Response from Mrs Fiona Lewis (Individual)
1. Mrs Fiona Lewis (Individual) : 7 Jul 2008 15:11:00
Please write your comment or explain your reasons for supporting or opposing this part of the Report. You may also wish to refer to the tests of soundess in the glossary of the Preferred Options document before making your comments.
I would like to register my objection to any proposals which may arise during the consultation period for development South of Kirkby Lonsdale as described in Item 3 Option 1 Alternative Directions of Growth particularly any proposal that would affect the QES rugby pitch and adjacent fields. The principal reasons for my objection are:1. Any proposal to develop south of the A65 should be rejected as the A65 forms a strong boundary between Kirkby Lonsdale and the open fields and small hamlets including Low Biggins which characterise the area.2. The principal strategic vision states that in 2025 “Towns and villages will have been kept distinct from one another by protecting green gaps that keep individual settlements distinct and protect their individual character” the fields to the South of the A65 provide a green gap distinguishing the hamlet of Low Biggins from Kirkby Lonsdale. 3. The area South of the A65 described as pastoral land in the LDF includes the QES rugby pitch which is an essential facility for an oversubscribed school already short of sports facilities in proportion to its size. The LDF document acknowledged the public sports pitches to the east of Kirkby Lonsdale, during the consultation period many members of the public may not realise the threat to the QES rugby pitch as it was described as pastoral land. Indeed the head of QES was not made aware of the pitch being considered as an option for development until the preferred option consultation period had begun.4. The Thirlmere Aquaduct runs across the fields to the South of the A65 directly behind the houses to the East of Low Biggins and diagonally across the centre of the QES pitch (Figure 1). Any development in this area would be severely limited by constraints associated with the aquaduct and risk damaging this vital infrastructure which has been providing water to Manchester since 1894. Access hatches to the four large pipes which make up the aquaduct are visible in the corner of the QES field to the North of the A65 opposite the road leading to Low Biggins and just behind the top of the ridge to the South of the A65 where there is a large gap in the trees as the aquaduct passes through the top of the ridge. The four pipes have a total width of 11 meters; United Utilities advised that there would also be a minimum 5 meter easement either side of the aquaduct producing a protected strip 21 meters wide along the length of the aquaduct. Building within the easement of the aquaduct is prohibited and the provision of services to any development would be made more complex and expensive by the presence of the aquaduct. The aquaduct is mentioned in the deeds of several properties on the East side of Low Biggins where limitations associated with the Aquaduct are defined and provision made for the access of equipment to perform maintenance and repairs. 4. The area South of the A65 is clearly visible to traffic (Figure 2-4), houses adjacent to the QES rugby pitch are in an area of special advertising control. The localised ridge referred to in the LDF is not large enough to screen any development in the area. The rugby posts which are located towards the middle of the field and are 6.4m high, slightly less than a typical house yet they clearly visible to traffic from the East, North, and West of the playing field. 5. South Lakeland has better than average health in England and Kirkby Lonsdale has a proud rugby heritage. Strategic objective 8 states that the core Strategy must seek to safeguard and enhance the provision of open space, sport and recreation facilities in the District, any development affecting the QES rugby pitch would contravene this objective.6. Strategic objective 4 states that new development will need to be appropriate in terms of design, scale, character and context and be sensitive to the surrounding environment (natural and built). Housing proposed in the LDF has a density of around 44 dwellings per hectare or 17 dwellings per acre which would be inappropriate for Low Biggins in terms of scale, character, and context. A planning application made in 2000 (No.5002660) by the previous owners of Springfield lodge to build two houses on the site which is adjacent to the QES pitch was rejected as SLDC considered that the development would be prominently sited and detract from the character of the locality which is within countryside designated as Landscape of County importance. Any larger development in immediate vicinity would inevitably have a much larger detrimental impact to the character of the area than that previously rejected by SLDC and would clearly breach Strategic objective 4. 7. Any development on the QES rugby pitch or adjacent fields would have a dramatic impact on the situation of existing houses on the east side of Low Biggins many of which have large glazed areas to the rear to take advantage of the views. The rugby pitch is elevated by approximately 1.5m in relation to some existing properties (Figure 4-5) so any development would be overbearing and result in overlooking which would breach the fundamental right of residents to enjoy their properties in peace.8. The Core Strategy proposes that Kendal become a Principal Service Centre providing employment to many residents of the proposed developments in the Key Service Centre of Kirkby Lonsdale. Developing the area South of the A65 would increase the amount of traffic along the A65 adjacent to the school increasing the risk to children crossing from Low and High Biggins during rush hour periods. Any development South of the A65 would have the effect of drawing the road towards the heart of Kirkby rather than its current effective role as a bypass to the town. The QES pitch was created using infill over uneven countryside, towards the North East corner of the pitch this infill is visible to a depth of approximately 2 meters. Any development on the pitch would require special foundations to reach through the infill adding to the cost of building and increasing the risk of future subsidence. 10. The preferred Option for development to the North and West of Kirkby Lonsdale scored significantly higher in the Area Strategy. The option involving an expansion of the affordable housing already built to the North of the town would provide the potential for future growth and protect the character of the town. A new road providing access from the development to the A65 near the BP station would reduce traffic through the centre of Kirkby benefiting the whole community. A link between the new access road and the area behind Harling Bank could also hep reduce congestion around main QES entrance and St Mary’s. The preferred option has the potential to draw together many of the key objectives of the core strategy with the potential for future growth making it clearly more attractive than any of the alternative options considered including limited development South of the A65. The specific site and design of any new housing in the preferred area North of Kirkby should attempt to minimise the impact on existing residents in the adjacent area, SLDC should consider reducing in the number of houses allocated to Kirkby in light of the current down turn in the housing market. Comments supporting the preferred option have been submitted on a separate comments form.
What change(s) would you suggest for this part of the Report?
That the description of the Alternative option 3 South Kirkby Lonsdale be amended to:SOUTH KIRKBY LONSDALE – The A65 bypass forms a clear townboundary to the south. The area containing a combination of pastoral fields and the Queen Elizabeth School rugby pitch which is an essential facility for an oversubscribed school, the area is prominently situated and highly visible from the A65. The Thirlmere aquaduct runs through the fields adjacent to the large detached properties to the East of Low Biggins and the area forms a green gap distinguishing the hamlet of Low Biggins from Kirkby Lonsdale. The remaining area outside the green gap is enclosed by a localised ridge which limits the potential for development.That in the unlikely event of Alternative Option 3 South Kirkby Lonsdale being selected as the preferred option for growth the fields adjacent to the houses to the East of Low Biggins should be formally designated as a green gap (Figure 7) which will:Protect the unique character of Low Biggins in accordance with Strategic Objective 1 isolating it from any urban sprawl which breaches the current A65 boundary to the town of Kirkby Lonsdale, prevent any future threat of development on the QES pitch protecting this vital facility for future generations, protect the Thirlemere aquaduct which runs under the fields adjacent to houses on the East side of Low Biggins maintaining access for repairs and maintenance