Housing and Planning

621 out of 636 residents are satisfied with Gosfield as a place to live, and 575 of them feel this strongly (question 8).

Question 9 asked if residents felt they generally knew what was going on in Gosfield, The position of this question in the Housing and planning section might suggest, amongst other things, how secure people feel in their knowledge of the state of housing, and the planning process in the village. 495 respondents agreed or strongly agreed (77.8%) which is an encouragly positive response from a well-informed population. Looked at in a negative light, however, there are nearly a quarter, or one in four residents who are less confident. It is not surprising when the very nature of new planning and building development proposals affects villagers and their environment directly.

In view of the responses to questions 8 and 9, it is hardly surprising that only 117(18.4%) replies were in favour of more housing in the village. If this is looked at in the context of some of the other responses in the survey (for example 622 replies were for preserving the quality of the countryside in Gosfield, question 55) the nature of Gosfield, as it is, features importantly. 431 residents disagreed that we needed any more housing – of which 366 disagreed strongly. 74 replies were ‘no opinion’. Clearly this sets a framework for the village views on future housing, and any proposals are likely to be very unpopular. This must underpin planning policy, but by the same token, would it be ethical to ignore the 18% that would like to see more houses?

Question 11 asked what sort of development would be preferred if there was to be any in the village and the answers, in order of priority were:-

  • Owner occupied houses or bungalows (372 for, 54 against)
  • Bungalows for the elderly (321 for, 96 against)
  • First time buyers house or apartment (243 for, 130 against)
  • Social housing provided by a housing association (100 for, 237 against)

The questionnaire asked a series of questions associated with housing and planning issues and the results are listed below in order of strongly agree/agree replies

  • More assistance and advice should be given to promote energy saving (464 agree, 87 disagree)
  • I am concerned about future development on the airfield (448 agree, 62 disagree)
  • I am concerned about future use of Cory’s old depot (444 agree, 52 disagree)
  • In the context of planning/architectural design not enough importance is placed on the history of Gosfield (344 agree, 74 disagree)
  • The village envelope needs redesigning (198 agree, 246 disagree)

Issues raised

  • Most of Gosfield residents have stated a preference for preserving the village feel and environment, and new development is generally not welcome. However, nearly one in five replies would like to see some development, with owner occupied houses and bungalows for the elderly receiving the most support. Additional comments made in the questionnaires supported this, although there were the most comments for no housing at all.
  • Any planning for the village will have to take these views into account. Keeping the village as it is was not the only reason for opposing further development. Four comments pointed out that the village infrastructure could not cope well with extra development – particularly roads and sewers.
  • Clearly future planning must give priority to maintaining a village atmosphere, and any sizeable future developments will receive little support and will be difficult to justify. Consideration should be given to modest extra provision for a mix of housing, to include bungalows for the elderly, owner occupied homes and starter homes. There does not appear to be strong support for social housing, but not massive opposition either. 100 people in favour should not be ignored.
  • There is concern about commercial and industrial development in the village – principally on the fears surrounding the capability of the existing infrastructure, and its impact on the nature of the village itself. Any plans in this respect need to be supported with appropriate provision for roads and traffic.

In short, the residents of Gosfield are anxious to keep Gosfield as a relatively quiet rural village with a mix of dwellings and light industry. Any large scale development would be unwelcome, as would any other proposal that would change our village environment or community.

Vision for the Future

Gosfield should remain a village environment, and if any development is agreed it should respect the size, and rural nature of the community. There is no demand for any large scale development or significant change in the type of housing stock available. However, small scale proposals for specific housing needs would have to be considered in the light of the limited and qualified support evidenced in the survey.

What next?

Parish Council Aims;

  • Support the production of a Village Design Statement
  • Maintain a village environment

What could you do?

  • Make your views known on planning applications