FPC Strongly Opposes Developers Plans

Fairfield Parish Council has today submitted the following objections to the “Reserved Matters” application (See Note below) regarding the housing south of the Former Pig Testing Station and to the East of Hitchin Road.

CB/17/00358/RM Land to east of Hitchin Road and south of Former Pig Testing Unit

FPC object to the application on the grounds that the proposals, having been materially changed from that approved at the Outline planning stage, will result in severe cumulative highway impacts, particularly with regard to highway safety on Dickens Boulevard and at the Dickens Boulevard / Kipling Crescent junction.

The Outline planning permission was granted on the basis of a Transport Assessment which considered the impacts of a development which included commercial and community land uses. That Transport Assessment becomes null & void with the removal of these aspects of the scheme, as further analysis / mitigation will be necessary, therefore to suggest that this application can rely upon the Outline permission is considered irrational and unreasonable.

Most importantly, the removal of the commercial unit (or space for such a unit) will have the effect of increasing the potential traffic distribution on the local highway network, meaning that vehicles associated with new houses will now make ‘diverted’ trips into Fairfield Park, in order to visit the Tesco Express store. This may not be material in terms of road junction capacity however it will be material in terms of parking capacity in the vicinity of the Tesco Express and associated highway safety impacts, including Dickens Boulevard, where significant parking and highway safety issues already exist.

Similarly, the removal of the potential doctor’s surgery (or space for such a unit) means that, whereas those occupying the new dwellings would have been likely to walk to the surgery, they will now be required to drive to other facilities outside of the immediate area. This again may not add up to a large volume of vehicle trips such that junction capacity is impacted, however no analysis has been provided to quantify such impacts and there would also be impacts upon parking capacity and patient capacity at and around existing doctor’s surgeries.

Further to the concerns above, we note that the internal road layout may not be suitable for CBC refuse vehicle access. Vehicle tracking included on the site plan appears to be for a smaller vehicle than CBC utilise and even that appears to show overrun of kerbs and conflicts with landscaping areas, plus a need in some locations for private driveways to be utilised for turning. Vehicle tracking should be provided for the entire site, illustrating that refuse vehicle access is possible, in a manner compliant with the relevant standards.

Note:  A “Reserved Matters Application” is for the detail of an Outline Plan. As such it should not majorly deviate from that already approved, but deal with details of property design, street furniture and detailed traffic movement within the development itself. At the same time it looks at privacy issues for the new properties and the amenities for them such as green spaces.

Fairfield Parish Council had previously challenged CBC regarding the authenticity of this application stating that as it had materially changed from that submitted as an outline application, it was no longer “a reserved matters” application, and should be dealt with as a full application. This is because changes from the outline application will cause material changes to the traffic flow outside the development area for which no study or figures have been supplied by the developer.