Reader letter: Peterborough development is cause of heartache and distress

Residents of Orton Longueville are objecting to a proposal by Peterborough City Council and Homes for England to build up to 100 homes on the former NHS Gloucester Centre site in Orton Longueville.

Saturday, 14th December 2019, 12:00 pm
Exteriors of the Gloucester Centre, Woodston EMN-180205-174459009

The proposed development has caused surrounding residents’ real distress and heartache. Current residents object to the proposed development on environmental grounds and concern that the road network cannot accommodate the increased traffic volume. The Gloucester Centre site is home to almost 100 mature and healthy trees. The proposal would mean that all trees on the central site will be cut down to make way for the development.

These trees and dense shrubbery are home to many creatures, including Muntjac deer, foxes, rabbits, squirrels, hedgehogs and many birds. A rare butterfly has also been sighted, the illusive black hairstreak butterflies (which has only just returned to the area after 30 years). In the existing buildings on the site, four bat colonies have been recorded. The effectiveness of the proposed plans to rehouse the bats is likely to be low, particularly as the insects they feed on inhabit the trees which will be removed.

There is non-compliance with the Local Plan policies, namely to protect or enhance the local environment, including wildlife habitats, trees and woodland parks and gardens, urban open space, water resources, and the green belt. This we find unacceptable.

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The existing residential estate is made up of bungalows, some detached and semi-detached housing. The proposed development is likely to include Social and affordable homes of 30 three-storey flats, which is not in keeping with this quiet residential area. It must be noted that the proposed development plan at Fletton Quays and ‘The Gables’ does not include any designated social housing (“low cost housing”). All of the roads on the estate are narrow and many are now used to avoid the Shrewsbury Avenue/Oundle Road traffic lights / traffic jams. This is supported by a resident survey, many residents have lived for decades in the locality.

Parking issues will be exacerbated as already cars parked in the surrounding roads is making driving in the area quite precarious with numerous near misses, it is only a matter of time before there is an accident. According to the Local Planning regulations a three-bedroom house in general residential development is required to have parking space for a minimum of two cars, provided that there is access to a further unassigned space nearby.

We believe that the proposed development does not provide enough parking space to meet these requirements and those stipulated for 2 bed and 1 bed occupancies. In addition to this, there is already intense on-street parking pressure, and we believe the proposed additional parking provision will damage both highway safety and residential amenity. Not only will insufficient parking space adversely affect the amenity of surrounding properties through roadside parking on narrow roads/busy junctions and put further pressure on existing rat runs, it will severely impact on a heavily-used and over- congested Oundle and Shrewsbury roads as well as main arterial route in and out of Peterborough, thus affecting many members of the public.

Peterborough prides itself on claiming to be ‘The UK Environmental Capital’ and the environmental policy is to double bio-diversity. This development seeks to destroy all bio-diversity, with no consideration to where the wildlife can possibly go or if it will survive. To destroy 40 year-old mature, healthy trees and replace with a few wispy saplings does not double, sustain or retain any bio-diversity. PCC have stated that destroying the habitat is of no significant interest, which goes against all of Peterborough’s policies designed to protect our precious green spaces.

“The development does not have the support of local residents as it is detrimental to the environment and will impact heavily not only on the roads, but on local services, i.e schools, GP, dentists which are already under strain.”

Local Planning Authorities (this includes Peterborough City Council) should encourage development that creates places, streets and spaces which meet the needs of people, are visually attractive, safe, accessible, functional, inclusive, have their own distinctive identity and maintain and improve local character. We residents insist that this redevelopment kicks against the above in its entirety. In conclusion, the proposed development by reason of its size, depth, width, height and massing would have an unacceptably adverse impact on the amenities of the properties immediately adjacent to the site and the surrounding area for the reasons we set out above.

Param and Sue Deoraj, on behalf of the residents group