Local Plan

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Representation 360 on Preferred Options Local Plan by Mrs Janice Halajko

Support / Object: OBJECT
Document Link: Preferred Options Local Plan - Sustainable Settlements, Rowhedge, SS14: Land to the south of Battleswick Farm Rowhedge Road
Representation: - School is facing huge increase in pupil applications, with the construction of 170 houses plus an additional 86 properties to the Wharf site. Will become overscribed with these properties alone - there is no space for any further extensions within the building.

- Battleswick Farm, as a greenbelt space, provides a vital resource of home-grown food and a habitat for foxes, badgers, birds and other wildlife.

- Local roads, particularly Old Heath Road, Whitehall and New Town, cannot cope with existing traffic at rush hour times.

- Huge loss of privacy to Hillview Close residents plus extreme flooding risks to rear gardens.

Original submission

Strongly object to any form of development on this historic farm site. Rowhedge is about to go through a huge period of change with the construction of 246 dwellings on the former wharf, 170 currently being built plus another 86 at planning application stage. When completed, this development will place an enormous strain upon our Doctors Surgery, school and pre-school; places at the school are already pressurised and there is no further room on site to extend.

The beautiful fields that make up Battleswick Farm provide a vital habit for wildlife, foxes, badgers, owls and birds, many of whom lost their previous habitat with the demolition of the wharf warehouses.

It is essential that the Local Plan committee realises the very close proximity (within 30-70 feet) of the rear gardens and properties in Hillview Close. The loss of privacy of the occupants of these bungalows, many with upstairs bedrooms and gardens unfenced to the field, will be severe. As the field is far higher than the existing houses, any and all windows of the newly constructed houses will have full view over the gardens and into the bedrooms of the properties in Hillview, and vice versa, into lounges and grounfloor living areas. Therefore I fail to see how this field can be considered remotely appropriate for housing, considering the additional fact that there are also houses on the other side of the field - in Rowhedge Road - which will be able to see straight into the "new" houses, and again vice versa. Therefore on privacy points alone, the field is entirely unsuitable for any kind of houses.

In addition, Birch Brook which runs below the sloping field is very prone to flooding the rear gardens at Hillview during prolonged periods of rain - this excess water also makes its way out to Rowhedge Road, covering the road and entrance to Rowhedge Social Club (formerly the British Legion).

Granting permission for housing on the sloping field really would be a kick in the teeth to the residents of Hillview Close; total loss of bedroom, lounge and garden privacy, high potential of decrease in the value of their homes, and regularly flooded gardens. PLEASE consider the rights that these residents have to a peaceful enjoyment of their own properties, which have bordered the field for over 60 years.

The loss of this vital food resource, open countryside and natural wildlife habitat would be a disaster for Rowhedge and rural Colchester, a rapidly decreasing area. In no way should ripping up greenbelt, food producing land be regarded as any kind of progress.

In addition to the strain that the Wharf development will place on the stretched resources of Rowhedge, the weak infrastructure that new, and existing residents rely on to travel to work, education (for the local school will be full), and so on, will be pushed to its limit. The narrow roads and junctions to Mersea Road, Old Heath Road (particularly the hill), Scarletts Road/New Town, Brook Street, Wimpole Road and Military Road, not to mention Whitehall Rd and the tight (and flooded!) roads to Greenstead Roundabout, are already at breaking point. The Committee needs to be fully aware that there are little to no employment opportunities within Rowhedge or any of the surrounding villages - the use of the aforementioned roads is inevitable.

It is absolutely essential that the Local Planning Committee thinks extremely carefully before adding any further developments to East Colchester - we are bordered by Army land, the River Colne, and employment opportunities compare poorly to the West and North of the town. CBC must consider the needs of the people living in East Colchester, as the infrastructure here is far older and far less affective than other parts of town.

It really should be considered now that Rowhedge is "full" and has taken its fair share of development with the 2003 Redrow estate of some 150+ properties, and the 256 new properties at the Wharf site. Rowhedge is a small fishing village with a small primary school that has NO spare land for extensions, ditto the Doctors Surgery which also shares its staff and resources with Fingringhoe, Abberton and Langenhoe, and Essex University..

St Lawrence School is already an overflow school for Old Heath School and spaces are extremely limited at Fingringhoe. Once again, there are far less education opportunities to the East of Colchester, with many if not all schools now operating at capacity.

Please also consider the fate of the farming couple, nearing their 70's, who have farmed Battleswick for 50 years.

In considering the extremely valid points made by other Rowhedge residents, surely the only correct decision is to reject the landowner's proposal. In post-Brexit Britain, we need all our valuable farmland more than ever.

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