We are particularly keen to identify suitable parking to meet the needs of the newly enlarged Memorial Hall.
Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV)
The HGV weight limit of 7.5 tons is routinely flouted. The problem is largely down to poor signage and attempts to address this at various levels (including Area Board, Highways, County Councils and our MP) have failed. We feel strongly that, unless there is clear signage at major access points (especially from the M27) lorry drivers will continue to use the B3080 through the village as a short cut.
Those reading this who are new to the village should note that there are some HGV's legitimately using the B3080 (for nstance, to/from Trafalagar Fisheries or the Steel works); but although the Downton Industrial Estate is excluded from the weight restriction area, their heavy vehicles should not be using the B3080. Some of the businesses say they advise drivers to use the A338, but the delivery chain often involves different companies, so this does not work in practice. Others argue that the weight limit is (apparently) too complicated to be programmed into commercial SatNav systems.
The Society had been battling this issue for nearly a decade - to no avail - so in 2019 asked Downton Parish Council to take it on. Given limited resources (and their own priorities) the PC offered "support" for a Lorry Watch Scheme which was suggested by our County Councillor, Richard Clewer. The scheme is being co-ordinated by a local resident who is finding that the police have made little progress with Lorry watch in the last six months because of their own resource problems. When questioned at an Area Board meeting in January this year, they said that this issue was now being addressed. We, again, await a result. "