Gloucester City Council approve Matson and Podsmead Regeneration SPD

As both communities are already aware GCH drafted Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) in consultation with Gloucester City Council for Matson and Podsmead. This has involved pulling together all the Government’s and City Council’s planning policies which are applicable to each neighbourhood and developing a design code to help guide future development. They also included indicative plans showing areas that could either be refurbished or developed and to what levels of density.

These draft documents were formally submitted by GCH to Gloucester City Council in January 2019.

In March 2019 the City Council’s Cabinet approved the draft SPDs for public consultation. A six-week consultation then took place between 24th June and 5th August. This involved two events in each neighbourhood and an online campaign. City Council Community Wellbeing Officers also held informal pop up events across the period. The consultation was undertaken in accordance with the City Council’s adopted Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) and in accordance with the statutory requirements of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012.

The City Council received a total of:

  • 27 questionnaire or email responses for Matson containing 204 individual comments.
  • 40 questionnaire or email responses for Podsmead containing 162 individual comments.

The individual comments were sorted into key topic groups.

For Matson almost 60% of the comments received were focussed on ‘homes’, ‘community’ and ‘open space’. For Podsmead this was 50% of comments. All comments were considered equally regardless of the total numbers in each topic area.

Comments were wide ranging and included concerns over accessibility of flats for older people, the loss of open space, the tenure of future properties, antisocial behaviour, uncertainty over what would happen to residents and their homes (both for tenants and owner occupiers), parking, community facilities, shops and services.

Full details of all the comments received are available here.

In accordance with the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations (as amended) 2012 Part 5, Section 12 all comments received have been carefully considered by the City Council and a detailed response has been provided.

After going to the City Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Monday 4th November, it was considered by the City Councils Cabinet on 6th November and finally approved by the full Council on 21st November 2019.

In summary here are the main changes proposed by consultees, approved by the City Council and GCHs response:

  1. More positive language.

Respondents asked for more information to be included around the positive aspects of the estates as both neighbourhoods have many positive attributes that residents did not feel were fully represented in the SPDs. GCH and the City Council agree.

  1. Community assets. 

Respondents wanted to see the assets within the community mapped and fully understood. There are a lot of skills and assets within the existing communities. The SPDs will now include reference to a community audit to be produced which will map these assets and capture the culture of the areas. Such a strategy will enable City Council planners to assess if the requirements in planning policy INF4 Social and Community Infrastructure of the Joint Core Strategy are met in any future planning applications.

GCH is happy to provide this in partnership with both communities and regeneration partners.

  1. Removal of the Framework Plans. 

The proposed framework plans submitted in the original SPDs show where GCH would like development to be concentrated. These plans, particularly for Podsmead, show a significant loss of open space which City Council planners now feel has not been subject to proper consideration or assessment by the Council despite their involvement in the production of the SPDs. They now feel that it is premature to show development areas at this stage as it may prejudice their future decision making.

They also now feel that Framework plans provide uncertainty to residents some of whom are concerned that they are in an identified area, whilst others think that no redevelopment will happen near them. At this stage the City Council feel it is simply not known whether this is an accurate portrayal of future development as no planning applications have yet been made.

As the development is being led by GCH and not by the City Council they feel it would be more appropriate to see such information in a masterplan submitted with a planning application by GCH/the developer. The County Council Highways Authority have also now objected to the inclusion of the Framework Plans.

GCH are happy to provide these as part of any planning application.

  1. Additional detail around what the Local Planning Authority requires. 

This covers issues such as the rehousing strategy, phasing strategy, community facilities strategy, economic strategy and local housing needs assessment for each phase.

The SPDs already referred to the provision of a phasing strategy, rehousing strategy and a community facilities strategy. This has been expanded to include an economic action plan and local housing needs assessment with each phase. More details have been included explaining what each of the strategies should contain.

This information is required to enable City Council planners to appropriately assess any future planning applications.

