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Simon & Ann Fairey - Letter to Babergh

Page updated - 23 March 2010

 

 The following letter from Simon & Ann Fairey has been sent to Babergh District Council (BDC) for their attention.

 

 

To Whom it may concern,

 

We wish to register our objection to this proposed development. In addition to the objections listed below, we understand that surface water is to be directed onto the watercourse that runs behind houses in Davidson Close. Ours is one of the houses through which this watercourse runs through the rear garden. The water level rises considerably during rainfall and additional surface water can only make this worse. As parents of young children this raises obvious concerns, in addition to those about the environmental and financial impact on our property.

 

We urge you in the strongest possible terms to reject this planning application.

 

Kind regards,

 

Simon & Ann Fairey.


 

 

  • Severe traffic issues not addressed at all in the application, and should have been resolved before the application was made, are on their own sufficient grounds to reject the application;

  • Design, layout and features of the development including height and visibility are different to that originally proposed and will make a material damaging impact upon the landscape and the amenity for all the community;

  • Heritage concerns are not resolved and English Heritage, as statutory consultee are totally opposed to this development on this heritage landscape, the exact transection of two Gainsborough landscape views and impacting upon the setting of Grade I listed Abbas Hall, dated from 1290 and thus contrary to PPG 15, ENV1 and LP79;

  • Impacts upon an adjacent Special Landscape Area and therefore contrary to planning policies ENV8 and others;

  • A new PPS 15 Planning for the Historic Environment prepared by English Heritage, Communities and Local Government and the DCMS has finished its consultation period last year, and is about to be published, rules out this type of development in such a sensitive area; 

  • The UK is a signatory to the European Landscape Convention, after the Local Plan was adopted, which is designed to protect heritage landscapes and is applicable in this circumstance;

  • General infrastructure issues including schools, sewage, additional air and light pollution are of considerable concern;

  • Over development of the valley in terms of existing numbers of new houses as well as the current economic environment meaning that original figures for housing development in the district need to be scaled back and that this allocation can no longer be justified; and

  • There are no proposals included that would make this a “green development” thus totally inappropriate as we move towards a zero carbon economy and contrary to the Planning Act of 2008

 

 

Summary Objections

  • Severe traffic issues not addressed at all in the application, and should have been resolved before the application was made, are on their own sufficient grounds to reject the application;

  • Design, layout and features of the development including height and visibility are different to that originally proposed and will make a material damaging impact upon the landscape and the amenity for all the community;

  • Heritage concerns are not resolved and English Heritage, as statutory consultee are totally opposed to this development on this heritage landscape, the exact transection of two Gainsborough landscape views and impacting upon the setting of Grade I listed Abbas Hall, dated from 1290 and thus contrary to PPG 15, ENV1 and LP79;

  • Impacts upon an adjacent Special Landscape Area and therefore contrary to planning policies ENV8 and others;

  • A new PPS 15 Planning for the Historic Environment prepared by English Heritage, Communities and Local Government and the DCMS has finished its consultation period last year, and is about to be published, rules out this type of development in such a sensitive area; 

  • The UK is a signatory to the European Landscape Convention, after the Local Plan was adopted, which is designed to protect heritage landscapes and is applicable in this circumstance;

  • General infrastructure issues including schools, sewage, additional air and light pollution are of considerable concern;

  • Over development of the valley in terms of existing numbers of new houses as well as the current economic environment meaning that original figures for housing development in the district need to be scaled back and that this allocation can no longer be justified; and

  • There are no proposals included that would make this a “green development” thus totally inappropriate as we move towards a zero carbon economy and contrary to the Planning Act of 2008  

 

 

Please feel that you should make any objections that you wish in addition to these suggestions. Babergh also provides guidance on the fact that when making decisions on planning applications they will take account of the following:

 

  • The proposal is in line with planning policies for Babergh ( IT IS NOT)

  • The proposed use is a suitable one for the area (IT IS NOT)

  • The design of the new building(s) is in keeping with the surrounding area (IT IS NOT)

