Application No. 11/05782/STPLF
Erection of 145 dwellings with associated access, parking and public open space with allotments and attenuation basin for drainage purposes. Land south east of roundabout, Woodhall Way, Molescroft,East Riding of Yorkshire.
The Parish Council members have been consulted at the earliest stages in the formulation of this application which has been the subject of a public exhibition and resulted in well attended Parish Council meetings.
The Parish Councillors have carefully listened to their constituents some of whom have been vociferous in their objections to both schemes, but at all times this was a listening process with no commitment prior to having the opportunity to consider the submitted application and take a balanced and informed view.
The Parish Council has historically supported the existing adopted Local Plan policies and are aware that long standing plans may have to be reexamined in the light of the new national planning policies on sustainability and the new Local Development Framework.
As far as we are concerned, however, unless we can be persuaded to the contrary, and this appears unlikely, the present Local Plan provisions do not show the site as being within the settlement limits for development and the first objection therefore is on policy grounds.
The second important consideration is that although the Local Authority in their formulating Local Development Framework are suggesting an increase in housing figures requiring the provision of a new greenfield site in the Beverley area before 2028, the proposals for new sites are unlikely to be revealed before the middle of 2012, or much later after due consultation and Inquiry, The second objection must be that a decision on the site would be premature before the Local Authority has completed its own assessment of allocations and made recommendations.
The Parish Council for many years starting from its comments on the soon to be superceded Joint Structure Plan and latterly its comments on consultation over the Local Development Framework, stated that there must be a limit on the capacity of the Town and that in our opinion that stage has now reached a level where the very fabric and sustainability as a market town is threatened by overdevelopment. What is particularly disappointing is that the Local Authority does not appear to be taking these concerns into account by continuing to expand principal towns ad infinitum, without considering alternative strategies, such as a new sustainable settlement. In this era of climate change, conservation and important environmental issues pursuing land use policies which have changed little since the early 50’s is very concerning.
Turning to the Linden Homes application there is no doubt that the land owner at the time the original Local Plan was adopted in 1996 envisaged that in the long term the site would be developed and to this end extensive landscaping maturing after many years has screened the edge of the site from the northern approaches. However, owing to the high level of the approach from the north, the site still maintains a unique green foreground to the parish and the historic town of Beverley.
The traffic implications are extremely worrying. Queuing at the junction of Woodhall Way with Driffield Road and at the Manor Road junction increase year by year and access to the development site will increase the problems. There is no mention of improvements to the latter junction. The initial proposals showed two estate road accesses to Woodhall Way through the gaps in the hedge. The submitted proposal shows individual accesses to dwellings. Although this will have advantages at off peak times and slow traffic down, it will seriously increase traffic problems at peak times and lead to further potential traffic hazards. We cannot see that any suggested traffic management proposals or highway works will relieve this problem.
We are not in favour of the suggested speed restrictors in Woodhall Way which will create road safety issues when combined with frontage accesses.
Similarly the proposed footpath south of the little that will remain of the mature hedge will create visibility problems across the frontage accesses. The earlier suggestion of a footpath behind the hedge was much safer.
Access from the bypass has been discussed but from a landscape point of view this would open up the site from the north. In any event we were told that levels and junction distances could not accommodate such a possibility but no evidence is submitted to support these contentions. No doubt your Authority will want to appoint traffic consultants to examine the TIA carefully. A sight of their recommendations would be welcome.
It is interesting to note that the same Consulting and Transportation Engineers on this and the Driffield/Malton Road application are employed. The latter had a traffic count in Feb 2011 and a somewhat ambitious design year of 2021. This application at Woodhall Way relies on a traffic count in Nov 2009 (over two years out of date) and assumes a design year of 2016 again somewhat ambitious. An explanation of these apparent inconsistencies would be helpful.
There are other issues we are concerned about particularly the capacity of the Primary Schools and whether the flood mitigation measures are satisfactory but we feel the objections we have set out are sufficient to justify our objections.
In summary our objections to this application are on the grounds that the site is outside the development limits of the adopted Beverley Local Plan and would consequently extend the built form into open countryside.
This application is premature because it would prejudice the proper consideration of site allocations in the formulating LDF, not available for a considerable time owing to the ongoing consultation process.
Our local knowledge of traffic levels particularly at peak/school times is such now that increased levels created by these proposals would seriously increase traffic levels and lead to greater dangers to road safety. The traffic management proposals are unacceptable.
We therefore recommend that this application should be refused.
We do however have a major issue to raise. It would appear that is likely this application and the application by David Wilson Homes for the site north of Driffield Road, already objected to, may go to appeal and should this arise we understand the Planning Inspector, should he be minded to grant consent, will require any planning conditions and particularly draft agreed Section 106 agreements (or levies if current) to be submitted. As Molescroft Parish should be the main recipient of community benefits accruing from such developments we would want to be party to such legal agreements.
We should be grateful of your early acknowledgement of this requirement and confirmation of our inclusion in any negotiations.