Great Parks 2 – A Masterplan Gone (Going) Horribly Wrong
Warning: This analysis started off being written in a factual manner. As time wore on it suffered from cynicism and then anger (yes, really).
This is a story of something that could have been (indeed, still could be) a housing development that lives up to its own publicity but instead is on track to be a sell out. A sell out to the very concept of "master planning" and resident consultation.
It typifies why people have lost faith in both the planning process and the councils that oversee planning that process.
Let's start at the beginning: In 2013, Torbay Council engaged in a public consultation to develop a masterplan for an area of land located on the western boundary of Torbay (in fact, the town of Paignton, that is one of three towns that comprise the planning authority that is Torbay; the others being Torquay and Brixham).
Being on the western boundary, and high up a hill, is important because the development can be sold as having views of the green valley to the west, and sea views to the east. A great place to live, as marketing hype likes to say.
The consultation resulted in a 90-page informative document: “Paignton Great Parks Enquiry-by-Design Masterplan Report”. The report is classified as “Supplementary Planning Guidance” so it carries a lot of weight. Or, at least, it should.
The overall aims for the masterplan are to secure:
- A co-ordinated and sustainable phase 2 development
- Greater certainty on the location, style, scale of development, access and infrastructure arrangements;
Here we illustrate how the Masterplan (and wishes of the residents) is being ripped apart. The best way to do this is to work through the Masterplan by doing a before and after visual comparison. It then becomes (painfully) obvious.
The issue is this: A carefully designed and consulted plan for a community housing development has an over-sized, out-of-character, supermarket (and carpark) transplanted onto its most important location, destroying the basic premise of the entire development!
Firstly, the boundaries of the site. The supermarket is shown by a black-rectangle overlay. It has a large carpark as well as the building; and we all know how visually appealing carparks are.
- L. Uden
This needs a proper publicly aired consultation. Trying to do it via the internet is frankly hopeless. Covid restrictions may well mean that any public attended meeting is not possible in the present climate; that being so, decisions on this development should be postponed until such time as it is possible to have a publicly aired debate. After all, Covid restrictions will not be with us forever but the Great Parks development will be.
Could it be that certain parties have spotted that Covid restrictions on large public gatherings, i.e. public enquiries will not happen therefore little if any objections will be heard and so can be virtually ignored so now is a good time to press ahead ?
On a further note; how many houses are expected to be built on this site ? Looking at the plans it would seem to be a very large conglomeration, no doubt attracting families. Where will the children play ? Oh yes, on the supermarket carpark. I forgot about that.
Sorry but whilst I like and shop frequently do, at Lidl I do not see this as the proper place for a supermarket, far better to have a row of smaller shops serving the community, e.g. butcher, newsagent, takeaway, hairdresser etc. and a community centre that can host; mother and toddlers, mobile library, and all of the other things that village halls get used for..