County councillors have decided to proceed with a planning application for a new access road in Stafford that would unlock up to 2,500-home developments around the town edge of the town. Similar relief road schemes across the country are now opening up development risks for existing residents affecting their previous tranquility.
The Stafford Western Access Route, which would connect the A518 Newport Road with the A34 Foregate Street via a new 1.2 km stretch of road, was approved by Staffordshire County Council’s planning committee this month (November 2015).
The scheme to be carried out in three phases and potentially completed by 2018. It will be funded with money from the £82.2 million government Growth Deal for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, and also from money from the area’s local enterprise partnership and the council.
The new route would also provide access to 2,500 new homes proposed in the west of Stafford.
According to a planning report, which recommended approval, the project had been “identified as key infrastructure in the Plan for Stafford that was adopted in June 2014.”
The project would also include newly created habit to link up with Doxey and Tillington Marshes Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and flood compensatory works within Doxey and Tillington Marshes SSSI.
The report said that, with mitigation measures in place, the scheme “would not give rise to any unacceptable adverse impacts on ecology and nature conservation” nor would it have any “unacceptable adverse impact in terms of the risk of flooding.”
A County Councillor described the decision to include approvals for the homes to fund the changes is a “price worth paying” for improving local roads.
The comment comes as the borough deals with a raft of applications for new homes from developers.
Delays in publishing a local plan – a planning blueprint for the next 20 years – have been blamed for the sudden deluge of planning proposal changes that are set to transform the town and the landscape for existing residents. The plan highlights the need for an additional 7,500 homes by 2031.
At the same time, more than 300 homes will be built on the outskirts of Stafford as part of the first stage of plans to create a new urban village.
The large site is earmarked to potentially provide up to 2,000 houses, two primary schools and extra care retirement accommodation.
The land, off Junction 14 of the M6 motorway, is part of the Northern Urban Extension to Stafford which has seen an area of 432 acres allocated for the project.
Worcester-based builder Maximus has now applied for outline planning permission to build the first 325 houses on 30 acres off Sandon Road.
Due to the scale of the wider scheme, building work will be phased over 15 years with infrastructure put up at various stages to support the growth of what will become a new neighbourhood.
The Plan envisages the creation of new communities with supporting health centres, schools and shops at certain key locations.
The Northern Urban Extension extends from the M6 at the western end of the site, across Marston Lane and Stafford Common in the middle, to Beacon Barracks at MOD Stafford at the eastern end.
New roads redefine development risk
At DevAssist, we have seen the same pattern time and again. Relief roads or bypasses within new infrastructure plans to relive congestions that create “orphan land plots”. Neighbourhoods have to suffer two waves of pain – the prospect of construction noise and dust affecting their once tranquil semi-rural view and then in-fill development between them and the by-pass.
Developers will look for those cul-de-sacs on the edge of town that connect these land parcels as a way of breaking through to infill with new development. Thus, the town expands to fit its new bigger envelope.
Conveyancers need to walk into these situations with their eyes open for their clients. It is almost impossible to visualise how a future road scheme could then transform the housing infrastructure, as it could be 5-7 years down the line – but their client is most likely to be living there and faces limbo.
Our DevAssess report examines what infrastructure plans could lead to changes in land use zoning and makes a professional assessment of where that risk is most likely to affect your client’s property.
For more information, contact us on 01342 890010 or email firstname.lastname@example.org