Monday, 26 August 2013

Concern over further 44 homes at the end of Union Lane, Ulverston

There seems to be a flurry of activity to stop the above as the deadline of 5th September approaches.
Not made easy by last minute changes in the web address- now corrected).However in planning law, as I understand it, people have only one line of strong defence - traffic - (now: there were more previously).

The time that we did in fact try to achieve an informed decision, it was at the original planning meeting of SLDC when 'Hoad View', as it is now called, was applied for on behalf of Persimmons. At that time it was clear from the plans that there was a road leading through the land relevant to this application, to land beyond so that what we were considering was not just the building of 27 houses but what now turns out to be a further 44 houses in the field beyond, making over 70 houses in all.

Sadly the planning system is such that we were unable to make a good case because there were so many different issues and so few of us able to travel to Kendal to put them. With only three minutes each and a dis-coordinated approach, we were never given enough time to present the issues before the members of the planning committee that would be making the decision.

The main argument against all of this development was the access by road. There were two possibilities at the time : via Union Lane or round the back via Mowings lane.

The Union Lane access was both very narrow and was approached via a blind corner. On the first count, the proposal made by the developer was to widen the lane which required demolishing an old and significant wall - as long as the wall could be demolished then this solution was acceptable to the Cumbria Highways Authority on the issue of wideness of the lane.

To deal with the blind corner the developers drew up lots of plans showing how larger trucks and lorries could get round the corner whilst facing oncoming traffic approaching downhill at speed. From the care and detailed nature of these plans it would appear to the questioning mind that the developer was having a hard time to be convincing. All the councillors had these explanations were left these explanations in their pigeon holes before the meeting so that we expected a good debate on safety to ensue. In practise no examination of these plans resulted - not one of the councillors even opened these documents: the comment from one of them to another was "What are these?". With Kate Lawson, the planning officer surprising us all with a statement that the Cumbria Highways found no fault in the proposed road design: all discussion was killed off instantly

As is now history, this plan was passed, not without Cllr Maureen Nicholson stating afterwards "Sorry Geoff we felt we had to pass it as we believed the developers would have appealed and SLDC wouldn't have had the funds to fight them at the appeal court." Such is the way of the muscle men these days.

People with a suspicious mind could perhaps wonder whether the views of Cumbria Highways were impartial. Consider how much money was at stake for Persimmons - a potential of 70 houses at an average of around £200,000 ie 14 million pounds. Thus the view of Cumbria County Council Highways department as to the safety of this corner was crucial yet no discussion or alternate views to this decision to the safety of this corner were considered by the planning committee councillors.

I find it strange that a Cumbria County Highways Officer had previous drawn attention to the dangers of this intersection (Union Lane and Stanley Street) in a letter to the SLDC planning department at the time of opening up access to Taylor Court opposite Union Lane. At the latter's planning meeting the SLDC officer chose to disregard the Cumbria Highways advice.

As people now know Cumbria County Highways have a very poor history in enforcing the law in the question of ensuring the contractors doing adequate repairs when back filling the replaced the cobbles down Market Street. Had this law been enforced then no repairs would ever have been needed to the Market Street Cobbles and no cost to the tax payer or disruption to the town trading need to have resulted.

Don't these incidents lead the rational thinker to believe that the Cumbria Highways Department is not to be trusted?

So what can be done? The issue of road safety of the proposal to develop the further 44 homes has never been considered properly. In my view it doesn't lie in any of the points raised in the unsigned sheet of A4 paper that has just been slipped quietly under my door - presumably written by some shadowy people from another part of our area. (This whole story is developing into a who dunnit worthy of Poirot). The grounds for stopping the allocation of this land to building are in my view dependent on focusing on the traffic patterns that have never ever been considered by the public - only by the unreliable CCC Highways Department. There is no point continuing to repeat arguments already defeated at the first application.

The most impressive argument that I can think of is access ie the blind corner from Stanley St to Union Lane. This will come up again in the future when planning application for the further plot for 44 houses is put forward. As a mathematician I know that the probability of an accident on a blind corner goes up exponentially as the traffic increases. Thus at some point the probabilities of an accident must reach a high enough level that even Cumbria Highways consider it is unacceptable. The only change that would alter that is a change in the design of the junction which could be brought about by demolishing the house on the corner of Stanley Street so as to enable the creation of a mini roundabout.

There is also another important traffic issue that appears to have been forgotten about: the access to this whole area via the exceedingly narrow Mill Street from the one way system.

First, Mill Street is extremely narrow allowing only travel one direction at a time with no pavement for pedestrians on one side. At the same time large beer delivery trucks for the Kings Arms obstruct visibility and movement.
Secondly, many people have had very near misses from vehicles cutting the corner at speed from Soutergate with no sight of the vehicles emerging from Mill Street.

It was this very issue that raised questions as to the suitability of the proposed location for the Health Centre with the large traffic coming to it via Mill St and The Gill. Now with the possibility of 70 new houses ie and 140 fresh cars to park on the proposed land, this far exceeds the 80 odd cars already parked at the Health Centre.

With the whole issue of dramatically increased traffic in the area we have the potential of an accident nightmare. Surely a thorough traffic survey of dog (being walked up Gill Banks), pedestrian, cycles cars, lorries both delivery and servicing, and finally buses to the Health Centre needs to be carried out by CCC Highways before any long term decisions are made.

