The Society has submitted an objection letter to Colchester Borough Council worded as follows:
I am submitting these comments on behalf of the Mersea Island Society which represents a membership of 500 residents.
The Society objects to the proposals for erection of 350 new homes for the following reasons :-
- Section 6-217 of the plan states “there are approx. 3200 homes at present and the preferred sites could deliver an additional 350 houses, a level that reflects the availability of existing facilities and services.”
- However figures obtained recently from Colchester BC tax department show that the actual number of dwellings at 3580 is already in excess of the proposed sustainable levels. This confirms the planned capacity has been reached already and that there are insufficient services and infrastructure available to support additional housing, equating at reasonable estimate to 1000 residents and 500 cars. General observation and experience on the Island makes this evident anyway.
- In addition no allowance has been made for and the problem therefore intensified by the on going smaller infill developments which will continue during the local plan period.
- the 121 dwellings that exist at East Mersea.
- the five holiday sites providing approx.1480 static caravans and lodges. Nearly all sites have extended their open season for most of the year allowing for long term stays and a known number of permanent residencies.
- the immense influx of casual visitors throughout the year which can help double the population on regular occasions. Mersea Island is unique in the Colchester area due to its coastal recreational facilities and consideration must be given also to the anticipated further increase in tourist numbers from extensive housing sites currently under construction or planned for future development throughout the borough.
- house boats moored at West Mersea.
- the use of services on the Island by residents from nearby smaller villages that lack facilities.
- The highway standards and parking facilities are insufficient now for current motoring levels and could certainly not support a further estimated 500 cars from the two sites, plus additional trade vehicles and visitors.
- There is only one approach road to the Island, which being a causeway is subject to regular tidal flooding. This causes severe delays to traffic flow, which can impede vital emergency vehicles. The expansion proposals would worsen this problem considerably.
- The direct approach from the causeway to the two sites is via an accident potential, winding rural road and then Dawes Lane, which as its name implies, is totally unsuitable for high traffic volumes and large commercial vehicles.
- Parking facilities in the village centre and Coast Road area are particularly limited, and with the proposed houses outside reasonable walking distance from shops and services, there is no parking provision nor new parking sites available for further vehicles. Nearby residents are regularly inconvenienced by street parking.
- quoting from Section SS17b COAST ROAD, the plan states that the coastal section is irreplaceable in terms of natural and cultural features and development in this area must not generate a significant increase in traffic. This popular destination for sailing, dining and general recreation already attracts high traffic volumes and 350 extra homes and visitors will certainly generate a further significant increase. It seems logical therefore that this decision making criteria should apply to overall development on the Island also.
- An objective in the local plan para 2.41 is to “achieve a better balance between location of jobs and housing and reduce the need to travel“. Unfortunately there is very little employment available on the Island and incoming residents would be forced to seek or be in work at Colchester or further afield. With a bus service only as far as Colchester centre and not always conveniently timed, car travel will be essential thereby defeating the planned aims.
- There is deep concern over the inadequacy of existing fully stretched vital services such as drainage, water supply, doctors and schools to meet the demands of an 11% increase in population. The policy document gives promises of support but no substantiating details of funding.
- Although the future of nuclear power at nearby Bradwell is on hold at present, there is well founded concern about the efficacy of possible emergency evacuation should it proceed. Residents’ well being should be a priority and this matter deserves consideration in the planning process.
We have given close thought to the local plan and for all the above reasons, object strongly to the proposed housing developments.