STATEMENT REGARDING THE PRESS ARTICLE IN THE BRAINTREE AND WITHAM TIMES PUBLISHED ONLINE ON 17/3/2017
The No Brook Green Action Group have read the article published in the Braintree and Witham Times online on 17/3/2017 regarding Acorn / Wayne Gold’s pledge to provide £15 million of funding for a new junction on the A120 near Freeport.
This statement is provided on the basis of that article only there being no such application, or documentation pertaining to the same, on the Braintree District Council website.
The No Brook Green Action Group make the following statement:
Galleys Corner has long since been a traffic pinch-point and can cause congestion along the A120. We understand that the multi million pound consultation regarding the improvements of the A120 has just closed and we understand one of the proposed routes will be actioned within 5 years. Local people and visitors would welcome improvements to Galleys Corner. But they are being done in any event in a multi billion pound project and so Mr Gold’s proposal is likely to be futile.
Moreover, that traffic problem at Galleys Corner is completely unrelated to the planning application 15/01538/out known as Brook Green.
It is located across the other side of Braintree, about 4 miles at the nearest point from the proposed development site.
Highways England, in their assessment provided to Braintree District Council by a Connor Adkins, dated 15th June 2016, stated “the proposed development is unlikely to have an adverse impact on the strategic road network. We therefore offer no objection [to the application]”
From that one can conclude that the expert’s assessment is that the development proposed is unlikely to adversely impact on the A120 (a strategic road). If that is the case then the pledge to improve the junction at Galley’s Corner by the developer is entirely unrelated to his application. It will not serve to mitigate or relieve any issues caused by the development.
Mr Gold was quoted as saying that “We have had objections from people living in Rayne over highways and the traffic problems at peak times”. These objections will not be met in any way by this proposal. The objections are based primarily on local traffic implications.
If it is not solving or easing any issues caused by the development itself then one must question the developer’s motivation for making such a pledge.
Some will view it as little more than seeking to buy favour with the Council and effectively paying money in order to secure planning permission for an application which would otherwise be rejected on it’s merits. Others will see it as merely trying to buy favour with users of the A120.
We note that the developer states that the finances for this will be secured by way of a S106 agreement. However, we would dispute that the legal test for such an agreement being made in these circumstances are met. S106 agreements are designed to provide site-specific mitigation of the impact of the development and must be directly related to the development and fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the development.
This proposed S106 agreement would meet none of those criteria.
The paying of money by Mr Gold for A120 improvement does not overcome the very real and significant objections that there are to the application based on proper planning principles. The harm caused by this development going ahead, and the significant detriments to the community, environment and residents still hugely outweigh any arguable benefit.
The reason why there have been so many passionate and detailed objections made to the application which we understand are unprecedented in number is because this is and remains a totally unsuitable proposal based on relevant planning considerations. We wholeheartedly believe that anyone fairly and objectively applying the correct planning criteria would come to the same conclusion.
The developer argues that there are ‘benefits’ to the community, that the area will benefit from the effective merger of Braintree with Rayne, the loss of beautiful countryside, the desecration of the Flitch Way Country Park, the local traffic disaster, the loss to heritage assets. The list goes on.
The mere fact that Mr Gold is quoted as stating that the finances will be secured under a S106 agreement suggests that he accepts that this is an unacceptable development proposal on planning grounds. This is because planning obligations under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended), commonly known as S106 agreements, are a mechanism which make a development proposal acceptable in planning terms, that would not otherwise be acceptable.
Locals disagree that there is any benefit whatsoever to their community or any which might outweigh the significant detriment. Those that know, live in and love the area will continue to fight this wholly inappropriate development proposal and will not be hoodwinked or bribed by the promise of a wholly unrelated new A120 Junction. We trust the District Council will not be either.