By Andrea Burns,2014-08-12 18:50
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Introduction. Burbage is one of the largest villages in the countrywith a population of approximately 17,000. The

    village remains one of the most popular settlements in the county with residents enjoying a semi-rural location with good access to major cities of the East and West Midlands via the national trunk road and motorway system. Burbage has a number of footpaths, bridleways and the Ashby canal to provide easy access to the Leicestershire countryside. There is a real community spirit with a number of local groups providing a range of recreational and cultural activities. Each May the Burbage Community Arts Festival brings music, drama, dance and the arts to a number of venues in the village. Burbage Carnival, held each June, brings young and old together for a day of fun in aid of local charities.

    The railway line and a narrow green area of separation, is all that separates the village from its neighbour the town of Hinckley. Residents are concerned that increasingly, the Borough Council appears to treat the village as a district of its larger neighbour rather than a settlement in its own right with its individual characteristics and needs.

    In the past 30 years there has been a population explosion in Burbage and the number of properties has grown by over 141%. There have been a number of factors which have contributed to this but primarily people have moved to Burbage from other areas because of the choice of housing available and its location, which makes it an ideal base for those who work in many neighbouring towns and cities and some who work further afield. The M69 and A5 provide easy access to the national trunk road and motorway networks, especially the M1, M6, M42 and M40 with onward routes to all corners of Britain.

    Expansion has, however, come at a price. Many of the green fields around the village have been eaten up by housing development and the separate communities of old Burbage, Sketchley and Three Pots have merged into Burbage as it is today.

    There has been a lack of development in infrastructure for Burbage residents, including social meeting places, recreational space, public transport and off-road parking. In particular there is a perceived shortage of things for young people (12 to 18 year olds) to do in their leisure time. Meanwhile easily accessible shopping facilities in Hinckley and at both ends of the M69 have resulted in a reduction in the range of shops in all parts of the village. There has also been a lack of investment in leisure and recreational facilities, as developers have been allowed to compensate for the loss of open space through the provision of small pieces of land within their developments. These often provide no useful amenity value to residents and are expensive for the Parish Council to maintain.

    Junction 1 of the M69 at Burbage is the only one of that motorway’s two junctions providing access to and from Coventry and this means vehicles from all over Burbage and Hinckley and its hinterland drive through the village to access the motorway network. As a result, Rugby Road is heavily congested and adjacent roads have become rat runs as drivers try to avoid the jams. Recent large-scale housing developments at Burbage Meadows, De Flamville Park, Regency Gardens and Coventry Road (Hinckley) have significantly increased the number of daily vehicle movements on the already congested local road network.

    Two centuries of industrial development have undoubtedly made life better for the residents of Burbage in ways that would have been unimaginable even a generation ago. But it has also brought increasing damage to the physical systems and social fabric on which our well-being depends. It is clear we cannot sustain continued development and the need for a change of direction is urgent. What we need now is a different kind of development, one that meets people’s needs without compromising our future. For this to be sustainable, we must take full account of the social, economic and environmental impacts of planning and development decisions, over the long term.

    Burbage cannot sustain continued large-scale housing development. We now need investment in infrastructure to provide the facilities and services that will improve the quality of life for existing residents whilst at the same time ensuring that the natural systems, resources and diversity upon which they depend are maintained and enhanced both for their benefit and for that of future generations. To achieve this, we need to convince national, regional and local planning authorities that strategies must be put in place to address the concerns of the people of Burbage. This plan is one way of alerting local and regional government agencies and of suggesting some ways in which a number of our concerns

     Burbage Community Plan Executive Summary 1

    can be addressed. Local Parish, Borough and County councillors will also play their part in pressing for change to ensure that the village remains an attractive and viable settlement in the years ahead.

What are the issues facing Burbage?

1. Improving Transport Facilities.

    Since the opening of the M69 in 1976, the population of Burbage has grown considerably. This has brought with it significant problems from a massive increase in traffic movements. Not only are our roads heavily congested at peak times, but also, road safety and, in particular, the problems of speeding vehicles are seen as key issues to be addressed.

