There are many detailed points below, including policy references to evidence the reason for objections related to your streets. Remember in your letter to include the council planning reference number and to state that you OBJECT to the planning proposal, otherwise your letter won’t be counted. You can use our template to help you to compose your letter (link).
Updated Proposal Objections (November 2021)
Ilke homes updated consultation documents do not meet key material objections already raised. Further objections are made below.
Construction Access and Abnormally Wide Loads through Higham Ferrers, Queensway, Manor Way and The Hedges to Prospect Avenue Site Access (Eight abnormal loads per week for 4 years!)
Access to the Development from Prospect Avenue & Development Design Issues
Whilst some tweaks have been made to the design of the development, previous material objections are still relevant and further objections are now being raised because of the detrimental impact to Prospect Avenue residents. There is No safe access to the site and the only logical and safe access is from John Clark Way. (Indeed the owner of the land between John Clark Way and the Development in their planning application documentation (NE_21_00518_OUT-PLANNING_STATEMENT-496278.pdf) states that they would work with Ilke Homes and the Co-OP to give access to the development from John Clark Way and that this would be an “Opportunity”. They say they could deliver an access road with capacity to serve the development and are eager to work with Ilke Homes.)
Further material objections to the application include;
- The car parking beat survey that was carried out on Prospect Avenue was invalid (not at night and on a weekend). They have not undertaken a valid parking beat survey when they updated their information even though they were informed that it was invalid.
- They say they have carried out a journey survey but this is also highly dubious and invalid. ‘The journey time survey emphasised how the proposed development is expected to not have a severe impact on the operation of Prospect Avenue.’ Yet they carried this out supposedly on a date that does not exist Wed 5Th of August. Do they mean Wed the 4th of August? It’s also, as pointed out previously by Highways not policy to carry road and parking surveys during term time or during the day. Yet they did this in the school holidays, when no one was doing the school run and people were on holiday. Are they being underhanded by picking the quietest time of the year and day to do this analysis especially when it has been pointed out already by Highways?
- They mention that they have undertaken a Stage 1 Road Safety Audit in respect of the site access from Prospect Avenue. This is a poor effort and has not at all addressed the many safety issues with the turn. There is not the required visibility, no safe turn for construction traffic that would not impact children using this route for school and fundamentals that are not being addressed. Ilke say that they have undertaken a Stage 1 Road Safety Audit in respect of the site access from Prospect Avenue, but this is a poor approach when this is only a basic level analysis. A Stage 2 Road Safety audit will immediately show the lack of viability because of the house at the end of the street. They themselves are planting a – Prunus x subhirtella ‘Autumnalis(tree) which grows to 450cm and is 16cm wide, according to them right in the visibility splay area which is limited at best with shrubs underneath so you cannot see round the corner when driving. This is a lack of judgement.
- The technical issues that have been raised by residents and Highways have not been resolved with regards to access from Prospect Avenue to the site. They admit this in their own justification paper ‘technical matters are being discussed with and liaised with Highways’ they just do not say they are resolved.
- There are still dangerous limitations to the site entrance, drives backing onto the junction, not the 43 meters required visibility, land not being controlled by highways, mature street trees being felled, loss of parking and access to 5+home’s drives, unsafe maneuvers having to be made to access and egress properties.
- They have completely ignored all the basic issues with the junction including the path crossing 71s drive and the lack of visibility.
- Site access design – They admit that there are issues with the driveways reversing and being within 25 meters of the give way lines and backing out onto the junction and say they can’t address this but they do not think this is a problem. It is a problem and Highways have already pointed this out.
- They say that visibility is generous at less that 30m when it should be 43 meters and even that visibility has risks with trees being planted by them and fences erected by people should they buy or sell no 71. Highways cannot control this land. They say the stage 1 RSA did not raise this as an issue when they know that this is not what a stage 1 RSA covers!
- Risk of collisions here are high especially because there is minimum visibility as well.
- There is no mention of a swept path analysis of how they will get the construction vehicles to site. What they have mentioned will negatively impact Higham Ferrers and Rushden residents. This proposed construction vehicle access route will put children, pedestrians and car owners at risk and does not seem logical or safe.
