The next open residents meeting of the St James Residents’ Association takes place on Thursday 16th February at 7pm at the Doddridge Centre on St James Road. As well as being able to meet your local Councillors and Police it is also the oppertunity to raise any concerns that may be affecting you or that you are having trouble in resolving. Also on the agenda will be permit parking issues and the latest situation on that. We also have a guest speaker or two lined up. More details when confirmed. Apologies for the mistake in last week’s column, the meeting is as above.
The County Council have informed us of a town wide parking review of its permit parking scheme, and in particular they want your views on whether you want changes to the current system, including disbanding it altogether or variations in the operating hours for example. It is vitally important that as many residents take part as possible to get an accurate idea of what the best way forward is. The last time a review was carried out, two years ago, less than 25% of residents responded despite correspondence being delivered to each household.
This is an excellent time to air your concerns and suggestions on this controversial issue. The council review begins on Friday 20th January and runs until February 10th. Residents can take part in the online survey by visiting the consultation section on the council’s website at www.northamptonshire.gov.uk or by calling the council on Northampton 01604 364566.
Not all residents have internet access however, if this is you there are two other options; you can pop down to the library and use the county council computer there, staff will be only to pleased to help you with this, or you can send your comments to the St. James Residents Association at the Doddridge Centre and we will ensure your comments reach the parking department. Please tell your friends and neighbours.
This issue will be particularly important now the WNDC has given permission for its own Innovation Cube to be built on Black Lion Hill. The notion that no parking will be available on site, bar three disabled bays, will inevitably mean workers and visitors to the building will park in the back streets of St. James, where residents will know how much an issue this already is with commuters and match day parking. The SJRA is due to meet with the Highways department on the above issues on 1st February. In addition they have sent a strong letter of complaint to the WNDC over the lack of consultation on this issue.
As part of the new Enterprise zone that is being set up, people in St. James are being consulted by the Borough Council on the new Local Development Orders that are being drawn up. As part of the Enterprise Zone status the Council is required to provide a genuinely simplified approach to planning rules. The Government is promoting the use of Local Development Orders (LDO) as a means to simplify the process. The ultimate aim of the LDO is to attract new economic development and jobs into the zone through reducing costs and providing certainty for potential developers and businesses. An LDO grants planning permission for a specified type and scale of development, subject to conditions where appropriate. It essentially sets out the type of development that will no longer need to be subject to a planning application. If a proposed development satisfies the requirements of the LDO, it can be assumed that it has planning consent and development can commence straight away. This can bring many benefits to businesses through reduced costs of not having to make a planning application and a speedier development process. Northampton Borough Council has drafted the proposed LDO the St James Employment Area which is now available for consultation until 5 pm on Friday 10 February 2012. It is proposed that the St James Employment Area LDO will allow within the Use Classes Order the use of land and buildings for B1(b) research and development of products or processes, B1 (c) any industrial process being a use which can be carried out in any residential area without detriment to the amenity of that area by reason of noise, vibration, smell fumes, smoke, soot ash, dust or grit and B2 general industrial being a use for the carrying on of an industrial process other than one falling within Class B1 of the Use Classes Order. The LDO will also allow material alterations to the external appearance of buildings, to include the recladding of exteriors; replacement of doors and windows and the installation of new doors and windows; and, the mounting of solar panels on roofs and sides of buildings. You can view the documents if you have not received one through the post online at www.northampton.gov.uk/consultation (follow the link to current consultations), where you can view and download the LDO documents and complete an electronic response form. The St James Library and Central Library have printed copies of the documents available to view. Response forms are also available which can be sent A FREEPOST address has been set up to which all written responses can be sent: Planning Policy, Northampton Borough Council, FREEPOST MID17237, Northampton, NN1 1WJ. Library opening times are as follows: St James Library, 138 St James Road, Northampton, NN5 5LQ (Monday - closed, Tue-Fri 14:00-18:00, Sat 10:00-14:00) Central Library, Abington Street, Northampton, NN1 2BA (Mon-Fri 08:00-18:00, Sat 09:00-17:00). The Planning Reception at the One Stop Shop, St Giles Square, Northampton also has printed copies of the document available to view. Residents are urged to give their views.
The end is nigh! Well it is for the old St. James school anyway, bulldozers are moving in! Contractors are on site and have started recovering recyclable materials before demolition starts proper. Despite, opposition from the residents association the Borough Council planning committee saw fit to approve the plans to demolish the school buildings on Greenwood road and build 14 houses on the site. The building at the front, on St. James Road is being kept and was not part of the application so it is a mystery as to what it is now being converted into. Speculation is that it will probably be the sales office for the new houses. In the original application it was intended for community and enterprise use. Councillor Wire has been asked to investigate.
Residents are also being asked to take part in both councils budget consultations and give their views. Particularly on public safety as both councils are proposing to cut funding to the Police Community Support Officers. The PCSO’s in St. James have been very well received and have played a big part in rducing crime in the area. But since they have taken over responsibility for Castle ward as well they have been very stretched and crime has increased. In Victoria Park alone concerns have been raised at several isolated incidents that have occurred including a serious attack recently. The PCSO’s have done their best to improve matters, but if they are removed all together then there will almost certainly be no one to protect residents from further crimes, particularly as the streetlights being switched out makes it easier for criminals to go about their business. View the respective budget proposals online at both council websites or at the One stop shop in St. Giles St and County Hall in George Row.
People who shop on-line can now give financial help to the residents association. Once you have registered online to help the SJRA at www.easyfundraising.co.uk You can then shop online at your favourite retailers and whatever you purchase a percentage is given to the SJRA. You can also use the easysearch option to search for websites and by doing so each search generates a small donation to the SJRA. It doesn't cost you anything extra but will help the SJRA pay for associated costs of running an association. Everyone is a winner! Find out more at www.sjra.info and follow the links.
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For other news and information why not visit the new look SJRA website at www.sjra.info Or for some more off the cuff views and information visit our blog at www.jimmys-end.blogspot.com .You can contact the SJRA at email@example.com or 07841678018, or firstname.lastname@example.org 07598976919 or write to us care of the Doddridge Centre, 109 St. James Road, St. James, Northampton NN5 5LD.