GCH have already been working on these supporting documents and are happy to provide as part of any planning application.

  1. Removal of the ‘one move only’ approach.

The City Council believe that GCH have an inflexible ‘one move only’ approach for residents impacted by any proposed regeneration.  In fact the one move approach was agreed by all regeneration partners including the City Council early in the partnership to avoid making people move more than once if they did not want to and it was always intended to be flexible dependent on the individual needs of displaced residents).

However the Council feel and GCH agree that whilst one move may be appropriate for some residents, others may be happy to move twice if the first move was temporary and it meant that they were going to be able to move into a new property on the second move, or back into their refurbished home, or back into the area of their old home next to their original neighbours who may have been unaffected by the regeneration.

The City Council also feel that the one move approach has the potential to restrict creativity around the phasing and delivery of the overall project. They believe it creates a situation where the only options available to the developer are to build on open space or move people out of the area. Removing the approach from the SPD would in their opinion allow more options for the developer such as moving residents from a block of flats into vacant properties whilst a block is redeveloped. Those that wish to return could then move back in. An inflexible one move approach, the City Council believes, does not give residents the option to return to where they lived before. This, the City Council feels, poses a risk for residents if a developer proposes moving people from the estate.

In fact evidence from other regeneration schemes around the country shows that temporary moves are rarely that as households do not normally want double the upheaval, particularly when they have put down roots in their new area or new home. This can result in the original communities being scattered across the City. GCH also believes that moving people into relets, which are in high demand would also mean people on the housing register waiting even longer to be rehoused throughout the 20-30 year regeneration process.

So GCH will work closely with the City Council and affected residents to find them the most appropriate suitable alternative accommodation and give people the option to either move once, hopefully within the estate or elsewhere, if that is what they prefer or move back to their original area if they wish to, when work is completed.

  1. Clarity over the approach to Public Open Space. 

The draft SPDs contained figures detailing the amount of Public Open Space to be lost on each estate. This was 2.17 hectares for Matson and 3.71 hectares for Podsmead. Following comments received and after further consideration the City Council now feel that it is inappropriate to predetermine a set amount. Despite City Council officers’ involvement in the production of the SPDs the City Council feel they have not agreed in principle to this approach, nor do they feel that it has been demonstrated to be policy compliant.

The SPD had used the City Council’s own Open Space Strategy to justify this approach in that both wards have in excess of the minimum quantity standards for open space set by the City Council. However, the Fields in Trust guidance states ‘Quantity guidelines should not be interpreted as maximum levels of provision…’ Therefore, this in itself, the City Council feel, cannot be used as a justification to reduce the amount of open space. More consideration needs to be given to the role open space plays in defining the character of each area and in terms of the health and wellbeing of residents.

It may be possible to justify the loss of some open space if it can be done in a policy compliant way through the planning application process. However, the City Council feel there is no evidence at this stage to demonstrate that this can be achieved. They feel they must be mindful of setting a city-wide precedent on this issue.

GCH will work with the City Council to minimise the impact on public open space but where this threatens the regeneration of the neighbourhoods, GCH will bring forward proposals that justify the loss of some public open space and enhance the remaining public open spaces if this is supported by the local communities and will lead to wider benefits for those communities.

  1. Phasing.

Planning permission has been granted for 420 homes on Winnycroft Farm, with a further 250 homes also being considered. Given the scale of the permitted development next to Matson, and the fact that there is no local centre on the Winnycroft development, it would make sense to improve the linkages between Winnycroft and the Matson local neighbourhood centre at the earliest opportunity. This would provide an opportunity to create community cohesion and increased economic support for the existing shops and services in Matson. The SPD has been amended to recommend that this area of Matson is considered as a first phase of development.

GCH have already included this work in their revised Phase 1 proposals but need to build first on City Council owned land to generate the income to help pay for this work and provide decant homes for the displaced tenants and leaseholders.

