You may like to refer back to my blog entry dated 1st March 2016 which highlighted that ecological surveys were being undertaken. I also provided a link to details of the Kemp and Kemp presentation regarding the potential development of Nocton Hall and the RAF hospital site.
To update the position, your Parish Council met with representatives from North Kesteven District Council, Leda Properties Ltd and Kemp & Kemp on Monday 9th May. This is what was discussed:
Development of site
- There was a meeting between Kemp & Kemp, Leda Properties, Lincolnshire Highways and Heritage England on site in January 2016 to discuss various aspects
- Ecological surveys are currently underway - this work is ongoing to study ecology, plants and topography and also to examine the seasonal change on birds, bats, reptiles etc
- There are apparent difficulties regarding legal routes of access into the site - in particular, Woodland Drive residents will be approached by Leda Properties with proposals in due course
- The main drive to Nocton Hall that serves both the Nursing Home and RAF hospital site is to be subject to a structural feasibility study - further discussion is ongoing between Lincolnshire Highways and Leda Properties
- There is also a difference of opinion between Sowerby Homes and Leda Properties over boundary issues, which are being addressed
- Heritage England were due to arrange an historical feasibility study on Nocton Hall, but there has been no progress on this matter
- Since the Options Appraisal was prepared, Nocton Hall has further deteriorated, leading to the local community wondering whether it is worth saving at all, especially if it means having more properties built on the site to fund the restoration work. A compromise situation will be considered
- In the circumstances, it is debatable whether the Grade II Listing is still worthy, but this will need to be discussed with Heritage England
- Kemp and Kemp mentioned that all surveys and reports are expected to be complete by August/September, with the result that an outline planning application could be ready for submission before Christmas 2016
- Leda Properties are still intending to develop within the walled garden and this will form the first phase of their development plan - if the outline planning and full planning applications are agreed, the intention is to commence work at the end of 2017. However, it was pointed out that this area is in the draft Local Plan to be designated as an area of Public Green Space, which would prevent such development
- Leda Properties will consider the benefit of the local community maintaining any areas given over to public use
- Kemp & Kemp will no longer be attending the Parish Council meeting on 17th May, due to other commitments, but the outline plans already available could be used at the meeting, if so wished
- The current temporary fencing is being breached several times daily and Leda Properties cannot keep investing money in continually repairing the damage
- The cost of installing permanent Heras fencing would cost about £12,000 and this is not financially feasible
- Costings have been obtained for barriers and signs and these will be installed soon
- The intention is for the site manager for Leda Properties to occupy the water tower, once suitably converted, in order to give a greater presence on site and improve site security
- There have been discussions with Airsoft International [who publish a magazine about the latest developments in the airsoft skirmishing industry] and Leda Properties over potential use of the old RAF hospital site for a weekend activity
- It is intended for the events (a total of two weekends per year) to go ahead as planned
- The revenue generated will offset some of the costs involved in site maintenance and security
Leda Properties - statement
"Following our meeting yesterday I can confirm the following in relation to the above.
We have not yet signed any agreement but are going to. That will be a Licence for one event which gives us total control in the event there were to be issues or reasons not to repeat it. It also means that the organisers will have a very real reason to ensure it operates without any issues for you and your residents.
The AI 500 is a reasonable sized gathering for two such events a year.
This is not a fly by night operation nobody intends to create a major disturbance.
From our point of view its not a regular event but will bring some income to assist in keeping the site as reasonably secure as we can. In preparation for the event the organisers will undertake some tidying up which is necessary for their own H & S requirements and ultimately this assists us at the same time by ensuring that there are fewer potential dangers on site in the event people do breach the fences.
We have agreed areas of the site that are out of bounds and this is effectively the northern end of the site. The organisers have conducted a H & S Risk Assessment and are experienced in running these events with the appropriate marshals, first aid responders etc.
The organiser Paul is happy to talk to you directly if you wish to discuss anything with him.
I hope this is useful.Regards."
Airsoft International - further information
The Chair of the Parish Council has since spoken with the Managing Director of Airsoft International:
- At this stage, they are to be licenced for one event only
- It will take place over the weekend of 15/16 October
- Further events (a maximum of two a year) will be considered by both Leda Properties and Airsoft International in the light of experience, effect on village, etc
- There could be up to 300 participants
- Registration of participants will be on the Friday (14th) from 3.00 p.m.
- Gates will open from 7.00 a.m. until 9.00 am on the Saturday and Sunday (with no admission outside these times)
- The event itself will take place between 10.a.m and 5.00 pm on both days
- No evening activities are planned on the site
- There will be no loud explosions
- The airsoft weapons make no noise when fired and the 'grenades' are quieter than bird scarers
- It will be heavily marshalled with on-site medical, etc staff
- There will be risk assessments carried out and the site cleared of any asbestos, etc, made safe and left in a much better condition than it is currently
- A Parish Councillor has been invited to be on the site during the event to act as an “observer” and liaison point for any problems which may arise
- The event will be focused on the southern part of the site; as far away from the care home as possible
- There will be strictly enforced Out of Bounds areas where gaming activities cannot take place
- Limited overnight camping will be allowed on the site (and then only if the company’s insurance policy allows)
- Many participants will be expected to sleep 'off site' in B&Bs, hotels, etc
- Any staying on site will be at the 'Water Tower' end of the site and be strictly controlled
- Fire and security marshals will be on site during the night.
- There will be a strictly enforced 'no alcohol/no drugs' policy
- Airsoft International will attend the Parish Council on 12 July to answer questions and respond to residents’ concerns, etc.