A planning notice (15/02/120/out) is currently on display tied to a lamppost near the village hall. The application is for the proposed construction of 14 houses on the land behind the village hall and invites comments to be be sent to the Council by 23rd October 2015. Walkington Parish Council has lodged a strong objection to the proposal and their comments, and those of other residents, are available to view on the ERYC website.
Whether you support the planned development, or not, one issue that we can surely all agree on is the need to ensure that the development is for the benefit of the whole village and not detrimental to village amenities. Unfortunately, it seems that this important consideration is not on the agenda for the developers.
In order to provide clear visibility for drivers leaving the new development ERYC is proposing to ban parking outside of the village shop, the village hall and down to the Barrel pub. Consider for a moment what that means for the village and yourself. The lack of parking will impact on villagers ability to pop down to the shop, or the post office in the car, of dropping off and collecting people at the village hall and the effect of diminished passing trade on the shop. A large proportion of village residents live on Broadgate making the need for sufficient on street parking an even more important factor for them.
The village shop and the village hall form a central part of the community and are an essential part of village life. The various activities held at the hall vary from the Age Concern ‘Pop In Centre’ to Parents and Toddler groups from Panto to Zumba classes. The introduction of double yellow lines will have a negative effect on village life and could have an impact on the business viability of the shop, the village hall and the pubs. However, the Highways Department say that there is still sufficient on street parking to serve the businesses even with the proposed removal of the existing parking spaces. I doubt the accuracy of that view.
Then we come to the issue of Health and Safety. The main footpath through the village would cross the access road for the new development. Although the new development provides garaging and parking for 36 cars this additional traffic could provide extra risk to villagers during the rush hours and children heading to school.
It seems strange to say, but one benefit of the pinch-point, is that all vehicles do actually need to slow down, or stop, to allow for oncoming traffic. With the removal of the parking spaces the road will be wider and presumably cars and lorries would be freer to move through the village more quickly thus presenting further risks, especially for people crossing the road to their parked cars, to or from, the village shop or the hall.
Is there a compromise solution? Yes, the compromise should be that the developer incorporates a car park, as part of the site plan, to replace the spaces lost by implementing their plan. Without such a compromise any proposal that has a likely detrimental impact on residential amenities, the quality of village life or the Health and Safety of residents is not acceptable.
If you would like to express your own views please send your comments to ERYC (by 23rd Oct) and sign the petition in the village shop.