Little Bollington Parish Meeting
Did you notice all the lights go up across the village at Christmas time? More properties than ever decided to brighten up their home patch in defiance of the gloom in our lives caused by the lockdown and the pandemic - not to mention the dreadful weather. For a while we had some cheer in the village to lift our spirits. On Park View / High Field people went further by setting up a huge Christmas tree with lights on the green in front of their properties. Special thanks are due to Gail and Andy Blackburn and to Thomas Britton and Anna McNamara for their generous contributions of time, work and money to make this possible. The tree had such an uplifting effect that residents decided to leave it in place for the whole month of January. Some also left their garden lights in place, clinging onto this glimmer of hope for a few more weeks.
The long periods of lockdown have resulted in a very high number of visitors coming into or through our village. Most days, until the more recent tighter
restrictions and guidelines imposed in January, there was a constant stream of people visiting this beautiful area - despite the poor weather and the excessively muddy paths. Many local people have reported concerns about some of the effects of this influx. The two main concerns have been parking problems and litter.
Car parking has often extended along the entire length of Park Lane. Many have parked on the pavement causing pedestrians to walk in the narrow road. Unfortunately this led to a few altercations and an accident. The Police, the National Trust and our Cheshire East Ward Councillor, Kate Parkinson, are all involved in seeking the best solution. The police have placed warning notices about illegal parking and the imposition of fines. They are undertaking a survey of residents and visitors to understand the views and wishes of all parties. The various agencies are coming together to consider the findings and ideas for solving the problem. Your views, suggestions and ideas are welcome.
The problem of litter has also been worse during lockdown. With many more people passing through the village, there is an inevitable increase in rubbish dropped or left behind. Some of this included coffee cups and other items purchased in Dunham Massey Park. During lockdown, all refreshments in the Park must be sold as take away items. The park cafes will re-open at the first opportunity and the litter problem should then reduce considerably.
The National Trust are aware of these problems and share residents’ concerns. They have placed sacks for litter and they are undertaking frequent litter picks of the path from the Park to the Bollin footbridge. The park guides, many of them volunteers, have willingly taken on this extra responsibility and deserve our gratitude. The Trust will also support litter picking in the village by providing equipment (litter grabbers, bags and bag hoops) and disposing of rubbish collected. We hope that residents will volunteer to help keep our village clean and tidy. Please consider offering up a few hours of your time to help clear litter.
These problems are not unique to Little Bollington. Similar problems have been reported during lockdown in villages and rural locations across the country. There is clear evidence that the increased visitor numbers are a direct result of the lockdown, with so many people based at home and looking for places for activity and exercise. The problems should ease when lockdown ends, but the local agencies will monitor the situation and continue to support our community.
Please get in touch with your views on these issues. And please volunteer to help with the litter picking. Many hands will make light work - and will be more effective.
In January the Cheshire East Strategic Planning Board considered the
application for an extension to the temporary planning permission for the site compound near the Bowdon roundabout.
There was concern among the local community about the statement in the application that “it is considered entirely justified and reasonable to grant a permanent permission. However.... we are limiting the application to 5 years” to 2025. The Planning Officers report to the Board stated: “the issue is how long this permission is extended for...... Galliford Try’s project plan indicates main works will be complete by July 2022”. Regarding HS2 he stated that the planning team “have not seen very special circumstances why they have to be on this site. We need to be convinced that this is the right site for them to be located. We don’t have the evidence to recommend that at the moment.” The applicant’s representative explained that the M56 project had suffered delays, especially due to the Coronavirus pandemic. He added that there is a risk of further delays and the need for further time to decommission the site. He
requested an extension to the end of 2023. Some Councillors shared the
concern that the M56 works could run on beyond July 2022. The Planning
Officer advised that the Board could increase the allowed period, say to
December 2022, but that there is no evidence to justify an extension beyond that date.
Board members recognised the need for further time for the site compound for the M56 works. But they were very concerned to protect the Green Belt. The Chair asked the Planning Officer to clarify whether repeated temporary consents, which allowed buildings and hard standings, would lead to a presumption that the land is suitable for development. The Planning Officer confirmed that the underlying policy is Green Belt, which is given very strong protection. This means that at the end of the temporary permissions the site must be returned to open land. He stressed that the Green Belt is a “very high bar” and even temporary use of the land is only allowed in “very exceptional
The Board made a proposal for the temporary planning permission for the site compound to be extended to December 2022. It was felt that this would be reasonable, would allow leeway for possible further delays, and would “focus minds to get the work finished by the end of 2022.” The proposal added that the other original condition must remain, which requires the site to be restored to open land on completion. The proposal was approved by the Planning Board. It is hoped that this is a fair decision for the applicants and the best outcome for the local community.
FLOODING IN LITTLE BOLLINGTON
This area of Cheshire suffered severe flooding on 20-21 January. This was even worse than the flooding of August 2019 and the worst in living memory – even for those over 80 years old.
The River Bollin in Little Bollington overflowed, with floodwater spreading over vast areas of farmland adjacent to Dunham Massey Park and in Little Bollington. Bollington Mill, next to the river, was utterly devasted. The ground floor was inundated. All residents of the mill were called to evacuate at about 2am due to the property being surrounded by floodwater and inaccessible to emergency vehicles.
The river rose so high that flood water spread up Park Lane past the Swan With Two Nicks. The pub was devastated with damage to stock and equipment valued at many thousands of pounds. Bollington Hall Farm nearby also suffered internal flooding. The electricity substation was flooded and most of the area suffered a power cut from 12 midnight to 12 noon.
Other areas far from the main river were also badly affected, especially at the south end of Spode Green Lane. With the river system overloaded and heavy rain falling on already saturated ground, the floodwaters could not drain away. Coe Lane turned into a river, gardens were drowned out and two properties were swamped with floodwater leading to families having to evacuate.
Contact: Parish Clerk: Mike Reed, 25 High Field 07766 083765 (m)