I have written with the significant concerns I have regarding the outline planning application proposed for the land east of Bridge Farm, Top Street, Martlesham – the impact of which would fall within the Woodbridge division.
While we all recognise the desperate need for affordable housing in oue area, I would be very concerned if permission for this particular development were to go ahead (particularly as the proposed development of 2000 houses at Martlesham Adastral Park still remains under consideration).
Apart from the fact that this is the last piece of greenfield separating Woodbridge from Martlesham – a fact which holds great significance for both communities – my principal concerns deal with transport:
- The application proposes vehicular access. Proposed access for residents’ cars is onto
i) a narrow uphill section of Top Street just after a railway bridge and
ii) a wider, but heavily used and equally uphill section of B1438 (here called Ipswich Road ) which is heavily used, being the main access road through Woodbridge.
Neither seem to be adequate or appropriate exits onto the roads in question. There appear to be no other viable options.
- The ‘proposed public open space footpath route’ as labelled on the Gladman plan (see left – click to enlarge: an open corridor that leads from Sandy Lane, at a place that has no pavement towards Woodbridge or ongoing footpath without a risky walk around a blind bend under the railway bridge, to a part of Top Street which has no pavement or ongoing footpath) is misleading. It is in fact the corridor through which the EA One underground high tension cabling is due to be routed. And on which restrictive covenants will remain in place afterwards preventing building and planting (further details here ) This is therefore not a ‘proposed public open space footpath route’ but a guaranteed space along which it is not possible to build or plant, which leads to nowhere substantive – and for which any developer needs to find an explanation.
- I do not know what the planning guidance is on EMFs (Electro magnetic fields) and health when planning a new development – particularly one housing young families, and most particularly when there is a proposed children’s play area right next to buried high voltage lines? The location causes me considerable disquiet.
- Planning development with affordable housing will help house young families who cannot afford local prices. Sadly this development would not encourage children to walk to school or socialise in Woodbridge, or indeed encourage any residents to walk to Woodbridge, or young parents with buggies to walk anywhere as the ‘footpath’ debouches onto two pieces of road without footways. If the primary catchment is Kyson (as Kyson’s catchment map suggests) there will be no safe means to walk to the school, unless a crossing is built across the Ipswich Road. Apart from expense, this which would cause congestion and possible accidents in rush hour as the B1438 is the principal exit route for Woodbridge commuters.
However, without a crossing, the County Council will potentially face a large and ongoing bill for education transport on ‘safety of the route’ grounds.
The other great need for affordable housing is amongst the older downsizers. These may often have the same requirements for pedestrian access as young families. And again these are not met.
In short, if a housing development – and specifically one with a significant affordable element – is proposed, it needs to be placed where it is safe and convenient for people to live and where they find safe and convenient ways to get to work, to education and to socialise. The location of this proposed development does not provide for this
My inbox has been buzzing with anxious emails this week from people worried about a possible planning application for land adjoining Dukes Park. Although planning is a District Council issue it is in Woodbridge County division,and is also the site through which the EA One underground high tension cabling is due to be routed. As this appeared to have slipped under the radar of both residents and district council until I raised it last Monday, I contacted the EA ONE link officer at Suffolk County Council. I wanted to know if he had definitive information on the separation necessary between housing development and underground high tension cables.
Here is his brief resume of the status quo and implications as he sees it:
East Anglia ONE have acquired both permanent and temporary rights for land within the Order Limits (red line boundary). The exact location of these rights however would not be determined until the project is being built, because the final positioning of the cables is not known. What we know now is that the corridor depicted on the plans is generally 75m wide though only 55m is needed for construction and this could lie anywhere within the 75m swathe. The final footprint for the operational development will be 42m The rights that have been acquired are set out within Schedule 6 of the Development Consent Order . The permanent rights within the cable corridor generally provide for the retention of cables/ducts together with a surface right of access for occasional maintenance. Lands subject to temporary rights (i.e the ‘surplus’ 33m) would be returned to the current owner post construction (that is, around 2020). However as the SCC link officer understands it:
“…restrictive covenants are also in place. Activities within the Order Limits are prohibited as below. The footprint of the land these rights cover would diminish from the construction (75m) to operational phase (42m), but as I understand it apply to the full 75m currently: (a) prevent anything to be done in or upon the Order land or any part thereof for the purpose of the erection of any buildings or construction erection or works of any kind (including the foundations or footings thereto); (b) prevent anything to be done by way of hard surfacing of the Order land with concrete of any kind or with any other material or surface whatsoever without the consent in writing of the undertaker (such consent not to be unreasonably withheld or delayed if the proposed surfacing would not cause damage to relevant part of the authorised project nor make it materially more difficult or expensive to maintain the authorised project); (c) prevent anything to be done by way of excavation of any kind in the Order land nor any activities which increase or decrease ground cover or soil levels in any manner whatsoever without the consent in writing of the undertaker save as are reasonably required for agricultural activities or are required to be carried out by National Grid in order to exercise their rights in relation to their apparatus within the Order land; (d) prevent the planting or growing within the Order land of any trees, shrubs or underwood without the consent in writing of the undertaker (such consent not to be unreasonably withheld or delayed provided that the proposed trees, shrubs or underwood would not cause damage to the relevant part of the authorised project nor make it materially more difficult or expensive to access the relevant part of the authorised project). Consequently very little can happen within the area covered by the Order Limits at the moment. The extent of that redline boundary will shrink in due course, but even in that remaining area, no buildings could erected.”
The officer points out that land outside the Order Limits, and any land used during construction once returned to its original owner is not subject to any East Anglia ONE restrictive covenants. However it would be on each side of the cabling area. Requests for any further specific elucidation are probably best directed to:
Joanna Young, Stakeholder Manager ScottishPower Renewables East Anglia Offshore Wind, Room 101, OrbisEnergy, Wilde Street, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR32 1XH. firstname.lastname@example.org