OUTLINE PLANNING APPLICATION – B/15/01718
The Sudbury Society fully understands the need to expand the market town of Sudbury by the provision of further housing and employment. We believe this extension should be carried out so that it will be a seamless expansion of the market town and not the development of a conjoined village.
Although most aspects of the development will be reserved for treatment in detail we are concerned that they will be effectively constrained by decisions approved at Outline Planning stage. We are thinking particularly about the issues we raise below such as the spine road, access points, the siting of the industrial area and of the household waste site.
Our concerns with this application are:
- The spine road will serve both employment and residential land, a retrograde step unlike other employment areas in the town.
- The upgraded Acton Lane/Springlands Way junction is proposed to be traffic-light controlled which will cause congestion on Springlands Way.
- The impact on the town of increased traffic entering and passing through it, which will put pressure on parking provision, increase congestion, pollution, and impose further damage to the historic spaces and streets. A recent survey showed Cross St as having the most air pollution in East Anglia. The proposed modifications to the MacDonalds roundabout will encourage more traffic along Waldingfield Road and East Street, already with more traffic than it can cope with. Parts of Waldingfield Road are barely wide enough for two vehicles to pass. A Western bypass will become essential by phase 3 of the proposals if this impact is to be minimised.
- The location of the employment land with buildings potentially 15 metres tall is situated on the steepest sloping section of the site, not ideal for this type of development and the most visible section of the site from the surrounding countryside.
- The proposed household waste site is located close to the entrance to the spine road serving quality employment land and one of the main accesses to the residential land.
- The site roads and village centre location appear to show no reference to the existing surrounding housing areas which have no facilities.
- There is no programme for the provision of school facilities early in the residential development phases.
- Housing is shown as an artist’s impression and does not indicate a quality development.
- The site contains archaeologically important remains but there is no indication of how these might be protected at detailed application stage.
We make the following comments on how these issues might be addressed at both outline and detailed planning stages:
- The employment land should be served by the existing use-specific roundabout access which serves the Woodhall employment area, to segregate commercial traffic flows from residential ones.
- The Acton Lane junction with Springlands Way should be a roundabout as all other intersections on this road.
- The process of bidding for the western bypass should be initiated now with an updated and projected traffic survey to assess what proportion of traffic, both through and town generated, would be expected to use it. The traffic generated by the proposed future development of 500 houses on land east of the Newton Road should be taken into account. How this development will be sustainable in the event of the bid being unsuccessful needs to be made clear.
- To quote from the Transport Assessment included with the application documents – “the fundamental principle is to reduce the need to travel by car and ensure a modal shift towards walking, cycling and use of public transport.” How will the proposals meet these national and local planning objectives?
- The location of the employment land with its 15 metre high buildings should be moved from the steeply sloping shoulder of the valley on to the more level land behind Tesco and the Woodhall employment area; they could also go at the far eastern edge of the development near the existing waste dump.
- The household waste site should be sited at the eastern end of the site adjoining the existing haulage, waste, grain store and road surfacing business where it will have considerably less impact on the main employment area. It is immediately available and equally as accessible as the proposed location and not adjoining one of the main accesses to the residential land.
- The location of the village centre should be moved so that it can serve and benefit from the existing housing areas along both sides of Springlands Way.
- School and village centre facilities should be made available as this area develops and not left to be provided at the end of the development programme.
- It should be noted at this stage that the artist’s impression shows the familiar developer’s solution of lavish, space-consuming roads, detached houses with gardens, with no indication of green layout and design, nor of varieties of procurement such as individual or group self- build, nor of scope for working from home, nor of children being able to play safely within sight of houses rather than being confined to play areas. There are examples of good housing layout and design which should be researched.
Lorna E Hoey
THE SUDBURY SOCIETY 16 MARCH 2016