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Cliddesden Road Neighbourhood Watch and Residents Association


									           Cliddesden Road Neighbourhood Watch and Residents Association
                                 (Scheme No. 313)

Basingstoke & Dean Borough Council
London Road
Basingstoke, Hants
RG21 7EA

FAO: Head of Planning and Transport
                                                                            30th June 2004

Dear Sir

Objection to planning application BDB/58605 Queen Mary’s College

We write on behalf of the Cliddesden Road Neighbourhood Watch and Residents‟
Association. Our Chair is also a Governor of QMC, and because of this conflict of
interest she has asked us to act on her behalf. We have been representing the neighbours
in this capacity for some months now, and have met the Principal and Chair of Governors
of Queen Mary‟s College.

Our grounds for objection follow:

   The proposed flats are out of keeping with not only all other existing dwellings in
   Cliddesden Road, but also with the five houses proposed in this application. The
   materials proposed and their flat roofs are totally out of character with all other
   buildings in Cliddesden Road. This is one of the few mature, large-scale residential
   sites in Basingstoke. The flats do not conform to the local plan, which states in Policy
   E1 (i) that development should be “in keeping with the local character by virtue of
   size, scale, density, design massing form, height, layout....” The Design Statement
   says that the present proposals comply with the Housing Mix Policy. In isolation this
   may be true, but this requirement has been amply satisfied by the Russell Road
   development, so Policy E1 (i) should prevail. The design of the flats complements
   that of Central Studio, whereas the flats would actually become a part of Cliddesden
   Road, and not of the College.

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  The flats would dominate the houses opposite.

  The balconies of the flats would overlook the houses opposite. In addition the
  following should be considered:
       The access to the flats car park is too narrow to allow 2 cars to pass.

        The nearest bus stop is 350m away rather than the 200 m recommended

        The traffic generation used for the flats is very low at 0.26 vph per dwelling.
         A figure of 0.5vph is more appropriate for flats in this location and parking

  The proposal would result in the loss of 25 to 30 existing College parking spaces,
  mainly for students. This is not identified in the application. There is a total of
  about 250 parking spaces on site, so this is a loss of 10-12%. There is already a
  shortage of parking spaces on site so, students are forced to park in Cliddesden Road.
  This causes danger and inconvenience to residents, and traffic congestion. The
  application predicts a 12% expansion of the College in the next 3 years so the
  problem will become much worse. The application does not address any of these

  The proposal includes two new entrances from Cliddesden Road to the new houses
  and flats, and a new pedestrian access further south along Cliddesden Road than the
  existing one. Our main concern is that a new College vehicle access is proposed off
  the turning circle (often known locally as „The Peardrop‟), close to the ring road. This
  would convert the existing turning circle into a roundabout. However, this route is a
  designated cycleway and these proposals would produce a dangerous mix of
  pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles. It will expose students and residents to danger
  when walking between the new pedestrian access and the subway, because large
  numbers of students walk directly between the two points, both on the pavements and
  the road. They must cross the road. The pavements are not adequate for such numbers
  of students walking at peak hours. Residents walking “against the tide” will be jostled
  and forced into the road. Cyclists, who already face problems because students use
  both cycleway and pedestrian lanes through the tunnel, would be obstructed, and
  possibly forced off their machines.

  In addition the following should be considered:
       The plans which show this area included in the application are incorrect.
       No information is presented about the number of students and staff using this
          route at peak times.
       No risk analysis seems to have been carried out.

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      The College Principal identified these dangers to “traffic generation, parking
       and highway safety” in his letter of objection dated 21st July 2001 to the
       developments in Russell Road (Application BDB/50982). We request that the
       Principal‟s letter be included as an objection to the current application
      It is clear that the pedestrian part of the tunnel is inadequate, so pedestrians
       use the cycleway, thus preventing its use by cyclists.
      No data has been presented about the number of staff and students using the
       tunnel to access the college.
      No data has been presented to show the capacity of the paths and the tunnel.

