Notes from meeting with the developer ‘Bloor Homes’ at Alderley Gate in the Parish of Hulme Walfield
Date – Wednesday 22nd November 2017 8.30am – 9.30am
Venue – onsite (sales office and a tour of the site).
Present: Ms Julia Davenport JD (representing residents on Giantswood Lane), Cllr Pat Amies PA, Ms Julie Mason JM (Clerk to the Parish Council), Mr Karl Allen KA (Contract Manager), Mr Steven Oliver SO (Site Manager).
Introduction: The Parish Council wanted to form a relationship with the developer after concerns from local residents within the vicinity of the development. JD had kindly offered to help chair a residents committee and had delivered a questionnaire to all local people to gain feedback. There was a policy of Bloor Homes to follow up issues and grievances from those situated in close proximity to their developments and work with residents affected. JD had collated a list of six main issues from resident’s comments, queries via email and one to one discussions. These had been sent to KA in advance of the meeting.
- Footpaths and Access.
A time schedule of closure for FP 2 & 3 had been recently revised by Cheshire East with Bloor Homes and notification appeared in the Congleton Chronicle (Nov 9th edit p3 ) with a new sign attached to the blocked entrance of FP2 at the Giantswood Lane end. This approved order is to remain in force until 2nd May 2018 to allow for full completion of alternative route. Pedestrian access is prohibited until this time to adhere to the Health and Safety issue during the construction phase. KA and SO showed meeting participants a section of the footpath site area with the work still to do to ensure the junction was completed at the junction of FP 2 and FP 3 at the A34 end.
This will involve raising the area with build up of levels at this point and integrate with the elevated main site access entrance. The perimeter of the field where FP3 was in place, until recently, has not been accessible to the developers due to growing of maize by the land owner, only recently ploughed following harvesting of the crop in Oct/Nov. This area where FP 3 would pass is now a mud extension of the field with the original FP undefined. (NB It is to be noted the public FP’s have now to be 3 metres wide). It is intended that when FP2 is eventually re opened, bollards will be placed at entrance of FP 2/Giantswood Lane to restrict access except to pedestrians. JD stated that it was essential for residents who would require access to their boundaries prior to this for maintenance as per covenants, as the order extension timing would be well into the summer growing season. Also residents wishing to re- structure their boundaries for security with fencing etc will require access sooner. JD requested that an earlier target date should be brought forward to Spring i.e. end of March 2018.
Access to resident’s boundaries was discussed. See Buffer Zone below.
NB Since this meeting there has been a further discussion between a Public Right of Way (PROW) representative and Bloors with involvement of the HW & SB Parish Council with regard to FP and Bridleway issues on this development site.
ACTION – Bloor Homes do have permission to close off the FP access until May 2018 but would endeavour to open it soon and the Parish Council will ensure they follow up. Bloor homes would allow access to the home owners affected if they contacted the site manger prior to work being carried out.
- BUFFER ZONE
JD requested confirmation that the buffer Zone from Giantswood Lane to existing property boundaries up to garden boundaries of new build development could be confirmed at 11+ metres as per calculation on original site plan (Jan 2017) as privacy and overlooked existing homes was a key concern for well being of residents .
ACTION – KA said he would look into this and provide a scale drawing. It was confirmed the buffer zone was 11 metres approximately. The access to the buffer Zone is still to be agreed. It was agreed access was needed but the buffer should not become a thoroughfare for dog walkers or a child play area and not accessible for new build residents. Various suggestions have been put forward in discussions such as restricted residents- only key holder system. The original plan, quoted above, shows a fence line across the buffer zone at the FP2 entrance end with an open ended area at the Southern aspect of the site not suitable as maintenance access would then have to be via the estate roads. Once the site is fully developed then Bloor Homes will hand over the whole site maintenance and planting schemes to a Management Company. Upkeep of this is to be paid for by the Alderley Gate estate residents. It is possible existing Giantswood Lane residents may have to further negotiate with the Management Company.
( JD understands that the present development located at the lower part of the field is now phase 1 and the style of houses and layout will be amended at the upper part of the development site towards Giantswood Lane later following the application- 17/5573C applied for by Bloor Homes after purchasing more land with comments to be submitted by 14th Dec 2017 this is for an extra 38 dwellings in the paddock behind Walfield Ave bungalows. This development will require the infill of the ‘Leap’ area to accommodate homes and will be phase 2 ).
- BAT AND BIRD BOXES.
These will remain as per the original plan within phase 1 area at the present time.
No action at this present time
- WILDLIFE POND.
