Wellesbourne Planned Developments and Population increase – Nov 2013
MyWellesbourne has been passed information consolidating developments in Wellesbourne, focussing on the Dovehouse area and a surrounding radius of 1/2 mile. There are also some pictures of flooding in the area from 2007.
The information is in the form of a letter, reproduced below, a map and some photos.
The Dovehouse Drive development proposed by Persimmon, following on from the on-going “Ettington Park” development, which is also a Persimmon development, will cause serious difficulties due to the increase in population and traffic.
I have enclosed a map of the Wellesbourne area on which I have drawn other existing and proposed developments in Wellesbourne, i.e. newly completed, under construction, approved, under consideration, or proposed. These sites are listed below together with the number of homes and estimated occupancy. The reasoning behind the estimates, which I believe are conservative, is given in the paragraph below the data. [If you do not agree with my estimates for Dovehouse Drive, I would be interested to see the Pegasus estimates and reasoning.
Salmon Court 21 “Later Living” 1&2 bedrooms apts 21 31
Ettington Park 175 houses + 50 “Extra Care” Units 225 575
Loxley Park 99 houses 99 297
Dovehouse Dr. 75 houses 75 225
Equity House Offices to be converted to 24 flats 24 48
Farrington Close 4 houses approved 4 12
Off Lowes Lane 5 detached houses 5 15
Total 453 1203
The number of people is estimated using a conservative estimate of 3 per house and the following assumptions:
- Salmon Court (McCarthy&Stone): 10 2-bedroom apartments, i.e. 20 people, and 11 1-bedroom apartments, i.e. 11 people, i.e. total 31 people.
- Ettington Park (Persimmon): (175 x 3) + (50 x 1) = 575 people. The Extra Care homes proposed by Orbit Homes (Brooke Smith Planning) comprise 10 bungalow units and 40 “assisted living” units. Assume occupancy of 1/unit, i.e. 50 people.
- Loxley Park (Barwood): 99 x 3 = 297 people.
- Dovehouse Drive (Persimmon): 75 x 3 = 225.
- Equity House: Assume the 24 flats have an occupancy of 2/flat, i.e. 48 people.
- Farrington Close: 4 houses, 3 per house = 12 people.
- Off Lowes Lane (Banner Homes): “5 dwellings and associated garages”. Assume 15 people.
So these developments and proposals would add approximately 1200 people to the population.
The population of Wellesbourne is approximately 6500. Thus the existing and proposed developments would increase the population by 1200/6500 = 18%, approximately. The enclosed OS map shows that this huge percentage increase would occur within an area of only about three quarters of a square mile! Also, it makes no sense to have an 18% increase in population just after Wellesbourne Police Station has been removed.
The map also shows that the proposals would increase the existing imbalance in the distribution of population in Wellesbourne. To put it another way, the farthest points of the proposed Loxley Park and Dovehouse Drive developments are about the same distance away from the doctors and the library as are the residents of Charlecote. [Specifically, Charlecote 1.3 miles; Loxley Park farthest point 1.3 miles; and Dovehouse Drive farthest point 1.1 miles.]
Let us assume (conservatively) that the 453 homes each has an average of 1½ cars, i.e. 453 x 1.5 = 680 cars. Wellesbourne cannot handle another 680 cars. The existing parking facilities in the “centre” of Wellesbourne, i.e. near the doctors, dentists, pharmacy, library, village hall, post office and other shops, are already completely inadequate. The largest existing parking area is behind the village hall and consists of a small rough un-surfaced area, and virtually all other parking is by the side of the road.
The Wellesbourne Market, which is also within the ¾ square mile indicated on the map, is open every Saturday and Bank Holiday Monday. Their website states that there are 500 stalls and the attendance can be “up to 15,000 per day”. If we assume a more conservative attendance of 12,000 and most of the customers come by car and each car has four occupants, this yields 3000 cars. [The market traffic has been known to cause back-ups on the A429 to Barford and beyond on Bank Holidays.] The location of Sainsbury’s immediately adjacent to the “market roundabout”, and the 175 houses at Ettington Park, will add to the congestion generally and especially on Saturdays. It is obvious that the development of Loxley Park and the proposed Dovehouse Drive development would only exacerbate these problems.
Dovehouse Drive/Oxford Way Proposal
This proposal has appeared very suddenly since the summer.
