The proposed site for our mixed-use development is located to the north of Colchester Road (B1033), east of Crown Lane and west of Hawk Lane. The site covers an area of approximately 49 acres (20 hectares) and comprises two large fields separated by a tree belt and watercourse. The land has been identified for commercial development in the Tendring District Council Local Plan 2013 to 2033 Preferred Options Consultation Document (July 2016).
Constraints and Opportunities
Before we start designing a new scheme, we complete an assessment of the site and the surrounding area as they are at the moment. We record those features we will need to take into account to inform the preparation of the Development Framework Plan.
All of the relevant considerations, whether they fix the way our scheme will have to be designed or give us a real opportunity to make the most of a particular feature, are shown below.
Our analysis shows that the existing trees and hedgerows located along the site boundary and along the central watercourse should, where possible, be retained and enhanced with new landscaping to assist in assimilating the proposals into the fabric of Weeley and the wider landscape.
It is also considered important to retain the existing public footpath which runs alongside the eastern part of the northern boundary, as it provides an important connection to the countryside beyond. The opportunity exists to provide new links to the footpath from the proposed new homes in order to maximise accessibility to the countryside beyond.
Our proposed scheme will be directly accessed off Colchester Road (B1033) to the south of the site, in the form of a new ghost island priority junction generally at the location of the existing site access. This will be the primary point of vehicular access into the development.
A secondary pedestrian/cycle/emergency access is also proposed along the western boundary of the site, off Crown Lane (towards the southern end of the road at the location of the existing access point).
A number of improvements to the footways and cycleway along the B1033 Colchester Road and B1441 Weeley Bypass will also be provided, including new dedicated crossing points to provide safe and direct links to and from the site.
The site is located close to existing facilities, which include a local pub, a train station and Tendring Service Station. There is also a regular bus service along Colchester Road served by a number of bus stops located adjacent to the southern boundary of the site.
This image shows the location of the proposed development site – which is outlined in blue – in relation to the surrounding area.
Flood risk and drainage
The Environment Agency’s flood map shows that the proposed development site is identified as being in Flood Zone 1, which comprises land assessed as having a less than 1 in 1,000 annual probability (<0.1%) of river or sea flooding in any year.
A Flood Risk Assessment will accompany our outline planning application.
The existing site has few natural watercourses and ditches, and these features are important for the local ecosystem. They will also be useful for the provision of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), which will be included as part of our proposals to ensure that the rate of surface water run-off from the development will be no greater than current greenfield rates.
Anglian Water has been commissioned to conduct a capacity study to determine the sewer capacity in the immediate foul sewer network. The foul drainage system for our proposed development will be developed in consultation with Anglian Water.
An extended Phase 1 habitat survey was undertaken in April 2016 to identify any habitats present on the land north of Colchester Road, Weeley.
Results show that the eastern half of the proposed site is dominated by grassland of limited ecological interest, while a number of habitats of ecological importance were identified to the west of the site, including mature trees, ponds, species-rich grassland and hedgerows.
Key habitats have been largely retained within our proposed design, incorporated into open space and landscape features.
Appropriate mitigation measures will be put in place where necessary to avoid impacts to any populations of protected or notable species found at the site. The overall design for the site allows for key habitats to be safeguarded with opportunities for ecological enhancement through new tree planting, grassland management and creation of SuDS features.
Our design continues to be informed by the further ecological survey work for the following species:
- Water vole
- Great crested newt