    The lack of access to the M69 in both directions at the Sapcote Road junction is seen as a major contributor to increased levels of through traffic, especially along the Rugby Road and Brookside, which also suffers because low railway bridges on Rugby Road and the A5 force heavy goods vehicles to use the road to get into and out of Hinckley town centre.

    Public transport is provided by both buses and trains (via Hinckley Railway Station). However, restricted hours of operation and only a few routes running, mostly into Hinckley for onward connections, means that public transport does not, for many people, offer a viable alternative to the car.

Survey Results:

    Transport issues are some of the biggest problems experienced by Burbage residents, both in terms of the nuisance that it causes and the difficulties in travelling in and around the village.

    ; 80% of journeys of any description are made by car, with the exception of journeys to school

    and other short journeys to local shops and pubs which are largely made on foot.

    ; Bus journeys do not figure highly in the responses to our survey, with a maximum of 10% of

    journeys for some shopping trips made by bus, and these tend to be by children travelling to


    ; Bus and Rail travel are seen as either good or average by most adults and children, with

    accessibility rating slightly higher than frequency and cost.

    ; Young people see improvements to the bus service as a priority, possibly because they wish to

    have some independence to the option of travel with their parents.

    ; The problem areas for road users are speeding traffic, poor parking especially in the old village

    centre, rat runs, traffic congestion and dangerous junctions.

    ; Young people, who make more journeys by foot, and the elderly see the lack of safe crossings

    and traffic calming measures as problem areas.

    What are we trying to achieve?

    We want to address the traffic problems that seriously impact on life in the village and by doing so reduce congestion, improve road safety, provide safe pedestrian routes and promote viable alternatives to the car, particularly for short journeys.

How can we achieve this?

    We need to reduce congestion by:

    ; lobbying for additional multi-directional access points to the M69 at Sapcote Road and/or close

    to the new Earl Shilton Bypass

    ; installing traffic signalling on the A5/M69 roundabout

    ; campaigning to have the rail bridges on the A5 near Nutts Lane and on Rugby Road raised in

    order to reduce the number of lorries driving through the village

    ; further restricting the size of lorries permitted to use roads in the village

    ; encouraging road improvement schemes that keep traffic flowing.

    We need to improve road safety by:

    ; reducing traffic speed throughout the village

    ; creating 20 mph zones around local schools

    ; further restricting parking in the vicinity of local schools

    ; extending traffic calming measures

    ; increasing the provision of pedestrian crossings throughout the village e.g. near to Coventry

    Road/Rugby Road junction, Sketchley Road and Brookside

    ; further improving the A5 between the M69 and the Dodwell’s roundabout

    ; identifying and redesigning unsafe road junctions

    ; identifying and addressing rat runs e.g. Herald Way and Wolvey Road.

     Burbage Community Plan Executive Summary 2

    We want to increase the provision of parking, particularly in the village centre by:

    ; creating a village centre car park

    ; negotiating with local churches/businesses to access parking in or close to the village centre

    ; increasing secure parking for cycles and motor cycles.

    We should be encouraging the use of alternatives to the car by:

    ; lobbying for improved integration between various public transport nodes to offer a realistic

    alternative to the car

    ; developing safe pedestrian routes linking housing estates, schools, shops and other facilities

    Implement community transport schemes at the times and along routes that are needed,

    especially by young and older residents.

    ; encouraging schools to introduce or expand walk to school initiatives

    ; implementing community transport schemes at the times and along routes that are needed,

    especially by young and older residents

    ; completing the village cycle network

    ; increasing secure parking for cycles and motor cycles.

2. Future Housing Needs.

    Developers have targeted Burbage because its location and popularity mean a greater return on investment with house prices significantly above those achieved in other settlements in the area.

    In recent years developers have concentrated on the creation of housing estates of predominantly 4 and 5 bedroom executive homes. Houses in the village can achieve high sale prices and, as values have soared, local people have found it increasingly difficult to join the property ladder. Available council housing stock within the village is limited and even so called affordable homes in Burbage are priced far in excess of the average prices for the county. Many residents are concerned that young people and the elderly are being squeezed out of the local housing market and believe strongly that any future development must focus on affordable housing and appropriate accommodation for the elderly.

