Planning Application - 1856/17
Proposed Residential Development, Land North West of Church Lane, Barham
Barham Parish Council has recently engaged THaT Consultancy to carry out a further review of the Transport & Access issues related to the proposed planning application and conclusions are as follows;
We have reviewed the new information submitted since we prepared our previous report in February 2019. As part of these investigations we have assessed the developers proposed “infrastructure improvement schemes” against current guidance and best practice including undertaking a site visit.
Our overarching conclusion is that the concerns we have consistently raised since Summer 2018 have not been satisfactorily addressed.
In particular, the concerns and requests for information and clarification made previously have not been answered by either the County Council or the developers. There seems to be a very close working relationship between the County Council and the developers. The developers’ reports and findings seem to have been accepted without any serious challenge by the County Council. The developers’ latest proposals as presented in the Technical Note dated November 2019 will do little, if anything, to improve highway conditions in the village. They will certainly not mitigate the adverse impacts arising from the additional traffic that the proposed development will introduce onto the local highway network.
As congestion and delay increases so do the risks and dangers to all highway users, but particularly vulnerable groups such as pedestrians, cyclists and particularly schoolchildren. It is likely that drivers will seek out “rat runs” such as Barham Church Lane to avoid congestion and delay. Increased use of minor country lanes such as this will lead to an increased risk of accidents.
It should be noted that the “severity test” in Paragraph 109 of the NPPF relates to “residual cumulative impacts on the road network” and not to highway safety. The highway safety implications of a development proposal only have to be considered “unacceptable” by the decision-maker for the development to be refused on highway safety grounds. At present there is no clear guidance from Government as to what constitutes a “severe” or “unacceptable” impact. It is left to the “decision-maker” to make a judgement on a case-by-case basis.
It is clear from all the information we have reviewed in respect of the proposed development that the proposals will create a primarily car-based dormitory community that will introduce significant volumes of traffic on to a road network that is already operating at, or close to, capacity in the peak hours.
The full Updated Review of Transport and Access Issues report carried out by
ThaT Consultancy can be viewed on the MSDC website https://planning.baberghmidsuffolk.gov.uk
Barham Parish Council are having discussions with the MSDC Planners and the site Developer to explore better options.