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throughout the Colchester Borough Ido believe your suggested 350 new dwellings for West Mersea to be too many. Therefore Iam setting out below my observations and in so doing Ihave tried to be as constructive as possible but nevertheless feel you must lodge this letter as a formal objection.
In part of your synopsis you state inter alia, and Iquote, ''The preferred sites could deliver an additional 350 houses. This equates to an 11% increase in the number of dwellings, a level which reflects the availability of existing facilities." In my opinion, and that of a good many people, an 11% increase in the number of dwellings does not reflect the availability of existing facilities as Iwill attempt to show below.
The statement you make follows a general review of West Mersea and which is, Ibelieve, an over simplification of the situation with regard to facilities and in certain aspects misleading. Reviews of this nature must be clear, accurate and never misleading.
Iwould draw your attention to the following and which are not in any particular order:
The existing medical faciJities are already at maximum capacity and will require to be improved before any further building takes place.
Car parking availability for both on and off street parking is inadequate and in certain areas has become dangerous. lthink it fair to say that roads in West Mersea are generally inadequate for any increase in traffic.
You men tion the school and this will certainly require expansion. Expansion can only be achieved by reducing the existing play and sports area enjoyed by the present pupils. Secondary
WJIZ:i2._ISS..""""-education requires transport to Colchester, any increase in population will require a
corresponding increase in transport facilities for pupils.
Drainage and sewerage treabnent is already at maximum capacity.
The existing playing fields in the Glebe adjoining the Dawes Lane site show signs of inadequate drainage, possibl caused by underground springs and this must affect any building work in the adjoining proposed site so as to minimise any threat of flooding there or elsewhere.
6. There are shops i n West Mersea as you state, but you appear to be suggesting we are self sufficient, however, most larger and general shopping requires a trip to Colchester or other shopping complexes, and see "bus services" below.
7. Bus services to Colchester are not as frequent as you state being every half-hour during usual daytime hours, and this reduces to every hour for the areas where you suggest building the additional dwellings. On Sundays this reduces to every two hours. I do not believe such a service can be called "frequent".
Therefore there is no "........availability of existing facilities" as your plan suggests. The above is further affected by the following:
a) Your percentage increase of 11% relates solely to dwellings, this is misleading as a basis of calculation because it fails to make allowances for the substantial influx of visitors and their vehicles during the summe months. This can have the effect of doubling the population and this in turn puts an even greater strain on all the existing facilities. Your plan makes no reference or allowance for this population increase
b) People from East Mersea, Peldon and parts of Langenhoe make use of the facilities of West
Mersea and this together with "a" above further suggests your 11% as dwellings is misleading.
c) If we assume there are an additional 350 dwellings this could mean up to a further 500 vehicles making use of local roads and which will further exasperate the problem with regard to parking,
veJ and increase the risks of injury to other road users and pedestrians.
d) Contrary to promises made by C.B.C. I believe people are living on certain caravan sites for 12 months of the year. Whilst I cannot condone this lack of action on the part of C.B.C. it does have the effect of increasing the population on Mersea Island and the call upon facilities.
Again there is no "... .....availability of existing facilities" as your plan suggests.
I would also draw to your attention the following as it does affect the suitability of West Mersea for future development:
i. Geographically, Mersea Island is situate to the south east of Colchester but at some distance being over 13km, i.e. it is not close to the town centre and this affects all living on the island when there is a need to travel to Colchester or further afield. Remember the station, hospital, park and ride are all to the north of Colchester.
ii. There is limited scope for employment in West Mersea, with most of the working population having to travel to Colchester or further afield for their jobs.
iii. West Mersea may be considered the "end of the road" in that there is only one road on or off the island, and this road is frequently flooded during high tides. This flooding can cause a delay of between one and two hours to either leave the island or to come on to it This will have a serious affect on any emergency evacuation of the island for whatever reason. In this regard it must not be forgotten that Bradwell Nuclear Power Station is still in the process of being de commissioned and there will be the storage of nuclear waste on site for many years to come.
iv. In connection with "iii" above it is interesting to quote from a National Newspaper in 2008, "The consequences of a major accident or terrorist incident are, frankly, unthinkable. Imagine the chaos and panic if the 8,000 population of Mersea tried to evacuate across the single causeway that connects the island to the mainland and which is occasionally covered at high tide.". Even an outsider can see the geographical problem with Mersea being an island and as the population figure can reach 15.000 during the summer months the situation would be worse, and yet your plan envisages to increase the population by even more.
I do not feel any of the above can be ignored and must be fully investigated before any further consideration is given to the proposed plans.
In conclusion I would ask you to amend your synopsis regarding West Mersea to correctly describe the town taking the above into account, this is absolutely necessary so all who read it will know exactly what is involved. As a responsible planning authority you should also state clearly within the plan a detailed description of what improvements will have to be made to the general infrastructure before any further development takes place, what the cost of these improvements will be and how the money will be raised. And as far as I am concerned reduce the number of dwellings that you currently plan to a more reasonable number.
As a post script I would add that whilst Colchester may be building more houses than any other borough in the United Kingdom it should not ignore the need for improved infrastructure prior to allowing building development. To many of us this is what it seems to be doing, for example the hospital is too small and further expansion is difficult due to lack of * space, and yet we see the Severall's site and Essex County Hospital site, where there would be room for expansion, being sold for development. For all future development in Colchester area there must be realistic consideration given and appropriate action taken to the infrastructure requirements
Mrs Brenda Bates.
c.c. Mr Bernard Jenkin MP Town Clerk -WMTC Cllr. Patricia Moore