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We are writing to you with respect to the "Preferred Options Local Plan" (POLP) as it is proposed to af f ect Dedham and Dedham Heath. We wish to enter our objections to the current proposa ls.
The following is an excerpt of the proposed boundaries as they apply to Ded ham Heath , taken from the POLP, with colourings added for ease of ref erence:
We wi l l ref er to the green area as "Area !", the red area as "Area 2" and the bl ue area as "Area 3", and comment on each as follows:
Area 1 (green coloured area):
1. This area is with in the A rea of Outstand i ng Natural Beauty (AONB) and accord ingly shou ld not be included in any development in any event.
2. In addition to this, this parti cular corner , at a crossroads, has proved to be of significant hazard: in spite of the introduction of speed l im i ts, there continue to be road traf f ic accidents occu rring quite regular ly at these crossroads. The bui ld-up of this green area wi ll only exacerbate the danger. This is even more pro blematic when one takes into account the facts that:
* this is a bl ind corner for those vehicle users coming to the crossroads from Dedham vi llage, where the view to their r igh t (down Long Road West) is a d if f icul t one, especially given the way the crossroads are laid out so that The Heath is at an acute angle with Long Road West
* and because we know from experience that many road users travell i ng along Long Road East to Long Road West , and vice versa, regul arly exceed th e speed l i mit i n any event. We have ourselves regular ly seen veh icles travell ing along th is stretch at 60-70 m ph in spite of the speed l imits, and in some cases more.
3. Simi lar considerations, mutatis mutand is, also apply here as further noted i n respect of Area 2 as set out below.
The bui ld-up of Area 1 shou ld therefore not occur and so shou ld not be included i n the POLP.
Area 2 (red coloured area):
1. Th is area is withi n the AONB and accord ingly shou ld not be included in any development i n any event. No amount of screening and/or landscapi ng woul d ameliorate the eff ect on the AON B of any bui l d u p i n Area 2.
2. This area is wi thin the previousl y established Ded ham Val e Conservation Area (DVCA) and accord ingly should not be included in any development in any event.
3. In addition to this, th is area is very close to the same crossroads mentioned as above for Area 1, which we repeat has proved to be of significant hazard: in spite of the introduction of speed l i mits; as we say, there continue to be road traf fic accidents regular ly occurring at these crossroads. The bui ld-up of this red area wi ll only exacerbate the danger. This is even more problematic when one takes into account the facts that:
* the bl ind corner for those veh icle users coming to the crossroads from Dedham vi l lage, where the view to their righ t (down Long Road West) is a dif ficult one, especially given the way the crossroads are laid out so that The Heath is at an acute angle with Long Road West
* and because we know from experience that many road users travelling along Long Road East to Long Road West, and vice versa, regular ly exceed the speed l im i t i n any event. We have ourselves regu larly seen vehicles travel l ing along this stretch at 60-70 m ph, and in some cases more
* the construction of any bui l dings requi ring access for vehicles on to this part of Long Road East woul d be extremely hazardous for al l road users as a consequence.
A single access of Long Road, as suggested by the Counci l (under 556 of the POLP) woul d not address the issue because there wi ll still be the same nu m ber of traf f i c movements on to and of f f rom Long Road East created by any extra bui l d ings.
4. Furthermore, the bui ld-up of this area would impact severely on the character, appearance and amenity of (1) the Dedham Heath area general ly, (2) this area of Long Road East and (3) the surround ing area. Any bui ld-up of the area wou ld of necessity also destroy compl etely any landscape features.
5. The bui ld-up of A rea 2 would , as a consequence as wel l as of itsel f , change this area ef fectively from a very rural area, enjoyed by residents as such for decades i n some cases and centu ries in others, to one of a town like aspect and f eel.
6. Any bui ld-up of Area 2 woul d detract from the landscape qual i ties of the area.
7. A ny bui ld-up of A rea 2 woul d signi ficantly reduce the tranq ui l l ity of the area th rough increased levels of noise and light.
8. Any bui ld-up of A rea 2 woul d lead to a notabl e increase in disturbance, for exampl e by way num bers of traf fic movements and/or visi tors to any new constructi on (postal del iveries, school chi ldren , etc.).
9. Any bui ld-up of Area 2 would lead to a change in landscape character, and an ef f ective urbanisation of the countrysi de and woul d be an inappro priate use of the area.
