East Midlands Freeport

Planning Application Ref 22/01339/LDO

Update 4

Update 3

Tuesday 27th September 2022

West Leake Parish Meeting letter to Richard Mapletoft, Rushcliffe Borough Council.

 

Further to our most informative meeting we would like to highlight our points of concern regarding the LDO proposed for the Ratcliffe Power Station site.

  • The impact on the vulnerable village of West Leake and its surrounding rural roads has not been adequately assessed and no mitigation measures have been proposed. Before the grant of the LDO, a solution should be fully discussed and identified, in order to safeguard the routes to the South of the proposed development. These roads are totally unsuitable for the increased traffic movement, which will be produced by the development, and radical steps are required to preserve the safety and characteristics of this area.

 

  • We believe that our parish, dramatically affected by the increased traffic flows, must be involved with these consultations. It is anticipated that drastic action will need to be taken to mitigate the predicted levels. For instance, the closure of Dark Lane for safety and environmental reasons, the introduction of 20 mph speed limits through the villages of East Leake, Costock, Sutton Bonington and West Leake using signage and speed restriction measures. This should actively discourage drivers from using these unsuitable routes.

 

  • There should also then be regular ongoing measurement of traffic flows in these areas to assess whether further controls are required. This should be part of the conditions of the LDO.

 

  • Both Leicestershire County Council Highways (LCC) and National Highways (NH) indicate that the application has major flaws in it. The LCC says that the applicant has “failed to demonstrate that any significant impacts of the development on the transport network, or on highway safety, can be mitigated”. Similarly, NH states that they believe “the evidence does not demonstrate that the residual cumulative impacts of the development can be cost effectively mitigated to a reasonable standard and would not be supported by NH”.

 

  • These 2 objections prove that the Transport Assessment and the mitigation proposed have been poorly calculated and that more detailed and consultative work is required. 

 

  • The transport assessment and mitigations proposed need vast amounts of more work and consultation to create a solution to the forecast congestion on the major roads. Without this the minor roads will become overloaded with diverting traffic and ever more dangerous.

 

  • There is uncertainty in the figures used for the transport assessment. Just how many people are forecast to work on site? Currently, according to the assessment, there are approximately 950 people employed on-site. This is predicted to rise to 2 possible numbers. The 1st number is the 7-8000 used in the Statement of Reasons. This potentially increases to 14,000 if the “giga-factory” employment number of 1860 increases to the Notts County Council guideline for employees per sq metre of space is used. The plans show 6120 car parking spaces and assumes nearly 80% of workers will arrive by car. It is assumed that the site will operate 24 hours a day. So, employment numbers are anywhere between 7000 and 8000. This should be calculated more accurately and the figure clearly visible.

  • The Transport assessment also adds another confusing figure in Para 6.4.4.2 the total number of car trips is estimated at 12,193 for morning and 12,185 for evening. Presumably that would mean 12,000 workers just at those peak periods and doesn’t include those working shifts.

  • Similarly, HS2 have also highlighted their concerns on the impact of the scheme leading to “significant traffic congestion issues and the uncertainties around mitigation options”.

 

  • The Parish has major concern about the proposed inclusion of the greenfield Green Belt land to the south of the A453. It is contrary to national planning policy to encroach into Green Belt land unless very special circumstances clearly outweigh the harm. The only special circumstance here seems to be a financial one for the landowner. This is the same landowner whom, in February 2022, applied for a S73 variation of a planning condition to restore the land south of the A453 to “enhance the openness and permanence of the Green Belt”. It is strange and probably convenient how the landowner does not see this area as such important Green Belt land in the LDO application.

 

  • The Borough Council have an ideal opportunity to create an exemplar for biodiversity and environmental design on this huge site. The proposal, in the application, for over 50% of the bio-diversity net gain to be “off-site” is an unnecessary one and must not be allowed. 

  • This scheme will be seen by millions of people on roads, rail and planes and should be a fantastic advert for Rushcliffe to physically show that it really does embrace caring for the future of the environment. Less intensive development, more open green space, less dependency on cars with a properly integrated transport policy, more innovative design for low energy requirements, visually more attractive buildings etc. should all be mandatory.