October 3, 2016
by Dave Craggs
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Better quality development results from planning intervention
Despite spirited opposition from the Westminster Park Residents’ Association (WPRA) and Handbridge Park councillors Razia Daniels and Neil Sullivan, the appeal into the planning application for housing at the end of Sherbourne Avenue has been allowed.
Disappointed Chair of WPRA, Pauline Brown commented, “We have opposed this scheme because it is a piecemeal development and should be part of the wider Wrexham Road site plan. We are pleased however, that our objections have resulted in an improvement to the original scheme, with a reduction in the number of houses to be built from 41 to 31. This change will lead to a much higher quality development.”
Representations by Westminster Park Residents’ Association at the appeal also highlighted concerns about education, drainage, ecology and traffic in the area.
Local residents believe that the traffic implications of the development, both during and after construction, are very worrying.
“This site is extremely close to existing housing and to Belgrave Primary School, and the only access will be through the Westminster Park estate past the school. Deliveries of building materials and equipment will all have to go past the school entrance – this is going to put children and parents in great danger at drop-off and pick-up times in particular,” said Pauline Brown.
“In the longer term, we will have 50 plus extra cars driving through the estate on already busy roads, adding to the tailbacks on Lache Lane. Cheshire West and Chester Council do not seem to have considered the practicalities of this scheme when they approved it,” she added.
Local parents are worried about the impact that the new scheme will have on their ability to get their children into Belgrave Primary School. Cheshire West and Chester Council is proposing that any children living in the new houses should go to Lache Primary School, nearly a mile away, as Belgrave is full to capacity at present.
“This does not seem to have been worked out on a practical basis at all,” said Pauline Brown. “You cannot expect a four year old child to walk a mile to school in the morning. The new school proposed as part of the Wrexham Road development will not be built for many years, so where will these children go?”
There are also huge concerns about the impact of the building works on drainage in the area, as it is already subject to flooding.
“This site has a heavy clay subsoil which is about 10 feet deep, so when we have any heavy rain the water stays on the surface. We are very worried that when building work starts, surface water will flood our homes and gardens. It is very important that further work is done, before and during construction, to ensure that this water can be managed without causing damage to our homes,” stressed Lisa Sawyer, a resident whose house backs onto the Sherbourne Avenue site.
A pond situated close to the site is known to be home to great crested newts, as do several others in the larger site to be developed later. Local residents are concerned that when building starts on the site, the newts will not be able to move between the different ponds.
“At the moment the ponds in this area are situated in rough grassland, which allows the newts to move from one pond to another. When this development goes ahead, the newts in the pond near Sherbourne Avenue are going to have to cross a tarmac road to get to the other ponds. This does not seem to have been thought through properly,” said Pauline Brown.
For more information, please contact:
Jennifer Crew, Editor, Westminster Park Residents’ Association
Tel: 07752 854383