The installation of a pond will take place. This will not be a deep pond for breeding and hibernation of amphibians, but intended as sufficient for access to water for birds and bats. It will be situated near the site entrance A34, possibly in the existing copse of preservation order trees.
JD stated that some residents are experiencing excessive noise from the development site. This will have to be tolerated as would be expected on a busy construction site. However of great concern is the vibration from the present phase 1 development, which is particularly concerning with the construction of roads. This vibration was confirmed by KA as eminating from tracking machines on site. The boulder clay ridge on which the existing Giantswood Lane homes are built is acting as an amplifier for any vibration within existing homes. Concern of residents is growing as the construction progresses up the site nearer to these homes. JD asked if any monitoring has taken place, which appears not. However KA stated that approx 5 sites currently have been identified as requiring pile driving in phase 2 area near to Giantswood Lane homes. Raft or piling would also be needed in the area of the ‘Leap’ indicated in 16/3107C.
Raft or piling would also be needed in the identified sites and also the area of the ‘Leap’ and prior to this taking place, residents would have to be informed by letter drop and monitoring equipment would need to be brought in. The developers would be considerate of the future noise and vibration
- LIGHT POLLUTION
Lighting during construction has now been kept to a minimum with spot and machinery lights now switched off at dusk after construction completed for the day. Residents have been concerned as to the density of street lighting and light pollution affecting existing residents and wildlife such as owls once the development is complete. It had been suggested by some residents that lights could be dimmed or specified ones switched off. There are no street lights in Giantswood Lane as this is within a rural parish area, and residents expect to keep the current status quo wherever possible.
KA said the Alderley Gate development would have the currently specified led lighting which illuminates downward. The meeting participants were shown a sketch plan of the placement of lamp posts. JD asked if a copy could be provided which would be looked into.
It was noted a follow up meeting would be arranged in the New Year.
Notes by Julia Davenport and the Parish Council
Hulme Walfield Parish Council have queried the footpath closure and this was their response;
The situation at the site is quite complex and having considered the issues raised within your e mail and by other separate complaints, I would like to offer the following in the hope that it will explain the situation and assure local residents that the Council is working with the developer to resolve it as soon as possible, on behalf of the public. Currently, the developer has permission from the Council to close the current legal alignments of Hulme Walfield FP’s 2 and 3 at any time during the 6 month extended period. However, the closure must be lifted once the diversion is concluded and that is expected to happen within the 6 month closure extension period.
At that point, there will be a route for the public from Giantswood Lane onto Hulme Walfield FP3. However, it will be a public footpath, none of it will be a bridleway. The public will not have the right to use it for anything other than walking on foot. In due course, when the estate road is adopted as public highway, the public will then have legal right to use this road and the new section of wide footpath can be legally connected to it and then upgraded to a bridleway at that time. The footpath will not be upgraded to a bridleway upon completion of the footpath diversion since there will be no through route for any users of a bridleway until the new estate road has been opened to provide the required through route out onto Manchester Road for bridleway users (the pavement can only be used by walkers).
Looking at timings, the diversion process has reached the stage where the developer must now install the new route on the ground. Therefore, the issue of installing a ramp to descend from the estate road onto Hulme Walfield FP3 is currently at the design stage. Once the Council has sight of that design and has agreed it on behalf of the public, then the developer will install it (with permission secured from the adjacent landowner). Once installed, the diversion route can be formally certified by the Council as fit for public use and confirmed as such by the Council. The date of confirmation will form the date on which the public have right to then use it.
At that stage, the current closure would no longer be relevant and would have to be lifted. It would then be the responsibility of the developer to make safe their operations in relation to the new footpath. I understand that they are planning to erect a fence along the kerbside edge of the pavement, along which the new public footpath will run and, I would suspect (though have no confirmation of this) that the pavement would be made open and available to connect walkers to Manchester Road. I also understand that in due course, the developer will install some fencing on the ‘field side’ of the pavement although I have no details on timings for that. So, considering the above, the provision of an alternative route has by default been superseded by the diversion process such that the public will have a new public footpath as soon as the new slope from the estate road is in place to provide the currently missing connection to Hulme Walfield FP3 for this new route.
I have been out on-site this morning to discuss the above with the developer. I mentioned the complaints as received and they understand and empathise with the situation although they cannot open the footpath until the link is in place whether as an alternative or as the new diversion route. No timeframes are in place at the moment other than the 6 month closure period. So long as the diversion is concluded within that time period (expires on 2nd May 2018), then no further closure will be required or permitted unless justifiable.
With kind regards,
Public Path Orders Officer