17 Dec 2008

Bank saved near Ash Lane

Development Control Committee last week met to consider the land at Glenfield, Townsend, Randwick (see webcast here) - many will have read this blog before and seen the strong community feeling against the cutting back of the bank along the road. I was unable to attend that meeting as I was working away from home however I sent the statement below to all committee members - I am delighted the committee voted to remove the condition to cut the bank back.

Photos: view of bank that has now been saved

S.08/1740/FUL Land at Glenfield, Townsend, Randwick.

Apologies but I will be away for work next week and therefore unable to help re this application at the meeting. You will note the objections to this application are almost solely around the condition to cut back the roadside bank. It is the view of myself, Randwick Parish Council and most of the letters of objection from residents that this is an unnecessary and damaging condition.

I welcome the work done by Stroud District Council Officers and Highways on achieving significant changes on the original plans for gabions that were thrown out by the Inspector. However even these milder works to the roadside bankare considered intrusiveby the community.

I would urge that you give consideration at the meeting to removing the conditions for any works to the roadside bank.

Please consider this in terms of road safety and visual impact:

(i) There is some concern that cutting back into the bank will result in the road appearing to widen. This in turn could encourage drivers to go faster. At the moment the reduced visibility of the existing road canencourage drivers to slow down on this stretch. This is a busy road used by pedestrians particularly walking to local schools and the church. Some of those walking regularly are among those objecting to these changes to the bank.

The road off this road, Ash Lane, is already used by a handful of houses and many cars with walkers and bikers visiting Standish Woods.If it is the view that additional highwaysafety measures are necessary for this one house, then rather than cutting this bank I would strongly urge that other measures like a 20 mph would be a more useful way of slowing traffic and increasing safety on that stretch of the road. Randwick Parish are in the process of trying to implement a '20 is Plenty' scheme: in my view funds towards that or other traffic calming agreed by the Parish Council would be more useful.

(ii) Cutting back into the grass bank will have a negative visual impact. As the Inspector has said this bank is a large part of the local landscape feature and creates a characteristic sense of enclosure, which is a feature of the local roads. Cutting into it will alter that sense of enclosure in an artificial way and impact on the AONB.Furthermore increasing the slope at some points could disturb this bank and lead to possible landslips in the future. In the Appeal earlier this year the Inspector alsonoted:

5. It seems to me that these qualities help to create a distinctive and most attractive local character. The site is also within the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), which should be afforded the highest level of protection in relation to landscape and natural beauty, and is adjacent to the Randwick Conservation Area.

10. This leads me to conclude that the proposed development, by reason of the works to the bank, would harm the character and appearance of the area. To the extent that the development would harm the semi-rural character of this part of the settlement, I am of the opinion that the character and appearance of the adjacent conservation area, based on the traditional street pattern and building forms, would not be preserved. Furthermore, I consider that the scheme would be detrimental to the form and setting of the settlement in the surrounding AONB, a fine pastoral landscape of gently rolling hills and copse woodland.

The Inspector was considering the much larger proposed works, however it is my view that cutting into the bank as proposed would still alter thelocal landscape negatively and significantly. I consider this proposal to the bank to be contrary to Policies which were identified as BE5, NE8 and NE13 of the adopted Stroud District Local Plan. I hope DCC will consider removing the appropriate conditions relating to the bank.


Rachel Cotterill said...

Posted today, and somewhat relevant re traffic safety: http://scienceblogs.com/cognitivedaily/2008/12/new_book_on_the_psychology_and.php

Philip Booth said...

Thanks for that link - yes indeed it fits with idea of Shared Spaces - read more at: