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I am writing to protest most strongly about the proposed development of new houses on Battleswick Farm in Rowhedge.
The residents of Rowhedge are not unreasonable and appreciate that there is a need for new homes nationally and that a proportion of these houses should be built
within Essex. However, Rowhedge is a small village of approximately 900 properties and has already accepted a large amount of development in recent years. This proposal would add even more residences to our small village .
Since 2003 we have absorbed 122 new homes on Schooners Creek plus 17 on the site of the old Shipyard in the High Street, 3 on the site of the Freemasons and 4 others in the gardens of properties - a total of 146 new homes. In addition 256 properties are currently being built on Rowhedge Wharf which will increase the total of new homes in our village to 402. I am sure you can see that the village is now over 40% larger than it was just 13 years ago. The proposed development at Battleswick Farm would add an additional 60 or more houses to Rowhedge and further diminish the traditional village feel of Rowhedge that we all love.
The recent developments have already had an impact on the amount of traffic in and out of the village and traffic associated with the new properties in the Wharf development has not even begun yet. Cars and other vehicles associated with the proposed development at Battleswick Farm will add to all this extra traffic. All these vehicles must pass through Old Heath thus increasing the congestion in this area and adding to the dangers that already exist outside the Old Heath primary school at the beginning and end of the school day. Most of the vehicles will then continue along Old Heath Road into Colchester Town Centre. I am sure you are aware of the issue of parked cars on both sides of the road on Old Heath Road and Military Road on the way into Colchester and the difficulties that buses already have in negotiating
their way through the traffic here. This traffic then adds to the congestion along Southway and through the centre of Colchester. Some vehicles will turn right along Whitehall Road to the Hythe and the Greenstead roundabout and I am sure you are aware that this whole area comes to a virtual halt every rush hour. Extra traffic from the proposed development will exacerbate these problems leading to more frustration , lost time and loss to the economy.
There has been no investment in the infrasture of Rowhedge to ease the effects of recent developments . Most of the cottages in the centre of Rowhedge were built in the Victorian era and therefore do not have garages so cars are parked on the narrow streets and lanes making it difficult to drive through the village. The proposed development will increase this congestion.
The GP surgery is on a site that cannot be extended and the doctors already cover the village and all the students at the University of Essex. New residents might find it difficult to register with a GP practice. Furthermore I understand that both St Lawrence's and Old Heath primary schools are full so young children will have to travel a long distance to attend school. One of our counsellors is already dealing with cases of parents who are unable to find a place for their children in a local school and are very worried about the distance their children will have to travel.
Primary school children will be too young to use the buses so this will increase the number of cars going through Old Heath twice a day on the school run.
Battleswick Farm is not a good site for development. The fields are on a significant slope with Birch Brook running at the bottom. Even though this is currently agricultural land so rainwater can seep into the land, there are already occasions when the brook fills to capacity and threatens the gardens of the houses in Hillview Close. I believe that further downstream the brook does overflow and cause flooding . If these fields are developed most of the land will be covered with bricks and concrete and there will be significantly more rainwater flowing into the brook thus making the risk of flooding even higher. I am sure you are aware that Rowhedge is already suffering from flooding in the High Street as a direct result of the Wharf development. Despite numerous complaints this issue has not been resolved and yet the development is continuing. We do not want a similar situation to affect the gardens and properties in Hillview Close.
The proposed access to Battleswick Farm development is a narrow track wide enough for one vehicle. It will not be possible to have a two lane road with pavements in this space. This is going to make it difficult for motorists and very dangerous for pedestrians to access the site. In addition the track joins Rowhedge Road at the point where the speed limit changes to 40 mph so traffic will be travelling quite fast at this point.
I believe that all the points above are practical and reasonable objections to the proposed development at Battleswick Farm. In recent years the residents of Rowhedge have accepted the development of over 400 new homes in our small village but this proposed development will further increase the size and population of our village in a disproportionate way . Our limited resources are already stretched and our village community is feeling overwhelmed.
I hope you will take all these points into consideration and reject the proposed development at Battleswick Farm.