Public

Starting with the original by Ray Franklin who found it very hard to get published because so many people think that by becoming a Parish Councillor you lose your right to speak for yourself . Not a bit of it, to speak on behalf of the Council requires you to be authorised to do so. Speaking under your own name, whoever you are is part of your Statutory Rights.

Total destruction

 I am a native of Elsenham; I have resided in this Village for all of my 62 plus years. I have witnessed the growth within the Parish over that time. I charted the increase within the pages of my book. I related how

Our previous Parish Council Chairman, John Hurwitz, had warned everyone that when the Main Sewer came, we should expect much growth. He was certainly proved correct!

 In 1971 the population was 1217. In the mid-70s the Sewer came to Elsenham, by 1991 the population had risen to 2151! In 2009 we are just a little short of 2000 on the Electoral Role, add the non-voters and Elsenham has a population of 2500 plus. But there is another problem, in the early 1950s, (when I started school); in Stansted Road there were less than a dozen privately owned cars. Now in Stansted Road there are more than 30! I could cycle to School in Stansted in comparative safety and indeed for four years until 1957, I did. For the next 47 years I first cycled and then travelled by car to work, through Stansted. I observed over that half-century at first – hand the problem which is “Grove Hill.”

            Vehicles, travelling from Elsenham to Stortford have to negotiate that notorious bottleneck. Over time I have witnessed some glorious traffic jams. Cosmetic changes have been made to the road but the problem is insoluble. I gave evidence at the Planning Enquiry when Elsenham Parish Council opposed successfully the large Housing Estate which in a much “slimmed down” form became “Leigh Drive.” I stated to the Planning Inspector that we could expect, “Vehicular Constipation,” on Grove Hill if more cars attempted to use it.

  This is why I am so concerned by the stance of some of our residents. Having displayed a united front against “Eco Town” madness & “Option” insanity we now see some being prepared to “Cuddle-up” to Planners. It is proposed to put forward “Sacrificial” (my word), sites which are the “least worst” within our Parish. My position is totally unchanged. I am opposed to ANY Volume Building within Elsenham.

 Another large (certainly 40 plus) estate would signal the total destruction of this Village. I am “agin” it and anyone who cares for the quality of life within Elsenham and does not want to queue for ages at the top of Grove Hill should also be “agin” it!

 

Update, At the most recent Elsenham Parish Council Meeting the U.D.C’.s Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment together with the P.C.s draft response was presented to the Council Members. I stated from the outset my position. I was totally opposed to any volume building within the Village.  There are, I am sure other arguments to why we should be opposed to further large expansion. My biggest concern however is the inability to accommodate any additional vehicle throughput in Grove Hill. There are major problems NOW.

 At the start of this document in response to the first of eight proposed eight sites.  It also stated, (and I quote), “Grove Hill access must be assessed by Highways.” I proposed a small amendment, I felt that this should read, “Grove Hill access must be assessed by Highways and improved.

 I felt that just assessing Grove Hill and not seeking to improve the situation was pointless.

There was a vote on my amendment and I lost. Therefore the document will go forward to Uttlesford District Council without seeking any improvement to Grove Hill!

 The vote was perfectly democratic and all was correct, but I still feel bad. Any “Green Light” (however small), we give to the planners without seeking to correct our road inadequacies must be a bad thing.

 

Comments on Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment

I should like to make the following comments on the draft Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) for Uttlesford.

On 5 December 2007, I received a response from Roger Harborough to e-mails that I sent to Uutlesford District Council on 30 September and 12 November 2007. In that e-mail, he stated:

"For each of the Options included in the Preferred Options consultation, the anticipated infrastructure requirements are set. In relation to option 4, no new road other than an internal link road from Old Mead Road to Hall Road is identified as necessary. The roads used to access the development north east of Elsenham would therefore be the existing road network. How traffic would route over that network is under further consideration. In particular, the need to consider various “what if” scenarios is being looked at. This work is being carried out in parallel with the public consultation and views expressed in response to the consultation document will be analysed and may well lead to further technical work by the Council in conjunction with Essex County Council as the highways and transportation authority and the Highways Agency."

In responses to the public consultation held from December 2007 to January 2008, I and many others pointed out that, whatever the prospective developers might have "identified as necessary", the existing access roads to Elsenham are already inadequate and cannot possibly support the additional traffic that would be generated by a substantial development in the Elsenham area. The figures given on p 11 of the Fairfield Partnership's "Initial Road Link Capacity Assessment" (31/7/06, with addendum dated 26/9/07) are very obviously wrong, so that their conclusions as to the adequacy of the the existing roads are patently unreliable.

In relating to the SHLAA consultation, therefore, I should like to make the following response:

(1) Has the technical work and consideration of "what if" scenarios referred to in the above extract from Roger Harborough's e-mail yet been carried out? If so, have the results been published and where can I obtain a copy or see it online? If not, will it be available soon? If not, why not?

