The Parish Council object to the engineering proposals and have issued a Call In Notice to ensure the application is formally discussed at Telford and Wrekin Council’s Planning Committee.
The Parish is particularly concerned about:
Drainage – It is clear from the objection received from the TWC Technical Officer that the information supplied is not thorough enough for the application to be considered at this stage. This site has obvious drainage issues and both Ward and Parish Councillors have been supporting residents over the last 2 years who have experienced regular flooding on their properties. Without the proper assessments required by the LLFA it is not clear if this work will improve the situation or indeed make the flooding problems worse. Residents have also provided anecdotal evidence that drainage from land and properties on the South side of the site, including Ladygrove School and the BT training centre, runs onto Lawley Common. Highway drainage is also thought to have been diverted onto the site in recent years.
The groundwater monitoring carried out in 2012 was clearly unsatisfactory as the applicants own report states that “only 3 of the 9 standpipes installed could be located due to the overgrown nature of the site and vandalism.”
We fully support the TWC Technical Officers objection and his requirement for additional information.
Mining – It is clear from the objection by the Coal Authority, and information supplied by local residents who lived in the area at the time mining was being carried out, that the evidence supplied to support the application is not sufficient. As the Coal Authority state in their objection the information supporting the application is outdated and “a proper assessment of the coal mining legacy” should be carried out before the application is approved.
Public Rights of Way – The Application form states that the proposals do not require any diversions of rights of way yet the Planning statement clearly states (5.3) that Rights of Way will be temporarily affected by the reconfiguration of the land. In fact 5 Public Rights of Way (PROW) cross the site – LO41, LO43, LO44, LO45 and LO46, with LO41 being a significant and heavily used section of the historic Ironbridge Way. This also forms a main part of the Parish Council’s Heritage Lottery funded History Trail.
The Ironbridge Way is heavily used on a daily basis by residents to access the shops at Lawley Square, the Doctor and Dental surgeries off Martingale Way and the Lawley Primary Academy School, which has a pedestrian access off the footpath. It is also marked as part of the TWC designated cycle way and forms part of the T50 Trail recently launched as part of the TWC 50th anniversary celebrations. The other PROWs are popular with families, dog walkers and horse riders as the Common is one of the few unspoilt green areas left in Lawley.
Railway – The Planning Statement refers to the “disused railway tunnel” on the site. In fact the tunnel is not only used, it forms a fundamental part of the popular Telford Steam Railway Lawley Station site. Further information can be found in the comments from the Chair of the Telford Steam Railway on the TWC Planning Portal. We would suggest that the applicants liaise with the Steam Railway prior to work beginning as it will have a major impact on this popular tourist attraction.
Ecology – We have some concerns about the accuracy of ecological information provided with the application. Residents report significant wildlife activity on the site with both anecdotal and residential CCTV evidence of bats, birds, foxes and deer, particularly around the copse area. We would suggest that a more up to date survey be required before work is carried out on the site.
Site Access and Operating Hours – The Planning Statement (4.2) states that the spoil will be brought onto the site through Phase 7. Whilst it is not ideal that this amount of waste is being transported from sites around Telford to Lawley Drive the Parish believes that this will cause the least disruption to the majority of local residents. However, the Planning Statement goes on to state (5.2) that as part of the works “the trees around Lawley Circle will be removed.” This suggests that the applicants may be considering another site access via Martingale Way which is totally unacceptable. We ask that the applicants be asked to clarify why the trees have to be removed as part of this application.
Given the traffic congestion in the Lawley Drive/West Centre Way area at peak times, and the very large amounts of spoil being transported, we suggest that the lorries transporting soil be restricted from using the site at such busy times and that the operating hours for movement of spoil should be amended to 9am to 4pm.
Given the significant concerns raised by Parish and Ward Members, TWC Technical Officers and the Coal Authority over this application, in addition to the scores of residents who have lodged objections online and in writing to the Planning Authority we believe that it is only right that this application is addressed in detail by Telford and Wrekin Council’s Planning Committee, giving residents and Councillors the opportunity to publicly state their concerns.