Woolwell focus group

On Tuesday 21st August, as part of the next stage of the consultation process, we held a focus group at the Woolwell Centre with a group of 11 residents, to explore several the key issues raised during the June exhibition and through online feedback we have received. A representative sample of local residents who had indicated they would like to be kept informed of the progress of the proposals were invited to attend.

The discussions during the focus group were wide ranging and included a variety of topics. An FAQ document was circulated to participants which answered a number of questions we received during the public consultation. This FAQ will be updated following the focus group discussions and made available to the local community before the submission of the outline planning application. For some of the more detailed elements of the scheme where questions remain, those which are not included in the outline planning application, such as car parking provision, housing mix, phasing, and construction access, residents were keen for further public engagement. The developer who brings forward to reserved matters application for the individual phases will be required to engage with the community and evidence how they have taken comments into account when they submit the detailed application to South Hams. The community engagement on this outline planning application is therefore just the beginning of the conversation with Woolwell and the surrounding communities.

Traffic and access were important and dominant topics of discussion. It was agreed that through the public consultation feedback and the discussion at the focus group that Barwood were aware of the questions and concerns of local residents and that a concluded transport assessment was necessary before responses could be given in full. The items discussed at the meeting are detailed in the minutes however it was agreed that, in order to get through other agenda items, the discussion on the matters of traffic and access would be addressed through the update community newsletter, website update as well as the FAQ that will be publishing before submitting the outline planning application.

Design, layout and the management of the open spaces were also important topics of discussion. The focus group keen to protect views to and from the National Park and for the open spaces to be accessible but as natural as possible to both encourage public use but keep the management charge affordable for residents of the new development. The masterplanner from Bartwon Willmore was able to note a number of actions which are set out below and we will respond to the focus group members and wider community on before submitting the application.

Finally, phasing and construction traffic were discussed. It was outlined that both are heavily dependent on the delivery requirements set out and agreed in the outline planning application’s approval and as such, Barwood are not in a position to provide a phasing plan or construction management plan at this stage. The phasing plan is usually a condition of an outline planning permission required before, or at the same time as, the first reserved matters application. The construction management plan is also a condition of the outline permission and will be consulted on as part of the first reserved matters application.

All who attended the focus group agreed that it was a useful exercise and there was a willingness expressed for the conversation to continue. Barwood concluded the meeting with their commitment to engaging the community.

The actions from the focus group can be seen below. If you would like to view the full minutes of the focus group, you can download them here.

  • Contact YOGI cycling group to discuss local cycling provision.

  • Identify location for a car park for visitors to the Community Park

  • Explore the designation is it possible to give the tramway after it is opened for public use

  • Discuss potential of 40mph (or lower) speed limit for New Road with Devon County Council

  • Look again at building heights on the north west of the site (off the private road which connects to the tramway/Carron Lane) and seek to reduce below 3 storey where possible

  • Explore merits of providing a layby on Woolwell Drive

  • Review roundabout provision at new access off Tavistock Road. Is another traffic management solution going to provide better outcomes?

  • Review footpath provision proposed for New Road and discuss with Devon County Council

  • Clearly set out publicly what limited building the transport assessment concludes and evidences that there is potential for in tandem with the upgrades


South Hams

  • Explore covenant ownership of the new community park 

  • Investigate feasibility of Article 4 Direction which take away all rights of resident on the edges of the development from changing hose colour etc.