I feel I must reply to the letter from Councillor Don Davis (the Chad, September 14 ‘We Have Not Won The Battle, We Have Lost’ read the letter here). In my view, he is obviously not familiar with this area.
He is evidently unaware of the tremendous opposition to the proposed and controversial Ashland Road West development in Sutton.
Not once did he mention the letters of objection, totalling about 1,800, written to his planning officials against these proposals. And, yes, we will all be aware of what we will be missing out on – this section 106 monies amounting to £1.6 million.
As elected councillors, your priority should be to represent the views of the people and take time out to meet them and listen to their views – not by just judging a scheme on how much money it can generate for the authority at the expense of damage, hardship and loss of amenity to adjacent established communities.
Would it not have been prudent, bearing in mind a scheme was rejected at appeal stage in 1989, to have requested an outline planning application be made, or were the members of the council so hell bent in boosting the council coffers from the highest council tax band possible on the properties the scheme would have provided?
Had you and your colleagues bothered to attend the pre-arranged site visit a day before the planning meeting, or even read some of the objection letters, you would have known what the local residents would be gaining by not approving this development.
The following is a list of some of the benefits of not building, which would cost the authority nothing, but here again I feel it’s falling on deaf ears:
The beauty of Brierley Forest Park and the peace and tranquillity it provides remain unchanged, especially around the lake area, all helped by this land acting as a buffer zone between existing residential areas and the park itself.
The wildlife that thrives on this land, which comprises rare and valuable hay meadows, will be free to continue enjoying this piece of countryside, bringing pleasure to those who witness it.
The residents will no longer face the horrendous prospect of at least 600 to 700 extra vehicles exiting onto the already busy Ashland Road West, and all the traffic mayhem and chaos this would certainly create. The original figure was grossly underestimated at the planning meeting in my view and does not warrant a degree in maths to work out more accurately, especially when so many four and five-bedroom houses were proposed. The drains in Ashland Road West will be able to cope a little longer, although at peak and storm periods they still get blocked around the care home, where the road dips, with discharges of sewage into adjacent gardens. This is in spite of the fact Severn Trent had given the green light to the developers.
All doctors, schools, dentists and hospital places will remain unaffected, although very heavily stretched even now. The local supermarkets in Sutton will be able to cater for the town a little bit longer, although at Christmas time it is getting somewhat of a nightmare shopping, due to the limited number of shops, and would be made worse with more people coming to the area.
As you would have seen if you had attended the site visit, these fields are unique insofar as they preserve the atmosphere and nature of Brierley Forest Park.
They are not just any old fields – and this is where all the highly paid consultants have slipped up – as peace, tranquillity and solitude are immeasurable.
Read more about the Ashland Road decision here