  1. Clarity over the purpose of the Blackbridge Sports Hub, adjacent to the Podsmead Estate. 

This is to ensure that the community facilities and services required to serve the estate of Podsmead are appropriately located within the red line boundary of the SPD area. The Podsmead Road is considered a barrier between the estate and Blackbridge. The City Council now feel that the proposed Blackbridge hub is an additional city-wide facility and should not be considered a site for the replacement of Podsmead’s local community facilities.

This would make it difficult for GCH to re-provide lost open space and community facilities for Podsmead, on the neighbouring Blackbridge site in order to meet open space planning and community infrastructure policy requirements. GCHs revised phase 1 plans for Podsmead already include the provision of new shops, a community centre and enhancements to the remaining open space within the Podsmead estate. GCH would also hope to improve footpath links between Podsmead and Blackbridge to provide Podsmead residents with improved access to the improved Blackbridge sports facilities.

  1. Reference to materials in Matson changed from ‘red brick’ to render.

Although locally distinctive across much of Gloucester, red brick is not distinctive to Matson. The City Council believe the positive elements of the character of Matson are important to preserve. Respondents in general want to see Matson improved but also to still look like Matson.

In fact the wording in the draft SPD only referred to brick not red brick which GCH agree would be inappropriate on Matson whose homes are predominantly rendered. GCH does however believe there are opportunities for using a variety of finishes including render, brick and stone to pay homage to the current character of the estate, recognise the closeness of the estate to the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and bring in finishes that would reduce future maintenance.

  1. Inclusion of City Plan policies. 

The policy section has been updated to reflect the recently approved pre-submission version of the Gloucester City Local Plan. As with all developments across the city, planning applications in Matson and Podsmead must be policy compliant in order to receive planning permission. Particular reference is now made to A1 – Effective and efficient use of land and buildings, A2- Affordable housing, A3 – Estate regeneration, A6 – Accessible and adaptable homes, C1 – Active design and accessibility, C3 – Public open space, playing fields and sport facilities, C7 – Fall prevention from taller buildings, F3 – Community safety and F6 – Nationally described space standards.

These generally increase planning requirements making it more difficult to achieve policy compliant planning applications and will add to the cost of regeneration. GCH are currently assessing likely additional costs and the effect that this has on the overall financial viability of the regeneration proposals.

  1. Power of Three Community Economic Strategy covering the Matson neighbourhood.

Details of this document have now been included. Disappointment was expressed through the consultation that GCH, a partner organisation in the Power of Three, have not used the process so far to empower the community by training residents to be part of the consultation process, nor power sharing the process with residents. It was suggested that stakeholder events have been held by GCH at the Kingsholm Rugby stadium rather than in local community facilities.

GCH believe this may reflect some residents’ views who have not been as involved as others in the extensive consultation so far carried out. GCH has in fact held a very large variety of consultation events in local venues on both estates, carried out door knocking exercises, held local events and meetings and provided weekly drop in sessions on both estates. GCH have also attended a variety of different community initiated events on both estates to answer questions on regeneration.

GCH have also helped to set up Community Action Groups (CAGs) for both neighbourhoods made up of home owners, leaseholders and tenants of different ages, abilities and ethnicities. GCH pay for them to be supported by TPAS, a resident consultation consultancy, to provide independent community training and support. TPAS independently help the CAGs to fully understand and respond to proposals, (including documents and plans) and to participate in key decisions during the regeneration process, which includes challenging GCH, the City Council and other partners on their proposals. The CAGs are represented on the Matson & Podsmead Regeneration Partnership, alongside other statutory, charitable and community partners involved in both communities.

These wider regeneration partnership meetings have so far been held off site but only to allow representatives a chance to look back at the estates from a wider perspective. None of the residents or other partners had asked GCH to depart from this, although GCH are happy to move to more local venues if partners and the communities themselves would prefer this.

