5th November 2014
Cllr Kevin Coe
Framlingham Town Council Riverside Framlingham
Dear Cllr Coe
Reference: Town Council Meeting 6th November 2014 Item 10 - Planning Application DC/14/2747/FUL - Erection of 163 dwelling houses with associated parking, access, highway works, landscape, open space, drainage and infrastructure including the resurfacing of two existing public rights of way.
I write to you as the Chairman of the Framlingham Residents Association.
As residents of Framlingham we expect the town council to look after the interests of the town and reflect the views of its residents. We believe that to properly fulfil this role the Town Council should consider this application for 163 homes not just in isolation but cognisant of the Hopkins Homes development of 140 homes and the concurrent Persimmon, Omnicorp and Bennett Homes applications for a further 125 homes. Together these developments add up to 438 new homes that the town simply cannot support.
The town councillors will be aware from the results of the Neighbourhood Plan consultations that the residents have described the town’s infrastructure as ‘struggling to cope with present population needs’. They have identified healthcare, traffic management, parking, poor local employment opportunities and an inadequate sewerage system as just some of the infrastructure problems that need urgent attention.
These concerns with the existing infrastructure are shared by the FRA. The Town Council cannot have missed the massive amount of support our organisation has garnered in a very short space of time. It cannot have missed seeing the 150+ residents who turned up at St. Michael’s Halls on 10th October to voice their concerns to the district councillors and local MP. Furthermore it cannot ignore the 76 objections to this application registered on the SCDC website.
Therese Coffey MP has recently used the Rendlesham Neighbourhood Plan to get a planning application referred to the inspectorate because it went completely against the spirit of the Neighbourhood Plan.
This week Suffolk County Council has said it will oppose Mersea Homes application for the first 815 homes of a 3500 home development north of Ipswich because there was a lack of evidence that developers would provide sufficient infrastructure to make the development a success.
These two examples show how important it is that local infrastructure needs are addressed as an essential and coherent element of any planning application. The Town Council needs to look at the
above application in the context of the SCDC Local Plan and the views of the residents as expressed via the NP consultation and the support for FRA. I enclose a document (Appendix One) that assesses this application with reference to the requirements laid out in the July 2013 Suffolk Coastal District Core Strategy Local Plan.
I pick up on one aspect of the Taylor Wimpey application which in our view sums up their complete disregard for the town and its residents. They claim that all the new residents of this development will always walk into town and the children will all walk to school and thus the impact on traffic levels and parking is less than 5%. Any reasonable person will tell you that this is a ridiculous assumption. Parents will drive their children to school in the morning and collect them in afternoon. The traffic levels around the primary school and the high school are already verging on dangerous during the morning and evening rush hours. The Town Council needs to resist any further development until the full impact of all the developments on the town’s traffic levels have been assessed and a plan for its proper management agreed and financed.
Finally I quote the vision as expressed on the first presentation page of the Neighbourhood Plan namely; ‘To preserve and enhance the quality of life, heritage attributes, environmental and economic growth of the neighbourhood ensuring the infrastructure is in place to create a sustainable and socially inclusive community for future generations through the empowerment of local people’.
It is clear that this scheme is woefully inadequate in addressing the Town’s infrastructure needs of transport, drainage, retail, healthcare and community support. It does nothing to further the Neighbourhood Plan vision to enhance the quality of life and provide sustainable economic growth within the town. We urge the Town Council to reject the application.
Christopher Sharpe Chairman
References: Planning Applications DC/14/2747/FUL (Fairfield Road); DC/14/2276/FUL (Mount Pleasant); DC/14/2573/FUL (New Road); DC/13/3234/OUT(Saxtead Road)
The combined scale of the proposed developments in Framlingham fails to meet many of the district-wide policies of the core plan or the Framlingham specific policies. Specific examples include:
SP1; sustainability - Housing should be close to employment services. There are no new employment areas planned in Framlingham, so the increased population will have to commute elsewhere. The New Road proposal is actually reducing the employment opportunities.
SP1; sustainability, SP23; maintaining historic character - The increase in population and necessary commuting will put a huge demand on the road network that is already strained. The traffic flows modelled in the applications simply do not reflect the current situation. Traffic is already choking Framlingham and destroying the historic character, further development is therefore in direct conflict with Strategic Policy SP23.
SP1; sustainability - The education facilities, including nursery, primary and secondary schools, cannot accommodate the increase in demand if these developments go ahead. See consultation letter from Neil McManus, Development Contributions Manager, Economy Skills and Environment Directorate, Suffolk County Council.
There is only a single GP surgery serving Framlingham and this is already at capacity. The next closest location, at Earl Soham is run by the same practice so provides no additional capacity.
SP18; infrastructure provision, the infrastructure required in order to service and deliver new development must be in place or provided at the required phase of the development. None of the proposals include provisions to meet the infrastructure shortfalls.
SP23 (a); maintaining historic character The requirement to maintain its high quality historic character – this will be ruined by increased traffic and parking on already strained road system
SP23 (b); The requirement for sufficient services (health, education, community (including sports) – as noted above, education and health services are at capacity. The community facilities are privately funded whereas other towns in the area already have council- provided facilities
SP23 (c); land allocation - Re-development of brownfield land should create new mixed use areas to meet the local needs – Development should occur on the brownfield Station Road site before any greenfield sites
SP23 (g); Requirement for improved access to the town centre through improvements to the town centre car parks, linked to improved local public transport – Developers claim their proposal will not have a detrimental impact and rely on toothless travel policies that clearly will have very limited impact given the current level of public transport.
DM21; relation to existing settlement - It is clear from the housing styles and segregation of the affordable element that these proposals have been written by people who do not
understand the fragile nature of Framlingham, and they have simply been designed to maximise the commercial profit from agricultural land outside the town.
If these edge of town developments are permitted to go ahead without due consideration of the infrastructure needed to maintain the unique character of Framlingham, it will set a dangerous precedent and will open the doors to further developments as envisaged by the landowners who have already submitted huge areas of green field land into the SHLAA process.