10. The Counci l rightly discou rages r ibbon development of th is nature. A ny bui ld-up of this area wou l d be detr imental to the open and ru ral appearance of the area.
11. Any bui ld-up of Area 2 woul d adversely im pact the sewerage and other waste water systems of this area. The sewers are already overloaded and many current residents find back up of foul water a regul ar occurrence; this woul d only be made worse by any bui ld-u p in the area. No development could be maintai ned which woul d support any waste water and/or sewerage faci l ities in th is area.
12. There are no footpaths in this area of Long Road East and accord ingly any bui l d u p would cause risk
e.g. to schoolchi l d residents and any residents using pushchai rs and the l ike. The suggestion by the Council under 556 of the POLP that a saf e pedestrian access could be constructed fails to take into account:
* the f act that the crossroads are so near , with concom itant risk to any pedestri ans attempting to access the crossroads from th is d irection of long Road East
* that there is a phone box and post box near these crossroads where vehicles regu lar ly stop (for obvious reasons), again with simi lar r isks
* the provisi on of any pedestrian wal kways woul d irreversi bly and mater ial ly af f ect to i ts detriment the current rural aspect of this part of Long Road
* the provisi on of any pedestr ian wal kways woul d af f ect the current drainage ditches along th is area of Long Road East: the provision of culverts is no solution given the manner in wh i ch f lood ing occu rs in this area (see the item below)
* the fact that, as is wel l known, vehicles regular ly speed along this stretch of road regard less of speed l imi ts and any attempts at enforcement, again with risks to pedestr ians
* the number of road accidents in and immed iately around these crossroads already causes risk to pedestr ians and any increased foot traf f ic woul d only increase that risk. We note the potential
l iabi l i ty of the Counci l in these circumstances.
13. The area and indeed adjacent areas are subject to flood ing, and indeed th is area is ef fectively a flood plain-as i t is, the area can barely cope with surface water and there is evidence that there are active springs in and around the area. Any bui l d ing u p wi l l f ind both current and any pro posed bui ldings subject to increasing flood r isks, and in addition wi l l only exacerbate the f lood i ng already extant along the various roads serving the area, with consequent risks to al l road users. Th is is especial ly the case given the high ly pro bl ematic and irredeemabl e cond itions pertaining at the crossroads, as mentioned elsewhere.
14. Any bui ld-up of Area 2 wou ld impact on the human r ights of al l those currently resid i ng in the Long Road East and The Heath parts near by, in respect to the im pact on their rights to have respect for thei r pr ivate and fami ly l if e: Human Righ ts Act 1998, Schedul e 1, Article 8(1); and to the protecti on of their property: First Protocol , Article 1. To explain:
* any bui ld-up of Area 2 would of necessi ty mean that any inhabitants of any bui ld ings wh ich might be bui lt on Area 2 woul d be able to see and take note of , and wou ld see and take note of , the private
and fami ly l ives of those already resident in the Long Road East and The Heath parts. Th is woul d breach the human righ ts of those residents.
* any bui ld-up of A rea 2 wou ld of necessi ty mean that the properties, both as to houses/dwel lings
and as to such things as motor vehicl es, belongi ng to those already resident in the Long Road East and The Heath parts cou ld be af f ected. Any such bui l d up cou ld detr imental ly af f ect the value of houses i n the parts mentioned; and additional residencies and traf fic and such l i ke increases the r isk of such things as burglar ies and thef ts, and , for exampl e, of traf f ic accidents involvi ng vehi cles of current residents. Such risk to the real and personal properties of current resi dents is therefore not acceptable in the l igh t of their human rights and the r isk to such properties any such bui l d u p might entai l.
15. The area lies, and should continue to l ie, outside the village envelope.
16. The area has previously been the subject of planning applications and planning approval has rightly been refused by the council l. There is no reason, regard less of the timing of any past refusal , as to why matters should change now.
17. This refusal was upheld by the Secretary of State on appeal. The Secretary of State therefore considers this area to be unsuitable for development. There is no reason , regard less of the timing of any past refusal , as to why matters should change now.
18. There are both mains electricity and mains gas connectors either crossing the area or very close to i t such that any build-u p of this area would of itself be highly questionable and expensive to do, but also such that the necess ty to obtain access to undertake repairs to any such mains services would be high ly disruptive.