Survey Results.

    Over 50% of adults responding to our survey had lived in Burbage for more than 20 years. Although their reasons for choosing to live in Burbage are varied, three reasons stand out above the others, these are location, the choice of available housing and because of existing family living in Burbage.

    Most people believe the quality of housing is good, with only a few instances of problems with boarded up or derelict properties. Unkempt trees and hedges are seen as an environmental problem, although only a few people see their neighbours’ behaviour as a problem.

    When it comes to housing the future requirements for residents of Burbage hinge around the protection of the open space around the village and provision of affordable housing and sheltered housing for the elderly, their top priorities are:

    ; Protect the green fields around Burbage from further housing developments.

    ; Restrict further housing development to within the existing settlement boundary.

    ; Build more local affordable housing especially for existing residents.

    ; Build more sheltered housing for the elderly of the village.

What are we trying to achieve?

    We want to protect Burbage from the seemingly endless onslaught of the housing developers. If further housing is needed it should address local need for affordable housing and accommodation for the elderly. Such development, we believe, can be accommodated by utilising previously developed (Brownfield) sites within the existing settlement boundary. The few remaining green fields around the village must be protected if the deficit of leisure and recreational space is to be addressed.

How can we achieve this?

    We need to halt the onslaught by the developers by:

    ; persuading the planning authorities that further large-scale housing development in Burbage is

    not sustainable

    ; persuading the planning authorities to target any new large-scale housing development along

    the route of the new Earl Shilton Bypass.

    ; maintaining the existing settlement boundary

    ; protecting the remaining green fields around the village from development by finding the

    designation that gives them maximum protection

    ; reviewing the commuted sums (developer contributions) scheme to ensure that developer

    contributions adequately compensate the community for the loss of amenity

     Burbage Community Plan Executive Summary 3

    We should ensure that there is an appropriate mix of housing available to meet the needs of local residents by:

    ; reviewing current affordable housing policies and finding ways to encourage housing

    association involvement, shared equity schemes etc

    ; ensuring that any further development is targeted at small scale affordable housing and

    appropriate accommodation for the elderly.

    ; calling for the remaining council housing in Burbage to be retained in local authority control We want to address the problems that have been created by a massive increase in housing without a commensurate increase in infrastructure by tackling:

    ; traffic congestion

    ; the deficit of leisure and recreation facilities

    ; the decline in shops and services

    ; environmental impacts.

3. Preserving and Enhancing our Built Heritage.

    Burbage is steeped in history. Whether one considers relics discovered in local fields dating back to Neolithic times, the many historic buildings or some of the famous historical figures associated with the village, we have a heritage of which we can be proud.

    The Conservation Area in the centre of the old village was established in February 1973. From that date the many historic buildings that lie between Hinckley Road to the north and Windsor Street to the south have enjoyed a degree of protection.

    Although the creation of the Conservation Area has been a popular development, more still has to be achieved. For example, the street lighting is not in character with the surrounding buildings. Signage and other street furniture also need to be reviewed and, where necessary, changed to be in character with the buildings in the Conservation Area. This is important not just to enhance the street scene for local residents but also to aid the village’s efforts to increase tourism. Some residents believe that a conservation area should also be created in Sketchley Old Village. Others feel that a number of buildings of character, outside the existing Conservation Area, should be protected.

    Listed Status is often difficult to obtain and therefore we need actively consider the implementation of a system of Local Listings. Even though such listings give no legal protection to buildings, they serve two important purposes. Firstly, they highlight buildings of local importance, history and character and secondly, they alert the planning authorities to take particular interest when planning applications, likely to impact on these buildings, come forward.

    Many residents have called for a design strategy to ensure that any further development is of good quality and in keeping with the best aspects of the old village centre and Sketchley Old Village. The Parish Council has developed and adopted a design strategy to be used in conjunction with this Community Plan. Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council has been asked to adopt the design strategy as Supplementary Planning Guidance.

