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Shorncliffe Garrison Consultation: A Personal Response

December 3, 2013 6:03 PM
By Tim Prater in Response to Taylor Wimpey Consultation sent by email

Thanks for the opportunity to input into the development prior to a full planning application.

These comments are made as a local resident and a Sandgate Parish Councillor (the views expressed are mine and not necessarily those of Sandgate Parish Council).

My key issues with this development are around transport and links to the area.

As your proposed road alteration layouts show, with significant works to the junction of Cheriton High Street and the Cheriton Interchange, and the junction of Cheriton High Street and Horn Street, it is to be expected that much additional traffic to the site will follow a route along Cheriton High Street and Horn Street to access the new development.

However, your proposals for the Horn Street bridge to support this increased traffic are insufficient. The bridge needs to be widen to support full two way running traffic, not controlled by lights to allow contraflow operation. The bridge already acts as an informal contraflow, with some vehicles waiting to allow others to cross, and some judging the distance to run two way simultaneously. The addition of lights here will simply formalise contraflow traffic, and see traffic each way backing up further in each direction than currently, especially given the additional volume of traffic the development itself will generate. That traffic backing up will block the junctions of Horn Street / Church Road and also North from the bridge back to the Cheriton High Street interchange. It will create massive additional traffic issues.

Horn Street bridge remaining at the current width is unacceptable in the context of this new development. It should be a condition of the progress of any phase of this development that Horn Street bridge is widened to support full two way running, rendering traffic controls on the bridge unnecessary. I know this will add additional costs: sorry - that's life. Every major development has certain costs that need to be met to develop a site, and the widening of Horn Street bridge prior to development is a clear and certain requirement.

Additionally, living and working in Sandgate, it's a big disappointment that your proposed bus links offer no direct bus connection from the development to Sandgate Village. The village could reasonably expect to attract additional users and footfall from the new development, but there is no public transport link proposed to allow them to do so. Some service from the development to Sandgate Village would be a hugely useful addition - and indeed, Sandgate has long wanted a service that linked the village to Golden Valley and Folkestone West Train station. With a little more imagination, a service could be devised that supported all of its aims.

The detailed designs for the Plain site and Stadium site seem to have few opportunities for segregated (from vehicles) pedestrian / cycle routes: I can only see one short section of such segregated route. It would be possible and welcome at this stage to design more in.

Equally, the housing density in both developments seems too high, and the proposal to develop right the way to the back of the properties on Royal Military Avenue is going to cause significant resistance there: leaving more of a buffer zone would help, and also more of a design nod to the Risborough Lines that used to be on that site.

I'm pleased that from previous consultations a number of design principles requested by local residents have been taken on board: not least the retention of The Stadium as football pitches. I do worry though that the access road from Church Road into the development cuts significantly into the current site: in fact as far as I can see it runs through the current changing facilities. This seems to detract from the Stadium in a way local residents have strongly opposed in the past, although I know that new changing facilities, a new cadet hall and increased play facilities would be welcomed.

Finally, on the proposed housing designs (albeit only artists impressions) they seem really generic: this development could be almost anywhere based on those drawings. I accept the retention of a number of existing elements (such as the Risborough Gates) will retain some character to the development, but there seems to be little such character in the proposed new build - that is to be regretted.

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Read more from the developer Taylor Wimpey on their proposed development at Shorncliffe Garrison.