  • The adjoining properties will be overshadowed, overlooked or will suffer a loss of privacy (WILL BE SERIOUSLY IMPACTED)

  • The proposal will increase noise and disturbance from extra traffic or other activities (WILL BE SERIOUSLY IMPACTED)

  • The new roads and accesses are safe for all road users (ALREADY A SERIOUS ISSUE IN THIS LOCATION AND ADDITIONAL CONCERNS CREATED BY THIS DEVELOPMENT NOT ADDRESSED BY THE APPLICATION)

  • The proposal includes adequate car parking, cycling, refuse and storage facilities (DESIGN IS FLAWED)

 

 

Detailed Initial Objections

 

Flawed, manipulated and undemocratic process

A general background objection exists that this allocation of housing was placed in the Local Plan by a totally unrepresentative and seriously flawed and misguided process. The Local Plan Task Force rejected this site after many years of work on the Local Plan. It was placed in the Plan at the recommendation of the Local Plan Inspector who received a submission from the developer Persimmon Homes as an objector to the Local Plan. Note this is the only way at this public enquiry stage that they could make an application for housing on this site, having failed previously. The Inspector in reaching his view did not consult English Heritage and ignored the objections of Suffolk Highways. Note that at meetings of the Strategy Committee on 13/2/03 and Full Council 28/02/03 this Carsons Road site was originally rejected.

After public consultation and the total rejection of this site by the local community and a number of statutory consultees, including English Heritage, pressure at a Strategy Committee meeting was applied on Councillors to not reject the Carsons Drive site as this might jeopardise the whole Local Plan. This was repeated by officers responsible both verbally and in written papers. This is a timetable consideration and not a planning reason for inclusion. At the Council meeting of 11th April this matter was further discussed at a secret meeting and the assumption is that further pressure was applied. The vote to remove this site was subsequently taken with none of the 7 barred councillors present, 31 attending and a vote of 15-12 for the Carsons Drive site to remain in the Local Plan. What a travesty.

In such a sensitive site with so many of the local community objecting to its inclusion this process can at best be described as shabby and Strategy Committee and officers involved should be ashamed of what was undertaken and its potentially resultant outcome.     

 

 

 

Planning Application Specific Objections

 

Traffic Generation

This development is in a totally inappropriate site on the grounds of the existing poor access, the lack of new access proposals, the country lane nature of C732, its inevitable increased use as a rat-run, the historic Suffolk loke and important trees, and the dangerous junction at the A134, an existing accident blighted stretch of road.

Normally any traffic issues should be resolved in discussions between the developer, Suffolk Highways and Babergh District before an application is submitted. They have not and indeed have not been addressed at all. In Babergh documents it has been made clear that this development can be rejected purely on the grounds of non-resolution of the serious traffic issues…..

 

“Satisfactory detailed proposals for transport measures to serve this site will need to be agreed before any development scheme is implemented. Therefore planning permission will not be granted until these matters are resolved”

 

“Overall the resolution of the Highways matters will, of course, remain necessary to the satisfaction of the Local Planning Authority( LPA) in conjunction with the Transport authority and the LPA retains the ability to both control and if necessary prevent the scheme from proceeding, through its development control powers and the grant (or otherwise) of planning permission”

 

Futhermore that:

 

“The best solution(s) should be assessed promoted and the cost borne by the developer”

“LPA prefers to approach such matters by seeking the resolution of such issues….before a planning application is submitted”

“the highways point is …capable of remedy at the more detailed planning application stage”

 

Suffolk County Council Highways (Suffolk Highways)

  • 170 homes will result in excess of an additional 1000+ car movements a day with a proportion of them using the C732 up Sheepshead Hill. This adjoins the A134 where that stretch of the road over 5 years has had 25 accidents (13 in 2008 alone) involving 43 casualties and 3 fatalities. It is the 9th worst road in Suffolk according to Suffolk Highways;