What are we trying to achieve?

    We want to celebrate, preserve and where possible enhance the best features of our village’s historical character and to ensure that any new development, of any kind, is in keeping with it.

How can we achieve this?

    Within the Conservation Area:

    ; reviewing street lighting, signage and other street furniture and, where appropriate, ensuring

    that the street scene is in character with the Conservation Area.

    Outside the Conservation Area:

    ; properties of interest and character should be identified and proposed for listed status by

    English Heritage

    ; properties of interest and character should be identified and a system of local listings should be

    introduced for those not given listed status by English Heritage

    ; consideration should be given to creating a Conservation Area in Sketchley Old Village

    ; telecommunication masts should not be situated within 500 metres of residential areas and


    ; the Burbage Design Strategy should be regularly updated and should be adopted by the

    Borough Council as Supplementary Planning Guidance

    ; as a matter of urgency, Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council should review the way in

    which potential archaeological sites are assessed during the planning process. The system

    should be amended so that archaeologists are appointed by the Planning Authority (funded by

     Burbage Community Plan Executive Summary 4

    the developer), carry out their work against published guidelines and under the direct

    supervision of council officers.

    Promoting the heritage of the Village:

    ; a museum celebrating Burbage’s history should be established.

    ; a resource base of photographs, maps, artefacts and

    reminisces by local people should be developed before these resources are lost forever.

4. Creating Employment Opportunities.

    Burbage no longer has any large-scale employers. There are however a range of small and medium size enterprises but many of these businesses are located on the periphery of the village. As a number of factories and businesses have closed in the village there has been a knock-on affect on transport, as more and more people travel outside the village to work, and on local shops with fewer people in the village during the day. The village needs to retain existing business premises and promote opportunities to develop business and retail schemes to enhance economic and social vitality. Whereas it is unlikely that large-scale businesses will be attracted to these sites, there is an opportunity to develop incubation units as a proving ground for new businesses.

    Job creation within the village should remain a priority. Skills shortages have been reported by a number of local businesses and if people who are out of work are to take advantage of work opportunities they require access to appropriate training. Employment provided locally needs to be easily accessible by public transport and, if we are to reinvigorate the village centre, some will need to be close to residential areas. This means that people without access to a car will be able to take those jobs and keep to a minimum travel-to-work traffic time.

    The Borough Council is under some pressure to identify a strategic employment site for development during the life of this plan. Various sites around the village have been suggested as possible locations for such a site. The only site in the village that should be considered, if a strategic employment site has to be found, is Jericho Farm.

    As a community we must do all we can to support local businesses providing employment to local people. If the village is to retain existing businesses and if it is to encourage other businesses to come to Burbage, we have to create the right environment to enable those businesses to succeed.

What are we trying to achieve?

    To establish the conditions to support existing businesses, to encourage new businesses to come to the village and to create a local labour market that offers a range of employment opportunities and provides employers with appropriately skilled and experienced workers.

How can we achieve this?

    Establishing the factors impacting on the viability of local businesses by:

    ; supporting the Burbage Traders Association(BTA), made up of local business people, in its

    work to identify the factors inhibiting business development

    ; asking the BTA to consider what can be done to assist existing businesses and to encourage

    new employers to locate in Burbage

    ; promoting the business support services of the Chamber of Commerce.

    Ensuring that, wherever possible, employment sites within the village are retained for employment use:

    ; identifying all existing employment sites in the village and ring-fencing them in the Local

    Strategic Plan

    ; investigating ways of establishing incubation units to nurture starter businesses.

    Providing employers with a pool of appropriately skilled and experienced staff to address local skills shortages by:

    ; discussing with the Learning & Skills Council, North Warwickshire & Hinckley College and local

    schools how they can best meet the training needs of local businesses and the village’s


    ; actively supporting government initiatives to encourage employers to offer training

    opportunities to employees.

    Encouraging local people to play their part in supporting local businesses by:

    ; promoting local businesses through the press, at the Millennium Hall and in the parish


    ; encouraging local people to patronise local businesses, shops and services wherever possible.

