title="Eastwick & Gilston Parish Council in Hertfordshire">
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News  »  RESPONSE TO GILSTON AREA HIGHWAYS - OPTIONS IN PYE CORNER EVENT



   RESPONSE TO GILSTON AREA HIGHWAYS - OPTIONS IN PYE CORNER EVENT    June 12, 2018

Hunsdon, Eastwick and Gilston Neighbourhood Plan Group

 

Response to the Gilston Area Highways - Options in Pye Corner Event  - Monday 21 May 2018 led by Places for People

 

  1. Introduction
    1. 1.The joint Neighbourhood Plan Group (NPG) welcomes this consultation and the opportunity to discuss issues relating to Pye Corner and Terlings within Gilston. The event was organised and led by Places for People and took place at the Gilston & Eastwick Village Hall on May 21st  2018.
    2. 2.We have previously recorded our great disappointment that the Eastern Crossing is now promoted by East Herts Council (EHC) in the Draft District Plan as a new strategic road link that is intended to provide congestion relief to the commercial areas along Edinburgh Way at the expense of the residential areas in Gilston village. We support the Report to the EHC Executive Committee of 12 June 2018 that states clearly that Gilston is considered to include Terlings Park, Pye Corner, Gilston Lane, Gilston Park and surrounding dwellings and recommends that severance and other impacts are studied in more detail before progressing the Outline Application of the Gilston Area development.
    3. 3.Within this context, we wish to thank the promoters of the development and their consultants who came and listened to concerns and local level issues. As many of the questions raised by the attendees could not be answered on the day, we are grateful that a new date is being considered for July in order to provide progress and further detail.
    4. 4.The NPG, mandated by the Parish Councils of Hunsdon and Eastwick & Gilston, has agreed to coordinate the response of the community and to collate the key questions that we would like to see addressed in the forthcoming event. Because of the huge impact of the proposal, these notes are intended as a helpful setting out of local views and as a way to guide future discussion.
    5. 5.The interactive format of the event was greatly appreciated, but sadly many of the local residents could not attend at 6pm on a weekday, a time that is not suitable for families with children and not appropriate for anyone who does not work locally. Given the importance of the issue, copies of the slides, or a recording of the event and details of the feedback given should be provided especially for residents unable to attend.  
    6. 6.The consultants were focussed on the immediate Pye Corner issues and we assume for that reason were not prepared to discuss and present the big strategic highway and transport issues that will affect our community. Technical analysis of strategic alternatives was presented in summary format and it is hoped that a fuller discussion can take place on these issues at the planned July seminar. As the community was left with big questions unresolved and unanswered we believe it would be extremely helpful if you can arrange the attendance of representatives of the two County Councils (Hertfordshire & Essex) at the Saturday 7th July seminar to help answer them.
    7. 7.The discussion should be articulated into two clearly distinct parts:
  • The strategic issues, part of a collective Q&A session - we recommend that sufficient time should be allocated to it, as it has never been presented before; and
  • The best arrangements for the local community and local area.
     
  1. The strategic issues still to be addressed
    1. 1.The NPG and the community are vehemently opposed to any suggestion that now, or in future, an extension to the A414 sub regional/cross county strategic road is driven through the middle of an existing residential village community. We have made relevant objections when the proposal of a ‘relief road’ to Edinburgh Way in Harlow was included in the Main Modifications to the Draft EH District Plan without consultation nor reference to any evidence base. This proposal seems to us to be at odds with the Leader of EHC assurance that the Gilston Area project will be designed to the highest standards, a view also put forward in the August 2017 consultation by the promoters.
    2. 2.We are extremely disappointed that the proposals have progressed as far as being included into the District Plan policy, and now progressed into more detailed study without any of the assessments and evidence being provided to the community about the increases in traffic, including HGVs, that will be potentially routed through the middle of the village community.
    3. 3.The proposed Eastern Crossing creates a natural desire line between Hertford and the future Junction 7a on the M11, which will attract a level of traffic that will go well beyond the requirements to serve the Gilston Area existing and new communities, effectively imposing on the residents of Gilston not only a development of 10,000 new homes, but also regional traffic between Essex, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire. The questions on traffic numbers and vehicle types raised by the community at the event have remained unanswered and should be addressed in the July event.
    4. 4.In order for the community to gather an informed view of the implications of the proposed Eastern Crossing, we invite Places for People and EHC, possibly with the support of Hertfordshire & Essex CC, to address at the July seminar the following:
      1. A detailed analysis of the current A414 and why it cannot be changed to accommodate the traffic flows better.
      2. Forecast of level of traffic on the future road link for a peak time work day period. Ideally this should be split by local traffic (Gilston Area existing communities and new at completion) and strategic traffic including future development in Harlow and Junction 7a. This should include the traffic generated by a future relocated Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) as an option.
      3. Comparison with current level of traffic on Eastwick Road / C161
      4. Expected congestion relief in Harlow / Edinburgh Way in absolute terms and as a % of overall traffic
      5. Visualisation of the current and future traffic flows using traffic modelling tools such as VISSIM or PARAMICS (before and after for at least two main options)
      6. Presentation of modelling studies and data for air quality, noise and light pollution impacts (before and after for at least two main options). Consideration of noise and light pollution impacts at night, particularly including blue light services directed to a potential PAH relocation.
    5. 5.The community has never been presented with a comparative evaluation of the current A414 with improvements, the Eastern and Western Crossings. We have been repeatedly told that the County Councils favour the Eastern Crossings because it will direct strategic traffic through Gilston rather than Harlow and provide better access to Junction 7a. The community has the right to consider the bigger picture and to know how decisions affecting their lives are being taken:
      1. What benefits are accrued in Harlow and in the wider area by each of the two options and what are the disbenefits generated by either option, especially on existing communities.
      2. Which of the two options (if any) better supports the efforts to achieve 60% modal shifts towards sustainable transport modes in the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town.

