PEMBERS HILL DRIVE CONSULTATION
RESULTS FROM JULY / AUGUST 2019 – BRIEF ANALYSIS
To enable residents to understand the issues and problems which have been encountered on developing the public open space for everyone we have provided information below which includes the consultation results and the reasoning behind some of the decisions.
It is exceedingly difficult to please everybody, as what is good for one is not so for another. Good quality public open space with facilities has been proved invaluable during these unfortunate lockdowns for people’s mental wellbeing and active lifestyles. The Parish Council wants to ensure that is the case here.
Some things have to be provided and carried out as this was agreed with the developer as part of their planning agreement. This also ensured they provided funding - Developers Contributions to carry out these works and enhancements. This is a legal agreement is known as a Section 106 agreement and is for both parties to sign up to. Often it has been proved preferable for the Borough or Parish Council to implement these works to get the best value.
In July 2019, a questionnaire (hard copy) was circulated to all residents of Pembers Hill Drive with responses back by 12 August 2019. There are 73 houses on the development and a total of 29 questionnaires were returned. The results of the survey are as follows: -
|Type||Yes||Included in our scope|
|Traditional Play Area
|48%||A range of traditional play equipment|
|24%||Soft planting to include wildflowers a bug house.|
|Imaginative Play Area (wooden)
|24%||Some of the play equipment will encourage imaginative play|
|Formal Landscaped Seating Area
|28%||Ornate benches will be strategically placed on site; steering clear of grouping of seats as it could become a magnet for young people to congregate at unsocial hours.|
|31%||The park will be within the exiting greenspace it will not take up the entire area.|
*Note these percentages are from the results of separate questions, so therefore do not add to 100
The highest scoring type of park in the survey was for a traditional play area with sensory and imaginative play getting equal scores. We have therefore included this detail into the scope which we have asked the play park providers to develop into options.
Unfortunately, some of the responses contained objections to the principle of the park however this was not the purpose of the questionnaire. For clarity there is a legal obligation in the Section 106 planning agreement for a play facility. Indeed the questionnaire had an option of leaving the area as a green open space because of initial discussions between EBC and the developer were investigating the possibility of moving the S106 contributions from this site to the larger Pembers Hill Park development, this was later discounted by Planning Officers.
Many residents provided comments within their returned questionnaires, the comments received and the response from the Planning Officers at Eastleigh Borough Council are set out below: -
- From the table below there seems to be mixed messages coming out. With some residents saying no traditional play area, on the other hand, others indicating that they don’t want a wooden imaginative play area either by one vote.
- A sensory garden was requested by 7 residents, this is quite specialist and would have increased revenue maintenance costs. This therefore will be discounted. But soft planting such as wildflowers and bulbs as well as a bug house will be considered.
- Residents want a formal landscaped seating area – if the POS was in the centre of the development (as originally planned), (Increased informal overlooking and therefore informal supervision and ‘too exposed’) this would be ok, but in its current situation it could attract young people to congregate especially later in the evening. However, bespoke carved benches could be installed.
- 9 respondents wanted it to be left as it is. However, there is an obligation in the Section 106 agreement for a LEAP (Local Equipped Area for Play) standard play area. This question was put in as an option as there was initial discussions between EBC and the developer that the S106 contributions from this site be moved to the larger Pembers site. However, officers discounted this as the Pembers Hill Farm provision was some years off and it would also mean people crossing the busy Mortimers Lane.
Of the 29 respondents, 16 would prefer not to have a traditional play area. The preference for alternatives to a traditional play area amongst all 29 respondents is very closely mixed. However, 8 respondents would like a formal landscaped area.
Comments received from the questionnaire included and response to these from Officers: -
- There are enough play areas nearby, leave as open space for street get togethers. Knowle Park is the nearest play area. This is too far for a Local Equipped Area for Play (LEAP) which states it should be within a 5-minute walk from home.
- Add some seating/picnic benches for community events such as bbq’s. Ornate benches will be strategically placed on site; steering clear of grouping of seats as it could become a magnet for young people to congregate at unsocial hours.
- Concerns regarding speed of traffic on two main roads, needs secure fencing. The play area will be fenced. Fencing improvements will be made to the perimeter of the site.
- Natural seating area with wooden benches made from tree trunks. This idea will be investigated.
- Leave as green space for communal events. It is great to see that the community are using the space as a place for small events. Good siting of street furniture and play provision will allow for this.
- Flowers for birds. Play areas and benches encourage antisocial behaviour. The approved landscaping plans must be complied with and include for plants which would attract birds and insects. Not all POS and its facilities attract antisocial behaviour. If it does occur it should be reported to the police. The provision of play facilities is a legal requirement in the Section 106 agreement.
