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whilst the plan for the preferred sites could deliver an additional 350 houses the question has to be asked as to whether they should or whether the existing island site can realistically support the proposal.
My wife and I strongly object to the proposals as they stand. the overall impact to Mersea will be completely detrimental to this lovely island that is struggling already from overcrowding through careless infilling and new large estates.
Current infrastructure cannot sustainably support any further increase to the local population. The current primary school is already in need of improvement and overcrowding - already one of the biggest in Essex. there is no secondary education on Mersea along with 6th form education all off the island and minimum of 20- 45 minutes bus journey away.
Health services - current practice under great strain to support the many varied needs of the increasingly aged population - with new facilities required but not resolved yet.
Traffic - proposed access from East Road to both sites creates and untenable situation for both Dawes lane and "Fountain" junction on to Mill road - another 350 - 700 cars will create significant congestion and dangerous driving practices with regards the Strood and along Mersea road into Colchester - given that the bulk of the work force would be expected to gain employment in Colchester or off the island ? the proposals for the safeguarding of existing economic areas is welcomed and countered in that the majority of employment will be off island which leads further into the traffic commuting into surrounding conurbations is further exacerbated with regards to peak travel hours.
There is also the initial build of any development of this scale in terms of delivery lorries and trades vehicles to attend site - East road is a major artery for the island - a 2 -3 year development and associated congestion would be intolerable.
Have utility services been developed to accommodate this potential growth in population - with regards power, gas, water, broadband connectivity, waste & refuse collection, recycling centre, ?
Mersea has already lost its only police support and now relies on very sporadic support - with any additional development representation must be made for a permanent police presence for Mersea and surrounding area - given traffic issues in possible response times.
To date all existing developments and infilling have led to very little community gain - the proposals again provide very little gain to the community given the potential £75m development (350 x average house price £214k) - therefore developers profit of around 10% (probably larger!) equates to around £6-7m - of which supply of an additional playing field is very little and of little real value to the community - woodland / park / community space / access and real assets / infrastructure support for the island would be more tolerable.
With regards the development I consider that due to the government requirements for additional housing CBC will have to demonstrate some level of compliance - to this end 350 houses have been identified - I suggest that a much lower number is considered and that that development is made with more consideration to the type, quality, "fit", and consideration to the community (with regards parking - not just in compliance with regs or guidelines - but actual real life - most houses will have 2 cars !).
The need for "affordable housing" fits the government definitions and new developments have "numbers" of types of houses to fulfil- the developers will retain their profits margins irrespective of what they build - so make it a pleasure to live in not another car park with no green spaces / gardens - stipulate off road parking, trees, space between houses, space to hang washing out - reduce the need for tumble dryers, ensure north facing larders where possible reduce electrical consumption etc.
In fifty years the population has grown over 100%, to realistically propose another 10% growth (approx 700 - 1000 people+) is not tolerable - ( this does not include numbers post 2011 census - i.e not include Wellhouse Green or other infilling).
Current traffic and parking issues on the island are causing many issues let alone bus access and emergency service response - additional permanent population will not make any of this better.