Millpond Plans: objection points:


Main Points for objections to Application No: 05/02189/FUL according to the councils own planning objection guidance.

Italics represent the council's own document quotes.

Suggestions in plain typeface.

Proposal: Restoration of millpond and construction of 10 eco-homes and planting of new trees
Address of proposal: Land Opposite Windsor View Hebden Bridge West Yorkshire
Applicant: Green Tops Ltd

The Development Plan
The Calderdale Unitary Development Plan comprises a written statement which sets out the Council's policies for the use of the land, and a proposals map which gives a land use notation for every piece of land in the district.

1. The land is open amenity not designated for housing development. The land entered into receivership and professional feasibility assessments were conducted regarding the potential planning options. None were found. The land was sold for £10,000. Rapacious development must not be allowed to infringe green spaces in the Calder valley. This land is valuable open amenity space, valuable both in its visual and physical nature. There is no provision for housing development on this site, and none should be granted.

2. The land is also subject to a previous planning condition 88/00438. The planning permission for the houses on Spring Grove adjacent to the millpond site was subject to a condition specifically forbidding development on the Foster Mill Pond site allowing only for landscape/amenity/gardens.

Other material planning considerations

The ODPM's Planning Policy Statement 1: Delivering Sustainable Development(**) includes the following advice:
"The planning system does not exist to protect the private interests of one person against the activities of another the basic question is not whether owners and occupiers of neighbouring properties would experience financial or other loss from a particular development, but whether the proposal would unacceptably affect amenities and the existing use of land and buildings which ought to be protected in the public interest."
Among the considerations of public interest which are valid planning issues are the effect of a proposal on:
* the environmental qualities of the surrounding area or the visual character of a street (this includes the scale, design and materials of buildings and the landscaping of a site);

1. This site was a wet woodland and had intrinsic value as such. It will recover in time if left.

2. The visual amenity provided by the wooded nature of this area was appreciated throughout the valley by locals and tourists. It represents an important entrance to the green corridor.

3. This site was host to a variety of animals reliant on particular habitats. It represented an important breeding ground for frogs and was a definite feeding ground for owls and bats. A wider variety of birds, including woodpeckers used to nest here. The area is considered to have many potential bat roosts, though no complete survey has ever been conducted at the right season. All this will recover from the tree devastation if no building work is conducted.

4. This is a small enclosed site. The sheer scale and size of these dwellings will dominate the site regardless of any 'landscaping measures'. Given that this land's boundary wall is within the conservation area the houses will make a very particular visual statement out of keeping with the rest of the hillside.

5. The development will have an overbearing effect on the structural environment, which is highly unsuitable for such concentrated weight-bearing. The last time there was water in the millpond, Foster Mill was still standing, the southern wall was buttressed against the mill. The pond had mainly silted up before the mill was demolished to build Spring Grove, but drainage of ground water was undertaken as a precaution and even so subsidence of the first few houses on Windsor view occurred as a result. These had to be underpinned, a concrete brace was erected at the apex of the site under the culvert and the wall had to have reinforcement to the buttresses. This delicate structural environment makes the prospect of reinstating the pond, building ten houses, parking 15 cars and constructing a road cutting right across the most unstable part of the structure, terrifying.

* the amenity and privacy of dwellings;

1. New houses should be at least 18m from their lounges to existing houses bedrooms. Houses constructed on slopes with roof terraces should be well over 21m from the nearest dwelling. This development will completely overlook Spring grove houses in every sense. Spring Grove residents will no longer be able to use their gardens without every move being observed.

2. The 13.8m distance from Windsor View will ensure that any noise is transmitted directly from house to house. Windsor Rd overdwellings will see every small occurrence on the roof terraces whether they wish or not. This is desperate over intensification, well outside of Calderdale's own planning policy.

the character of an area in other senses (in terms of noise or other forms of pollution);

1. The trees used to provide an important noise buffer, between the industrial units and the two rows of houses. Already noise is more keenly heard. Bringing traffic into a place where no traffic exists will greatly increase noise, apart from the usual noise made by a brand new street of people.

2. The road will bring vehicles directly in line and less than a few metres away from peoples bedrooms. This kind of vehicle pollution will cause serious risk to anyone with respiratory conditions and will be detrimental to the healthy.

3. This area is prone to midges. The creation of an area of stagnant water next to people's homes will cause misery in the summer for those wanting to enjoy their gardens or leave their windows open.

* road safety (both directly as in the case of a dangerous access or indirectly in terms of car parking and traffic generation);

1. The road access suggested enters the site through the wall which is part of the conservation area and at a structurally weak point which is already braced, the traffic then passes directly next to and 30ft above the Spring Grove gardens. It is appalling to consider the consequences of even the slightest mis-judgement.

2. This road from the start of Windsor view is unsuitable for vehicular access, clearly stated by independent engineers and the council's engineers. Local residents use the road for vehicles only in cases of absolute necessity, not for daily use as this has over previous years caused serious detriment to the road's structural integrity. To propose using it for a new development is outrageous.

3. There is no vehicular route onto the site, a public footpath has existed de-facto for over twenty years. This is a pedestrian area, used by walkers, nature lovers, children and local residents, not a vehicular one.

4. Previous attempts to build on the site have been refused for many reasons, including traffic congestion on the local roads. This has only worsened over the years. Parking is constantly under pressure. The traffic flow works only on a courtesy system down Foster lane. This will be further exacerbated when new traffic flows are instigated in Hebden forcing more cars to exit via Foster lane onto the extremely busy Keighley Road.

* public services, such as drainage and water supply;

1. The water run-off for the hillside runs into the millpond. This used to be absorbed by the trees. It is a boggy site, a wet woodland. No details regarding drainage have been given and it is of concern. Particularly to existing dwellings.

2. The proposal for a sewage treatment plant on the river bank, of whatever type, in the green corridor, an area of outstanding natural beauty is of deep concern to people who have used or cared for this area for years.

* public proposals for using the same land;

1. The land has been well used as a local amenity since the mill was built. It is designated open amenity. It should remain a place for nature lovers, walkers, local people and diverse wet woodland species to enjoy. The wet woodland will in time recover and regenerate, especially if nurtured and cared for by local people.

* public rights of way;

1. There has been a de-facto public right of way across this land for many years. The mill owner encouraged the use of it for recreational purposes. A footpath leads over a stile in the wall on Windsor view down, through the centre of the woods, and down the river bank to the steps for Hardcastle Craggs. This footpath has been in continuous use for over twenty years.

* the need to safeguard valuable resources such as good farmland or mineral reserves.

1. This area was a valued wet woodland before Greentops decimated it. However it will regenerate and there are very few wet woodlands in Calderdale. This is one of the key areas in the council's own biodiversity action plan. To lose it would be contrary to all principles of sustainable development.

2. 'eco' refers to the whole environment. The only nod to 'ecological' principles in this proposal are the materials used to build the houses. They are 'eco' only in relation to other more formal building methods. The decimation of a wet woodland for housing is not ecological. The destruction of a feeding and breeding habitat for so many species is not 'eco'. The substitution of a pond for a wet woodland, is not 'eco'. The loss of semi-urban green spaces in an area dominated by upper and overdwellings with little or no garden is not 'eco'.

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