HOT OFF THE PRESS…
Here we list some objections that have been added since the ‘street pages’ and ‘detailed material objections’ have been written. Keep contacting us and we can add your objections on to here too….
- No Green, no go! Ilke Homes admit in their ‘Planning Statement’ – P37- that they cannot provide sufficient green and open space to meet local standards (Policy EN10 – Enhancement and Provision of Open Space / Pitch Strategy April 2017), which ensure that people have access to open space for recreation and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. They admit that “075³ of Amenity Greenspace is provided on site, below the 0.19ha threshold.” They are squeezing in housing with no care for people’s wellbeing!
- A LEAP of Faith: They also note in their ‘Sustainability‘ and ‘Ecological Assessment’ documents that they believe that their application should be supported because they are providing a LEAP (Children’s play facility) in the South corner. THEY ARE NOT however providing a children’s play area. It’s a puzzle why they say that they are.
- Build a bridge! Ilke Homes say they are opening the bridge near the railway to facilitate footpaths and east to west connectivity from the development to John Clark Way. BUT WHO IS PAYING FOR THIS and who will be maintaining this? Is it Network Rail or the highway authority? Or is the developer paying? This is a huge cost but is not accounted for in the application. It forms a major part of the application but lacks any detail about how this will be implemented.
- A straw on the camel’s back? Ilke homes ‘Transport Assessment’, p7 states that on current traffic calculations (from NCC travel to work census 2011 and junction turning statistics 2018/19) that if NO development was introduced the situation would mean over capacity and even more queuing for the following junctions Higham Road / Hayway and Higham Road / High Street / Northampton Road by 2031. This is supported by the Rushden Transport Study. In page 52 and 55 of Ilke’s ‘Transport Assessment’ document they say if the development goes ahead afternoon queuing times and cars backed up will increase again because of the development! Why make a bad situation worse? Although to be fair, none of the developers are local so they won’t be stuck in the queues and and as they will have sold the site they won’t need to respond to local frustration.
- Nobody Mention the Wildlife: The ‘Construction’ assessment does not consider the impact to wildlife in the Pocket Park (Crane Close) or the Greenway, even though these are directly adjacent to the site. They consider that “Significant impacts on ecologically sensitive receptors are unlikely to occur beyond 50 m from any construction activities’ (the Greenway is about 5 metres away?). “A review of data held on the Defra MAGIC website6 shows no sites designated as important for wildlife within 50 m of the Site, therefore impacts on ecological receptors has not been considered any further within this assessment.” Say Goodbye to the deer, bats and birds…..
- Try not to breathe in the vicinity (well, that’s a little more detailed than Ilke’s suggestion for dealing with toxic air pollution). Worryingly there is a high risk of dust soling to surrounding properties and the Greenway. Some of the soil is acknowledged to be contaminated with Asbestos and Arsenic. Yet the proposal contains no specific details about how this will be handled. Is any risk to our health acceptable? (P41 – Contaminated groundworks report.) “There are residential properties immediately to the north, west and south of the Site, with approximately 25-30 within 20 m of the site boundary. The sensitivity of the surrounding area in relation to dust soiling effects is therefore considered to be ‘high’.” Ilke have frankly ignored the toxic risks and dangers to local residents. You might have to have more detail than this if you took your 60’s extension down.
- Don’t breathe and run faster: Again, some free health advice, as Ilke don’t offer any… There is no assessment of construction emissions or air quality and impact to the Greenway which is a major route for people exercising. Wind direction will carry dust there. Good job we all have masks nowadays.
- But they are just starting up…. Ilke homes has no track record as a developer. They are a three year old company who have made modular homes for other people. The naivete of their proposal is evident, but really, we’d like something a little more considered and complete.
- Stay on the paths kids – Oh no, you can’t – there are no footpaths in some areas of the estate. So, children the elderly and the disabled (allegedly the target populations of this estate) will be vulnerable.
- Single File everyone. There is multiple tandem parking. Rushden Town Council have rejected other developments and private house owners’ applications for extensions, based on tandem parking. Therefore, the same rule should be applied for these houses.
- Drains Before Rains: Where is the work to safeguard houses from flooding by putting in drainage first?
- Don’t talk about poo: The utilities assessment document does not mention sewage connection. Why is that?
- It hasn’t worked anywhere else – so let’s see if it will work in Rushden. Local and national policies support mixed housing. 100% social housing, like in this estate is proven to be poor for both physical and mental health of occupants and crime rates.
- Will the mortgage outlive the house? Ilke have stated that only two banks will loan for a mortgage on these types of prefabricated properties, as they have no proven longevity. So if they do end up for sale, they may not prove to be a good long-term investment as a home.
- Ignore us and we might go away – Engagement with the local population is deeply flawed. The Pegasus engagement was poor on many levels e.g. distributed leaflets with incorrect joining instructions for web meeting, skewed survey and few questions replied to. The replies to residents that did come have been limited and inadequate to the hundred+ questions asked by e-mail.