 

  1. Main Local Issues

 

  1. 1.Most of the local residents are convinced that the transport consultants have not adequately considered local issues and have taken decisions that will have huge local consequences without fully understanding them. Examples include: -
    1. The Burnt Mill Lane junction was not shown but connects village facilities, and a local pub.
    2. Rights of way are shown but no thought seems to have been given to their crossing of proposed roads.  These are historic pathways and recorded on the County Highways maps.
    3. The crossing for cyclists and pedestrians within the existing village setting seems to put them at a sever disadvantage when removing the weight restriction will attract HGV’s etc.
  2. 2.Gilston is a dispersed village formed of several groupings of houses including: Terlings Park, Gilston Park, the areas around St Mary’s Church and Gilston Lane, The Channocks  and, of course, Pye Corner. All these residents are represented in the same Parish Council and share facilities like the village hall, the play area, the pub, church and memorial as well as walks and rights of way. The village has numerous heritage features that will be directly affected by the proposals.

    All of the options / proposals will create massive severance within the village, as well as routing significant through-traffic through the centre of the village. All options and combinations of options appear to be designed to encourage and serve through traffic at the expense of local connectivity. This is contradictory to the aspiration to create ‘separate and interdependent villages’ and a cohesive community as stated in the vision and objectives of the development. The identity and perception of proximity within Gilston will be altered forever, as the access to various parts of the same village will be via very different routes (even up to four different access routes in some options).
  3. 3.We suggest that the transport consultants focus their development and presentation of the options to consider:
    1. Suitability of the option to the village character of Gilston and fit to the design character aspirations of the Gilston Area vision of villages.
    2. How to deliver improved or equivalent levels of accessibility to the residents of Gilston by all modes of transport
    3. No severance within the village and no unacceptable impacts in terms of worsened air quality, noise and light pollution
    4. Safety measures to protect all current and future residents enjoying the countryside and local facilities (including current and future rights of ways, cycle routes and community facilities) and provide safe and convenient crossings
    5. Appropriate speed limits, weight restrictions, noise restrictions, traffic calming
    6. Land take from Terlings Park
    7. Measure to control commuter parking in Gilston – people using Gilston to access the station or a possible future hospital.
    8. We understand from the discussion with your team after the presentation that a new elevated pathway and cycle route will cross the A414 at Eastwick Hall Farm to serve the proposed population but no details of how this will work have been put forward; we had assumed one such metal girder bridges which are monuments to poor urban design. We need to know what is being proposed
  4. Conclusions
    1. 1.We greatly welcome the longer seminar being planned for the Saturday 7th July to look at these issues in the round. We strongly commend to P4P that they fund a truly independent facilitator with relevant experience to chair the session so that the community feel that real discussion can take place rather than being told what the consultant team working for the promoters wish to tell us about.
    2. 2.Although the 21st May event was overall well attended and people participated actively in the discussion, further discussion and information is needed before the community can form a considered view on the proposals: key information about the strategic issues, level of traffic expected and open evaluation of the benefits of the Eastern Crossing compared to a Western Crossing are needed.
    3. 3.On the basis of the material and data provided, we have formed the opinion that the proposed road will create catastrophic impacts on the village, by re-routing (or allowing the routing) of substantial and heavy through-traffic through the middle of an existing rural village affecting hundreds of families.
    4. 4.We consider the likely impacts created by the proposals completely unjustified and unacceptable. Benefits potentially accrued elsewhere are not demonstrated and cannot therefore be said to outweigh the impacts created at Gilston.
    5. 5.The promoters of the Gilston Area scheme have not yet demonstrated that they have identified, and presented the full range of possible options that protect local access and local character so that informed choices can be made.
    6. 6.We look forward to working with the promoters and EHC to hold a further seminar that addresses these issues.
  5. IMPORTANT NOTE
    1. 1.We have made the case that we should be given funding to employ a technical specialist help us understand these complex technical issues and so contribute to the discussions in a more effective manner. We are very disappointed that EHC have declined to support this while at the same time: -
      1. Have not consulted us on the changes to the Local Plan suggested in the Modifications put to the Inspector. (Note EHC have also proposed a business park which would be in conflict with their CDF document which impose additional traffic; yet again they have not participated in any consultation on this proposal or provided any information to support this unwelcome addition).
      2. Not give the community directly affected by these disastrous proposals and guidance on the supporting technical case including evaluations of why the current A414 is incapable of being improved; surely that is the starting point?

 

 

Anthony Bickmore, Chairman

Hunsdon, Eastwick and Gilston Neighbourhood Plan Group

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