Sunday, January 03, 2016

Latest planning observations

New housing on the Severalls site. CCC hopes to meet CBC to discuss this scheme in mid January.

Post by Will Bramhill of the Bike Committee

Colchester Cycling Campaign regularly checks on planning applications with a view to influencing plans that would increase traffic as well as securing new cycling facilities. This is the latest batch.

152730 — objection — Land off Brook Street
Hybrid planning application comprising of an outline planning permission (with appearance and landscaping reserved) for the development of 61 residential dwellings (27 x 1 bedroom, 34 x 2 bedroom) together with associated car and cycle parking, lands

NB: does anyone have very good local knowledge of this area? Please contact Will directly.

Colchester Cycling Campaign objects to this proposal in its current form.

We are disappointed to see that the Dutch company engaged for the traffic survey -- Royal Haskoning DHV -- has not been more imaginative in providing high quality cycle routes to and from this site. This scheme would most certainly not pass muster in their home country.

Royal Haskoning notes that the site is near the Wivenhoe Trail at East Bay ... but how to get there? Will the developer be providing hover boards with cycle racks, or should people take their bikes on their cars? The acid test should be the same as it would be in NL: would I allow my 8-year-old to cycle to and from this location to school and leisure facilities such as Leisureworld and Rollerworld.

The consultant provides a 94-page document that pays lip service to cyclists and pedestrians but has screeds on traffic-light and junction configurations. Haskoning also notes that there have been no inherent highway safety issues in Brook Street -- could it be because all except the most hardened cyclists are scared to use that road because of the speed/traffic levels?

We are also disappointed that ECC Highways has not paid any attention to its draft cycling strategy and has instead rolled over for its tummy to be tickled. It would seem that engineers are still in thrall to anyone who can produce lots of statistics on traffic light timings.

CCC would like to see the developer come up with a scheme that includes:
:: a direct connection using a toucan crossing (separate to the roundabout) to connect with a path to the Wivenhoe Trail (a substandard path has been provided as part of a previous planning application)
:: segregated paths, not shared use
:: a cycle connection to the town centre that passes to the front of the proposed new homes
:: a connection with Magdalen Street via the land that has been left open for that purpose -- and
(the existing shared path -- and -- is not suitable for purpose)
:: An investigation into the feasibility and part-funding of a new shared-use railway bridge
:: CBC Travel Plan Club should look at inviting one of the local car hire firms to provide a car club on the site for residents, to take up 20 of the 80 spaces (car hire, not van hire)

152620 — Objection — Certificate of lawfulness for A1 use
Colchester Retail Park

Colchester Cycling Campaign would object strongly to any intensification of motor traffic in the Sheepen Road/Middleborough area.

The reason for this is the general unfriendliness of cycle/pedestrian routes, especially given the proximity of Colchester Institute, Colchester VI Form College and St Helena school.

We would regard permission for food sales at Colchester Retail Park as an action likely to lead to intensification of motor traffic unless it is accompanied by substantial traffic mitigation measures funded by the applicant (ie, an order for one-way motor traffic only west of the Sheepen Road subway; widening of the subway; improvement of ramps, and/or widening of the Sheepen Road footpath. provision of a segregated cycle path (not shared with pedestrians) and remodelling of the Balkerne Hill subway to CROW standards on ramp gradients and straight-through visibility.)

If such traffic mitigation measures cannot be achieved, this application should be rejected.

152732 — General comment — Application for variation of condition 05 of planning permission O/COL/01/1622
Cuckoo Farm, Boxted Road

CCC requests that the applicant bears in mind the cycling/walking tunnel built into the Via Urbis Romanae and produces plans for neighbouring sites and the sites' cycling networks accordingly.

It is important that the tunnel feels socially safe and attractive and its approaches should be straight for up to 300m either side, allowing users to see through the tunnel before entering it. The cycle routes on either side should be open and overlooked.

We would also point out the necessity for a plan for football match days and preventing football fans' cars using the cinema car park, or vice versa. Funding for the ongoing enforcement of car parking in the area -- and any shuttle buses -- should be a part of any planning permission.

152733 Application for approval of reserved matters following outline approval 151401 for erection of 730 new build residential dwellings, open space, landscaping, parking, access and associated infrastructure. Former Severalls Hospital Site and 152794, associated road changes

We have requested a meeting with the planning officer on January 11.

152613 Erection of 634 student residences, Essex University

We have written to Karen Syrett of Colchester Borough Council requesting urgent action to replace/remodel the University Quays cycle/foot bridge. Karen has already replied and said she will look into this on her return to work on Tuesday. Charlotte Humphries has said that if we lodge a formal request it will be taken forwards as part of their travel plan.

152705 Flats, Magdalen Street

We have asked for alterations to the plans for a shed for cycle parking/rubbish bins and pointed the council to a better alternative.