  1. Ownership plans

These are to be updated to reflect 2019 data and include different house types such as the location of maisonettes and bungalows, as well as houses and flats. The ownership plans are considered useful as they demonstrate the mix of house types and the complexities of land ownership which will be beneficial to the future master planning process.

GCH have already updated these ownership plans to reflect GCH’s current ownership and types of homes and the City Council, and County Council are looking at adding their ownership information, where this is publicly available.

Get in Touch

If you have any questions or queries please contact us.

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September 2019 Update

Although it may seem that things have gone a little quiet in terms of the future regeneration plans for both Matson and Podsmead, we just wanted to assure you that a lot of hard work has been going on in the background. We are continuing to try and find ways to fully fund the replacement of existing social housing and build new affordable homes for people to rent or own. 

City Council’s Consultation 

In August 2019, the City Council ended its 3 month consultation with residents and stakeholders in both communities to gather their views on the overarching planning principles for Matson and Podsmead. This is called the ‘Supplementary Planning Document’ or SPD and the results of this consultation will be published shortly. The results will give all key stakeholders a clear picture of what to expect in terms of the future design of new homes, car parking arrangements, local amenities, environment and community priorities. These principles will need to be followed whenever planning applications are submitted as part of the regeneration developments over the coming years. 

What we are currently working on 

At GCH we have been revising our plans to ensure we can support a realistic and affordable regeneration programme. The GCH Board has asked for three options to be presented to them towards the end of this year that will: 

  • Ensure we can replace all social housing which we have identified for demolition with new social housing that meets the needs of transferring tenants and leaseholders. 
  • Increase the number of affordable homes to provide much needed housing to those on the local housing register 
  • Build some homes for market sale to generate enough income so that we can fund the new social and affordable homes above; and also improve community and local facilities. 

Additionally, the City Council has also been considering whether they can provide some of their land to help with the regeneration and we should know if this is possible in the next few months. 

We are continuing to work with Government to identify if there is any funding available to support regeneration, but as we all know the government situation is unpredictable at the moment due to Brexit, so we will see what happens in the next few months.  

We hope to bring our revised plans back to the community for consultation later this year or early in the New Year. 

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Gloucester City Council’s Formal Consultation

Gloucester City Council are running their formal consultation for the Matson and Podsmead Supplementary Planning Documents between 6pm Monday 24th June until 6pm on Monday 5th August.

The City Council will be consulting on their approved guidance document for potential developers which sets out the various planning policies and the desirable design standards for the new homes and developments in both Matson and Podsmead.

The full SPDs and information leaflets are available on the Council’s website.

In addition, hard copies of the documentation are available at the following locations:

  • Gloucester City Council reception: Herbert Warehouse, The Docks, Gloucester, GL1 2EQ.
  • Matson Library: Winsley Road, Matson, Gloucester, GL4 6NG.
  • Redwell Centre: Redwell Road, Matson, Gloucester, GL4 6JG.
  • The Hub: 15a Scott Avenue, Podsmead, Gloucester, GL2 5BD.

The consultation lasts for six weeks between Monday 24th June and Monday 5th August 2019. Responses must be received no late than 6pm on this day.

Events

Speak to Planning Officers and give your feedback at the following events:

  • Moat primary school Fayre Friday 12th July 3pm – 5 pm
  • Redwell Centre Monday 22nd July 3pm – 7 pm
  • Scott Avenue open space Thursday 18th July 4.30pm – 7pm
  • Podsmead Big Local Friday 26th July 1pm – 5 pm

Making comments

You can submit comments here. Alternatively, you can provide feedback at any of the consultation events, or by sending them in writing to: Matson and Podsmead SPD Consultation, Planning Policy Team, Gloucester City Council, PO BOX 3252, Gloucester, GL1 9FW.

Arrange your own consultation event

If you would like to arrange your own event within the community, with your community group, friends and neighbours, the council will do their best to come along. Just email cityplan@gloucester.gov.uk or call 01452 396848 to arrange for an officer to come out and talk to your group.