- School children on their way to The Ferrers school and traffic coming and going to the school will be put in danger as the abnormal loads are moved during the day. The 5-Meter-wide loads will overhang pedestrian paths or completely block the two way roads as they try to traverse up the middle.
- It is not possible to get wide loads of 5 meters plus through these streets there is just not enough space.
- Queensway, The Hedges and Manor Way are narrow roads and cars are parked throughout the streets. In most streets there is only a single track of 3 meters available due to parked cars, thus construction vehicles could not make the journey.
- Parking wide bans on these streets to facilitate the abnormally wide loads will mean people from these roads parking in Prospect Avenue. There are few free spaces as it is and this will cause much chaos for the four years duration of the build.
- Trees on Higham Main Street across from the Co-Op will be destroyed unless the abnormal loads travel down the middle of the road. Causing roads to be blocked. (This will happen along the main road from the roundabout to the site as well. (More chaos to add to ongoing roadworks at Chowns Mill roundabout.
- Car parking bans will be introduced for multiple streets for multiple years for this to go ahead which is illogical when they could gain access from John Clark Way.
- Taking abnormal loads through Higham High Street on such a frequent basis past parked cars and past Chicheley College will put these buildings at risk.
- Constant large trucks going by school children and through narrow streets with parked cars will be a significant safety issue.
- No engagement with residents has been had with regard to these construction access routes.
- There is no safe left turn to the site without blocking the road for long wheel-based.
- A right-hand turn lane for north bound traffic on Higham Rd into Prospect Avenue will require road widening that would mean the loss of very old and established street trees that give Rushden and Higham Ferrers real character and a welcoming feel. A biodiversity loss that would be very sad for the area. The trees at the top of Higham Hill are now suggested as being removed to allow road widening.
- New bus stop and road widening will likely mean a significant impact to Houses on Higham Rd. Impact of new bus stop to No 112, 114, 116, 118, 120. Especially on the brow of a hill and with driveways coming out and the junction and turning traffic into Prospect Avenue. Impact to No 105, 107, 109.
- Ilke admit they are losing biodiversity on the development site itself but have no plans to address this. Just provide a payoff. Just Section 106 for everything. They don’t want to address any issues. Just impact our neighborhoods and pay some other area for green space and biodiversity. Can we let this happen when the air pollution is in this area? How will they arrange for the clean air to be transported back here? Just ticking boxes here! No care and attention for the people of Rushden and Higham Ferrers.
- It would mean street furniture would have to be moved across from the shop on Higham Hill.
- This turn is not what Highways would advocate on such a busy road and cars exiting from Prospect Avenue would be taking significant risks for a right turn as they would not easily see cars coming behind the queuing cars.
- Ilke say that they have undertaken a Stage 1 Road Safety Audit in respect of the site access from Prospect Avenue and at the junctions, but this is a poor approach when this is only a basic level analysis.
- No new refuge point has been suggested to allow people to cross this proposed wide expanse of road with an extra turning lane.
- No mention has been made of the loss of parking that would impact current residents as a result of road widening.
- The proposal also fails to mention the brow of the hill which would make any bus stop moves very dangerous for pedestrians and cars. Cars overtaking a bus on the brow of the hill would not be able to see oncoming traffic.
- A bus stop move, which is likely to be required will mean greater walks for any people from the new development. Moving bus stops further away from those in need from the development and out with recommended walking distance. The maximum distance from a bus stop is meant to be 450m but this would be 600m+.
- No analysis has been undertaken and no engagement with people on Higham Road has been undertaken for these changes.
- The road widening proposed has already flagged up issues and is against the transport plan. Significant costs are proposed to widen road already crammed with traffic. (Access could be from John Clark Way, so not impact to this extent.)
- They still do not meet minimum green space requirements and point this out in their own documentation.
- They say that there are no access rights to the site and previous access has been unlawful. Yet footpaths have been present on this site for 50 years.
- They admit they are losing biodiversity but have no plans to address this. Just provide a payoff. Just Section 106 for everything. They don’t want to address any issues. Just impact our neighborhoods and pay some other area for green space and biodiversity. Can we let this happen when the air pollution is in this area? How will they arrange for the clean air to be transported back here? Just ticking boxes here! No care and attention for the people of Rushden.
