Planning matter - Land at Aviation Business Park, Hurn Airport Industrial Estate.

Please see this exchange of letters between Parish Council Chairman Philip Bamborough and Leader of BCP Council, Councillor Vikki Slade.

Philip Bamborough writes:

Could I draw your attention to the the first of what will be three Planning applications for the above site currently zoned in the East Dorset and Christchurch adopted core strategy for employment use.This Plan was adopted in 2014. The site is at the Northern end of the Airport on brownfield land.The first application is for 25 acres and broad details have been given as to how the three applications link.

The plans drawn up by Rigby Real Estate, are submitted by the new owners of the Airport which it is important to note currently operates at only 25% of it's planned capacity of 3million passenger movements per annum.

The three plans contemplate very briefly: -Up to 1900 jobs -creation of more than a million square feet of commercial floor space on around 75 acres of land .

From the Design and Access Statement lodged with the current ( first ?, bit confusing as their press handout is unclear whether this combines applications 1 and 2) Planning Application by Stephen George and Partners, Architects and Master Planners, they state:

'Expanding the existing business park is highly sustainable, as reusing previously developed land with good access to both workforce and the highways network provides a far better option than developing new sites further afield....
A bit later, saying:
..The Site is well related to existing infrastructure linking to the A338 and A31 to the east and west, which ultimately connect to the motorway network. The main access is proposed from the west using the existing site access with an enhanced estate road(submitted in detail) serving the new development'

'The development would be accessed from the existing highway network.the main entrance would be off East Parley/Chapel Gate and incorporate highway improvements to enable this. The Business Park will be gated with a controlled access at the existing Gate and the existing Matchams Lane vehicle access.' Would but this second statement were true! Unfortunately the challenge of connecting to the A338 and A31is fraught with challenges despite some road improvements.

In truth the main access is via the B road 3073 through Parley Cross (recognised as the most heavily congested and polluted road junction in the Dorset Council area). What fails to have been factored in is that significant housing developments have been zoned for Parley Cross (currently 386 houses plus a large store); Dudsbury Heights/the Ridgeway 150 houses. Additionally on a draft ( now delayed) revision to the 2014 Plan, consideration is being given to further housing at Dudsbury Golf Course and Longham. Much further traffic will come from the North Bournemouth/Longham/Ferndown areas and there are currently no detailed proposals to improve the infrastructure apart from some vague proposals and frankly unsustainable ideas to improve the Parley Cross Junction.

My purpose in writing to you is fivefold:

  1. 1. In furtherance of the new Council's governing Alliance's pledge to consider the impact of Climate Change resulting from all new developments in the area, will you ask Dr Felity Rice and the Officers working to her, (in her newly created role of Cabinet Spokesman for Climate Change) to look at these proposals in detail and make recommendations for improvement as appropriate
  2. 2. Consider how Dorset Council and Parishes, can be involved in joint consideration of these proposals which straddle the two Councils and impact strongly on both. I recognise of course BCP will lead.The new Christchurch Town Council appears not to be a consultee!
  3. 3. Confirm that the applications will be considered by the Structure Planning Committee given it's strategic importance. Cllr Margaret Phipps as Cabinet Member and one of the Members for Commons Ward ,as well as chair of Hurn Parish Council, will have a particular interest.
  4. 4. As the current roads infrastructure to this site is (in the view of people who live here) currently unsustainable, check whether the work currently being undertaken by the South East Dorset Traffic Modal Study is considering the impact of this proposed development and the allowed for, Airport Flight Passenger Traffic increase. If not, it will do so ? I understand the working group of Officers is proposing to release it's findings and proposals in the Autumn of this year.
  5. 5. To ascertain to what extent Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (DLEP) will be involved in lobbying for further infrastructure funds to remedy the current unsatisfactory traffic situation in a sustainable and meaningful way.They secure funding for traffic measures to 'open up' Wessex Fields and enhance facilities further down the A338.

Frankly, Vikki, we have a once in a generation opportunity to try and resolve the problems in this part of East Dorset. Regional Funding should be available with persistence and a strongly argued case with Cross party support.
Thank you for your consideration.A little later, after some feedback, I would like to do a press release.

Vikki Slade replies:

I have raised this with our Cabinet Members for Strategic Planning, Transport and Environment along with some of our Planning Officers. My understanding is that the upgraded junctions take into account both the jobs and homes that are in the current local plan and that this work is being done in advance of the developments, as they should be.

I have asked the Corporate Director for Economy and Regeneration to give you a full response, collating the thoughts of others and if you have not heard from him in the next week or so can you let me know.

The Dorset LEP has provided funding which is supporting the Blackwater scheme and also the proposals at Wessex Fields and a number of proposals were submitted to the sub-regional Transport Board where both BCP and Dorset Councils sit. Only one project for the whole of Dorset was put forward for Government funding, and that was the Phase Two works for Wessex Fields. You are probably aware that there are serious local concerns (partly driven by our position around Climate Change) about whether this should proceed, but none of the other schemes across Dorset were deemed appropriate by the board which covers Dorset, Wiltshire, Somerset and Bristol.

We will continue to push for more investment in our infrastructure and I hope we will be able to work closely with Dorset Council - after all we have a duty to cooperate on top of the desire to work together.

We are in a very difficult situation with regard to housing and employment numbers. Whilst we have challenged the numbers allocated, we have been advised that any change to the requirements (due to a reduced inward migration, Brexit, demographic changes) would be insignificant in terms that we are not fulfilling anywhere near the requirements. You may be aware that because we missed the required build numbers by a substantial margin we now have to account to Government for this failure and if we do not address it by increasing the number of homes we build and jobs we create, we will lose the local control on building.

What we can do is to push for higher environmental standards in building, behaviour shift away from private cars and smart working to reduce the need for journeys. This will inevitably increase costs and it is unlikely we will be able to see the transformation as quickly as we would hope but we will keen pushing forward.