Walton Community Council have objected to the planning application for Church Farm. Our objection is below.
You can copy, paste, edit and use any of our text below in your own response.
CHURCH FARM DEVELOPMENT - PLANNING APPLICATION 21/00943/REM
I am writing today on behalf of Walton Community Council and our residents to raise formal objections about the planning application for the Church Farm development, which will have a material impact on our residents and community.
This application is the reserved matters for outline planning approved about 4 years ago. Part of the outline was to create a ‘strategic access road’ (‘SAR’) to build out the development. If you recall, at the time, local residents had campaigned for a grid road into Church Farm, including grade separation at Byrd Crescent and the bridleway.
Time has moved on and now there is a robust strategy for roads such as this in place, within Plan:MK and the SUE SPD for SE:MK has appeared.
This road therefore carries a risk to residents and to MK Council if not changed. The road was designed to accommodate a cul de sac of 350 houses, but now has to serve 3,350 houses and would be the sole eastern route into and out of SE:MK.
Currently, the SAR begins at the roundabout at Gregories Drive and Britten Grove, then heads eastward and across Byrd Crescent, which it will cut in two. It will create 2 cul-de-sacs with turning areas, reducing local traffic through flow (contra to aims within Plan:MK) and more worryingly, as it is not grade separated, it will force residents and the sizable number of school children from the nearby Wavendon Gate Primary school and Walton High to cross this road directly.
The SAR then continues eastward adjacent to the treeline to the rear of houses in Ravel Close before ending in a ‘turn around’ roundabout. The planned road is not centred in the grid road corridor. Traffic chaos is likely, even with the existing scheme, at the Gregories Drive and Britten Grove roundabout. Byrd Crescent is closed and there is an additional spur for Church Farm traffic. Queues here will send traffic into Wavendon Gate and Old Farm Park, especially at school time.
It is envisaged in the indeterminate future to then move this road 30m to the north, to create a full grid road, with grade separation. This would then fulfil the original purpose of the reserved land, which has always been a grid road expansion corridor.
Given now the wider context of SE:MK, it would be madness not to bring forward the construction of the H10 grid road extension and use it as the SAR. It would involve some compensation for the developers, but this would have many benefits for residents and MK Council:
• One construction project, not two.
• Community not cut in two / Byrd Crescent cul-de-sac (the road would need renaming!)
• Less risk of fatal accidents to residents and their (school) children.
• More compatible to building cohesive communities – a key aim of Plan:MK and SE:MK SPD.
• Compliance with current Plan:MK standards and strategies around grid roads.
• Lower cost. Looking at the impact retrofitting underpasses at Oakgrove, this should be a key aim given the current financial situation, even given build-start delay compensation.
• Doesn’t repeat the mistakes of the past, such as the V10 at Walton where traffic lights had to be installed on a grid road due to lack of underpass. This impacts future plans such as MRT, so the philosophy of “do it once, do it right” seems appropriate.
• Lower environmental impacts, in line with MK Council’s aims of decarbonising. To build a road, consuming resources, to only dig it up and rebuild it within a short time frame is ludicrous, not to mention more disruptive.
There are two MK Community Foundation sites to the north and south of the H10 extension corridor that would be marginally affected with the build of the extension, however during consultation with Ian Revell at MKCF, he is on record as saying that they have no current interest in the land there.
In addition to the above, it is important to consider the wider strategic context of the H10 extension, which will provide a key route to the north of the SE:MK development – and as per the conversations MK Council has had with Central Bedfordshire – to extend across to the A421/M1 J13 and open-up new employment and industrial areas.
While any development takes place, we remind you that this is a mature residential area, so noise mitigation will be important. You cannot just put in saplings and wait 20 years. Bunding or panelling will need to be deployed.
On the topic of noise mitigation, the developers are permitted to build 09:00 hours to 18:00 hours Mondays to Fridays, 09:00 hours to 13:00 hours on Saturdays and not on Sundays or Public Holidays. As a lot of people are working from home, it would be ideal to remove Saturday working as well, to give local residents a full 2-day break from noise and traffic. Could MK Council support this?
We have tried to consult with the developers, but Connolly Homes has stonewalled us, and we have not had any responses from them. This is not engaging the local community.
More importantly, the timelines for comment on this development appear to have been planned somewhat carefully to coincide with the period of purdah on the lead up to the May 2021 elections, so Ward Councillors have not been able to publicise, object or otherwise engage in democratic debate on it.
Having now set out our objections to the planning application, Walton Community Council formally requests that the application is brought before the Development Control Committee for determination. Of course, this Council will wish to attend and make representations at that meeting.
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