(2) In the Site Appraisal Information Sheet relating to Elsenham in SHLAA Appendix 8, the highway access to most sites is rated "Green", which I presume indicates that the road access to Elsenham is considered to be good and capable of carrying the increased traffic that would result from housing development. How is this rating justified, and what is the evidence upon which these ratings are based?

(3) In Paragraph 4.10 of the SLHAA it states

" . . . All the sites are considered achievable although a question mark is raised at Elsenham where it needs to be demonstrated that road access suitable for high volumes of traffic can be achieved, or that a significant shift to other modes of transport can be realistically achieved. "

How and when is it intended to demonstrate that suitable road access can be achieved? A shift to other modes of transport is manifestly unrealistic: we already have congested roads through Stansted Mountfitchet and these roads would not already be congested if the railway was capable of providing an adequate alternative. More houses in Elsenham can only make the problem worse.

(4) How it is possible for Uttlesford District Council to continue to support Option 4 in the 2007/2008 consultation as its "preferred option", when it has not yet been demonstrated that suitable road access to Elsenham can be achieved?

(5) Please refer to all of the other responses to the 2007/2008 consultation, explaining why "Option 4" is unsuitable and unworkable, and supporting the alternative strategy of providing small amounts of affordable housing in all towns and villages throughout Uttlesford, where it is needed. Now that the SHLAA has (a) acknowledged potential problems with substantial housing development at Elsenham and (b) assessed potential building land throughout Uttlesford, it is clear that this alternative strategy is possible and that it is time for Uttlesford DC to abandon its "preferred option" and start to look at its Core Strategy on housing completely afresh.

Pamela Merrifield

 

There should now be a collection of responses, most quite irate but as they came by phone Its difficult to  handle them fully safely so all I can actually do is report that the consensus of them was a feeling of betrayal and leave it at that. Some have agreed to write I can only wait and see.

SAVE OUR VILLAGES

On its start up I fully supported the Save Our Villages campaign. Having frequently been trapped at Grove Hill for long periods of time and having a strong interest in safety from my last job as Company Safety Manager I would always be mindful of getting vehicles and resources into the village against the blockage. The big issue of course is that the situation cannot simply be accepted because it is not stable. Every month it seems we see a planning application go through that demolishes an old bungalow and builds a couple of residences. or we see an extension. It just goes on adding cars at an estimated rate of 4 or more a month plus the invisible ones where families are adding cars as the kids grow up.

Back at the beginning options one and two were seen as just as bad as any others, they did the same damage in the end by drip feed but to existing residents used to an open aspect the damage was more insidious. Putting a stack of houses in a planned layout on the other side of a railway line leaves infrastructure issues for the authorities. Giving up on protecting internal land, nobody outside the village will care and anything we are seen to concede now will simply be added to the pot. There is absolutely no benefit on offer to us to to relax our guard.

To drastic change its direction as the SHLAA appears to be doing was not a simple Parish Council’s decision to be made. With all its mass meetings the original understandings were arrived at by us all. Against those understandings a very great deal of money has been collected and spent.

I’ve never seen a proper constitution, I know the Joint Council’s were never ratified into a proper Legal Entity. I wrote explaining what needed to be done but it was ignored. Not a risk to me I simply withdrew to a safe distance. Who is going to be first to ask for their money back ?

Geof

This one is being watched carefully because should the Fairfield Partnership actually come up with enough money to solve the Grove Hill problem then we wont be able to hold back in-fill development.For what its worth I have also heard of a proposal for a short new road to bypass Grove Hill but have yet to identify a sponsor or precise route.

Dear All,

Am in contact with "Fairview" re Grove hill issue. I copy their Email contents to me for your info. I will be interested in their evaluation. Chris, Thanks for Babe email,

 Ray.

Copy -----

Thank you for your further response through the website to our recent letter. Our transport consultants are set to meet with Essex County Council highways shortly – we will be in touch again following this meeting, when we will have an update for you on progress on proposals for traffic improvements in the area, including at Grove Hill.

Kind regards,

Paul

Paul Teverson
Camargue

 

Grove Hill Bypass

This has come to me verbally but in three slightly different versions. No names or references. Putting them together however and bearing in mind we can see no finance, no sponsor, no official references etc. the credibility is poor. however technically there is some merit.

On our B1084 west after May Walk there is a sharp bend south. Off this corner or near it a short road could be built North West to meet the junction between High Lane and the B1383.

This in a way is actually a threat because were it to happen intentionally to ease pressure on infill developments it would also facilitate some of the larger proposals turning the whole road into a rat run.

If it turns out that this is in fact a leak of the Fairfield upcoming proposal Ray has picked up on formally via Camargue we could be in trouble and have to fall back to power, water, drainage etc.