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We have read the information provided in the Preferred Options Local Plan and wish to object and make the following observations on the content.
Firstly it would seem that the criteria used to determine that West Mersea has the capability to sustain up to 350 new homes is flawed. The document states in clause 6.217 that there are 3200 dwellings in West Mersea and that the facilities currently available could accommodate an 11% increase to this number ie. 3550 total units.
However the Councils own department responsible for collecting the Community Charge advised that there are actually 3580 dwellings in West Mersea at present showing that the 11% has already been used up and there is no spare capacity.
Therefore it is clear that West Mersea is not a viable sustainable location for any new housing.
In addition to this, the Council have failed to take in to account in their calculations the other 130 plus homes elsewhere on Mersea Island (East Mersea), nor the 2000 plus caravans many of which operate as permanent or semi permanent homes, nor the residential house boats, nor the residents from surrounding villages (Peldon, Langanhoe, the Wigboroughs, etc.) for whom Mersea is the nearest town for school, doctors and shopping.
This is not to mention the hundreds/thousands of visitors that come to use the facilities of West Mersea every year.
Consequently, the school cannot accommodate the number of pupils already attending and is placing children in classes either side of their school year.
Despite their best efforts getting an appointment with a doctor is extremely difficult and often weeks later due to the existing number of residents on the island and in surrounding villages.
The sewage treatment works is regularly attended by AWA to sort flooding problems and they have advised that they consider the plant to be at capacity. Parking within the town is over subscribed and this will be made worse by the extra cars generated by 350 new houses.
The above further demonstrates that the Council has grossly under estimated the existing load on the resources and infrastructure of Mersea and there is in fact no residual capacity for new development.
Notwithstanding the above and our objection in principal to both preferred sites, we note that the Local Plan states that both sites will be accessed from East Road but the land next to The Glebe is not accessible from East Road so any access would therefore have to be from Dawes Lane which is not a two way road. It is a narrow country lane with barely enough width for two cars to pass and it has poor to non-existent visibility splays (depending on the time of year) at its junction with East Mersea Road and would not be suitable to take the increase in traffic movements generated by the 150 new homes being recommended for this site.
The close proximity of the second site at Brierley Paddocks to Dawes Lane would actually result in all 350 proposed houses using Dawes Lane for access as it is the shorter route to this part of the town which will compound the danger and congestion issues on the inadequate road system.
On a specific point, the Dawes Lane development is shown to include land not controlled by the applicant. The rectangle in the south west corner of the red hatched area (adjacent to Bowers Grove) is a landscaped wild habitat area and is fenced off from the applicants field (see attached image). It forms part of The Glebe and was gifted by a previous developer to the community along with the playing fields, so should be removed from the highlighted land being considered.
We appreciated that the Council is required to allocate sufficient land in the Colchester Borough to meet the Government directives for new housing but based on the above we must object to both preferred option sites indicated for Mersea Island as they would not provide for sustainable developments.
Mr W. Adams
Mrs S M Adams