The Quarterly Village Publication produced by Barrow upon Soar Community Association


Over a number of years we have reported on the proposed Willow Way development from its first inclusion in the Charnwood Local Plan to the final round of public consultation at the parish office this summer.There have been a number of delays and false starts along the way but as you will read in this edition of Barrow Voice,we have passed the ‘if’ stage and have now arrived at ‘when’.

In the last issue we said goodbye to village beat bobby Steve Morris. One of the benefits of Steve’s retirement is that he now has time to join the Barrow Voice team! Another farewell in this issue is to Methodist minister David Leese and there are two welcomes to his successor Jane Carter and to PC Helen Thompson.

And in what other publication would you have features on pole dancing and knitting alongside one another…

Writing in August that our next edition will be the Christmas one seems a little crazy but true. If you have any ideas or contributions for the festive issue, please get in touch.

The Editor


Willow Way - no longer an ‘if’
but a ‘when

The long expected Willow Way
development should start early next year. Detailed plans have now been submitted and it looks like being an attractive place to live. Regrettably, there will be no proper ring road and it is not yet clear that the Health Centre will be allowed to expand to meet the new demand.

I am writing this on 14th July 2005 having just seen the exhibition in the Parish Council Offices. By the time you read it the joint developers - David Wilson Homes and Miller Homes - should have submitted their Detailed Planning Application to Charnwood Borough Council and, possibly, the Council will have had its meeting to decide on the detailed plans. Obviously, the developers and/or the Council may make some changes to the plans in the coming months.The Parish Council should be able to keep you up-to-date with the plans. Ask them.

Timescales and state-of-play:

The development is taking a long time to come to completion but there can be little doubt that the land will be developed.We are passed the stage of “If…”, we are at the stage of ”When… “.

• Outline plans were announced in Feb 2004; detailed plans will probably be submitted in Sep 2005; Charnwood Borough Council should make a decision in Sept/Oct 2005; site preparation should start at the end of 2005; and house building proper in early 2006.

• One of the first steps will be to make a new road through the site from a new roundabout on Cotes Rd (just beyond the village sign) through to the existing roundabout on Nottingham Rd and Fishpool Way.This will be used, initially, for construction traffic: Miller Homes will develop the Cotes Rd end of the site and David Wilson Homes will develop the Nottingham Rd end.The new road will not be open to public through traffic until late 2006 or mid 2007. Houses will be built in batches over the next year or so depending upon demand.

Main features of the current proposals:

Essentially, the new plans are very much like the old ones.There are few changes to what was shown before. If you saw the plans previously you will have a fair idea of what is intended. I will concentrate, here, on the new or revised features.

• The plan is to build 362 homes, of various sizes: 23% will have 2 bedrooms; 32% 3 bedrooms; 29% 4 bedrooms; and 16% 5 bedrooms. It will include 55 ‘affordable’ homes with 2 or 3 bedrooms.These will be operated by a Housing Association ‘in perpetuity’. All in all, the new development will bring about 1000 more people to the village.

• The open spaces will include informal play areas for young and older children; there will be no football or cricket pitches as such.There will be a ‘trim trail’ (a fitness trail) created around the perimeter with exercise equipment for young people and adults.A new bridleway will be created through the open spaces to allow horse riders to get around the village without going through the centre.

• There will be no ‘Fishpool Way’ type perimeter road. Instead, there will be a much smaller through road designed as a ‘village street’ which will meander through the houses and have traffic calming humps and bends to slow the traffic to a planned 20mph.The developers see this as a distinctive feature which will make for safer traffic flows - very important - and will not separate the houses from the green play area.This should please those who come to live in the estate but not those who want a fast ring road for the village. Even so, I am sure that many people will want to use the ‘village street’ as a short cut from Nottingham Rd to Cotes Rd avoiding the village centre even though it is not designed for this purpose and even if the traffic will move very slowly.

 • A novel feature of the proposal is to create a ‘square’ within Willow Way.This will be a wide, rectangular space planted with trees and surrounded by 2 and 3 storey houses. Willow Way will be a residential estate, not a retail centre. It will not be designated for shops - the developers are not seeking to disrupt the business of the existing shops in Barrow.The ‘village street’ will pass through ‘the square’ on a raised, paved platform (rather like those in Quorn?).The idea is to give the estate a distinctive feel and character.

• The developers have agreed to make financial contributions to reduce the negative impact of the expansion in the village and beyond.These include: traffic calming on Nottingham Rd and Cotes Rd to reduce speeds; contributions to the schools (but note that the new estate is not expected to increase the number of pupils in the local schools - this is because the numbers are falling at the moment and the Willow Way development will just make up for the shortfalls that would occur otherwise); a contribution to the Health Centre; children’s play equipment in the estate; and new cycle lanes at the Soar bridge.

• There will be extensive digs, before building starts, to explore the archaeology thought to lie under the site.These are mainly the remains of lime workings and, possibly, Iron Age farmsteads.The plan is to find what lies beneath the soil and preserve as much as possible by keeping the most important sites as public, open space. So,my impression is that the developers and the planning authorities are trying to makethe new estate a pleasant place to live. It WILL impact upon the rest of the village - as every new housing development has done. But then, all of us live in houses that used to be green fields! The fact is that the village will continue to grow for as long as there is a demand for new houses. Housing people, after all, is the main function of a village. One final point is the question of the impact upon the village’s Health Centre and the Pharmacy. Responsibility for providing health services lies with the county’s Primary Care Trust, which has the Health Centre under contract. It is not under the control of either the developers or the Parish Council. I understand that discussions are now underway with the Primary Care Trust about the implications of the Willow Way development. Interestingly, a representative of Moss Chemists told me that they would increase the staffing of the Pharmacy to meet the new demand. I understand, too, that the Health Centre is willing to expand. Let us hope that the Primary Care Trust is as flexible.

Arthur Gardner