New report identifies long-term political and economic neglect
The sale and redevelopment of MoD Foxhill offers a once-in-a- lifetime opportunity to put Foxhill on a sustainable course and kick-start the regeneration of this excluded quarter of suburban Bath.
The council's concept statements for the redevelopment are excellent. However, the integration of the redevelopment into the existing is so critical that we must ensure that effective and inclusive vision for the whole of Foxhill, both new and existing, is developed. We need to capitalise on this quickly and effectively if the redevelopment is to encourage and become part of a one sustainable community for Foxhill. Nothing else will do.
Foxhill is a great place to live, but it also has a number of long-term issues which need to be addressed. Mark Hepworth's report Foxhill at the Crossroads clearly identifies long-term political and economic neglect and some very significant pockets of social deprivation, exclusion and economic disadvantage – in particular their impact on young people.
There is a community spirit in Foxhill but this currently lacks effective leadership.
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We need to develop capacity to ensure that this is effectively unlocked.
The recent exercise we carried out in order to ensure effective consultation on the concept statements, demonstrated that there is significant latent interest and enthusiasm for change in the Foxhill community.
There are a number of other strategic issues which, if left unresolved, will significantly compromise the redevelopment's sustainability.
For example, the current highways and transport infrastructure in Foxhill is already seriously over capacity.
This has all the potential to get significantly worse and less sustainable with a doubling of the Foxhill population.
To develop a strategic and inclusive vision for Foxhill, a clear delivery process for the new development and its integration into the existing community, demands an effective master planning process.
This is absolutely essential. Given the complexity and strategic nature of the issues involved, the only body that can make this happen effectively is B&NES Council.
They must take responsibility for, and lead, the master planning for the new development and the existing area too. We cannot afford to leave this to the MoD's developer. We call upon the leader of B&NES Council and its cabinet to commit to this.
In order to kick-start the process we need Don Foster MP to chair a top-level summit of key stakeholders to set the parameters and ground rules in establishing an inclusive and effective vision for Foxhill – and a clear delivery process for the new development, the integration of the existing community and the parallel long-term regeneration of the area.
The integration of redevelopment and the existing community has significant political ramifications both locally and nationally. We are indeed at the crossroads for Foxhill. If the MoD, B&NES Council the other agencies and stakeholders miss the opportunity to really tackle such an integrated sustainability problem it would be political dynamite – as well as a huge shame on us all and for the next generation.
NIGEL DANN Hawthorn Grove Foxhill Bath