  • Suffolk Highways made a number of recommendations that they wanted addressed including work at the junctions, widening of the C732 throughout its length, and other “off site highway improvement” and that it was “recommended that the allocation should be conditional on these improvements being carried out”  

 

 

Design and Layout Inappropriate

The developer has disregarded the previous proposal upon which the allocation was initially made. Amenity of those in Carsons Drive will be considerably blighted by the large scale development proposed, including three storey flat developments.  In particular development was meant to remain within the 45 metre contour, with at this level only two storey housing with dormer windows in the upper roof giving a total height of no more than 7.0 metres. This application has houses exceeding the 45 metre contour as well as moving large five bedroom houses to the upper contours giving heights up to as much as 55 metres, which is the same contour line as Abbas Hall, some considerable way up the slope and therefore making them highly visible and impacting upon the setting of the listed building.

 

 

Heritage Concerns – Landscape and Setting of Grade I listed building (Abbas Hall)

The historic landscape has considerable meaning for the local community with Gainsborough’s mother born in Great Cornard and Gainsborough brought up in Great Cornard and Sudbury. This development would concrete over the landscape at the exact transection of two of his historic landscape views (Mr. & Mrs. Andrews and Cornard Wood) both paintings held for the nation in the National Gallery. How many  landscape locations in our great nation can lay claim to such a sensitive and historically important juxtaposition. Also the setting of Grade I listed Abbas Hall, dating from 1290, the scene of Gainsborough’s Cornard Wood painting (and also featured in the top right hand corner of Mr.& Mrs. Andrews painting) will be severely impacted by this development, both in terms of quality and residential amenity. Supporting evidence of this is readily available. Babergh’s statutory responsibility to protect heritage should stop this development and its approval would be criminally negligent.

 

 

Special Landscape Area

This proposed development is adjacent to a Special Landscape Area and according to Suffolk Structural Plan ENV8 “Development will not be acceptable which would have a material adverse impact on a Special Landscape Area”  This site is totally inappropriate as it will affect the residential amenity of the community and the views and footpaths enjoyed by over several hundred years and no amount of cosmetic changes in appearance materials or layout can detract from the visible scar on the landscape this will create.

 

 

New PPS 15 Planning for the Historic Environment

Following the erroneous allocation of this site in the Local Plan a new PPS 15 is about to emerge. Planning for the Historic Environment was prepared by English Heritage, Communities and Local Government and the DCMS.  The consultation period finished last year and it is about to be published, which rules out this type of development in such a sensitive area.

The new draft PPS includes policies that protect the significance of heritage assets which includes “historic landscapes” and “ensures that the historic environment resource is not inadvertently diminished by ill-informed development”. It goes on further to say that “the significance of heritage assets ought not to be lost without a public benefit justification” and that “where the decision is finely balanced the Policy HE 9 requires a presumption in favour of retention” and “means it is unlikely that the most significant assets will ever be justifiably destroyed in favour of development”

This is further substantial evidence to a change in the quality and strength of heritage protection since the Local Plan was adopted.

 

 

European Landscape Convention (ELC)

Since allocation at this site was erroneously made in the Local Plan the UK has signed up to the ELC which affords greater protection to heritage landscapes and is applicable in a site such as this and further evidence of the general trend towards greater protection of heritage assets since 2006 and the passing of the Local Plan.

 

 

General Infrastructure

Considerable concern has been raised by the local community in terms of i) the inability for the schools to absorb new students particularly after the closing of the Middle School a decision made after the Local Plan ii) sewage, ii) air and light pollution where considerable impact will occur and the effect thereof has not been established in the application papers. An Environmental Impact Statement should be requested to be undertaken.

 

 

Overdevelopment

Considerable concern has been raised by the local community in how much development has been forced upon Great Cornard and how much is continuing to be approved to the detriment of the quality of life for all residents. In particular in the current economic environment original planning assumptions for the number of new houses in the district should be reassessed and this application site is no longer justifiable and should be removed in favour of smaller and more sustainable sites in other locations.