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The proposals for West Mersea suggest that up to 350 new homes can be accommodated with the current infrastructure, however I do not believe this is the case as there are a number of services crucial to any expansion for the town, which are simply not meeting their current level of demand, let alone an increase.
1) Education - However many new homes are built any large development will incorporate family homes. Mersea Island school is at full capacity and having been a parent governor until this term I am well aware of the difficulties it faces in accommodating even one or two new pupils.
2) Health Care Provision - Securing a GP appointment on the day you actually need it is already a difficult task for most of us. I live almost directly opposite the surgery and regularly see patients queueing for appointments some 50 - 60 minutes before the surgery opens on any given day. The dentists surgery is scarcely better and as far as I'm aware is unable to accommodate all island residents.
3) Access - The Strood remains affected by the tide periodically each month, but this inevitably leads to traffic congestion and incidents at times when in it is unpassable. At peak times during the holiday periods this can be a major problem as the additional weight of tourist traffic adds to the volume of local traffic. Add an additional 350 homes to the island with the vast majority of occupants having to travel off of the island on a daily basis for work and you have created a significant additional difficulty.
4) Emergency Services - As I understand it any new housing development must take into account the additional burden that is placed upon the emergency services as a result of it being undertaken. Here on Mersea Island we have no local Police Station and no permanent police presence. The Fire Service provision is made up of retained firefighters and it I snot unusual to find that urgent medical assistance requires the use of the air ambulance. Adding additional housing developments to West Mersea will simply exacerbate this situation and any financial commitment from developers will simply be insufficient to mitigate this as none of the emergency services will be in a position to place permanent coverage on the island 24/7.
5) Community Impact - The island community is in many ways unique and reliant on the relatively small size of West Mersea as a town. Local spirit and engagement with events is a significant positive and adding new homes to the town will detract from this and erode the charm that tourists see in the island as a whole thus damaging the economy of both the island and the wider Colchester borough.