     Burbage Community Plan Executive Summary 5

5. Supporting Local Shops and Services.

    Burbage has some excellent shops ranging from small independent family retailers to a branch of the East Midlands Co-op offering a valuable service to the community. In recent years local shops have faced difficult times as out of town shopping malls have sprung up on the outskirts of nearby towns and cities. Changing employment patterns in the village have also had an impact. The closure of local factories has meant fewer people using village shops in their breaks and lunch hours. The potential impact of the proposed redevelopment of Hinckley Town Centre is a cause for concern for many local shopkeepers.

    The village also has an excellent range of hotels, bed and breakfast establishments, pubs, restaurants and takeaways.

    Active consideration is now being given to the establishment of regular farmers/craft markets in the village. This is an example of the village looking for a niche activity that will draw residents and visitors to the village centre and hopefully generate additional business for existing shops.

What are we trying to achieve?

    To establish the conditions to support existing shops and services and to encourage new businesses to come to the village.

How can we achieve this?

    Identifying the factors impacting on the viability of local shops and services by:

    ; supporting the Burbage Traders Association (BTA), made up of local business people, to

    identify the factors inhibiting business development

    ; asking BTA to consider what can be done to assist existing shops and services and to

    encourage new ones to locate in Burbage

    ; the Parish Council committing itself to supporting the working party and lobbying on its behalf.

    Finding ways of generating additional trade for existing shops and services by:

    ; following on from the success of the Christmas Victorian evenings that proved so popular in

    2003 support themed events to promote village shops and services

    ; launching a regular farmers’ market in Windsor Street

    ; investigating the possibility of establishing a regular craft market

    ; encouraging local people to use local shops and service providers whenever possible.

    Improving on and off road parking facilities in the village centre by:

    ; establishing a village centre car park

    ; negotiating with local churches/businesses access to parking spaces for public parking in or

    close to the village centre.

    6. Reducing the Deficit in Land and Facilities for Sport, Leisure &


    Burbage residents who are involved in formal sports tend to use facilities owned, and in most cases managed, by the Parish Council. Many of these facilities are used by the general public when they are not in use by organised clubs.

    ; Available facilities include, football, rugby and cricket pitches, a bowling green, and tennis court.

    Not all of these have suitable changing facilities but there is a bowls pavilion at Rugby Road,

    Cricket Pavilion at Hinckley Road, and first class changing facilities at the Millennium Hall in

    Britannia Road.

    ; Most schools have an active sports programme, and make use of their own sports facilities, but

    these are generally not available for use by the public, even outside of normal school hours.

    ; Burbage Sports Council exists to provide a forum for the various clubs to meet and discuss

    ways of improving facilities, and increasing access to facilities in the village. This is also

    attended by Parish Council representatives, but lacks the involvement of representatives from

    all local schools.

    ; What people do in their leisure time covers a range of activities, but this can include the use of

    restaurants, pubs, meeting places, clubs and churches, as well as cinemas and theatres.

    ; Hinckley has a theatre, the Concordia, but does not have a Cinema. The nearest cinemas are

    in Nuneaton, Coventry and Leicester. All of these locations also have adjacent Ten Pin

    Bowling facilities.

    ; A range of restaurants and pubs in Burbage offer a variety of styles of food and drink.

    ; The two main clubs are the Liberal Club and Burbage Constitutional Club.

    ; The Millennium Hall provides a venue for public and private events, as well as changing

    facilities for use by those using sports pitches.

     Burbage Community Plan Executive Summary 6

    ; Other meeting places include the various schools and churches, which tend to be used by

    organised groups such as Scouts and Guides and occasionally for informal or social gatherings.

    ; The Parish Council proposes to establish and develop a Country Park from Rugby Road to

    Lutterworth Road to provide much needed informal recreation and leisure space in public


Survey Results.

    Burbage residents engage in a wide range of sport, leisure and recreational activities. Where

    facilities are not available in Burbage people will travel to other nearby towns and cities. This is true of all age groups, although younger people tend to participate in a greater variety of activities. For the most part when travelling to recreational activities people rely on their own transport and this is predominantly the car.