Get In Touch

Get in touch with the Council on 01452 396396 or email cityplan@gloucester.gov.uk

Get in touch with your independent community advisors (TPAS) on 0800 731 161 or email gloucester@tpas.org.uk

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Matson and Podsmead Health Survey

Have you filled out your Community Health Survey that you received with your November Rent Statement? If not, now is the chance to help us better understand what health assets will be needed in the future in both communities and these can be included in the regeneration plans going forward

We will be holding some focus groups and one to one discussions in the coming weeks to follow up on what your community has to say however you      can also complete the form anonymously if you would prefer.

Click here to complete the survey…

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Speak to your Independent Community Advisors

TPAS logo

The Community Advisory Group, which is made up from residents of both Matson & Podsmead, appointed TPAS as your Independent Community Advisors (ICA) earlier this year.

The role of your ICA’s is to provide independent advice in relation to the regeneration project.

Starting in late December and into January TPAS will be in Matson & Podsmead visiting all residents in the areas to talk about the project and answer any questions residents may have.

In the meantime all residents are welcome to contact Jenny and Mal;

Call freephone number 0800 731 1619. (If calling from a mobile number you will be charged, so leave your name, mobile number and area you live for a call back.)

Or email gloucester@tpas.org.uk

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Independent Community Advisor Appointed

Following interviews TPAS (Tenant Participation & Advisory Service) have been appointed as the independent community advisors for the regeneration projects in Matson & Podsmead. The Community Advisory group were involved with the process and decided to appoint Jenny Vernon and Mal Harrison from TPAS.

The role of the Independent Community Advisor is to act as a contact for the communities of Matson & Podsmead and anyone with concerns or questions about the regeneration project can make contact.

You can contact Jenny and Mal on…

Call freephone number 0800 731 1619. (If calling from a mobile number you will be charged, so leave your name, mobile number and area you live for a call back.)

Or email gloucester@tpas.org.uk

Jenny Vernon – Lead Independent Community Advisor

Jenny VernonWith over 30 years’ experience in social housing and 10 years’ experience providing independent advice, Jenny is passionate about supporting communities facing regeneration.  She had personal experience of this when her home was demolished to make way for supported accommodation.  So she is familiar with the stress and worry that people can feel at this time and is committed to reducing this by ensuring communities are both fully informed and empowered to help shape regeneration decisions and their future.

Mal Harrison – Independent Community Advisor

With 25 year’s experience in senior posts of social housing, from a Resident Involvement Manager through to Head of Service Improvement for a major housing provider, Mal now works in the social housing sector as a trainer and mentor focusing on Tenant Involvement and Empowerment, Community Development and Scrutiny.   Mal provides training and mentoring to Management/Boards, Scrutiny and Community Groups and as an independent Tenant Advisor.  Mal also specialises in designing and running training and other activities which are lively, fun, colourful and participative so that people learn better and are inspired.

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Community Advisory Group Looking to Appoint Advisor

Gloucester City Homes is looking to appoint an Independent Community Advisor to support the newly established Matson and Podsmead Community Advisory Group, and the wider resident population of both these communities, in ongoing discussion about regeneration and investment in their homes and communities .The successful Independent Community Advisor will help with the consultation process and engage residents through different approaches. They will also mediate discussions between residents and GCH to address residents’ queries and concerns. For a copy of the specification please contact;

Lyn Scudamore – Regen Project Co-ordinator

Tel: 01452 833180 or e-mail: Lyn.Scudamore@gch.co.uk

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Residents Letter June 2018

Below is a copy of the letter that was sent to all residents of Matson and Podsmead in June 2018;

Dear Resident

Thank you to everyone who has helped us shape the future of Matson and Podsmead

In March 2017, we secured Government grant funding to allow us to consult with residents on developing illustrative plans for both Matson and Podsmead that would help shape the future development of new homes and community improvements for both neighbourhoods.

