On 15 June the Town Council’s planning committee met to consider the application for a development of 230 dwellings on the land known as Rocklands, off Station Hill. It is an application that has generated significant public interest so it was no surprise when 34 members of the public attended the meeting. Those that spoke were all opposed to the application for various reasons but a common thread was a concern about the proposed closure of Oldway Lane. All who spoke should be complimented for the measured and reasonable way in which they voiced their objections.
Following the public participation councillors decided to lodge an objection to the application for the following reasons:-
1)You will have noted from the number of objections on the portal that there is a real community concern about the proposal to close Oldway Lane to through traffic. This proposal, if actioned, will lead to increased traffic volumes using the junction at the top of Oldway. This is a far from ideal situation given the locating of the junction in the middle of the chicane. This is likely to lead to significant congestion during the busier periods of the day. This junction is particularly difficult for traffic trying to turn right out of Oldway so increased traffic volumes will only make this more difficult.
He other major concern is that the proposed closure would make the town overly reliant on the main through route encompassing Station Hill, Parade and Fore Street. Should any traffic incident render any of these roads impassable for a period of time then the estates of Moorview, Beechwood and Twindlebeer would be inaccessible. The closure of the secondary route for entering and leaving the town would seem to be an unnecessary step that is likely to create problems in the future.
2)Councillors noted the arboricultural objection raised by Mark Waddams. He advises that plots 82-84 are too close to a mature Oak tree that is to be retained. Councillors would wish to see a re-positioning of these plots to the satisfaction of the Tree Officer.
3)The objection raised by the Biodiversity Officer, Stephen Carroll, is of particular concern to councillors. The development site is in close proximity to a roost used by Greater Horseshoe Bats and the site forms part of their foraging range. It is, therefore, of great concern that the mitigation measures contained in the outline application, 13/01062/MAJ, are not mirrored in their entirety in this application. This is unacceptable. We fully support the requirements that Stephen Carroll set out in his objection submission. We would also wish to see confirmation from Natural England that they are content before any planning consent is granted.
4)Councillors would wish to see confirmation from South west Water that the sewage treatment works can cope with the additional volumes that this new development will generate.
5)The single pavement, linking Station Hill to the town, is very narrow and is inadequate for the volume of pedestrians currently using it. This development would significantly increase these volumes necessitating an enhanced and widened pavement to ensure adequate connectivity to the town.
6)Councillors believe that the vehicular access off Station Hill is inadequate and potentially dangerous given the volumes of traffic movements that the development will generate.
7)Finally, there is a concern that the general infrastructure within the town is inadequate to serve a development of this size.
The Town Council is a consultee on planning applications, not the decision-maker. The application will now go before the District Council’s Development Control Committee, who will make a decision on the application.