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Planning row over Eastwick Row tower block road access

November 15, 2019 2:06 PM

Local residents and Councillors say a Dacorum Council building-project ignores access problems and risks an "accident waiting to happen".

Eastwick Row access

Members of the Dacorum Borough Council Development Management Committee have approved an Application to build a seven-storey block of thirty-four flats together with three houses in Eastwick Row, Adeyfield, as planners refused to listen to local pleas for a second access road.

Hundreds of residents of Eastwick Row and Grange Close now face worsening congestion and safety fears in emergency, because of overloading of road access in the bottleneck section of the existing residential road.

Without the provision of a second access road, the plans increase the potential for a serious accident. Should the present single road be blocked, there is no other means of accessing either the present 95 houses and flats, nor the additional 37 homes provided in this application.

Cllr Adrian England spoke at Thursday's meeting, on behalf of residents:

"What we have here is a scheme whose access has not been adequately or sensitively designed for the community. We don't object to the housing, but because of a lack of access for the planned 40% increase in households, which the Council say - incredibly - will result in only nine extra cars at rush-hour!

Isn't it perfectly obvious that a 40% increase in households is going to result in a 40% increase in traffic?

As Ward Councillors, Cllr Tindall and I got involved in order to listen to the community which relies on this road. We have met in discussions with Officers to ask the Council to generate solutions for the pre-existing access problems."

An alternative access is possible, connecting back to White Hart Road, which has residents' support, would not create a "rat-run" and could be configured to solve the access bottleneck, but DBC have set their face against residents' objections, to avoid the cost.

"Traffic numbers are blandly assessed as "acceptable" by the HCC Highways people, looking on Google Maps at a place they haven't visited, but many, many residents dispute this opinion. I have personally listened to residents who are incredulous, given what they witness and endure because of the existing problems, let alone additional volume.

This road is a single point of failure in emergency planning for access to a neighbourhood which will have three of the taller residential buildings in Hemel Hempstead."

The DMC was asked to refuse this application on the grounds of "Core Strategy 9 Management of roads" in which is stated "traffic generated from new development must be compatible with the location" and "Core Strategy 12. Quality of Site Design" in which at (a) is stated that it should "provide a safe and satisfactory means of access for all users".