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Re Battleswick Farm development: (photos in attachment)
The council have correctly acknowledged the strong village identify, historical interest and has made reference to the value of the greenfield area to act as a buffer between the the village and colchester.
Rowhedge residents have accepted development over the last 16 years with approx 95 properties in Marsh Crescent/High Street, a further development at the other end of the High Street and more recently the Wharf development that is currently under construction.
Over 300 new homes since 2000 to current day shows that Rowhedge have been part of providing new homes to help meet the ever increasing need.
As one of the residents who has accepted this without objection the further development of our village is now having to make a voice heard and object strongly to any further construction.
You policy document below talks about character, access and landscaping and that new developments should enhance the local character. I can see no way that the proposed 60 home development can enhance the character of our village.
"Policy DM9: Housing Density
The Borough Council will seek housing densities that make efficient use of land and relate to the context. All residential development will need to be at an appropriate density and massing for the area having regard to;
* The character of the site and its immediate surroundings, as well as the wider locality
* The adequacy of the access and the local road network to accommodate the traffic likely to be generated by the proposed development as well as the level of access to sustainable modes of transport;
* The existing landscaping, trees and hedgerows on the site and the need for further landscaping;
7.46 New developments must enhance local character and optimise the capacity of accessible locations."
It is likely that each home owner will possess private transport so 60 homes , 60 cars adding an additional minimum 120 journeys per day either into an already congested village or into Colchester. The access suggested is a beautiful lane with trees, hedging abundant with wildlife. It is not wide enough to support a suitable road without tearing down the trees and affecting the environment which is part of the local character of the village leading to an established farm house and barns. Currently deer, badgers, foxes, bats squirrels etc all live within the area. Domesticated animals wander through the lane and accompanying fields. Current barns would make the widening of the lane difficult. I have attached a photo of the lane as often decisions are made from looking at maps rather than the actual site.
The farm and it's land it part of the character of the village and the residents of Hill View Close and Ashurst road have been able to share this character with views across the fields to the tree line bordering the lane. The proposed development will remove this with the tree line removal for access affecting the rural village character. The very name of Hill View Close draws attention to the landscape.
There are further issues regarding surface water and flooding. Building on the field will increase the run off where rain can be absorbed to a certain degree currently as arable land. Birch Brook at the lower edge of the field is already susceptible to flooding with residents in Hill View Close having their properties flooded. Your report on overland flow and flooding highlights that fields allow rain to soak into the ground but you are proposing to build on a field where nearby residents already suffered some flooding. It would seem that that this is not a serious issue as it does not occur with a high enough frequency and building is allowed on flood plains in England. We only have to see the issues at the Hythe during high tides and heavy rainfall the problems have been exacerbated since the new development built there. Any drainage put in place to avoid the problem obviously does not work leading to road closures and then more traffic chaos across the town. This would point that drainage plans for new developments are not efficient and points Rowhedge homes a higher risk if the development goes ahead on a sloping site.
West Mersea, Rowhedge, Wivenhoe and Colchester are surrounded by a patchwork of fields. The general topography of the Borough is relatively flat. This will aid the ability of the fields to allow rainfall to soak into the ground.
Policy and Mitigation
PPS25 indicates that Regional Planning Bodies and Local Authorities should promote the use of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) for the management of surface water runoff generated by any development. Runoff rates from new developments should not increase following redevelopment, including an allowance for ...."
Sustainability - the doctors surgery has little, if any, capacity to cope with an increased number of residents especially if the Wharf development in taken into account as well. People using surgery are more likely to drive to it if they feel unwell causing more traffic with little parking availability.
The limited shops in the village will increase traffic into the centre of the village increasing more journeys off the development. Rowhedge already has severe parking issues with emergency services finding routes in the village difficult.
The position of the proposed development means that the car is more likely to be used to take children to school increasing congestion and lowering air quality in our rural village., this is always supposing that the primary school has room for more children.
I am pleased that the greenfield barrier between Old Heath and Rowhedge is recognised as valuable and important but I wonder if this site for development is approved how long it will be before another field is taken, then another until a progressive use of the greenfield land is allowed to coalesce Rowhedge into nearby Old Heath.
More housing cannot enhance Rowhedge's character or landscape so should not be allowed.