Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Old Wells Road

This is what I said to the planning meeting on Wednesday 8 January 2014

Thank you for allowing me to speak on this very important planning application.

Without doubt this planning application is wholly opportunistic and for many local residents most unwelcome, the applicant is not concerned about the best way to develop Shepton, but ladies and gentlemen you are, this is why you have worked on the emerging local plan.

This site has never been judged not to be suitable to be included in the Local plan either in the past or the current plan or the emerging plan.

The planning policy team rightly judged this area considered before you tonight, as isolated and is to small to meet the requirements for a comprehensive strategic location.

The officers report sole focus seems to be to legitimate the findings around the District Councils inability to prove the five year supply of land with planning applications.

The broader and more important focus should be around the significant housing sites that are held within the emerging local plan, through the whole process land at the south of Shepton Mallet was deemed to be the location for the strategic housing sites, short term expediency should not carry more weight than properly thought out proposals that can demonstrate community support.

Shepton Mallet has been out performing the requirements for housing, in terms of numbers within the emerging local plan, with even more sites expected to come through in Shepton for planning, piece by piece it is changing Shepton's housing numbers, Shepton is doing its bits to plug the planning application short fall, this site at old wells road is not required and should be rejected

The old Wells road is essentially a lane, it was not designed for heavy traffic, in my time as PACT police and communities together, chairman, traffic problems dominated these meetings with residents demanding action on speed and road safety, the problems have and will get worse, with a former PCSO held discussions with county highways about traffic calming, worryingly there is no mention of this in the report. I have seen nothing in the officers report that tackles the traffic problems.

The junction of West Shepton and Old Wells Road is also a cause for concern.

Shepton mallet has the worse bus service of any Mendip town, no direct bus services to Bath, Bristol Taunton or Bridgwater.

The notion that people will use poor buses services that are viewed as an inferior mode of transport, is fanciful, travel vouchers may work in the city, but in a town with little public transport, this is merely a sop to plug the obvious gap in the isolation of his site.

The increased volume of traffic will Make walking on his lane even more unnerving, this especially true beyond 25 old wells road.

It is sad to see the proposed play area situated at the back of the housing site, not integrated  in the development, the site is not even level.

Skateboarding is an exhilarating sport with noise of wheels and young people being exuberant, I can fully understand why the environment health office wanted a 200metre buffer, they know, through experience, that the amenity of the houses will be affected by young people enjoying themselves and for the potential for unintentional nuisance, I have serious concern that 50 meters, especially as the older person tends to like bungalow

Shepton as continues to grows faster than predicted,  the pressures on our public services is causing very real problems, the post office can't cope, the doctor surgeries are full and difficult to get appointments,  the town has no cinema or theatre and buses that cannot service an entertainment need.
Shepton is becoming unsustainable.

This application is opportunistic and will do nothing to improve the local neighbourhood, on the contrary the visual impact and traffic will cause a worse environment without delivering benefits.

The site is considered by the planning policy team as too isolated so I call upon members of the planning board to reject this application.