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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
17th October 2003

Winter Copy Deadline
24th October 2003
Copy to:
The Editor
17 North Street
Barrow upon Soar
Leics LE12 8PZ


Southfields House

On 13 April 2002 our Village Design Statement was launched. How valuable was the exercise and, one year on, has it made any difference?

The beauty of the Design Statement is that while acting as a watchdog on large-scale new developments, its guidelines apply equally to small building projects. It is therefore interesting to compare two recent small developments within the village centre. One which could not better illustrate the VDS' emphasis on attention to detail and one which should have, but failed to accomplish top marks.

Developers, when rebuilding Southfields House on Sileby Road, although not within the Conservation Area, have replicated the granite stone walls that have been retained in front of so many of the properties from Jerusalem Island to the bottom of 'Drivers Hill'. In doing so it is a splendid example of what the Village Design Statement set out to achieve.

On the other hand, within the Conservation Area, the new housing on the site of Stevenson's Garage in South Street, whilst sympathetic in other critical design particulars, has failed to respect the surrounding area in an important way. The building of dwarf brick walls in front of the pair of semis could so easily have been constructed using local stone. Disappointing when taking into account the adjacent cottage property which has a granite plinth and again the traditional stone walls featured along most of South Street.

So, we need to make sure that the guidance is followed and that applications are scrutinised in order to meet the aims of our Design Statement. If, or when, the Cotes Road/Willow Way development takes place, we all need to pay attention to the overall planning and small print of the proposals. We should demand a diversity which sits comfortably with our village character, and is not taken from standard developer pattern book designs which are replicated from Devon to Durham and lack any local distinctiveness.

Joyce Noon


CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England)

No doubt recent press comments have left residents wondering what is the outcome of the Local Plan and its implications on the proposed Cotes Road/Willow Way development.

After the second Public Inquiry, held in April 2002, the presiding inspector agreed with the developers that nine Greenfield sites, including the reserve site in Barrow should be re-instated for approval to proceed. The other sites are in Anstey, Burton on the Wolds, Shepshed, Quorn, Syston, Wymeswold and Pear Tree Lane, Loughborough.

Student housing is partly to blame; much of the re-used land in Loughborough is being developed for this purpose

In March 2003, Charnwood Local Plan Officers carried out a further urban capacity study and declared that they had sufficient brownfield sites and land with planning permission for housing to avoid the use of Greenfield sites. Whilst we cheered and commended the officers for proposing the changes, the developers threatened legal action. When Charnwood took legal advice, we waited with baited breath. The outcome was not good. Student housing is partly to blame; much of the re-used land in Loughborough is being developed for this purpose and guess what - they don't count in towards the total dwelling numbers required by 2006.

In June, all nine Greenfield sites were put back into the plan and put forward for approval by the Council. The Environment Scrutiny Committee threw it out, the Cabinet approved the proposal. We then witnessed the full Council meeting party split almost 50:50, but not quite as the resolution to accept the officers recommendation was carried.

So, back to the beginning. Except that we now have another round of consultation which should have been over by 29 August but due to an administrative error (CBC failed to approve the public notices and there isn't a full council until late September) we have a further wait.

To say that our Local Plan is a fiasco is putting it mildly - Councillors were threatened that if they did not approve the proposals it increased the likelihood of GO-EM (The Government Office for the East Midlands) taking over. Quite frankly so far as CPRE is concerned it's the best thing that could happen. At least the Greenfield sites would be developed in a sustainable way and most likely sequentially so that they would not all be released at once, thereby providing some control if they were not required.

[We] seek an end to this ridiculous abuse of Government Policy which seeks to protect premature use of countryside.

The spectre of GO-EM should not have been used at Council meetings. CPRE has found them most co-operative and we are sure that when the latest proposals are put out for public consultation, Charnwood will not have an easy ride. In the meantime we are preparing for meetings with our Regional Officers and GO-EM to seek an end to this ridiculous abuse of Government Policy which seeks to protect premature use of countryside.

The present situation is that in addition to the 353 homes now proposed up to 2006, in excess of 2000 homes are planned into the next Local Plan period, all on greenfield sites, which totally conflicts with The Country Structure Plan and Government Policies.

Joyce Noon, Chair of Charnwood,
Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE)


It was Samuel Johnson who said that when two Englishmen meet the first thing they talk about is the weather. This summer, more than most, it has been the topic on everyone's lips and more words have been written in the press about trends in climate, global warming and soaring temperatures than for many a long year.

Anyone whose summer event was rained off was very unlucky. This edition has lots of photos of things happening in sunshine and some interesting inside shots too at the Three Crowns, the Hammer & Pincers and the Library.

With all the recent work at the Three Crowns, isn't it a shame that the 'garden' at the corner is still a mess. When the autumn rains come, this could be turned into something really attractive. In such a key area, it really lets the village down. I hope the Parish Council is listening.



R64 Barlestone footpath

As a result of a new working partnership with farmers and landowners the County Council has successfully cleared crops from many of Leicestershire's public footpaths and bridleways.

