Chairman’s notes: tercentenary, Morland progress, new housing
2005 is the tercentenary of Queen Anne granting a town charter to Glastonbury. The programme of talks is advertised, notably Dr Robert Dunning on Wednesday March 30, 7:30pm at the Town Hall, on the charter, entitled “Why a Mayor for Glastonbury?” Dr Dunning is the county historian and an Abbey trustee. The event, meant to be both illuminating and light-hearted, is hosted by the Conservation Society — so it’s not to be missed!
There are also a number of other major events to celebrate the tercentenary — please support them.
Construction of the road infrastructure on the site — now known as Morlands Enterprise Park — starts “soon”, as well as the restoration of the Beckery houses. Removal of asbestos from inside the redbrick and Bailys buildings started in January, and the demolition of a large round water tank and the white-spirit tank on land owned by Mendip council. Interesting uses for the site are being mooted — the Regional Development Agency’s “priority sectors” are aerospace, environmental technology, ICT and creative industries. The idea of a combined heat and power plant (CHP) and recycling is progressing, after favourable response at a public exhibition in November.
Meanwhile, our local Beckery Island Partnership is ready to take on the old Beckery buildings.
Building should start soon on the land between Wells Road and Old Wells Road after a protracted planning battle. The nearby hospital nears completion. Opposite, between Wells Road and the relief road, a further 200 houses have gained outline permission.
This could be seen as a new vision for Glastonbury, where housing is concentrated to the east, away from the sewage works, while industry is encouraged to the west, thus releasing more housing land, which is in short supply. We are the most constrained mid-Somerset town for housing land, and must make the best of what we have. So much of our higher land is of such landscape value that it must never be built upon.
Already so much urban infilling has taken place as to cause social problems, notably on-street car-parking and loss of play space for children. The architectural standard of recent developments has improved. Some dereliction of existing buildings in Benedict Street and High Street continues, which is unnecessary.