- They mention people are concerned about HGVs but not AILs or abnormal wide loads. Again, they brush the issue under the table. Construction traffic ‘they are nevertheless willing to agree to route construction traffic from The Hedges to the north, off the A5028 via Queensway and Manor Way. These roads are generally of a greater width, with fewer parked cars and is devoid of street trees.’ They have not mentioned all the trees in Higham Road that would not be able to withstand the wide loads, or are they planning to stop all traffic so they can go down the middle of Higham Road through the town centre during the day. Then they would travel down Queensway where there are many children going to school and try and make two dangerous turns through Manor Way to The Hedges. The road is even narrower than Prospect Avenue with parking having to be up on the pavement. There is no way to get these vehicles down here unless there is parking bans for 4 years. Why should residents have their lives impacted? They also fail to mention the car that they said should park here from the displaced cars on Prospect Avenue as a result of the new junction. Chaos and a likely accident will be likely. Yet again they have not provided swept path analysis for these abnormal loads. This will be during the day when people are walking to and from school.
- Flooding and drainage documentation has been updated they say….and it’s just like they say you should be fine now. They have not changed their designs enough though.
- They have many excuses for not connecting to the Greenway and the railway bridge. Really a construction company and they could not provide a path for access? You will be able to see the Greenway but not walk on it. You can take up to ½ mile extra journey from the new development if you want access. What about the people who already use this access?
- Housing – they blatantly ignore the need for older peoples 1 bed housed saying that anyone who is old will have a live-in carer and need 2 beds! There is no evidence of them changing their plans to accommodate local and policy needs. They have only included
- Concerns for the lack of older people usable space and housing only 4 – 1 bed with access at ground level. Then some upstairs accommodation on offer so older people have to try and get up the stairs.
- The older peoples accommodation is very poorly thought through and stuck at the bottom of the site and furthest away from the bus stops. Also it is put in the area most likely to be flooded. There is little room for ramps to be proposed at the accommodation and pathways are still scare on some streets.
- Strangely the accommodation they have geared for disabled people who use wheelchairs is on the first floor upstairs. There is no lift and many disabled people can not transfer to stair lifts easily. Why would they consider this?
- Layout had a vast number of comments, yet they have not changed much of the plan to increase safety be removing alleyways behind houses.
- They have amended bedspaces on the site by removing 4 bed houses and changing them to 3 bed houses. This is not enough to reduce the density on the site. They still do not have enough green space or meet housing policy.
- Parking – Even though they know there is an over reliance on tandem parking they have still kept it. They have reduced numbers of parking but that was not the issue it was tandem parking and not providing enough parking so people did not need to park on the road.
- Planning Obligations
- They are casting doubt on wither they should pay for educational levies. They do not appear to take into account that there are no free spaces in the schools closest to here. eg Denfield Park Primary School, they also appear very reticent to make any contribution to educational fees. It’s again we will talk but not agree anything!
- Public Open Space – In accordance with the standards set out within Policy EN10, a scheme of 133 dwellings would be required to provided 1,850 sqm of amenity green space on site (excluding attenuation features). The Applicant has revised the scheme to increase the level of public open space on site from 750sqm to 1,417sqm. Again not meeting even basic levels of public open space requirements. Again they just want to talk about contributing section 106 to other green space areas. Just not where it is needed on the development. They keep saying they are constrained by the numbers on the development even though they have been advised that a lower no say 125 houses would be acceptable form housing and planning with a good site layout.
- Conclusion – they say that there plans are now technically sound but…..that is so far from the case as they say they will contribute section 106 – they are just ludicrous, not logical, unsafe an against planning policy and so unsympathetic to the area. They have not even tried to deal with key concerns! Privacy, safety …..
- They align 2.5 story houses back to back with PA to ensure there is no privacy and show no regard to living space windows facing each other. They have no deigns to show houses in context with Prospect Avenue or Peck Way.
- Site Plan proposed heights – why are so many of the tall dwellings (2 and a half story) behind prospect Avenue to look directly into people’s bedrooms and living areas.
Original Proposal Objections (April 2021)
The types of things that have been highlighted as material objections for your streets include:
- Prospect Avenue has never been mentioned as a potential access point in any planning document. Previous planning policies state John Clarke Way as the access point, (i.e. East Northamptonshire District Local Plan 1996 – Rushden Strategy Statement Policy RU3 (page 140); and Three Towns Plan (ENC), 2011) ;and Rushden Traffic Survey (2014).
