Local Plan

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Representation 1827 on Preferred Options Local Plan by A M Forrest

Support / Object: SUPPORT
Document Link: Preferred Options Local Plan - Sustainable Settlements, Chappel and Wakes Colne, SS4: Chappel Housing Sites
Representation: The existing vehicle site access on Chappel Hill (opposite Hill Farm Bungalow) should be maintained and linked into the southern end of Swan Grove to facilitate through traffic. This would benefit Swan Grove residents, helping alleviate some current congestion and parking problems.

The existing access point permits a more than adequate, 2 way, 2.4x90 visibility splay. The Parish Council have applied for a 30mph zone between those on Chappel Hill & Swan Street. The <0.5 mile section includes 2 highway junctions and several sub-standard access points. The application, made for unrelated reasons, if successful enhances the site's splay standard.

Original submission

The proposed "Chappel Housing Site" east of Chappel Hill is the ideal and logical site to locate the foreseeable growth needs of the village in a sustainable way. The site is located adjacent to the "core" area of Chappel (already considered a sustainable settlement as part of the settlement development boundary review) with its "Village Shop"/Post Office, Primary School and Pub. The site is within walking distance of Chappel & Wakes Colne train station.
The development of up to 30 houses on half the site is considered an appropriate density (given modern standards). More than 30 houses within the duration of the plan could be considered by some disproportionate and too much for Chappel and Wakes Colne to digest at this point in time.
The proposed development of the site could help provide the catalyst for additional resources to be directed to the Primary School and help provide justification for additional teachers and smaller class sizes (at the moment some sequential school years amalgamated). There is capacity for the school fabric to expand to accommodate additional children. It is felt Children would benefit from a dedicated teacher per year group.
The undeveloped area of the site can be landscaped and used to provide some screening to protect and enhance the setting of the Grade II properties of Hill House, Martyn's Croft and Brook Hall (which have not been immune from proximate "new development" without screening i.e. Hill Farm Bungalow, Swan House and Brook Barn). The undeveloped area could readily accommodate some SuDS and water attenuation areas. This area could also be used to enhance the local ecology and part possibly used to extend the Cemetery.
A single access via Swan Grove has been advocated in the Preferred Options. It is considered that the site should also be accessed from the existing vehicular access point, direct to the site, at the top of Chappel Hill opposite Hill Farm Bungalow. This access should connect with the southern end of Swan Grove by the existing "hammer head". Such a proposal would also be beneficial to the existing residents of Swan Grove, as it would facilitate through traffic flows and help alleviate some of the existing congestion and parking problems in the existing cul-de-sac (as well as alleviating some of the concerns of some residents / others who have commented as part of this consultation). It is considered that utilising the existing access point at the top of Chappel Hill as well as Swan Grove will help integrate the "old" and the "new" (which is important for social cohesiveness). It would also help dispel the notion that the Council was motived purely in seeking to gain profit for itself by promoting access to land over which it had sole control. That would be contrary to the Council's raison d'etre. Consideration could also be given to providing additional parking provision for existing Swan Grove residents on the "site".
The existing direct site access at the top of Chappel Hill (opposite Hill Farm Bungalow) permits at least a 2.4 x 90 metre visibility splay in each direction of the existing two way/lane highway at this point, which is deemed more than adequate having regard to Highway Design Standards.
It is noted that Chappel Parish Council have made an application (June 2016) to the Local Highways Panel at Essex County Council to impose a 30 mph speed limit over less than half a mile section between the existing 30 mph zones of Chappel Hill and Swan Street. The section in question, to the south, beyond the site, already contains two highway junctions (Popes Lane & Oak Lane) and a number of existing properties with inferior visibility splays. Furthermore the section of road also bends and narrows a distance beyond the site and has surface water problems in the vicinity of the junction with Popes Lane. The narrowness of the 60 mph zone in Swan Street, further to the south of the site (alluded to by others) and the inconsistency in speed limit over relatively short distances alone provides justification for the amendment of the existing 30 mph zones. Any such amendment would enhance the standard of the existing visibility splay provided by the existing access point at the top of Chappel Hill.
The site could be easily connected to the existing pavement network of Swan Grove (an Adopted Highway) providing pedestrian access to the existing village facilities an onwards to the railway station. Bus routes travel along Chappel Hill.
The Preferred Options at 6.123 makes reference to the existing water supply and waste water supply issues in Copford. It is assumed that this paragraph has been misplaced in error and does not relate to the Chappel site. For the avoidance of doubt Anglian Water's assets register shows a 6 inch water main running along Chappel Hill with a 4 inch water main in the pavement north and east of the highway in Swan Grove. Due to the topography these mains operate at a very healthy pressure. A mains sewer runs down Chappel Hill outside the site and there is another mains sewer running across the subject site in a northerly direction (with existing access chambers). A High Voltage electricity supply also runs across the site and Fibre Broadband is now available in Chappel Hill. The topography also means that important rural views will not be interrupted.
It was as though the original designers / architects had anticipated the expansion of the residential area of Swan Grove southwards at some time in the future. With further good planning it is anticipated Chappel's housing needs can now be satisfied largely from this site for the foreseeable future, so Chappel continue as a sustainable village where the existing services important to this village community can be viably maintained.

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