Local Plan

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Representation 136 on Preferred Options Local Plan by Mrs Rebecca Gethen

Support / Object: OBJECT
Document Link: Preferred Options Local Plan - Sustainable Settlements, Mersea Island, SS17a: Mersea Housing and Employment
Representation: The island is not suitable for a large influx of new residents for a number of reasons: the seasonal uplift in the summer, inadequate roads both onto the island and then to both proposed developments; the lack of permanent police presence; the impact on the already stretched school, and other local amenities.

Original submission

I strongly object to the two proposed developments for the primary reason that the current infrastructure cannot cope with an influx of an additional c. 1,000 residents and c. 500 cars. It must be borne in mind that Mersea is unlike other small towns in Colchester for two keys reasons: a) we experience an uplift of several thousand tourists over the summer months which puts extraordinary pressure on the roads, services and amenities as it is - additional housing will exacerbate an already very difficult situation; and b) the island itself is accessible by one road, which is regularly cut off by both the tide and sheer volume of traffic. In addition, both proposed sites would be accessible via Dawes lane - a single track road in poor repair, which cannot accommodate large volumes of traffic.

We currently have no permanent police presence on the island having lost our police station several years ago and there are rumours that the additional fire crew stationed on the island during a high tide could soon be gone too. This makes the island, and all islanders, extremely vulnerable as it is.

In addition, the current amenities on the island are already at capacity - the doctors, dentist, tip, shops...

The school in particular could not cope with an increase in children. In my son's year there are 73 children, I understand that now a cap of 60 per year has been imposed on the school, meaning that already at least 10 children per year minimum must go to school off the Island - which is not only hugely upsetting for parents who place great value in bringing up the children in a community like Mersea (as we do), but in turn this puts pressure on other local schools (particularly Langenhoe as it is closest). At the most conservative estimate that only half of the households had children (extremely unlikely as Mersea is a very attractive place to raise a family), that each family had one child and only half of those were primary school age, we would still be looking at an additional 90 children that would need to be accommodated within the school (or indeed, in neighbouring schools). The school is wonderful, but it is already very large - is it realistic/desirable/practical for it to grow further? I would say no to all.

On the practicalities of the plans, access is an issue for both. The roads on the Wellhouse development are too narrow to bring any construction traffic through and the size of the roads coupled with the proliferation of parked cars at all times of day means access is already difficult. Adding an extra 150-200 cars to this equation is just impossible. The same issue prevails for the Brierley Paddocks site - access too would be via a narrow, private road - I wonder how this would work? It should also be noted that the two sites converge on East Road in about the same place as the entrance to Seaview Avenue and the caravan park - making this section of road incredibly busy already.

There seem to be no gains for residents in these proposals - the additional playground and public open space at the Glebe is just not needed as there is already one playground there, which is hardly used, as well as acres of POS, again, hardly used expect during matches.

I appreciate there is a need for additional housing in the Borough but the Council must be realistic and view Mersea as a unique case for all of the reasons I outline above.

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