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I am writing to express a strong objection to the Preferred Option as far as West Mersea is concerned i n so far as the area is far from suitable as being able to sustain an additional increase of 350 properties.
The increased population a rising from this would inevitably be detrimental to the character of West and to Mersea Island as a whole. It would make it less attractive to residents, holidaymakers and day visitors. This would also be detrimental to Colchester as a whole as Mersea Island plays an
important part in bringing visitors to the area.
The main points I would state to substantiate my objection are :-
1) The infra structure supporting Vest Mersea (which also needs to support East Mersea and 6 or villages is already inadequate. For example,
(a) There is already insufficient parking especially i n the areas near the shops and school and parking i n the streets can be chaotic on occasions. There is no space to provide more parking.
(b) There is only one road on and off the Island which is often already very busy and du ring periods of high tides very long tail backs on both sides of the Strood are not uncommon.
(c) The Doctors surgery is ready having problems with coping and has recently had to cull some 90 patients who live off the Island.
2) West Mersea is not suitable for further population growth due to it's relative remoteness com pared to other parts of the Colchester area. West Mersea is remote from important destinations such as the Hospital, A12 road, main line railway station, shops and secondary schools. This is a particular problem during periods of high tides. The remoteness of West Mersea means expanding it's population is 'anti green' as it would result in much more car mileage than development in other parts of the Borough area.
The Climate Change Policy in the Borough's Local Plan refers to 'reducing the need to travel' as a means of Climate Change mitigation (5.36) and increasing the population of West Mersea is contrary to that objective.
3) The Local Plan accepts that climate change including sea level rise is likely (6.221) and it would be irresponsible on the grounds of public safely to permit an increase in population from an Island with only one road on and off should evacuation be required at some stage in the future. In this respect the possibility of a new nuclear power station at Bradwell cannot be ignored.
4) Certain assumptions in the Local Plan are inaccurate :-
(a) 6.217 states there are currently 3,200 dwellings in West Mersea. In fact, information provided on the Council's own web site shows that per data extracted 27/10/15 there were already 3,573 properties. This shows that West Mersea already has more properties than assessed as the level which reflects the existing services and facilities. It also does not take
into account the large number of additional persons from the caravan sites, some of which you have granted 52 week occupancy, and the inevitable continuing 'in fill' development in the existing urban area.
(b) 6.216 states 'frequent bus routes serve the town'. In fact, frequent bus cancellations occur because of high tides and in addition to those posted by the bus operator it is not unusual for there to be more cancellations on the day. Unreliability of the bus service as a result of high tides is a factor in causing people from West Mersea being less likely to travel by bus than in other parts of the Colchester area. See also the previous comments in (2) above regarding increasing the population of West Mersea as 'anti green and contrary to the Borough's own Climate Change Policy.
Finally, I would make the point that there has not been consultation by the Council with the residents of West Mersea as most people did not know about the Drop in session on 13th July until a day or two before the event and indeed the West Mersea Town Council were not aware until the 10th. For those who did manage to go to the Drop in session no questions could be answered and the Council employees present were unsure about anything. Their only comment was if you had anything to say you should write or email the Planning Department.