Planning Preview

Remember, remember, the 5th of November.

We’re certainly not expecting gunpowder, treason and plot at the CBC Planning Committee meeting next Thursday, but the car par at Sheepen Road is proving to be a rocket up the arse of some local residents.

Topping the agenda [pdf] next week is:

“Proposed phased development of two new office buildings and associated outbuildings, parking and landscaping.”

CBC is the applicant here, hence the application has automatically been referred to the Committee.

Essentially CBC wants to cash in on the Sheepen Road ‘assets’ that it already owns, and pimp out some private office space to help bring some much needed cash into the Council coffers.

The apolitical, objective Officer recommendation is:

“Conditional Approval subject to no objections being raised by Anglian Water.”

…’cos that would all be rather unfortunate, wouldn’t it?

Objections have been raised by both residents and the ever-eagle eyed Colchester Cyclists group.

It is the residents nearby to Sheepen Road who are most concerned about the two brand new office blocks right on their doorstep:

“Traffic grinds to a halt nearly every morning and afternoon/evening because of the Institute and people battling in and out of town to get home/work or to one of a handful of car parks still available.

To get out of Sheepen Place and Middleborough every day heading in any direction is an utter disaster, it is noisy and dangerous particularly for emergency vehicles.

The junction cannot take increased traffic flow as it currently stands. Adequate consideration has not been given to this. A traffic assessment/appraisal is required.”

Plus another objection reads:

“This car park is generally always very full and well used by workers, students and visitors, as stated in the D&A statement it is a 10 minute walk to such attractions like the town centre, institute and the railway station.

Where do you propose people park once a block of 2 offices with 48 private parking spaces is put in its place?”

Good question, well put.

Car parking appears to be an issue where there is currently few answers around Colchester – apart from Park ‘n’ Ride of course.

There is no way is this application related to trying to push residents on to the Park ‘n’ Ride scheme that still needs a little extra Sunny Colch love.

Nope.

CBC itself has tried to justify the change from car park to office by contributing:

“The Head of Operational Services has confirmed this car park has been underused over the last few years by the general public, although usage has increased since CBC employees have been allowed to use it as staff car parking site.”

The policy all stacks up, and no doubt the sums do for CBC as well.

Not the most SEXY of Planning Committee meetings.

A seasonal sparkler in the public gallery might lighten things up.