There are more than 3,000 kilometres of footpaths, cycle paths and horse riding tracks throughout Leicestershire. These make up the 'Rights of Way' network, which is available for all to enjoy. The County Council has a specialist team dedicated to the upkeep of these paths and tracks, making sure they are maintained in good condition.

In May, the Council sent out over 3,000 letters and leaflets to farmers and landowners reminding them of good practice relating to the maintenance of the paths crossing their land. There was a great response from this, and by combining forces, an additional 400 paths are available for use by the public.

This work is just one aspect of a major scheme to improve access for walkers, cyclists and horse riders in the County. For example, there is a programme to cut back over-grown scrub, and in the past year alone there have been nearly 200 stiles and around 30 sleeper bridges replaced or repaired.

Footpath H98

In addition, vast improvements have been made to signs on paths. More than 900 new fingerposts have been installed on roadsides in the northern and western parts of the County and more are planned. Also, there are now over 10,000 bold yellow topped way-markers guiding walkers, cyclists and horse riders along the different paths. It is hoped that by clearly marking routes on the ground, people will feel more confident that they can explore the wider countryside without wandering off course.

Why not take the opportunity to explore your local countryside and enjoy the fresh air. There are also many circular walking and riding leaflet guides available. If you would like more information please contact Sue Johnson at Leicestershire County Council on 0116 265 8160 or visit the County Council's footpath page [].


A local group are pursuing a project to produce a leaflet of walks along local footpaths.

Leicestershire County Council offers support and advice for groups wishing to develop networks of walks along public footpaths within their parish. The walks are described in a leaflet and the groups are responsible for seeing that the paths are accessible. Such initiatives require the approval of the local Parish Council, but without the need for any financial input from the Council.

A small group of us is investigating the possibility of such a project within our Parish. We are Arthur Gardner, Kevin Harrison, Bob Mee, David Rodgers and Judith Rodgers.

  • received considerable guidance from the County Council, and support in the form of excellent maps
  • approached the Parish Council, who have given their blessing to the project
  • surveyed a numbered of walks, including one that will be wheelchair accessible.
We are now ready to move to detailed planning.

This project does not in any way compete with the annual parish walks, since the idea of the leaflet is that these will be self-guided walks. The leaflets will be made available through local outlets in much the same way as the Fossil Trail guides (adult and children's versions).

If anyone else would like to join our working group, do let us know.



Scouts - Be Prepared (logo)

Schoolchildren in an isolated Gambian village will soon be enjoying a better standard of education, thanks to the efforts of our village scout troop who visited an African school earlier this year.

The Scouts are also hoping to bring better medical care to the 450 villagers of Sambel Kunda in the central region of the country and raise awareness of conservation projects in the area. These include the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Trust which has successfully reintroduced over 60 chimps back into their natural environment in the Gambia.

Plantring a tree on behalf of the Scouts Ghambia Link

Planting a tree on behalf of the
Scouts Ghambia Link

The CRT hosted the scouts at their base camp on the River Gambia National Park after a seven hour journey inland in a convoy of 4x4 vehicles. The party consisted of Scout Leader Stuart McBride, his assistant Jonathan Billington and scouts Luke Pentecost (14) and Jason Hewitt (15).

During their stay, they spent two days in the village visiting the scout troop, the school and being invited into peoples' homes. Stuart McBride said: 'The school is in a terrible state of disrepair with cracks through all the walls and very inadequate chairs and tables for the children. They are also very short of basic things such as books and toys, and could make so much use out of things we wouldn't think twice about throwing away’.

For Jason Hewitt it was a fascinating introduction to Africa. He said: 'It was a life changing experience to see how these people live with so little and still greet you with a big smile and such friendliness'.

Other experiences the boys had included sharing a campfire with a baby baboon and stroking a crocodile. Stuart commented: 'These lads did so much in a week and handled it all with amazing maturity. They were only the second scout group to visit the Gambia and they were treated like royalty‘.

Barrow Scouts have a reputation for being at the forefront of international scouting and have set foot in eight different countries in the last 12 months. At the moment they are fundraising to help to finance a return trip in the New Year to oversee some of the progress with their projects. These include the Chimpanzee Adoption Scheme and School Child Sponsorship Scheme. Some of the scouts on the next trip will be as young as 12 and will have the opportunity to sit in classes with Gambian children and see the difference in learning between our two countries.

For more information on any of the Scouts projects mentioned, or if you have books or jumble to donate, please call Stuart on 07812 150666 or email


Scouts - Be Prepared (logo)

Barrow Scout Group Executive Committee have formally refused the application from Orange to erect a Mast at the Barrow upon Soar Scout Headquarters site.

The initial approach was made early in 2003. Serious consideration to the offer had to be made, due to the significant sum of money that this offer would have made available to the Group. The income from this agreement would have supported Barrow Scouting for the foreseeable future.

However, consultation with local residents and advice from the Scout Association, led the committee to the decision that, in the best interests of the village and Scouting in Barrow, the offer would be declined.

A new committee was appointed over the summer, and work to secure funds to replace this 'lost' income is now underway. They, the boys and parents, will be working hard to ensure the financial stability of the Barrow Scout Group and are appealing to the village to support the forthcoming fund raising activities so the future of Scouting in Barrow can be secure.