We have not seen a business plan for the planned increase in usage of the facilities following the addition of a MUGA and floodlighting. This has made it impossible for residents to ascertain accurately the concomitant loss of amenity due to noise, traffic, safety, light pollution and security issues. We can reasonably expect that the facilities will lead to more intensive use of the site ( greater volumes when open compared with present) and more extensive use of the site ( greater hours of opening) and are a foundation for greater development of the site in future.
On this basis we request that the following important concerns from local residents are enshrined in the present proposed planning approval:
1. The site will continue be used for cycling related activities and associated social events, which are considered to have a low impact on amenity.
2. The hours of use of the site will not be extended beyond typical summer usage currently. This is consistent with the stated focus on youth and disability based activities. In particular:
a. The site will be cleared from 9pm onwards with lighting ceased strictly from this time and noise related activities ( PA systems and pacer bikes) ceasing at 7.30pm ;
b. The site will not be open before 8am, with any noise related activities ( PA systems and pacer bikes) strictly forbidden before 9am.
c. Usage of the site at weekends and bank holidays will be limited to a small number of larger events ( no more than 10 ). We strongly request these are pre notified to residents ( as this does not happen at present, to our great frustration).
3. Within these hours of use, noise pollution will be managed considerably more effectively than at present. Specifically we request that the vintage pacer bikes, which produce highly intrusive levels of noise, are replaced by electric versions. We request that the existing PA system is improved considerably so that it is focussed on the main track/MUGA and that it is limited to information-based announcements, not continuous music. We would like measures of noise levels (including pacer bikes) to be put in place and feedback on this issue to be collected after the first year of extended use.
In addition we ask the Planning Committee to consider and account for the following, before proposed planning approval is effected:
1. Access to the site is extremely dangerous at present ( via a single track road, across a pavement used by parents and children on foot and bikes as a major local ‘Safe Route to School’ and with severely limited visibility for those entering and departing). It is our view that this site access cannot safely sustain any increased usage whatsoever, but especially for dark early evenings and for larger weekend events. Limited access causes parking congestion in Burbage Road currently, especially at weekends. A road access and safety survey would be highly advisable and police coordination needs to be planned for larger events.
2. Security for the many householders backing onto this site will be compromised by greater public access, particularly in the darker winter months. The entrance to the site is not supervised and a large amount of open land provides a threat to personal and property safety. A police survey of security risks would be advisable in our view.
3. Existing drainage provision for the site has been assessed by the Southwark Flood Risk Management Team as ineffective. Whilst the current plans are not considered to exacerbate local water run off risk to residents, in our view either the freeholder ( The Dulwich Estate) or the lessee (the HHVT) should be accountable for putting a robust, environmentally friendly infrastructure in place before development takes place. The responsibility needs to be clarified and an acceptable plan be in place.
We draw your attention to the fact that we are relying for our support on the commitments already received – but not yet evidenced – from the HHVT to:
1. Provide an example of the type, size and strength of the lighting to be implemented for all residents before planning consultation ends.
2. Work with residents to implement a voluntary Code of Conduct covering emergency contact points, regular review mechanisms for problems arising and general obligations on behalf of the HHVT and residents. This should be in place before construction work begins and cover the construction process. Such codes already operate successfully between residents and other sports facilities in the area.
3. Provide tree screening for those houses which are directly in the line of spillage from the proposed floodlighting.
The Burbage and Turney Road Residents Associations actively represent the vast majority of the 400 households in these two Roads and have consulted our residents widely and frequently on the proposed developments. We therefore request that our nominated representative speaks on behalf of residents at the Planning Approval meetings for the two planning proposals.
Louise Wood and Susan Badman
Burbage Road Residents’ Association, Turney Road Residents’ Association
2nd November 2012