The Speen Village Design Statement (VDS) has been produced by a group of Speen residents but contributions and comments have been sought and received from a wide cross section of the village community. A lot of work has gone into the preparation of the document and our thanks go to all those that have given up their time to be involved. The document tries to reflect the general view of the residents. The process has involved a workshop with villagers, a questionnaire to all households and presentations at clubs, societies, schools and Speen Parish Assembly. A great deal of information has been collected and summarised into this publication. The final draft of the VDS was put on to the Speen Parish Council website. Selected households from all parts of the village were given a copy of the final draft and asked to review and comment on it before submission for approval.
There was a 20% response to the questionnaire, (which is considered quite good for a postal survey) and from this a wide variety of ideas and opinions was obtained from all parts of the village. The responses strongly supported the development of a VDS and indicated a belief that Speen does have a distinct character that needs to be conserved. The rural atmosphere, views and open spaces to the north, the soft edge and Speen Moors to the south, the quiet area around the Church and Abbey and the tree and hedge-lined roads were dominant in people’s thoughts.
1.1 What is it all about?
What is it? - The VDS describes the character of the village that makes it a special place to live and work. It sets out design objectives that residents and developers should meet when thinking about building in the village. It covers only the village of Speen, an area roughly centred upon the Speen Post Office and stretching westward from Brummell Road and the ‘Obelisk’ at the junction of Speen Lane and the Old Bath Road to the A34 (Newbury by-pass), and southwards from Grove Road to the Kennet and Avon canal at Speen Moor.
Who is it for? - It is a reference offering guidance to anyone planning development in and around the village. It will be useful to an individual householder planning to build an extension or modification, a housing developer building new houses, an industrial developer or a landowner planning tree-felling or new planting.
How does it work? - Anyone applying for planning permission for a development in the village will have to show that they have considered the guidelines the VDS contains when drawing up their plans.
1.2 The planning context
The Speen Village Design Statement was adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) by West Berkshire Council on 1st October 2002 and its recommendations will be taken into account when planning applications are assessed.
The Council’s policies regarding development are set out in the statutory Development Plan, which currently comprises the Berkshire Structure Plan and the West Berkshire District Local Plan 1991-2006. The guidance contained in this Design Statement provides an explanation of the Council’s position and while it is not a statutory document, it has had an element of public consultation and has been adopted by the Council’s Newbury Area Forum. Compliance with the recommendations does not by itself guarantee planning permission as each case is judged on its merits.
This document will provide guidance at the most local level and at the lowest level of the planning policy framework. It will inform and influence planning decisions in the village. It will assist the Parish Council, who are consulted by West Berkshire Council on planning matters, to assess the impact of proposed development on the village. It will also help the Parish Council and local groups by encouraging and directing voluntary local initiatives that will conserve and enhance the character of the village.