The transport statement uses data for a normal road. No account is made that
Cliddesden Road has traffic calming humps and has been made a designated
cycleway. Both of these have been installed since the inspector allowed the building
of the flats in Russell Road so references to that decision are not valid. The humps
have lowered average speeds. (Source Basingstoke Council measurements May
2003). From observation, use of the cycleway is increasing. It is not possible to pass a
cyclist if there is opposing traffic. During the day there are always parked cars in the
road. These are students‟, because there is inadequate parking for them in the
College; workers‟ at a residential home (No.101) where Basingstoke Council
permitted development although the available parking was less than the
recommended minimum; and commuters‟. These factors all decrease the capacity of
the road.

In addition the following should be considered:
     The difficult access into QMC causes traffic to become stationary/slow
        moving on Cliddesden Road at peak times so causing access difficulties to
        side roads and private driveways.
     Reference is made in the Transport Statement to compliance with the County
        document “Movement Access Streets and Spaces”, but this same document
        says that cul-de-sacs “.. should not normally exceed 200 metres in length”.
        This proposal is 700m from the entry to the cul-de-sac.
     Many (about 50%) of cyclists are afraid to use the cycleway and ride on the
        pavements instead. This causes danger to pedestrians, and creates difficulties
        of egress from driveways for residents.
     At the new entrance next to the ringway, the sight line of 32m is significantly
        below the 70m required for access onto a 20mph road, which is the effective
        design speed for Cliddesden Road. It does not even comply with that required
        for internal new roads layouts.
     No speed measurements have been made in this area and we request that they
        are carried out.
     We request that details of the use and future use of this access be provided
        along with a stage 1 Road Safety Audit. The Transport Statement says that in
        the vicinity of the application site the carriageway width is about 6.5m.
        However, in other places it is only 5.58m (source Basingstoke Council
        measurements). This is very close to the minimum of 5.5m required by

                                    Page 3 of 5
         MARA to support 300 dwelling units. This is further evidence that Cliddesden
         Road is close to its capacity.

  We urge you to take these observations seriously, and request that an officer
  responsible for dealing with this application visits the site, especially between 08.30
  and 09.15, and also between 15.45 and 16.30 on a weekday during term time. We ask
  that the officer view the area between the present pedestrian access to the college and
  the town side of the tunnel under the ringway.

  Unfortunately the application has been submitted at the very end of the teaching year.
  At present examinations are in progress; when these finish, students will disperse
  until September. Therefore we request that the officer visits after the first week of the
  Autumn Term.

  We make the same requests to the planning committee.

  About 130 residents attended a consultation meeting held by QMC to explain these
  proposals. Councillors Gurden, Hussey and Frankum were present and can advise the
  planning committee on the strength of feelings expressed. The proposals were shown
  only in outline, so residents did not have an opportunity to consider them in detail
  until now. However many people spoke strongly against any further developments at
  QMC while the sole access was by Cliddesden Road.

  A fundamental reservation the Residents have about the College‟s ongoing
  development is that it is incremental, and there does not appear to be an overall plan.
  To illustrate this, we draw your attention to the fact that no mention is made of an
  area of land between the proposed flats and the main College driveway, now the exit.
  Last summer this area had many of its trees cleared. It is clear that the college
  intended to develop the area. We understand that this has not proceeded and that
  officers know the reason. We believe that proposals for further development will be
  made. This is specific evidence of incremental development, which has been
  proceeding for many years. The need for a long-term plan is identified in the design
  statement of this application but no such plan is presented.

  An additional reason to indicate that a long-term plan is essential is related to the fact
  that Central Government intends to increase even further the proportion of 16-year-
  olds continuing in education. We are well aware that parts of Basingstoke have a
  very low stay-on proportion, and that there are aims to increase this. . Together these
  factors will require a large increase in student numbers at a 6th form college in the

                                       Page 4 of 5
   area and QMC has the land available. But it does not have an acceptable access. The
   current one is through a high-quality residential area.

   This is all part of a separate yet related issue of the current highly unsatisfactory
   traffic situation. We therefore ask the Council to reject this plan and demand a long-
   term plan, which takes into account traffic requirements, before any further
   development on the site is permitted. As residents, we are actively discussing traffic
   difficulties with the Chairman of Governors (Cllr Don Allen) and The Principal (Mr
   Stephen Sheedy).

Yours Sincerely

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