In our opinion, the consultation process is totally unsatisfactory because;
the two-week consultation period is ridiculously short, particularly in the summer holiday season;
our information is that not all Edenfield households received the consultation leaflet, although at the webinar on 29th June 2022 it was claimed that about 1,000 leaflets had been delivered;
the leaflet gives limited information, with the result that anyone without internet access will be unaware of the detail and thereby be at a disadvantage in responding;
the leaflet says there will be “two webinars where you can join and ask questions of the team” but provides the time of only one, held at barely one week’s notice;
it was not until the webinar that it was confirmed no developer has yet been chosen for the area promoted by Anwyl Land (Chatterton Hey site);
and there are other omissions and errors in the consultation, as noted below.
Masterplan does not satisfy Local Plan
- The consultation masterplan falls short of the requirements of the Rossendale Local Plan. The Local Plan requires a masterplan for the entire site reference H66 land west of Market Street, Edenfield which is estimated to yield 400 homes. The consultation masterplan lacks any detail about the land in H66 in other ownerships. The Local Plan is quite specific that the masterplan must be for the entire site. Rossendale Borough Council have pledged that they will work in partnership with key landowners and key stakeholders, including Edenfield Community Neighbourhood Forum, to ensure that such a masterplan is prepared (Local Plan, page 56, paragraph 121).
Lack of information
- The consultation says 235 homes will be built in the developers’ first phase but omits the crucial information about the number of homes in their second phase (Chatterton Hey site). It emerged from the webinar that the second phase would yield some 90 dwellings. At the very least, the masterplan should indicate how many dwellings will be built and where and when.
- Without this information it is impossible to have a comprehensive Transport Assessment.
- A major concern is the impact on traffic of a 50% increase in housing in a village which already has significant traffic problems. This was recognised in the Local Plan which states that development will be supported provided that a Transport Assessment is provided demonstrating that the site can be safely accessed. It will need to address issues arising from the proposed accesses from Blackburn Road, Market Street and Exchange Street, including the consequent reduced availability of on-street parking, as well as the impact of the inevitable increase in local traffic on the Market Place roundabout and at the beginning
and end of the school day in the vicinity of an enlarged Edenfield CE Primary School. There is no indication in this consultation about when this Assessment is going to be prepared and when the highway authority will be involved in the process, but it is crucial to any consideration of the masterplan.
- At the webinar it was admitted that the new Market Street access would require a ghosted right-turn lane. The consultation leaflet and website are silent about this but should have disclosed the information.
- Although the consultation documents show the highway access to the Chatterton Hey site from the foot of Exchange Street, the highway authority has stated that Exchange Street would be unsuitable for this purpose. The consultation ignores the highway authority’s suggestion that vehicular access to this area should be through the estate to connect to the proposed access from Market Street, with only pedestrian and cycle links to Exchange Street – see Local Plan Examination Library document EL8.014 Actions 14.1 to 14.4, paragraph 4.1 Action 14.3 – www.rossendale.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/16396/
- In the webinar it was claimed that access to the Chatterton Hey site from Exchange Street and Highfield Road would be all right as only 90 houses were involved. However, at the time of Lancashire County Council ’s comments the estimated yield from that area, according to the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment, was only 70.
- It would clearly be undesirable for motor traffic resulting from the development to use the existing public footpaths (which are also private vehicular rights of way serving Mushroom House, Chatterton Hey and Alderbottom/Swallows Barn). The masterplan is not clear how estate traffic would be segregated from those footpaths.
- Edenfield Community Neighbourhood Forum has been working over the years to bring forward a Neighbourhood Plan and has involved the community, stakeholders and the local planning authority in the process. The masterplan consultation claims that the scheme will be community-led, although this is hard to reconcile with the fact that local residents are overwhelmingly opposed. If the developers are serious in this claim, they must commit to ensuring that the development will be in accordance with the emerging Edenfield Neighbourhood Plan and its design codes. In the webinar it was stated that the Taylor Wimpey houses would be mainly two-storey but with a few at 2.5 storeys. We are concerned that any houses more than two storeys high would have a seriously detrimental effect on views across the site to the other side of the valley. Those views are part of the distinctive character of the village and are highly valued by the community.
Green spaces, sports provision, landscaping and biodiversity
- The new green spaces to be opened up are all located on the western and northern periphery of the consultation site. Apart from these, the masterplan depicts a development that will be a mass of, to use the wording of the leaflet, “just bricks and mortar.” There is no provision for green spaces or landscaping with hedgerows within the development.
- Far from being ‘long-lasting’ as claimed, some of those green spaces will be short-lived if National Highways proceeds with a scheme to widen the A56.
- It would benefit both existing and new residents if green spaces were provided on the eastern flank of the consultation site. A green buffer on this side would mitigate any clash between the styles of existing and new development.
- The green space deficiency might be ameliorated to a small degree by keeping open the field between Market Street and Mushroom House. This area could be used for a parking area for the benefit of existing residents whose access to on-street parking is going to be diminished.
- The consultation website refers to ‘Providing generous areas of public open space and outdoors sports provision’, but, even if the green spaces are included, the open space provision is far from generous and, discounting the locally equipped area of play (LEAP), the outdoor sports provision is non-existent.
- In the Masterplan layout, the LEAP is poorly located, adjacent to the junction of busy B6527 Market Street and the main site access.
- We note that the illustration on the website pages between the sections ‘Our Proposals’ and ‘Masterplan’ suggests that it will be houses, not a LEAP, in this position. That illustration shows also a path across a grassed area adjoining Market Street and the estate road, but that path is not marked on the masterplan. These inconsistencies immediately cast doubt on the reliability of any of the information provided.
- In view of the prospective requirements in the Environment Act 2021, the masterplan should demonstrate how the biodiversity value attributable to the development will exceed the pre-development biodiversity value of the onsite habitat by 10%.
- Cycle route provision is perfunctory. It is not clear what it connects with. It should be included as part of the green spaces and as part of a wider cycle scheme.
- It is surprising that the sustainable drainage system (SUDS) features so prominently in the
consultation, after National Highways has indicated that it is likely to be problematical. The Local Plan expects consideration to be paid to the suitability or not of sustainable drainage systems on the boundary adjoining the A56, but there is nothing in the consultation to show that this has been done.
- The paragraph about Heritage in the Virtual Exhibition misrepresents the listed status of Edenfield Parish Church. It is in fact Grade II* listed, not merely Grade II. We do not agree that it is not visible from the development site or that it is so well screened by existing tree cover that the development would have a negligible impact on its setting.
- The consultation does not state what compensatory improvements will be made in the remaining Green Belt to compensate for the proposed development on former Green Belt land.
Topography and geology
- The tipped earth on the site that forms a mound to the west of Mushroom House needs to be removed and carted away off-site, restoring the original contours. Otherwise, any dwellings built there would be on an unnaturally high level and over-dominant.
- Because of the underlying laminated clay, it is probable that extensive piling will be required, to ensure the stability and protection of the A56 and the new homes. The consultation does not mention this or explain how the effect of this on residents will be mitigated.
Ian B. Lord
Chair, Edenfield Community Neighbourhood Forum
3rd July 2022