Colchester Council Planning Committee delivered on a vote Thursday (30th May) for the development of the ‘Fiveways Fruit Farm’ housing application, for up to 420 residential units with associated parking.
Their decision was to accept the recommendation of Officers and APPROVE the planning application (182220), for up to 420 residential units with associated parking, despite concerns of valid infrastructure planning.
I went to the town hall and spoke up on behalf of Stanway residents as a campaigner and local resident. Below is a copy of my speech I gave during my three minutes available to me, objecting to the development proposals as they stood.
Stanway has seen so much development during the past twenty years, resulting in increased volumes of traffic, increases in air pollution, lack of school places, extended delays for GP appointments. Our A12 cannot cope, with what seems to be accidents reported every other day, and much needed improvements to vital junctions including the notorious Warren Lane/Maldon Road junction near Colchester Zoo and Junction 26 on the A12, seem to be stuck in a never-ending series of delays.
I understand from speaking with the Stanway County Councillor Kevin Bentley and local Ward Councillors Paul Dundas and Fiona Maclean, Section 106 monies from this proposal are proposed to be allocated towards investment in the Warren Lane/Maldon Road junction, however a conclusive amount has yet to be confirmed. Why has this planning proposal been allowed to come before the Planning Committee without a financial agreement in place for the Warren Lane junction improvements?
I would like to make it known to the Committee; Highways England have commented on the proposals recommending conditions should be attached to any planning permission that may be granted. Highways England have said the proposed development will have a “material impact on the critical national asset that is the Strategic Road Network”, specifically on the capacity of Junction 26 on the A12 at Eight Ash Green.
Highways England also say, “No part of the development shall be brought into beneficial use or occupation unless and until a scheme of improvements to A12 junction 26 have been completed.”
Residents across Stanway are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain GP appointments at their local practice. NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have stated, the proposed development “is likely to have an impact on the services of the four GP practices operating within the vicinity of the application site” and go on to say, “GP practices and branch surgeries do not have the capacity for the additional growth resulting from this development”
It’s quite unnerving to read the proposed development will be likely to have “an impact of the NHS funding programme for the delivery of primary healthcare provision within this area and specifically, within the health catchment of the development.”
According to figures published by the NHS CCG, the proposed development could generate approximately 966 new residents to the area and subsequently increase demand upon already constrained services. It is vital provision for additional health care services must be delivered for the proposed development, from additional GP practices, to investment in our emergency services and provisions for public access defibrillators.
The ‘Fruit Farm’ development application has received more than 108 objections (recorded online) from residents whom have expressed concerns over increased traffic volumes, lack of local school places, the need for additional dental practices, even more increased waiting times to see their GP and general over-development of Stanway, with one online comment suggesting, “if Stanway continues to grow, it could become its own independent Borough!”
If the decision this evening is to allow the proposal of 420 residential units to go ahead, I suggest to the Planning Committee vital plans are implemented to deliver much needed community infrastructure before occupation, not at trigger points, to address these important concerns of local residents, not just in Stanway but residents in neighbouring villages who also feel the impact of increased demands on services and the road network.
My ask of the Planning Committee is to postpone any decision on the proposed plans for the 420 dwellings at the Fiveways Fruit Farm, subject to an urgent and immediate review into the allocations of Section 106 monies for junction improvements and other infrastructure deficit, as well as a public review into the allocation policy of existing New Homes Bonus fund payments, delivered from Central Government on historical dwelling completions in Stanway.