At the Public Consultation on 2 October I asked about the “Detention Basin” and was given very vague replies. Evidently it is to hold the run-off surface water. I was told it would be about one metre deep, but what will it actually be? Will it be a stagnant pond? Will it have a fence round it to keep children out? Will it be buried tanks? In any case, will it be big enough?
In July 2007, some residents of Oxford Way experienced flooding to levels that were almost into the bungalows, and the surface-water drains in the road could not handle the volume. I have enclosed some photographs that show some views of this flooding very clearly. I am very concerned that the Dovehouse Drive development would exacerbate the problem, and I was not reassured that the “Detention Basin” would definitely remove this problem.
The recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Summary for Policy Makers (Sections D3 and E2), indicates that future flooding events can be expected to be more frequent and more severe. The government website for National Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) states that there needs to be “provision for large storm events”. Also, there needs to be “an indication of overland flow routes after the system has been exceeded”. None of this was indicated on the site plan. Where is the proposed overland flow route if the proposed system is exceeded?
I was told that the pumping station shown on the plan is to be taken off the plan because Severn Trent have advised that it is no longer needed because the sewage can be taken by gravity into the sewers under Dovehouse Drive. I would be very surprised if the existing sewage system on the Dovehouse Estate could handle another 75 homes. Which sewage works handles the effluent? Is it the small plant along the River Dene between Wellesbourne and Charlecote? I was not reassured by the responses to any of my questions on these points.
The plan shows that the proposed entrance from Oxford Way narrows as it enters the development, and this is already a fairly sharp corner. I estimate the width of the road on the development as follows. On the plan, the ratio of the width of the proposed roads to that of Oxford Way, not including pavements, is 5/6.5. The actual width of Oxford Way is 6.6 m (21ft 8inches) therefore the width of the proposed roads is 5.1 m (16ft 9in), i.e. 1.5 m (4ft 11in) narrower. In my opinion, this is too narrow. It is already rather tight for a car to pass a recycling lorry on Oxford Way. It will obviously be more difficult, perhaps impossible, on the proposed narrower roads.
The site looks a bit of a rabbit warren. Would the narrow roads and bends permit several fire engines sufficient space for access and turning? Could an ambulance pass a fire engine? Fire engines are 8ft 6in wide, 25-30 ft long and 10-12 ft high, with a turning circle of 42 ft.
The breakdown of the proposed housing between bungalows and 2-story houses is not clear from the plan. To provide a more natural transition from the existing housing to the new housing, the housing near both entrances to the development should be bungalows, not 2-storey houses. Specifically, at the Oxford Way end, the five plots, nos. 56 – 60, should be bungalows. Also, the three or four plots at the Dovehouse Drive entrance, and whatever replaces the pumping station, should be bungalows.
What is the small cross on the plan in the middle of the road near the Oxford Way end of the road? I was told different things. One spokesman told me it was a “road calming” feature, another spokesman told me it was to block the road for cars and permit only pedestrians and cyclists. It should be a road block for cars, removable in an emergency. A road running all the way through the development must not provide a through route to Oxford Way because it would significantly increase the traffic along Oxford Way. Also, the distribution of the affordable housing was not made clear.
What is the purpose of the narrow green strip of land that appears to join the estate to Loxley Road? There is no point in putting a footpath along there. It would encourage pedestrians to walk to Loxley Road precisely to a point that is very dangerous. The road is fast and bendy and there is no footpath. And there is no need for a new footpath. If a person wished to walk to Sainsbury’s or to the Market, he/she could simply walk along Oxford Way onto the existing footpath on Loxley Road. The proposed hedges in this corner of the site should be extended and joined to prevent access/exit along this strip.
I estimate over 1200 additional people being proposed for Wellesbourne, an additional 18%, all within ¾ of a square mile. This is completely unreasonable from the point of view of infrastructure and traffic and the Dovehouse Drive proposal should be rejected. From my discussions with other Wellesbourne residents there is very serious concern that this second proposal from Persimmon, if approved, would be another step towards further incremental, insidious, expansion of the south of Wellesbourne towards the small village of Loxley. In other words, more suburban sprawl and loss of green areas. Wellesbourne is already over its limit for expansion.
It seems that the big picture and the potential problems for Wellesbourne are not recognised nor properly addressed by Persimmon and other developers. And there are rumours of yet more residential developments for Wellesbourne being considered behind closed doors. Consequently, among Wellesbourne residents there is a complete lack of trust of developers and planners.