A March woman is urging Fenland councillors on the planning committee to carefully consider their vote tomorrow (Wednesday) on plans for 110 houses which she, and many others, want refused.
Victoria Batterham outlined her objections and backed up her arguments against the scheme with photographs showing traffic and flooding issues which she fears will only get worse if approval is given.
Residents in an around the proposed Upwell Road housing scheme are hoping that the planning committee will reject officers’ recommendation for approval and instead refuse it.
The outline application is for up to 110 homes, with 20 per cent of them to be classified as affordable.
The council has received 86 letters of objection which outline the reasons why residents are concerned.
Allison Homes are expected to be asked to provide a “developer contribution” to mitigate the impact of their proposals.
The house builder says the site is currently greenfield “but would represent a logical and seamless extension to the market town and an opportunity to deliver high quality and sustainable development.
“It would also provide much needed new market and affordable housing for the district and local area, along with a number of social, environmental and economic benefits”.
Mrs Batterham says: “There will be an increased vehicular and pedestrian access from Upwell Road leading to an increased volume of traffic, pollution, and noise.
“The additional construction site traffic will also have possible safety implications for the local schools and the parents and children travelling to them.
“Upwell Road and St Peters Road have existing access congestion problems with there being restricted road space due to roadside parked vehicles and insufficient room for two-way traffic, an additional housing development would add further congestion to a prevailing traffic problem.
“There is severe congestion during rush hour and school times.”
She says: “At any time of day, two-way traffic is not possible when buses, lorries, and vans are using St Peters Road, Upwell Road, and Cavalry Drive.
“This also has potential impacts for emergency vehicles being able to navigate and access these areas effectively and safely.
“As the proposed development site is a windfall site it does not appear that the provision to combat the prevailing traffic and safety problems have been considered or incorporated into Fenland’s Local Adopted and Infrastructure plans.”
Mrs Batterham believes the proposed development is against the council’s own Local Plan in that would have “unacceptable adverse impacts” on residents.
But it is fears over flooding that worries her as much since a promised scheme to address surface water drainage she believes will not work in practice.
“In reality although this could potentially contribute to disperse the surface storm water for the additional 110 proposed houses it would not mitigate the additional strain of foul water sewerage entering the existing network that is already overloaded,” she says.
She says the foul water network, in particular that of the Upwell Road/Cavalry Drive area was installed many years ago when the population of March Town was significantly less than it is today.
“When homes were flooded in our area in December 2020 Anglian Water CEO Peter Simpson stated in an email that ‘The Anglian Water owned sewers that many reported overflowing at this time were, in most cases, not blocked but rather overwhelmed……’.
“This has led to local flooding of the area on several occasions, which has subsequently caused road closures, flooded roads, and properties (with some properties in the area are still uninhabitable to date) and properties are becoming uninsurable for flood water damage.
“Local residents in Morton Avenue, Green Street, and Mills Gardens have also experienced flooding problems to their roads, gardens and properties.”
Mrs Batterham insists the application is contrary to the Fenland Local Plan-Adopted 2014 and sets out, in a letter sent to planners, a host of reasons why it contradicts those policies.
And she explains how she feels the application has failed to address utilities infrastructure requirements.
Mrs Batterham says: “The existing infrastructure of March Town was largely inaugurated many years ago when the population was far less than it is today.
“This infrastructure was not originally designed to cope with the volume of people living in the town today or for the development of population and housing growth that is currently being planned/forecast.”
Over time this has led to varying localised community problems including:
1: Dentist waiting lists of up to two years
2: Oversubscribed GP services and healthcare (causing lengthy waiting times for appointments and treatments to the detriment of the health and wellbeing of individuals).
3: Limited school placements in catchment areas at local primary schools (with waiting lists up to two years).
4: An overpopulated secondary school, and limitations of consumer services.
5: Internet connections in the area are already extremely poor and there are also power cuts on a regular basis due to existing mains overloads.
The NHS says the proposed development is likely to have an impact on the services of the 3 x GP Practice operating within the vicinity of the application site, Riverside Practice, Cornerstone Practice and Merchford Practice.
“Upon reviewing the existing estate footprint and registered patients, they do not have the capacity to support this additional proposed growth resulting from this development,” an NHS official told the council.
“The existing GP practices do not have capacity to accommodate the additional growth resulting from the proposed development.
“The development would generate approximately 264 residents and subsequently increased the demand and healthcare pressures upon the existing services.”
REF: Planning Application F/YR22/0062/O- Erect up to 110 dwellings Land South of 73-81 Upwell Road, March, Cambridgeshire.
Link to planning committee below:
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