    In general the perception of the public and people who use Parish Council facilities is that there is a shortage of suitable venues, both in terms of the number and type of facilities e.g. tennis courts. The maintenance of the pitches does not always meet the expectations of the public.

Key problem areas identified include:

    ; Maintaining the standards of pitches.

    ; Lack of co-ordination of sporting activities.

    ; Lack of space to extend outdoor sports facilities in both number and type.

    These problems are reflected in peoples’ opinions that the sports facilities provided are only of an

    average to good standard.

Leisure and Recreation:

    Young people engage in a very broad range of activities and clubs which are not always local. Cinemas and Bowling are high on the list of priorities, with almost equal proportions of people using facilities at Leicester, Coventry and Nuneaton.

    ; The lack of cinema and bowling facilities in Burbage or Hinckley and of places to meet with

    friends are a concern for young and old alike who do not always see pubs and restaurants as

    suitable meeting places.

    ; Many people see entertaining at home as their only alternative, with most young people listing

    watching television, playing music and video games as some of the things they do in their

    spare time.

    ; Burbage has a significant deficit of open space for informal recreation, although the majority of

    residents of all ages see the areas of open space that it has as above average.

    ; Many young people hang around the streets with friends because of a lack of places to meet

    outside of their parental home. They expect an increased variety and number of outdoor sport

    facilities and would like a sports hall or leisure centre to be built in the village.

    ; Pubs are generally seen as good, with very few people saying they are poor.

    ; Activities such as skateboarding and BMX did not feature highly, perhaps reflecting their limited

    appeal compared to multi-purpose facilities.

What are we trying to achieve?

    We want to provide sufficient high quality formal and informal space to meet the diverse sporting, leisure and recreational needs of our community.

How can we achieve this?

    We urgently need to address the existing deficit in formal recreational space by:

    ; lobbying Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council to develop strategies and to set aside funds

    to address the deficit of leisure and recreational facilities in the village

    ; protecting the remaining green fields around Burbage and earmarking some for future leisure

    uses in the Local Strategic Plan

    ; continuing to put monies aside in the Parish Council’s budget for the future purchase of land for

    sport, leisure and recreational use

    ; reviewing developer contributions so that they truly reflect profits and make a realistic financial

    contribution to the provision of sport, leisure and recreation facilities in the village

    ; ensuring that existing recreation facilities (both public and private) and open spaces (including

    allotments) are adequately protected against future development pressures

    ; assessing the availability of leisure and recreation facilities in each Parish ward and, where

    possible, addressing any deficit.

     Burbage Community Plan Executive Summary 7

We must improve existing sport, leisure and recreational facilities by:

    ; evaluating and improving, where possible, current land management and maintenance

    procedures and policies

    ; ensuring that all facilities meet appropriate standards of safety and security and are properly

    maintained. Any repairs should be carried out in a speedy and efficient manner

    ; making sure that facilities meet the needs of the widest possible range of users and are easily

    accessible and affordable

    ; providing support to local sport and recreation organisations so that the use of facilities is


    We need to create new facilities to meet the needs of a broader range of users than those currently catered for by:

    ; investigating innovative ways to finance and manage new facilities in partnership with the

    public/private sector

    ; exploring potential partnerships with facility providers to offer a greater range of amenities

    within the community

    ; developing a Country Park from Rugby Road to Lutterworth Road

    ; developing a multi-purpose leisure centre catering for a range of indoor and outdoor sports and


    ; establishing a permanent youth centre

    ; creating a formal garden in the village, perhaps as part of a new leisure complex

    ; establishing a museum celebrating the history of Burbage and nearby settlements, perhaps as

    part of a new leisure complex

    ; creating an integrated bridleway, cycleway and footpath system

    ; planting new wooded areas around the village, that are accessible to the community to

    enhance the visual amenity and to create additional wildlife habitats.

    We need to educate residents about the health benefits from regular use of formal and informal sport, leisure and recreation facilities by:

    ; providing support to Burbage Sports Council and other groups to promote local facilities and

    their benefits to the community.

