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Land south of Braiswick Golf Club
We are instructed by Dr Michael Vernon to object to the identified allocated site at Land south of Braiswick Golf Club, which is included within the Colchester Borough Local Plan Preferred Options document.
It is considered that the proposed allocated site at land south of Braiswick Golf Club is unsuitable for development and should not be taken forward within the Local Plan process. The salient issues of this allocation are considered in turn below:
The allocated site identified as land south of Braiswick Golf Club is located to the rear of an existing row of dwellings fronting the B1508 (Bergholt Road/Braiswick), with a bowls green to the east, residential properties to the west and Colchester Golf Club to the north. Given the lack of access points from the north, east and west, it is apparent that the allocated site would be accessed from the existing strip of land between Chasefield and Warren House. This is supported by the North West Colchester Call for Sites Plan, which shows the site (reference 086B) being connected to the B1508 (Bergholt Road/Braiswick) via this strip of land. This piece of land links the allocated site to a private access road serving three existing properties and is not maintained by the local highway authority.
The use of this strip of land between Chasefield and Warren House as the main access point to the allocated site is, it is suggested, both unsuitable and inappropriate. The land on which the access would be located is a maximum of 5.0 metres wide. Although this is sufficient to accommodate the required carriageway width of 4.8 metres, as set out in the Essex Design Guide, the access would be located between two existing residential properties, where the dwellings are positioned in close proximity to the site boundaries and would be particularly close to our client's property. The proximity of the dwellings to their respective site boundaries offers no realistic prospect of widening the access to attain an acceptable width. It is therefore suggested that safe and suitable access to the site would not be able to be achieved for all people, contrary to paragraph 32 of the National Planning Policy Framework.
The proximity of access to the existing dwellings, Chasefield and Warren House, would result in an increase in the number of vehicular movements passing in close proximity to these two residential properties. Given the proximity between the existing dwellings and any access, occupants of the existing dwellings are likely to experience a significant reduction in the level of their residential amenity. The use of the access by future occupants of up to eight dwellings on land to the rear of the existing dwellings would introduce a high number of vehicular movements on an unsuitable and inappropriate access, severely impacting upon the level of amenity enjoyed by occupants of the existing dwellings by virtue of noise and disturbance.
In addition, due to the narrow width of the access, the Council's refuse and recycling collection vehicles are unlikely to be able to access the site and are unlikely to access via a private road. The poor access for such service vehicles would result in requiring residents to present/store rubbish and recycling for collection at the end of the access road, which would be inconvenient for both existing and future residents. Furthermore, the presentation/storage of waste for 11 properties could create visibility problems to the detriment of vehicular and pedestrian safety.
It should be noted that outline planning permission reference COL/93/1618 included a condition restricting use of the access for the purposes of agricultural access only, in the interests of highway safety and to safeguard the amenity of adjoining properties. The inclusion of this condition highlights the potential harm that could be caused to the amenity of neighbouring residents should an intensification of the access be forthcoming.
Policy NC3: North Colchester
Policy NC3 of the Preferred Options document relates to North Colchester Residential allocations. The residential allocations include three sites at Land south of Braiswick Golf Club, Land north of Achnacone Drive, and Land at St Botolph's Farm. These sites are in close proximity to our client's site and would all require access from the B1508 (Bergholt Road/Braiswick).
The combination of these three allocated sites (Land south of Braiswick Golf Club, Land north of Achnacone Drive, and Land at St Botolph's Farm) could result in the addition of 88 dwellings, which would all be accessed via the B1508 (Bergholt Road/Braiswick), which already experiences high levels of traffic, particularly to the south east close to North Station. The quantum of development as a result of these allocated sites would exacerbate the traffic levels on the B1508 (Bergholt Road/Braiswick).
In addition, whilst the B1508 (Bergholt Road/Braiswick) at the proposed access point is within the 30 miles per hour speed restriction, vehicles are known to be exceeding this limit. The limit begins/ends, approximately 120 metres west of the site, where vehicles speeds are either decreasing from the national speed limit of 60 miles per hour (on entering the speed restricted zone) or increasing (on leaving the speed restricted zone). It is suggested that this would cause highway safety issues as the access would experience an intensification of use following the potential development of the allocated site.
The site allocated within emerging policy NC3 at Land south of Braiswick Golf Club is constrained by the poor access. The potential access to the site would be particularly narrow and would pass immediately between two existing residential properties causing harm to the amenity of occupants of the dwellings. In addition, the narrow access would result in difficulty for service vehicles to carry out their intended function. It is therefore suggested that this site is removed from the Local Plan.
In addition, the amount of residential development proposed within this part of Colchester would result in further pressure to the local road network, which already experiences significantly high levels of traffic, particularly at the recognised bottleneck at North Station.