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My wife and I have recently been to extremely well attended local meetings to discuss the potential impact of the CBC Local Plan within our own community of Mersea Island. As we understand it the 'plan' is nearing the end of the public consultation phase and we further understand that there are currently going forward two 'preferred sites' upon Mersea Island being to the north and south of East Road near its junction with Dawes Lane.
We also understand that Colchester Borough Council is under some pressure to respond to government led initiatives for the creation of further housing but the numbers proposed on Mersea in these two closely linked locations do lead us to have some concerns for which we would be grateful for your advice and guidance.
We list them below within categories for reference/ response purposes.
1. Access - the current plan states that access to both preferred sites (one for 150 properties, the other for 200 properties) will both be from East Road and within approx. 300 yards of each other. Some points arise from this.
There would then be SEVEN significant junctions on the busy East Road within a total of 400 yards (Dawes Lane, Cross Lane, Stable Close, Brierley Paddocks, Brierley Road, Seaview Avenue, Wellhouse). Although busy under normal circumstances this section of East Road/ Dawes Lane is the natural alternative emergency exit from the Island should the main Colchester Road exit be unavailable for any reason. Road safety in this area does concern us and we feel the planning authority would have a view on this?
b) The developer of the north side (Mersea Homes) has stated that they would prefer access from Dawes Lane for their scheduled 150 homes. However this Lane is very narrow and existing traffic needs to slow to allow passing, with larger vehicles (caravans, lorries etc.) requiring one vehicle to give way entirely for safe passage. Would Dawes Lane have to be widened to allow extra development along its length for such number of extra properties?
c) If the north side access were to be through Wellhouse, as per the planning document, there has already been safety concerns recorded with and expressed by the Local Council for emergency vehicle (Fire, Ambulance) access to this constricted estate. Would a further 150 houses warrant a safe development or would an extra access provision be required?
2. Services - local opinion and experience already leads us to believe that many Island services are under considerable pressure at the present population density.
a) Regularly mentioned are doctors, dentist, school capacity, lack of police presence, car parking and seasonal expansion via holiday makers.
b) However a concern that has been mentioned at the large public meeting was that Anglian Water are struggling to cope with sewage densities especially after heavy rain and during seasonal population expansion. Particularly, but not exclusively, the local oyster fishing trade depends upon clean water and we gather that Anglian Water already sometimes have to discharge polluted water when their capacity is overloaded. Is this something of which the planning authorities are aware?
c) The northern preferred site already suffers from extensive flooding during high rainfall. This has required the farmer John Gray to send across his staff to dig drainage channels to the nearest ditch. Regrettably such action can overwhelm the ditch and lead to flooding of garden and outbuildings in Stable Close and Mews. The problem has increased following the Wellhouse development and any extra properties in the proposed location would surely lead to even greater water 'run-off'. See photos for some views of the flooding. Are planning
guidelines in place to ensure adequate drainage from any proposed new developments?
3. Safety - you will of course know of the huge concern within the community regarding any proposed new Nuclear Power station at Bradwell. Could you please advise if any of the Local Plan under discussion takes any account of the issues raised by the Nuclear proposal - especially any mass evacuation requirement as part of an Emergency Plan?