• Mary Breakell

10 June 2018 Newsbrief 29 CLOUD response to Chapel Lane Application

There is still time to respond to the planning application for 32 dwellings on Chapel Lane- deadline 22 June 2018Full details : 

18/00335/FUL  Erection of 32 dwellings (C3) with associated access and landscaping.  Land At Chapel Lane Galgate Lancashire. Affects Listed building. Full details : https://planning.lancaster.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=P5OM1KIZK4F00 You may be interested in the CLOUD response, submitted by CLOUD Chair Steve Constantine last week to Lancaster City Council Planners. By all means pick up issues we have raised but for obvious reasons use your own words. Please do not quote directly. 1. The site borders on the area defined by the City Council as ‘Bailrigg Garden Village Broad Area of Growth’, as marked on a council map dated 14 December 2017. Public consultations on the Garden Village, including its road access and other infrastructural expectations, are being held this month, June 2018. The plan proposes a major road to connect the probable location of the Garden Village houses west of the A6 with a moved or reconfigured junction on the M6 to the east. This as yet undetermined route – if approved by the Planning Inspector at some time in the future, very likely in 2019 – would cross green fields east of Chapel Lane and be close to Ellel Church. It would at the very least affect the landscape, ecology, flood risk, local road, visual appearance and even the viability of this Chapel Lane-Langshaw Lane development scheme. It is therefore unreasonable to require public responses to this additional private development scheme also to be submitted in June 2018. 2. It is also necessary to set this additional development proposal alongside others which have already expanded to bursting point the village of Galgate. In recent years three large estates have been constructed around the core of the village, and a fourth at Ward Field Farm, for a further 68 houses, has also now been approved – in spite of the council’s own Air Quality Inspector’s stern opposition. The supposed ‘sustainable’ village is now exceeding its capacity. The school is already over-capacity and has not the space to expand; parking outside the one general store by the traffic lights is a hazard; the local post office closed some years ago. It is also a self-evident distortion of geographical reality for Smith and Love, the Planning Consultants brought in by Applethwaite, to claim on p.2 in their Planning Statement that the ‘site represents a natural rounding off in Galgate’. It is not adjacent to the core of the village and would round off nothing. It would constitute an unprecedented insertion in that area of an entire estate of houses on a green field site between well-established, one-deep, older properties, all of which front on to a country lane in the upper part of Ellel. 3. The air quality report accompanying this application claims that the impact on air quality will be minimal. Until the price of batteries is substantially reduced (and increased manufacturing is handicapped by a worldwide scarcity of essential materials), electric cars will not in the reasonable future be the vehicles of choice for the residents on this estate. They are incidentally assumed to be aged 55 or over, though how younger persons are to be prevented from purchasing these houses on the open market is a puzzle. 32 houses are likely to generate an additional 50 probably petrol-powered cars. Even the report on the air quality effects acknowledges at least 98 additional vehicle movements a day – and that will not have taken into account those children being driven to school and/or to the Little Learners Nursery in the middle of Galgate. This traffic – up and down Chapel Lane and on to the A6 and Main Road, Galgate – will worsen air quality. With respect to Galgate, the council’s own Air Quality Officer’s report in 2010 stated that ‘local emissions of nitrogen dioxides would need to be reduced by around 44% in order to meet … Air Quality objectives’. The target figure is 40 micrograms per cubic metre. Seven years later, in 2017, two air quality monitors on Main Road gave figures of 50 and 70. The 2017 report concludes that ‘it may still be many years before the Objectives can be met’. Developments now to take place at Ward Field Farm will make achieving that target yet more difficult. Another housing estate up Chapel Lane will only make a health-threatening situation worse in the centre of Galgate. 4. There is another risk which this new plan barely considers: road safety. Chapel Lane links the centre of Galgate with Hazelrigg Lane, the University, the Conder valley and the Bowland Fells. It is a route, up and down, used by cars and by cyclists. It is sinuous and has blind corners, made more difficult to navigate by cars parked on the roadside outside houses. Moreover, only a limited part of Chapel Lane has a footpath. Pedestrians are already at risk. More cars, more risk. It is difficult to see how a safe footpath can be constructed along the whole length of Chapel Lane without narrowing the road or grubbing up hedges. 5. Then there is an enhanced flood risk. It is NOT acceptable for professional people working for Lambert and Applethwaite to refer to flood risks in the form of one in 30 years or one in 100 years (see pp.4 and 5 of their report). The Environment Agency and all other professional bodies long since abandoned such terminology as (at the very least) misleading. Correctly, flood risk is now expressed in percentage terms. This means that even a 5% risk can be experienced every year. It has been Galgate’s experience that the village - and Chapel Lane – have suffered repeated floods. They do not come at regular intervals, neatly spaced out every 10 or 20 – or 100 years. The risk is always there, and flooding has become more frequent and with climate change the threat will get worse. As a reminder, when the River Conder (very close to this development site) burst its banks on 22 November 2017, Chapel Lane was deep under water and not passable by road (as the owner of an abandoned vehicle I met that night would testify). The Environment Agency on-line maps https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/long-term-flood-risk/map show that the Conder and adjacent land are at ‘high risk’ of flooding just up the road from the development site, as is also the field just across the road from it. Part of the site and even Langshaw Lane are marked as at risk from surface water flooding. Moreover, until we know the route of the possible road connecting the Garden Village and the motorway, and what flood protection measures would be put in place, no professional body is yet in a position to state with scientific credibility what the percentage flood risk consequences might be. 6. The City Council is committed to the provision locally of ‘affordable housing’. See, for example, ‘Ambitions: Our Council Plan 2018-2022’, 12 April 2018, pp.5, 12 and13. Smith and Love in their Planning Statement, p.14, quote Development Management DPD Policy DM41 which sets down that ‘40% of units in new housing greenfield schemes in rural areas’ should be affordable. But then they openly state, pp.15-16, that there is no intention of building affordable houses because as bungalows (evidently of high specification) the costs would be ‘disproportionate’, meaning they would be less profitable. The honesty is refreshing, but is this then an acceptable proposal when what Lancaster needs is affordable houses? 7. Supporting documents from professional people should not contain self-evidently careless errors: they leave doubts about the accuracy of other parts of their reports. The REFA infiltration report refers, p.2, to 53 new buildings, not 32, and, p.3, to the ‘Condor’ (a large south American vulture, I believe), not the Conder. One’s confidence in what the Planning Consultants Smith and Love have written in their Planning Statement is also badly shaken by the claim, p.22, that household expenditure will benefit the local community in Scorton. I believe the village of Scorton is still where it was, four miles south down the A6. Even Applethwaite in their Design and Access Statement, p.4, manage to place Ellel Court Retirement Village in the wrong location on their map, suggesting that either a location inspection or the drafting of the report has not been done with care. 8. This response is submitted on behalf of CLOUD, of which I am chair, as well as of myself as a resident of Galgate since 1971.
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