A meeting was held last week with The Homes and Communities Association (HCA) in regards to the recent developments at Laundry Field.
John Cottrell the Area Team Leader from the HCA gave those that attended a run down of the HCA's involvement and possible intentions with the site and a synopsis of this meeting is below:
The HCA bought the Blackberry Hill Hospital Site (not including the secure unit) and Laundry Field in March/April 2009.
Land Agents gave a Red Book Appraisal (valuation) of the hospital site only (not including Laundry Field) based on the potential for housing using recommended government housing density per hectare figures. This was calculated to be 350 homes. This figure was then used to confirm the purchase price of the land.
No plans for the site have been drawn up and the site will not come into full ownership until July 2010 when the NHS has to either vacate or buy back the land.
Currently the HCA has no monies allocated for the site and as such cannot progress with any consultation or draw up plans.
The HCA currently has 4 options
1. Consult over proposals when funding available
2. Bring a partner on board to fund consultation and subsequent development (e.g. Barrat/Bovis etc...)
3. Do nothing
4. Sell the Land to the highest bidder.
By the end of our discussions all felt that options 1 and 3 would be the best outcome for everyone.
Then the subject of Laundry Field came up and the signs.
The signs have been put up by the HCA to protect themselves as landowners and limit their public liability. This means that if they put a sign up saying private land do not enter and a member of the public goes onto that land and hurts themselves then they can be shown as advising the public to not go on the land and thus cannot be held accountable.
The signs are legal and the HCA has no intention of taking them down. However we shall be writing to the HCA to see if they will change their appearance as a minimum.
As no plans have been drawn up for the site ideas were bounced around as to what the potential for the site development would be and whether or not Laundry Field would be developed. The HCA felt that there would be some development of Laundry Field possibly around the outside, but this would form part of the consultation process.
The group understood that this was a possibility and stated that it would rather see no development on the field, but also appreciated that any developer would like to develop the field to some degree and thanked John Cottrell for his honesty on the subject.
The meeting ended on good terms and all those that attended felt that the HCA was an organisation that would pay a high regard to to views of the local residents and was glad to hear that pre consultation would be started at an early stage depending on what option over the land was decided.
Please watch this space for any further news and please add comments as the feeback can be used in future meetings.