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The document in its opening preamble 6.217 states "West Mersea is considered to be a Sustainable location" In the Issues and Options document January 2015 page 54 Sustainable Development - Development which meets the needs of the present without comprising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Because Mersea is an Island it has very finite boundaries, this means that the Town can not expand to the West and South because of the sea or to the North because of the Coastal protection belt. Only to the East is available for expansion and the boundary of the parish is only about 600 meters away from the present built area. Therefore the building of 350 dwellings to 2032 is too great an expansion if future generations require to have land to build. Any further expansion of the three Caravan Sites in West Mersea will compromise this land use as well. Mersea took a great expansion after Government reorganisation in 1974 when there were some 650 sites available for building with outline or full planning permission and again we had an early development on the Colchester Road when an appeal's Inspector released Mersea land because the next phase of the Colchester Highwoods land was not available, giving us another 113 units. We must therefore slow down any release of land to a more sustainable amount to protect the future generations ability to build as well.
Mersea is situated at the end of the B1025, its only access roadway, which crosses a tidal causeway and needs serious consideration. The roadway is covered by seawater when the tides are predicted to be 4.65m or higher above datum. This occurs on average 225 days a year. The highest predicted tides are approximately 5.9m which is some 1.25 m of water above the road surface. Weather and atmospheric conditions can increase or decrease the coverage both in time and height. The road can be impassable for just a few minutes or 3 to 4 hours in the worst case, with stranded vehicles having attempted to cross blocking the road as well. The bigger/higher tides occur around midday and midnight, that is twice every twenty four hours. During busier holiday times the mainland side traffic can back up over 4 to 5 kilometres. The CBC's own Sustainability Report states that climate change is likely to cause increases in tidal surge heights of between 97mm and 11Smm. During the periods of the higher tides the Fire Service deploy an extra Fire vehicle to back up the local retained Fire service on the Island. The Emergency services do have contingency plans for evacuation of casualties from the Island, which does take place on a regular basis. The B1025 is also near sea level were it crosses Pete Tye common some 300 metres from the seawall, this was topped and breached in the 1953 flood. The Government has indicated any future developments should not be situated in areas vulnerable to flooding. Whilst the housing itself is not liable to flooding the only access to the properties does flood on a regular basis through out the year.
The Bus service to the Island is cancelled when the tide is expected to cover the Causeway. This can mean up to 4 services during the high tides period are stopped short of the Island at Peldon village some 5 Km from Mersea centre. This equates to a 2 hour period when no Public Transport runs to and from the Island.
The Causeway onto the Island would need to be raised to 6.5 metres above Datum to ensure the unlikely coverage by the sea. This would require 1.65 Km of road to be raised by some 2 metres, whilst still keeping access to the Island open. The present Causeway construction is not substantial having grown by addition of material since Roman times, and any large tidal surge could easily overwhelm and breach the roadway which is only protected by some stones placed either side.
Consideration has to be given to the caravan parks some of which now have 12 month use licences which means that the static population has increased by this change and is putting the Island services under strain.
Whilst business on the Island is acknowledged on the consultation document, no further indication of how this is to be developed is given. Any new industrial business starting up on the Island has to use the single road onto the Island with its associated problems and will have a 30 Km round trip to access the A 12 Colchester and the railway.
Infill sites within the existing village envelope have not been identified but are being built at a rate of some 6 to 10 units p.a., i.e. about 100 to 160 units to 2032, however these are not accounted for within the consultation.
Also omitted from the consultation are the further development of the Nuclear power station site across the water from the Island at Bradwell on Sea, which effected previous development on the Island.
Because of the above problems I must therefore object to any large scale site development as proposed by the consultation document.