- The Avenue is a narrow road built in the 1920s. Most houses have two or more cars, mostly parked on the street, thus making this a single track road.
- Huge construction vehicles and lorries with prefabricated units transported as ‘wide loads’ will prove difficult to negotiate the road.
- Car traffic will more than triple, as the road currently serves 69 houses and will then be expected to serve 204, with an extra predicted, 330 cars, service vehicles and trades people. This will create further congestion, light, noise and air pollution, especially around the proposed new junction area.
- Higham Road and Higham High Street are already regularly congested and this will be made worse, due to traffic turning into the Avenue and the additional cars necessitating journeys for access along these routes.
- The Rushden Traffic Survey (2014) advises against plans that make these recognised congestion areas worse, especially at the Washbrook Road traffic signal point.
- The proposed access will impact upon parking in the street, creating ongoing problems and likely to compound congestion.
- The by-pass was built to keep traffic away from the town centre; this proposed entrance will cause congestion and safety risks to all connecting roads from Prospect Avenue into Higham Road, causing gridlock from the traffic lights at the Washbrook Road end to the Northampton Road junction at Toll Bar and along Higham High Street. This can already be witnessed at school entrance/exit times outside of lockdown.
- There will be health-affecting light, noise and air pollution to houses close to the proposed new junction.
- The public right-of-way at the end of the Avenue will be lost.
- The two established old cherry trees at the end of the Avenue will be destroyed. An ‘Avenue’ is by definition a tree lined street and this against the Neighbourhood Plan (Environment). “Beyond the Conservation Area, notable clusters of protected trees (Tree Preservation Orders/ TPOs) are also situated at Higham Road, Wellingborough Road, Prospect Avenue..” (P12, 1.25)
- The character of this street will be permanently adversely affected and nothing about the new development fits in with the character of this street.
- The new junction only has one narrow footpath as the main walkway into and out of the estate.
- The ‘new footpath’ that they propose, from Prospect Avenue to Shirley Road, replaces the one that had been there for over 60 years and they shut. The new one will be enclosed between a fence along the railway line and behind houses, which would be unsafe in terms of crime and healthy passing space (covid).
- Loss of Privacy to some homes (see section below)
- The developers propose to build 135 homes, directly backing onto Prospect Avenue homes without leaving a Green Wildlife Corridor or any noise abating bunding. The District Plan RU3 (B) states that “A landscaped buffer of at least 20 metres width will need to be provided between the development and the existing residential properties to the north of the site”. We object to the proposed development directly built so close to our properties without such Corridor or buffer.
- An independent estimate of house prices suggests that houses near the entrance will suffer devaluation of around £30,000 if this development goes ahead. Houses further along the Avenue, away from the proposed access point, may also suffer significant devaluation.
- The environmental impact is massive and impacts protected species, but some things could be done to reduce the impact and there are already local policies which recommend things like wildlife shelter belts.
- The plans show alleyways directly behind some back fences, creating a risk of crime against current residents.
- The new estate is proposed to be 100% social housing and very dense. These kinds of estates have been associated with higher crime rates and Central Government recommends a mix of housing now.
- There is a lack of provision for children on the new estate, which means that the current St James Park provision would have to cater for the whole new estate, which is against local policy. Play areas for pre-school and primary aged children should be included alongside sufficient open spaces.
- The new estate has very poor provision for older and disabled people, including many cul de sacs without footpaths and very narrow footpaths, i.e. at the entrance to the estate.
- Flood risk – the site has been cleared regardless of human risk or animal conservation by the current owners. On 23 December 2020 flooding waters poured into homes of the estate at the other end of the field (Peck Way). We are concerned that flooding will increase due to landscape and drainage issues.
For more detailed material objections to include, see the sections in ‘News: Material Objection’ labelled ‘Highway Safety’, ‘the Development’, ‘Layout and density’, ‘Environment and Biodiversity’, ‘Health’, ‘Children’, ‘Loss of Privacy’ and ‘Safety and Crime’ (link). You can download the template letter to insert your objections using link above.