Monday, 13 March 2017

You really couldn't make this up

After all the palaver over site access last time - when Aggregate Industries' planning applications were pulled because they relied on third party land for access, for which permission was sought but denied - you'd have thought the company would have been more careful this time.

But guess what? This new set of plans again relies on the use of third party land for access - for which AI has sought but not gained, nor is likely to gain, agreement.

We said that Birdcage Lane was not wide enough for AI’s plans - it turned out it isn't. D M Mason, AI’s traffic consultant - the same person with the questionable traffic counts, the same person tasked with designing the access arrangements for Birdcage Lane, the same person who assured locals that no trees or hedges would need to be removed for the site access - claims:
Adjacent to Straitgate Farm, Birdcage Lane has a carriageway width of about 2.5 metres with a verges of 1.9 metres on its west and 4.5 metres on its east side. 3.3
But there is not 4.5m of verge on the east side; there is no more than 3m.

Why is this matter critical to the whole operation?
The widening of Birdcage Lane at Straitgate will provide a safe means of accessing the B3174 Exeter Road... 5.4.10
Birdcage Lane will be widened adjacent to the site access to accommodate turning and travelling vehicles. Birdcage Lane will be widened to 6.5 metres to allow a vehicle to enter the lane from Exeter Road whilst a vehicle is waiting to leave to Exeter Road and to allow vehicles to pass. 7.8
The actual details of AI's access plans are buried in the trees report:
It is also proposed to widen a small section of Birdcage Lane from the new access to the junction to the south with the B3174 Exeter Road and to make improvements to the road junction. In order to protect the RPAs of the mature trees within G15A, the widening works has been confined to the east side of the existing carriageway and therefore it will not be necessary to remove any healthy trees larger oak specimens. However it will be necessary to remove a U category English oak (Tree H) close to the junction, on the east side of the road which will need to be removed regardless of the impact of the development works.
But, AI doesn't own the oak tree, hedgebanks and land on the east side of the existing carriageway. As things stand therefore, the company's plans CANNOT be implemented in the manner presented.

Was it too much to ask AI to have sorted all this out, confirmed in writing, before landing local people with yet another consultation?