- There are sufficient play facilities in nearby locations would like to see something different. See earlier comments.
- Range of natural play equipment as lots of primary age children on site. Climbing wall or track for bikes and BBQ area. A climbing facility could be incorporated into any play provision. The space is not large enough to have a BMX track. A BBQ area could be investigated.
- No undercover areas for teenagers to loiter must have a bin No young peoples area planned for this area. Litter bins will be installed at strategic points.
PEMBERS HILL DRIVE – TIMELINE
September – EBC approaches Parish Council to accept transfer of the public open space. As the Parish was unaware that the POS included a play area and had not planned for acceptance, the request was refused (formally at Full Council on 15 October 2018).
NB: this development was won on appeal which could account for the lack of knowledge between the authorities.
May – EBC, Drew Smith and Parish Council attend a site visit. Where it is initially agreed that EBC will maintain the land prior to formal transfer pending legal documents. EBC approach Parish again regarding acceptance of transfer of the open space.
July – Parish Council undertake a community consultation to gauge residents’ initial views regarding the use of the Public Open Space.
NB: Initial discussion taking place between EBC and Drew Smith as to possibility of S106 play area contributions being allocated to development across the road. This however is later discounted.
November – Parish Council formally accepts the future transfer of the public open space and to develop the community facilities on site as per the S106 agreement once it became the manager of the land.
December – Parish Council seeks professional support from a Parks and Open Spaces Specialist.
February – following a site visit with the P&OS specialist, the Parish Council raises several concerns with EBC & Drew Smith regarding the land and lack of maintenance.
March – discussions held online between all parties to agree way forward.
Summer – further sites visit undertaken (restrictions allowing)
Winter – legal process underway between EBC & Drew Smith
February – socially distanced site visit held between all parties. Agreed that the Parish Council will take on formal maintenance of the site from May 2021 pending the remaining outstanding land and maintenance issues are resolved. (Including a new perimeter fence)
March – Parish Council tenders for play area using results of 2019 survey as well as looking to incorporate a natural look and feel to the play area and a move away from the traditional brightly coloured play area as reported in the 2019 results.
April - Play Area designs put to public vote.
May – results of public vote to be ratified by Full Council and winning contractor appointed.
This is the winning design:
June – public consultation on installing bespoke bench(s), bulb planting on the public open space.
May – July – play area installation.
August – anticipated date for play area to be opened subject to favourable weather conditions, unforeseen delays and contractor’s availability.
PEMBERS HILL DRIVE PUBLIC OPEN SPACE – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Drew Smith as the Developer should have included this in their sales material. The provision of a LEAP standard play area (that is play facilities for children up to 8 years old) is stipulated in the planning documentation, namely the Section 106 agreement.
At the time, discussions were taking place between the Developer, EBC and the Parish regarding the possibility of reallocating S106 monies to the Pembers Hill Farm development across the road. However, this was discounted as legal advisers confirmed that new homes should have access to play facilities within 5 minutes of their home. And the Pembers Hill Farm development was some way off being built. The facilities on this site will also most likely be aimed at older children.
At the initial site visits in 2019, the land seemed to be in reasonable condition. However further sites visits and through the support of a specialist, several issues of concern came to light such as: - boundary safety issues, dead & dying trees and planting, concerns regarding the methane pipes, compacted PAN of the soil & drainage.
These issues have now been resolved following joint work between all parties. Meaning both EBC and the Parish could formally accept transfer of the land.
No, the play area will be a minimum of 400sqm and will be fenced. Leaving significant space for planting, benches and public art. The play area will also be 30meters away from the nearest property.
The Parish Council is very conscious of the number of local play parks and wants to take a theme holistic & measured approach to the provision installed rather than have the same equipment replicated around the area. The designs companies were asked to design a natural play facility with this in mind.
The Parish Council’s Operations team will undertake daily inspections and maintenance on the play area to ensure their upkeep and appearance as well as cutting of grass, litter picking and general grounds maintenance.
Whilst the provision is primarily for the residents of Pembers Hill, inevitably others will use the facility. We are not able to enforce parking issues. The facility will have fencing and gates for the children’s safety.
The play area will be fairly small in scale. It is a legal requirement (part of the planning agreement) that play facility is put on this site. Not putting something on the site isn’t an option. But views of the community will be taken into account and will have vote in the final design.
There will be some open space remaining to allow informal play/social interaction. The Council is under a legal obligation to provide play equipment.