Local Plan

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Representation 2076 on Preferred Options Local Plan by Mr Mark Larwood

Support / Object: COMMENT
Document Link: Preferred Options Local Plan - Sustainable Settlements, Great Horkesley, SS9: Great Horkesley
Representation: Sustainable housing development at Great Horkesley should not be permitted until and unless adequate services improvements are made. Including to schooling, roads, health, public transport.

Original submission

Whilst the suggested improvements to the village facilities are to be welcomed, Personally, I don't think these are the major priorities, except for the proposed improvements to the A134, which arguably are vague and may not go far enough.

I am unsure why the village hall warrants an extension? The scout hall is in bad state but does the village need a scout hall and an enlarged village hall? Perhaps this is a case of yes to one or other.

I have no major objection to the additional housing in the village, but services need drastic improvement before these become viable. Contrary to the statement in the consultation document, the bus service is not good. It is unreliable. It is also very expensive. And for London bound commuters, too infrequent in the evenings to be a viable option, therefore putting more vehicles on the road.

With the addition of 1,600 family-sized properties at chesterwell, the pressure on schooling will dramatically increase. It seems myopic for the provision of a secondary school at Chesterwell to be off the table.

Most of these new properties will be closer to the existing schools (St Helena, Gilberd) than properties pushing children in the village, further down the list for school entry. ON a personal level, we moved into Great Horkesley in part due to the proximity of schools and the prospect of children walking or cycling to school. Fortunately, they are both in our local school and can do so, but I am far from convinced that this will be able to continue at secondary level without a new school in our catchment area. These concerns will be shared throughout the village and more widely no doubt. In aggregate the many families that find themselves in this position just results in pushing more traffic onto the roads.

The arterial routes in Colchester are not fit to cope with the increased traffic levels. The park & ride service which was established, in part, to address this problem is so overpriced, that it is little wonder it is under-utilised. Why not a price per vehicle?

With regard to other forms of transport, the railways particularly to London are creaking at the seams. It is encouraging that investment in new rolling stock has been achieved but will this be sufficient to cope with the burgeoning demand, particularly from Colchester? Colchester has a large London commuter base, and is expected to grow by up to 75% by some estimates I've seen. Peak-time capacity increases are a must.

The choice is simple, either improve the roads to accommodate more private vehicles and make up for the fact public transport is not a viable option; or (preferably) improve the public transport provision to take cars off the road. Right now neither of these is being addressed in a meaningful way in my view. Spending over £1 million on a new cycle path, which nobody wants, on Mile End Road is wasteful - and I am a cyclist who cycles that route daily by the way, but I don't use the cycle path.

Other services need major investment before approval of more new housing, hospital provision, GP provision.

In summary, I understand that incremental and sustainable housing growth is unavoidable but the services need to be in place to support this growth, and in place before / along with housing growth, not as a delayed after-thought --- sufficient local school provision, effective and affordable public transport, health services, emergency services, road and rail infrastructure.

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