Comments please on my logic. Does this make sense to you?

If so where do we focus  the public's limited resources to achieve the result we want? - A safe living environment rather than another Persimmons' housing fiasco (remember North Lonsdale road A590 junction).

Let's start by writing now- before September 5th to preserve sanity.

Here's where on the SLDC website: reference MM072U,


Anonymous said...

Who is your ghost writer? Very good piece.

Anonymous said...

Here we go again.Geoff Dellow,the people's champion....yet he is not an Ulverstonian.
Accept it,the land is zoned residential,it will get built on.
Your views are pure Nimbyism at it's finest.

Geoff Dellow said...

My God, these cranks still exist. If you're not born here, you're not human and don't deserve the vote or even an opinion. What in fact do 'real Ulverstonians' do? Dodder around town repeating "I was born here - were you?" If you were born here, are you one of those that consider that it's too dangerous to go beyond Levens. Beware there are some very strange people out there - better come scurrying back to grandma to be taken care of. Do you wear a traditional Herdwick scratchy shirt I ask myself?

Jim J said...

Geoff, Anon is not a crank, rather he enunciates, albeit rather clumsily, a view held by many locals and certainly all tjose within my immediate circle. The fact is that locals are mightily fed up of those whom they (rightly) see as offcomers, fetching up in Ulverston and proceeding to make every effort and a lot of noise into changing the town to better resemble something they want it to be.

Its not a new thing but has gathered momentum of late simply because it seems there are loads of "offcomers" gobbing off about whats best for "our" town. Like it or not - because you seem incapable of keeping your gob shut - you are viewed as a leading light in the invasion.

Geoff Dellow said...

Thanks Jim J,

Does the fact that I've been sounding off in the town since I ran the youth club at St Mary's church in 1960 not register.

Ulverston has been slowly going downhill over this period. Look at us compared with Grange - then we led the way: the Ulverston News was packed with activity while Barrow was bare. This group if they really exist need to start looking around at all the things they could get involved with don't you think. There hasn't been an invasion: there's been a slow death. Where's the Bradyll's. The Sun as it was.The auction Mart? What's happened to all the Lightburn Park activities now - who let that happen? Where can I meet these people now? I know most of the regulars at the Stan Laurel - is this seen as an 'offcommers' pub? Come on stand up and be counted I'll be there tonight - your turn come and give me a mouthful - I'll listen.

I'm here to stay - this now is the face of Ulverston - get used to it. I've been here longer than most of you!

Major-General Stanley said...

I guess I will go with levity.
I see you are upsetting local members of The Flat Earth Society.
as did that upstart Edward Jenner,what of that buffoon Copernicus that dared to postulate his heliocentric hypothesis.
Stop it Geoffrey,I want you to write on the blackboard a 100 times"Do not travel past Greenood as you will fall of the planet"

Jim said...

Got to agree re The Sun, cultural vandalism if ever there was.But that was done at a time when concrete and glass were considered the way forward, doubt it would happen these days.

The Braddylls? A simple commercial decision, believe it or not people here don't sup as they used to! At least Chattaway is retaining it for "hospitality" purposes.

Just consider that many of the locals are quite happy with the town as it is and see no need for constant protest about this that or the other. Despite the delusion you have about us all pulling together - people on Croftlands just ain't bothered about houses in Union Lane.

As for being scared to go beyond Levens - believe me I take every chance to wave bye bye to my home town and, after 60 years I am seriously considering a move away. Sad but true.

Geoff Dellow said...

The Major General is right. I'm just upsetting people. In real life I get on well with members of the old families here in town but yattering on here on my blog is no way to communicate.

So I shall stop publishing comments from the born and bred. Could they in turn avoid looking at my outrageous blog and leave me to living my way of way of life? Yes I'm at one extreme of society with different views to many. Better that we meet at the Stan Laurel or the market square where they will discover that I too have a roundy thing stuck on top of a body with stickyoutybits that enable me to walk, drink and hold a pint.

Geoff Dellow said...

Yes Jim I loved the old Sun which is where I stayed for the first fortnight of living here. Ulverston isn't what it used to be but isn't that to do with people being so frantically busy , just trying to cope with modern life - which is not the friendly place it used to be. A town where Sam at the papershop down Market street has chuffled on to the other place.

Anonymous said...

Just been on wih Mr Graham Darlington what a helpful man? NOT! He has really not helped our small conservation area (CA)here in the Gill area. I was informed the conservation area boundary now is where the work house wall used to be ( I.5 metres from the new wall- in the middle ofthe road) . Very poor! He also informed me that the CA is not due a review until 2015, so that is how it stands. The wall Persimmon Homes were asked to build up to an agreement in the plan - no longer stands in the CA so conservation does not apply.

A big company again doing what they want knowing that SLDC will not enforce anything! His reply to my question about the council failure in this matter? Was that he thought they had not failed and things that are in place is for the better of Ulverston. Planning simply can not enforce anything - no money !! No morales like!

Geoff Dellow said...

And who are your Mr/Ms "just been" Why the reticence?

Geoff Dellow said...

Let's try again - my brain is growing old:

And who are you Mr/Ms "just been". Why the reticence?