19. Any build-up of this area risks a detrimental impact to the old Church House, a listed building located on the corner of Long Road East and The Heath. This would be i n contravention of the council l's aim (as set out in i its Development Policies) to preserve the nature and character of listed buildings.
20. The proposal is contrary to the National Planning Pol i cy Framework issued by HM Government. In particular, Paragraph 115 of the NPPF states that " Great weight should be given to conserving landscape and scenic beauty in ...Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which have the highest status of protection in relation to landscape and scenic beauty. The conservation of wildlife and cultural heritage are important considerations in all these areas...". No local plan, including but not limited to the POLP, should over-ride the NPPF.
21. Any bui ld-up of this area would harm the countryside and woul d thus be i n contraventi on of the Counci l's own Core Strategy Pol icies SDl, H l, UR2, EN Vl, EN V2 and ENV4, and of the Counci l's Development Pol ices DPl and DP12, i n each case of the Counci l's Local Development Framework.
The bui ld-up of Area 2 should therefore not occur and so should not be i ncl uded i n the POLP.
A rea 3 (blue coloured area):
1. A lthough this area is outside the AONB i t is stil l a r i bbon development and as noted above (item 10 for Area 2), ribbon development is to be discou raged.
2. In addition to th is, this particular area has proved to be of hazard: i n spite of the introduction of speed l i mi ts, there continue to be road traf f ic i nci dents occurr i ng here, and at the Bargate Lane intersection. The bui ld-up of th is blue area wi l l only exacerbate the danger. This is even more probl ematic when one takes into account the facts that:
* Fu rther along Long Road East is a lef t hand corner whi ch is ef f ectively blind for those vehi cle users coming in either d irection; the increase in traf fic by any development of A rea 3 woul d increase the r isks here
* and because we know from experience that many road users travelling along Long Road East to Bargate Lane, and vice versa, regularly exceed the speed limit in any event. We have ourselves regularly seen vehicles travelling along this stretch at 60-70 mph, and in some cases more.
3. Similar considerations,mutatis mutandis,also apply here as further noted in respect of Area 2 as set out above.
4. Although noted above in respect of Area 2, and referenced here in item 3 immediately above, we would reiterate that the area and adjacent areas (including along this area of Long Road East and into Bargate Lane) are subject to flooding, and indeed this area is effect ively a flood plain.Any building up will find the buildings subject to flood risks, and in addition will only exacerbate the flooding already extant along the various roads serving the area, with consequent risks to all road users.
The build-up of Area 3 should therefore not occur and so should not be included in the POLP.
There are areas within the AONB, at least one of which has already been rejected by the Council; and we do not support any proposals by the Council for inclusion within the POLP of any area within the AONB for development: indeed, it is our opinion that no development should be permitted within the AONB for at least the foreseeable future. However, there are a number of better and far less intrusive areas in and around Dedham which are far more suitable for development than these three areas, or any area within the AONB. For example, there is an area of Coggeshall Road roughly indicated as follows:
The three proposed areas on this excerpt have been coloured red by the Council; the area which we propose is more suitable for development is roughly coloured yellow . t will be seen that this is as large as the three areas proposed by the Council put together (we mean in development terms). The area cross hatched yellow indicated potential to extend the area to that similar to the current area for Dedham Meade, giving more potential for affordable housing provision. This yellow area is outside the AONB and has very few, if any, of the problems associated with the three sites identified by the Council. For example, it is not so near the crossroads, and is outside the AONB . t is appreciated that the Council has previously considered this area and has not thought to include it on the basis that it would constitute a ribbon development. Whilst this is true, it is much less so than, for example, Area 3 and as can be seen from the plan there are already houses buiIt on the signif icant area of Dedham Meade.
There is another area,towards the end of Long Road West which might also be suitable:
We have coloured this area in magenta. This is also outside the AONB , and would not suffer the many problems noted above. n addition to this, the area would be an in fill rather than a ribbon development and so would limit the potential for further expansion in either direction. This magenta area is again suff icient to cover all potential needs for future housing in the Dedham and Dedham Heath areas for the foreseeable future.
A third area is close by and has similar benefits,and in this case we have coloured the area in pink;again it would be an in fill rather than a ribbon development and is outside the AONB:
In addition to these three areas, we are sure there are others which we have not mentioned .
We trust. therefore , that the three areas proposed i n the POLP wi l l not be included in the proposed or indeed any future local plan and/or the POLP.
Mike and Kim Spencer