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Barrow Voice is published by Barrow upon Soar Community Association. Opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed by the editorial committee or the Community Association.

Barrow Community Association is a registered Charity No: 505692.
Barrow Voice Team
Advertising Deadline
23th April 2004

Summer Copy Deadline
30th April 2004
Copy to:
The Editor
17 North Street
Barrow upon Soar
Leics LE12 8PZ


Do you live in Barrow?
Do you know where Willow Way is?
Do you know about the proposed development planned for Willow Way?

Willow Way

I can answer yes to all of the above questions but when I was asked to write something about the possible expansion of the Willow Way area I realised how limited my knowledge was. I decided to see what I could find out and have a think about what this might mean to me, my family and the village in general. The only thoughts I had about this focused on the impact that these extra houses may have on the traffic usage of village roads. This is from a purely selfish viewpoint as I travel daily to my job, which is not in Barrow, and because of the distance involved, using public transport is not an option.

I discovered that the proposed plan is to build 360 new houses and I understand that the Parish Council has made representations to ensure that a percentage of these will be 'affordable' housing rather than all of them being 'executive' type homes. I also ascertained that these houses will be built in phases of about 30 properties at a time and that the developers will hold an exhibition, showing the plan, which will be held at the Parish Council offices. What impact will these new homes and the additional population, over 1000 new residents, have on the village infrastructure? The road system, I have already mentioned. Together with the village school and the Health Centre, these are three main areas which will be affected.

Can our roads cope?

Let's consider the roads first of all. Any of you that travel into and out of the village at peak times will already know that the current road system has difficulty coping with the volume of traffic at these times. Although HGV's are now controlled by the weight restriction, there are large numbers of vehicles that come through, from the Wolds villages, to access the A6. When the floods are out, the only way out of the Soar valley, for those heading north, is through Barrow. At these times there is almost a 'gridlock' situation especially if the post van has called to pick up goods from the Post Office in the High Street or if the supermarket goods delivery has arrived.

What is the answer?

Not to have any more housing developments! I don't think so, but does the village need a bypass? Do we start campaigning now? Is there some other alternative? I just think it is something that, as residents of Barrow, you should consider and be aware of. The new houses will bring additional traffic into the village and you might want to ask the developer how they view this situation, do they have a satisfactory solution?

How will health care be affected?

Secondly, think about the Health Centre off the High Street, behind the supermarket. How long do you wait to see a doctor? With this new system for 'booking in' on the day you want to be seen, how many times do you ring before you get through because the lines are engaged? Have you seen the queue each weekday morning, waiting outside, before opening time? The remedy might be for patients to consider another surgery but individuals have to be comfortable with this, they build up doctor/patient relationships and not everyone has the means to travel elsewhere for this service. Perhaps it is time for the existing centre to think about expansion or is there a case for asking the developers to build a new one?

Already the largest primary school

Finally, what about the primary school? Did you know that Hall Orchard is the largest (numbers on roll) primary school in the county? I am sure that the facility and the staff would cope with the additional numbers that are bound to be generated by the new estate but is it time for the village to have another school? It might be worth asking the builders to also consider this within their plans. Think about the advantages, for parents and children. It could mean that children on that side of the village would not have to cross a main road to get to school. It should also help to alleviate the awful parking problem around the current school at the start and end of the school day. It would enable children to enjoy a more close-knit, family type atmosphere at their first school rather than being overwhelmed by the huge numbers that the existing school will be dealing with.

These are just my simple observations and may give you food for thought regarding this proposed new development. You may have other opinions but I hope that it has raised your awareness and that you will be encouraged to look out for details of the forthcoming exhibition and to attend. Make the developers ware of your concerns and find out what their solution is but don't be afraid to make your own suggestions.



The residents of Barrow will have many concerns and interests in the massive Willow Way development: How will the extra traffic be managed (or won't it)? How will our two schools cope with the extra pupils? How will health care of a high standard be achieved? 360 extra houses are likely to accommodate over 1000 new residents-that is roughly a 20% increase.

I would like to think of this development as an opportunity rather than a series of threats. I hope that the new residents will feel welcome and will quickly add to our wonderful community spirit. One opportunity that we have is to influence the kind of housing that is built on Willow Way. Last year, a group of residents formed the Willow Way Development Group and met up with the Charnwood Borough Council Social Housing Officer. Their recommendations are now a basis for negotiation between the two developers, Wilson Homes and Millers, and Charnwood Borough Council.

  1. There should be properties identified as suitable for young couples to help them get into the housing market via shared ownership. This means that they can elect to pay a small percentage of the purchase price, with the remainder bought by a Housing Association. As the income of the young couple rises, they have the option to buy progressively more. Whether or not they can achieve a 100% purchase depends on the option agreed between the Council and the Housing Association. It is possible that there will be a ceiling of, eg 85% in perpetuity. In this case, a couple wishing to fully own their home would have to sell and buy a different property. At this point, the Housing Association would buy back when the part-owner sold.
  2. This shared ownership should be made available only to local people living within a particular post code area.
  3. There should be housing that is appropriate for older people wanting to buy smaller properties such as apartments.
  4. There should be some properties available for social rent. Such properties would be bought and managed by Housing Associations but Charnwood Borough Council would initially retain full nomination rights ie to identify people on their register for whom 'council housing' could be offered in Willow Way. The Right to Buy legislation does not apply in this situation because the properties are owned by a Housing Association and not the Council. As tenants leave, the Council nomination rights are reduced as they are transferred to the Housing Association.
  5. All of this affordable housing should be dotted around in the development, not creating a ghetto.

In response to these points, the Borough Housing Department has requested the developers to include the following on the Willow Way site:

20 two-bedroom houses for shared ownership, 15 three-bedroom houses for social rent, 10 two-bedroom apartments

At the time of writing, we don't know what the developers will submit to the Planning Department. Perhaps by the time you read this, Barrow residents will have had their opportunity to comment and consult. If not, look out for posters advertising a drop-in clinic in the Parish Council Office in the High Street. Plans will be displayed and representatives of the developers and planners will be present to answer your questions or listen to your comments. YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

Judith Rodgers