At 8am this snowy morning, Councillor Ballantyne and I met with Mr Adrian Christy. He is the Chief Executive of Badminton England and is based at the National Badminton Centre at Bradwell Road, within the Parish.
He had invited us to come to discuss their plans to secure outline planning permission to re-develop the site (and the adjoining Parks Trust open space).
He showed us a plan of a development proposal for 142 residential homes on the site – which I took a photograph of – and you can see here. The plan at the top is a topographical study of the existing site and the bottom is the proposed layout of the development.
He told us about the vision for a new Badminton centre at the Bowl site and the facilities and amenities it would have.
I outlined the concerns I have about the proposal; which briefly are as follows:-
- we contend Environmental Impact Assessment is required due to the huge development in the context of Lodge Lake is to a particularly sensitive and vulnerable site
- The likely effect on traffic on Bradwell Rd and Dansteed Way, compounded by the additional traffic to the western area expansion (6,500 homes) will have a serious effect on the whole area of Great Holm and Loughton Lodge
- 120-150 homes would be significant over-development. It is unclear what size they would be but we think that if permission was granted it should be no more than 2 storey. On our view we think that about 15-20 homes would be a maximum
- That there should be social housing provision included and the housing should be suitable and as needed by the local community. There is a large surplus of large 4+ bedroom family homes in the area and we don’t need any more of those but some 1 storey bungalows for elderly and disabled residents would be welcome and maybe 1 and 2 bedroom homes to meet local housing needs
- There must be sufficient green space provided for residents including a play area within the development. It would not be suitable to place a play area on the Parks Trust land near to the lake as this would disturb the tranquil and natural setting of the lake, and recreations there of walking and fishing
- Concern that the site may have contaminated land and this should be thoroughly investigated before planning permission is applied for
- There would need to be sufficient parking provided on the site : as a minimum that should be 3 spaces per property as otherwise there will be parking problems generated in the area and affect safety on Bradwell Road
- We would like to see the noise assessment of the site as it is next to the noisy and busy A5 and railway line and has not been considered a suitable site for residential properties before now.
- Loughton Lodge farm is a heritage asset and should be preserved
- We would like to see a sports club and fitness facility remain on the site as it is a useful facility for local people
- The Parks trust land is used for walking and recreation and wildlife at the moment and we would not support the loss of these amenities for local people
- We question the sustainability of a development of this size built so proximately to the A5 and railway and are concerned that this will become in the long term a run-down area of sub-standard quality housing which will bring problems of anti social behaviour to an area which is currently free from such problems
We discussed possible s.106 arrangements to make the development more acceptable and to enable them to proceed with the project.
We also discussed a possible application for registration of the open space land as a village green under the Commons Act 2006.
This is a difficult issue for us in that many residents will be upset about the impact this development would have on the natural environment and tranquility of the lake.
On the other hand, local people might also see the benefits of the new sporting centre at the Bowl.
I would really value feedback from local people as to what they think of all the issues so that the Parish Council could effectively represent the bests interests of the community.