    7. Improving the Environment and Protecting the Green Fields. Burbage is bounded to the south, east and west by an agricultural landscape that in part defines the character of the village. The fields, hedgerows, mature trees, wooded areas, verges and ditches are vital habitats for wildlife and provide an important visual amenity. They should be conserved and only in exceptional circumstances should their removal be permitted.

    Residents have called for recognition and protection of the diversity of landscape and wildlife. To achieve this replanting schemes need to be given priority in local development planning processes to reverse the loss and decline in the village’s landscape and wildlife heritage.

    The few remaining green fields are under constant threat from development with the land to the south of the settlement boundary to the M69 most at risk. In the last 20 years alone over 90 acres of open countryside in Burbage has been lost to housing. This has resulted in a loss of visual amenity, fragmentation and isolation of habitat and elements of landscape and, a loss of habitat for wildlife.

    There has been much debate about the best way of protecting these green fields from development. The land between the settlement of Burbage and Burbage Common and Woods has already been designated as a Green Wedge and areas of separation exist between Brookside and the railway and between the western settlement boundary and Sketchley Meadows Industrial Estate. The western settlement boundary and Sketchley Meadows Industrial Estate/Logix Park/Sketchley Green - Area of Separation (NE4) - should to be re-classified as a Green Wedge to provide the best protection as this area meets the criteria laid down by the County for Green Wedges (See Annex C and map). However, the remaining fields do not currently have any specific designation to protect them from development either as a strategic employment site or housing development. County and Borough officers have stated that protection for these fields can best be achieved through designation for future Leisure and Recreational use (ring-fencing) within an Open Countryside designation. Burbage Parish Council proposes that the land between Rugby Road and Lutterworth Road (Coventry Road to M69) be ring-fenced for a Country Park under this designation.

    Residents living in the Sketchley and Stretton wards of the village know that air and noise pollution, up to 800 metres from the M69 and the A5, are a real issue. The link between pollutants and the incidence of asthma and other respiratory disorders is now well established. The fields, hedgerows and trees that act as a buffer between the village and the A5 and M69 also act as a green lung to help reduce the impact of the pollution caused.

    Concern is growing in the village about proposals to site telecommunications masts in close proximity to schools and residential areas. The Burbage Design Strategy includes a clause stating that

     Burbage Community Plan Executive Summary 8

    telecommunication masts should not be situated within 500 metres of residential areas and schools in order to address these concerns.

    The County, Borough and Parish Councils are committed to ‘green’ policies with recycling being one main example of this.

What are we trying to achieve?

    Recognition and protection of the diversity of landscape and wildlife, but also to go beyond simply retaining what has until now escaped the developers and to reverse the losses and declines in the village’s landscape and wildlife heritage.

How can we achieve this?

    Preserving the remaining green fields around the village by:

    ; affording them the maximum protection possible under existing policies and planning


    ; maintaining the existing settlement boundary

    ; convincing the planning authorities that further large scale housing development is not


    ; convincing the planning authorities that these fields should not be earmarked for employment


    ; identifying land for ‘earmarking’ in the Hinckley and Bosworth Local Plan for future leisure and

    recreational use

    ; setting aside funds in the Parish Council’s budget so that there is a ‘realistic prospect’ that land

    can be purchased for future leisure and recreational use.

    Protecting and enhancing the village’s landscape and wildlife heritage by:

    ; conducting an environmental audit of all non-developed land and water features to assess their

    wildlife and human amenity value

    ; giving priority in local development planning processes to protection and enhancement of

    wildlife and landscape

    ; sympathetically managing woods, ponds, fields and hedgerows and where possible delaying

    cutting and mowing to assist wildlife conservation

    ; developing a footpath network linking open spaces (e.g. Burbage Woods along the railway line

    and Sketchley Brook to Ashby Canal) and providing adjacent public footways/cycleways

    ; understanding that hedgerows, mature trees, wooded areas, verges and ditches are vital

    habitats for wildlife. They should be conserved and only in exceptional circumstances should

    their removal be permitted

    ; introducing a tree planting scheme around the village to improve the visual amenity, provide

    additional wildlife habitat and create a ‘green lung’ to minimise the effects of pollution from the

