We’d like to make the following comments on the draft NDP paper. First though, a couple of caveats: firstly we are new to the area (we moved here in August 2015) so ours will be first impressions and without a thorough understanding and knowledge of the village and its issues; secondly I’m afraid we’ve had to read through rather hurriedly so apologies if we’ve missed something or reference the draft inaccurately.
There are eight bullets listed as being of particular relevance to Tanworth-in-Arden. We would add two more:
– social; something about the demographic and ensuring the village attracts and sustains a healthy spread
– services i.e. amenities, services, clubs, school, shops, recycling facilities, children’s play area etc.
The paragraph on Tanworth Village Centre notes parking and congestion issues. I would add also a lack of amenities (shop, children’s play area, foot ways/pavements).
Regarding the section on transport:
– I understand the village currently has an ageing demographic. During the period covered by the NDP this is likely to change, therefore we should guard against planning for the future based on the views of current respondents. If currently the majority of residents are retired there will of course not be many using the rail service to commute. But this will change and we should make provision for that. Birmingham is growing as a centre for business and we should also consider it likely that residents will want to connect with HS2 (assuming it goes ahead) and fast links to London. It should also be an overriding aim to reduce reliance on cars to commute. In summary, it would seem logical to increase and improve train services over the period. We don’t know enough about how the deep cutting/ access to the station precludes further development or the land surrounding the station but to the uninitiated there would seem, potentially, to be land available for perhaps a station car park/ bike park?
Not sure about the numbers commuting by bike. If low perhaps again that’s due to in part to the current demographic. But there seem to be lots of recreational cyclists. Would it be worth doing a survey on the numbers and what they bring to the village (local businesses, well being etc)?
There appears to be nothing in the document about walking. We see this as a significant omission and would like to see something about foot ways (by which we mean a safe route on roads for pedestrians) and footpaths (by which we mean paths through fields). Tanworth seems to us to be not well suited for safe walking, either within the village centre (for example from The Green to the tennis courts along Bates Lane or around the school) or between the village centre, Wood End and Earlswood. Foot ways and footpaths would connect everything, help to relieve the parking and congestion issues in the village centre, promote wellbeing by encouraging people to walk rather than use their car and improve mobility, independence and sociability for children/ younger residents by making it possible for them to move safely around the village (this could increase use of local amenities such as the tennis courts, village hall, Umberslade, the Lakes etc. A slight aside, but were there a foot way to the tennis courts/ rec this would seem to us a possible location for a children’s play area, which we’re aware is under consideration and something the village desperately needs in our view). We would like a foot way connecting Wood End and the village centre either along either Vicarage Hill or Tom Hill. Realistically the only safe option currently is to drive (and sometimes even that’s a bit hairy!), which seems illogical and a missed opportunity, particularly given the aforementioned congestion and parking issues in the centre. There is a fantastic footpath though the fields linking Wood End with the village centre which is impassable at times due to mud (access at by the river is through a channel used by livestock which turns it into a quagmire) and also “lively/aggressive(!)” livestock. Could this be improved?
I think that covers our main points, I hope they are of some use.