- Consider all Access: Ilke’s report says “11 Ilke Homes is accordingly able to deliver development and the Neighbourhood development plan application within land it controls. However, as demonstrated there are limitations in providing wider connectivity outside of their land interest given the third-party issues as discussed above which is outside of ilke’s control.” They could easily join to John Clark Way via a railway crossing across from Windsor Rd junction, thus providing connectivity for pedestrians and cars and preventing development trucks and wide loads from blocking the town. This would pass over council and highway land only and they could fund a decent crossing for the railway, ready for when they overcome the prohibition order and are allowed to do the occasional weekend run again.
- Crate Idea Ilke!: In their ‘Flood Risk Assessment’ and drawings they will use a crate system – under the only piece of open ground that they have. This space will not be adopted by Anglian Water and will have maintenance issues which increase the likelihood of flooding. Roads and drives will be mostly tarmac and result in fast water flow to the bottom of the site. Remember the terrible flooding before Christmas! They say they will raise houses by 300mm to stop internal flooding, but what about houses on Peck Way and Shirley Road? Their risk of flooding looks likely to increase.
Ecology and Bio-diversity
- No detailed ecological surveys have been included in the planning application for review / comment confirming the extent and number of different species on/adjacent to the site regarding trees, flora and wildlife, only brief statements are included within the Design Access Statement. The full ecological survey results for the Phase 1 Habitat Survey should be made available.
- We acknowledge the included bio-diversity report included as part of the planning application.
- The ecology comments/information submitted by Ilke Home are included on page 47 of the Design Access Statement.
- Low levels of bat activity and moderate potential for supporting bats roosting in trees are indicated. The relevant trees are noted to be soft felled. However, these specific trees are not identified in the Tree Survey Plan drawing No 9637-T-01 rev A.
- As bat activity, and potential roosting sites, have been confirmed a full and detailed bat survey should be completed, as per the Bat Conservation Trust, in accordance with the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
- The application indicates that bat boxes are to be included in their proposal. Specific details, ie location, type and number of bat boxes, should be detailed in Ilke Homes proposals.
- Similar to the above, specific details, ie location, type and number of bird boxes, should be detailed in Ilke Homes proposals. They also confirm there are common lizards on the site so there should be a reptile survey and published mitigation plans to show how to avoid, reduce or manage any negative effects to the common lizards which are a protected species. Surveys can be done in April, May or September. Avoid July to August and November to February.
- The ecology information submitted do not indicate any provision to support the movement of small wildlife, such as hedgehogs, between gardens. Hedgehogs are in significant decline and are protected by law. The Government has issued guidance on the inclusion of a ‘hedgehog highway’ in developments, since the successful submission of a petition by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.
- Page 20 of the Design Access Statement indicates a proposed green link along the site North boundary with the rear gardens of Prospect Avenue. A similar green link along the North boundary is also noted as being required in the East Northamptonshire District Local Plan, Rushden Strategy Statement 1996. However, a green link at the North boundary is not indicated in the ecology notes and site plan drawings and should be included to link the green habitats of the Greenway east/west to the coppice on the North side of Crane Close.Furthermore, a continuous green link along the West boundary should also be included to link the same coppice with the proposed open space and balancing pond within the development. The Biodiversity report confirms a “nett loss of -9.62 habitat units” which would be improved if these two continuous green links were included in a revised proposal.
The council policies (North Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy 2011-2031 – 3.34 Sites designated at a local level, and also against Biodiversity SPD for Northamptonshire) states that a Biodiversity gain, not loss, should be achieved.
- The proposed 751.7m2 area of green open space is not sufficient for a development of this size and should be increased further to improve the noted nett loss of -9.62 habitat units. In these areas, flowering meadow grass should be planted, instead of amenity grassland, to improve the biodiversity.
- The site plans included within the Biodiversity report differ to the site Landscape proposal drawing and the main site plan drawings (8806-L-103 sheets 1-4). The location and extent of new planting differ between documents and should be amended to be consistent between all documents.
- The existing line of sycamore trees located on the boundary in the Southeast corner of the site are indicated in the proposals to be removed. However, if the road at this location were to be relocated slightly West, this line of trees could be retained, again improving the Biodiversity. These trees are noted to be in good condition, per DEFRA technical guidance, and should be retained to improve the nett loss of habitat and provide a natural screen between the development and the railway.
- A number of semi-mature and mature trees are identified as being removed and replaced with younger trees which are not an equivalent replacement, thus reducing the number of habitat units and should be avoided.
- When building a new development within 3km of a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Natural England are required to give their approval regarding the ecology and biodiversity aspects. The Ilke Homes proposal identifies 3 SSSI sites within 3km, including Rushden Lakes, and therefore Natural England should review and comment on the proposals.
- The Biodiversity report (item 4.11) states that the site is surrounded by residential and industrial development, which is not true. The East boundary borders the disused railway and the Greenway, which currently supports a broad variety of wildlife. To the Northwest corner of the site is located a coppice and grassland, which supports further wildlife. These areas which support existing wildlife should be acknowledged and protected.