    A5 and M69

    ; undertaking more frequent and better monitoring of pollution levels close to the M69 and A5. Extending green policies by:

    ; locating more recycling banks around the village

    ; working with the County and Borough councils to find ways of promoting more recycling of

    domestic waste

    ; encouraging local schools to develop environmental projects with cash prizes funded by the

    County, Borough and Parish councils

    ; telecommunication masts should not be situated within 500 meters of residential areas and


8. Improving Community Safety.

    Burbage is a safe place to live in, work or visit but, in common with communities throughout the country, residents have a perception that crime and anti-social behaviour are on the increase.

    A major cause for concern for residents is anti-social behaviour ranging from noise and unruly behaviour to graffiti and criminal damage. Under-age drinking and the ready availability of drugs are other dimensions to these problems. Recent government legislation enables the police, should they choose, to take swift action. A major contributing factor to anti-social behaviour is the lack of facilities for young people in the village and any initiatives to address anti-social behaviour and youth crime must include improving local recreational and leisure facilities. In addition to striving to improve sports facilities, local schools and youth groups must be encouraged to offer more activities for young people of an evening and at weekends.

    The Police Office at the rear of the Public Library is highly valued by the community. Resourcing is an issue but it is important that it is manned as regularly as originally envisaged. In recent years the public has consistently called for increased police patrols and the extension of the opening times of the

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    Burbage police office. Improvements have been made, with limited success, as the police tend to concentrate on intelligence to solve crimes, rather than patrols, which the public see as preventing crime.

    Burbage has a well-established Neighbourhood Watch network sponsored by the Parish Council. In the last two years, membership has grown from 1200 to 3000, covering over 50 per cent of the village. One aim of this Community Plan is to extend Neighbourhood Watch in each Parish ward to develop street-by-street communities. In addition, the Parish Council and the local constabulary are supporting a number of new initiatives including the appointment of community wardens. Working in partnership with the police, community wardens will understand the concerns of their neighbours and act as a vital source of intelligence.

    Survey Results.

    ; Burbage is generally thought to be a safe place to live.

    ; Lack of regular police patrols is seen as the number one crime issue by adults. 90% of people

    believe that Burbage needs more police on the beat.

    ; 85% of people would support the use of Community Wardens.

    ; Vandalism and car crime are joint second priorities in the eyes of adults, with burglary only

    slightly behind.

    ; Vandalism appears at the top of young peoples views of crime, with bullying and alcohol abuse

    not far behind.

    ; Burbage should have a zero tolerance approach to vandalism.

    What are we trying to achieve?

    A community where residents continue to feel safe and secure; where the level of visible policing provides further reassurance to residents and where together, residents and the police tackle the problem of anti-social behaviour.

How can we achieve this?

    Highly visible policing:

    ; police numbers to be at least maintained and preferably increased

    ; officers to regularly patrol village streets on foot and to develop productive relationships with


    ; the police office to be open at regular times and to provide advice and support to residents

    ; community wardens to be appointed to support beat officers and to provide a link between the

    police and the community

    Developing a zero tolerance to anti-social behaviour:

    ; introduce a byelaw forbidding the consumption of alcohol in the street or public parks/play


    ; consider use of anti-social behaviour orders

    ; play areas to be sited in highly visible areas to reduce the likelihood of vandalism and anti-

    social behaviour

    ; street lighting schemes should be reviewed to ensure all areas adequately lit Extending the Neighbourhood Watch Network:

    ; develop a community education campaign to encourage new co-ordinators to come forward

    ; provide additional funding to support the extension of Neighbourhood Watch throughout the


    Designing out crime:

    ; all new development proposals to be examined to ensure that appropriate security features are


    ; investigate ways of providing CCTV coverage in vulnerable areas

    Offering social, leisure ands sports facilities for young people:

    ; provide places where young people can meet and engage in constructive activity Community/Civic Pride:

    ; promoting community pride in the village through education programmes in schools and

    through the Parish Magazine for the general population

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