Further to our blog posting from April 2017 regarding the intention of a local land owner to build on land adjacent to 38 Mill Hill, Swaffham Prior (on the East side of the B1102), we now alert you to the fact that an outline planning application for the erection of 10 bungalows has been made for the same site. If you believe, like we and many others in Swaffham Prior, that this development is in the wrong place and will have a negative impact on the listed buildings Fosters Mill and the Smock Mill, please join us by making your objections to East Cambridgeshire District Council – see below for more information. Information on the planning application can be found at www.eastcambs.gov.uk with the reference 17/01208/OUM.
If you have followed our news over the last year, you will know that the land owner concerned has been trying for some time to persuade villagers of the value and importance of allowing development on this land. In April 2017 the village was made aware that the land in question had been included as a proposed ‘Additional Site’ in the ECDC Local Plan Consultation Process. Now, before the consultation process has concluded, the land owner and developer have made an application for outline planning permission. If you believe this development should not go ahead, you have until the 15th August 2017 to register your objection. You can email Richard Fitzjohn at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to:
Richard Fitzjohn, Planning Officer
East Cambs District Council
The Grange, Ely
If you email, you are invited to copy our local councillor Allen Alderson at email@example.com
Grounds for Objection:
The Mill Hill Action Group and owners of Fosters Mill have identified a number of key concerns regarding the proposed development, these include:
- The development is not plan-led, it is a speculative housing scheme, village sprawl outside the village development envelope with unattractive and inappropriate arbitrary boundary fences or walls which take no account of the intrinsic beauty of the countryside. The development involves building on just one part of a larger agricultural field, there is no landscape, or other, logic to the definition of the boundaries proposed. It benefits the land owner and the developer and not the local community which has already identified specific locations where locals are prepared to see development take place.
- The development does not meet any of the 3 requirements for sustainable development – economic, social or environmental: The village has limited facilities (primary school and pub) meaning that all inhabitants of the proposed housing will need to travel by private car for most family needs (not sustainable), 10 bungalows will contribute little to building a strong economy (economic) and can hardly be claimed to support a strong, vibrant and healthy community (social) when they are the wrong side of a very busy road with 40mph speed limit.
- The development leads straight onto the B1102 at a blind corner with vehicles travelling at over 40 mph. The traffic survey completed for the applicant and presented as part of the planning application was done in August when traffic volumes are considerably less than the rest of the year. On a typical morning during the rush hour, over 1000 cars pass the site per hour in just one direction (source Swaffham Prior Parish Council) – not the most appropriate place to have children crossing to walk to school or vehicles attempting to join the road from the development.
- The proposed development and the associated trees and planting will have a significant negative impact on the winding of Fosters Mill, a Grade 2* working tower mill because it reduces the available wind from the East North East – South East directions, reducing power and increasing turbulance. The mill needs free unfettered wind to operate properly and this direction is the only direction where the wind is uninterrupted by buildings or vegetation.
- The owners of Fosters Mill have commissioned their own Wind Study and the conclusions are very different to those presented in the developer’s promotional document. Whilst we agree on the fact the wind comes from the direction of the proposed development site for between 7 – 10% of the time, the developer’s wind study has failed to take into account the very significant impact of the wind obstructions (trees and buildings including a water tower) in all other points of the compass in their calculations. These obstructions reduce the number of available milling days (when the wind is strong enough to mill) by around 80%. So, when these obstructions are taken into account, the 7 – 10% of wind from this quarter becomes 20% of the available wind to the mill during the winter months and 50% during the summer months.
- The proposed development will create wind turbulence. This will harm the fabric of the mill, increase maintenance costs and negatively impact the quality of grinding as the mill jolts, speeds up and slows down more frequently. Given the curb construction at Fosters Mill, the mill is particularly susceptible to the impact of turbulent air which causes the cap to jolt from side to side causing significant additional strain to the cap and winding gear.
- The impact of the proposed development will increase as trees and vegetation planted around the proposed bungalows matures meaning the full impact will not be felt for some 15+ years. Tree pollution on the site will further reduce the days on which the mill can work risking the mill’s long term viability as a working mill, a factor which is not referenced in the developer’s wind study as referenced in their promotional document.
- The development will negatively impact the setting of the Grade 2 Smock Mill and Grade 2* Tower Mill, changing the skyline, changing the general character of the setting of the buildings which currently are set within a context of open fields from the East. The proposed bungalows and layout are entirely out of context with any other buildings in the area.