Berryfield homes proposal should not have been approved, councillor says
It is with disappointment that I hear that FDC planing committee have recommended approval for the building of 30 houses on land east of Berryfield in March.
I have lived in March since the 1970s and know the town well. The area north of the railway station has a road system very similar now to what is was like back in the 1970s, but there was then a lot less housing in that area than there is now. With all respect to the need for housing.
Without substantial improvements to the infrastructure in that part of the town it would be irresponsible to consider building more houses in that area. If I were a member of FDC planning committee I would refuse this application on sound environmental grounds.
The report that was considered did not take into account the following points:
1 Traffic congestion at the Station Road railway gates. No mention on the number of times these gates are closed causing long tail backs of vehicles. Currently 80 passenger trains and 24 freight trains per day use this crossing. No mention of the vast increase in number of trains proposed using this crossing, 24 extra freight trains per day and in the long term another 100 extra passenger trains per day. These are official figures from Network Rail.
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2. No mention of the lack of infrastructure as a result of over 600 houses being built in this part of March over the past 20 years and the impact this has had on the increase in road traffic.
3. No mention of the Whitemoor Prison and the impact this has had on increasing road traffic as a result of over 500 officers using the local road network on an 8 hour shift basis.
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4. The report mentions the close proximity of the railway station in support of the proposal but does not mention that the Neale-Wade Community College is over 2 miles away and that the town centre is over 1 mile away.
5. The Local Plan has already acknowledge that this area of the town is less sustainable than areas to the south of the town, and that those areas should be developed first.
6. Remember, that the approved Local Plan states, “that any future housing development must be of equal benefit to existing residents as it is to new residents”.
7. This application was refused by March town council made up of Councillors who live in the town.
This application does not meet the requirements, and therefore should be refused.
COUNCILLOR STEPHEN COURT