We are writing to say a big thank you to all of you who have attended the numerous consultation events and drop in sessions over the last 12 months. You have helped us to develop our plans based on what you would like to see improved and what you think is needed in your communities to make them a better place to live.

It is important to stress that these plans are illustrative only at this stage and because any investment proposals could take up to 20 years to achieve, we expect that over time, your views may change and our plans may well need to be amended to meet changing needs, so please don’t stop telling us what you think.

Funding the Investment required:

What is clear is that these plans will need a huge amount of financial support to get them off the ground and we know that this is not going to be easy to achieve.  Many of you have asked “Where is the money going to come from?” and we want to be straight and up front with you.

We are continuing to make the case to Government about public funding but nothing has yet been agreed and we have been told by the Ministry of Housing and Homes England, that there is currently no grant money earmarked for community estate regeneration. We do know however that funding opportunities can change rapidly based on Government spending reviews and priorities.  We are also exploring opportunities to attract new partners who may be able to bring additional public and private money into the area to help support the required investment needed.

In the meantime, Gloucester City Homes (GCH) will use its existing resources to continue to improve homes and communities as it has always done and will work in partnership with residents and key agencies / stakeholders to help improve the future for both communities

What happens next?

By the end of this year GCH will have completed the initial informal consultation stage and the City Council hopes to publish draft Supplementary Planning Documents for Matson and Podsmead which will explain the high level planning policy for both estates and formally consult residents on its adoption.

GCH will then consider submitting planning applications for any proposed developments of new homes and facilities and any proposed redevelopments of existing homes and facilities to the City Council, for the Council to approve, amend or reject, following further formal consultation with residents directly affected.

How can I get more information?

All the main questions that you have put forward so far have been answered in our most recent newsletter 4 distributed in May 2018 and are also available on our ‘Shape the Future’ regeneration website: www.shapethefutureglos.co.uk

We are still happy to receive and answer any further questions via the website above or through email: regen@gch.co.uk or call us on 01452 424344. We will, with your permission, pass any questions onto other partners for reply if they are better placed to provide you with the answers you need.

We will continue to let you know of any further progress as and when that happens.

Kind regards

Ashley Green

Chief Executive

Gloucester City Homes

Jon McGinty

Managing Director

Gloucester City Council.

Footnote:

Because there is no more news at the moment and as very few people are now coming to our weekly Tuesday drop-ins at Shape the Future Hub on Matson Parade / and at the Podsmead Big Local we have stopped the drop-ins, with the last session held on the 19th June 2018.

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Matson and Podsmead residents invited to Community Design Event

The communities of Matson and Podsmead are being invited to participate in a series of community sessions to help shape the future of their neighbourhood. The second stage events are taking place in November and will focus upon the future design of the communities.

Regeneration consultation events - Matson 2017 (27)Gloucester City Council has made the renewal of Matson and Podsmead one of its priorities. Working with Gloucester City Homes (GCH) the first step in the process is to produce a plan for each area. The plan (referred to as a Masterplan) will identify the future layout of the neighbourhood showing both existing and proposed housing, streets, open spaces and public buildings. This Masterplan will guide the development of these neighbourhoods over the next 15- 20 years.
Anita Pope, Director of Housing and Communities at GCH adds: “The ideas and feedback of all residents are hugely important to the design, and we want to encourage everyone to have a voice and take this opportunity to create a place that is enjoyable to live in.”The events are taking place on:

Podsmead – Wednesday 15th November – marquee opposite Podsmead shops between 3.30 – 7pm (with presentations at 4pm and 5.30pm)

Matson – Thursday 16th November – at Gloucester Academy between 4 -7pm (with presentations at 4.30pm and 6pm)

All residents should receive a newsletter and many will also receive a visit from the Gloucester City Homes team before the events.

For more information or to leave feedback click here or join the Facebook group www.facebook.com/groups/shapethefutureglos

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