Wessex Fields planning application update

Posted on Wednesday 25th July 2018

Plans for a new link road and junction directly from the A338 to connect with the Wessex Fields business park are still being progressed.

The proposed scheme will improve the transport infrastructure in this part of the town by creating a new access from the A338.

If approved the scheme has the potential to create around 2,000 new jobs at Wessex Fields business park, safeguard the existing 10,000 jobs in the area, as well as provide a much needed second access to the Royal Bournemouth Hospital site.

With support from Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the Council submitted a planning application at the end of last year which has been subject to public consultation and demonstrates the independent nature of the relationship between the Council as both the applicant for this scheme and the Local Planning Authority.  During this time the Council in its capacity as the applicant has positively addressed a number of issues and concerns raised by the Local Planning Authority and statutory consultees including Wessex Water, Natural England and the Environment Agency.   Further information will be submitted to the Local Planning Authority next month, which will be subject to a further 30 day consultation.

Delivered as part of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership’s Bournemouth International Growth (BIG) Programme the key areas that have already been addressed as part of the plans include:

Sustainable Travel: A major element of the scheme is to provide enhanced facilities for pedestrians, cyclists and bus users leading to more sustainable journeys in the area. The plans include new walking and cycling routes connecting Wessex Fields to the Stour Valley Way, as well as new pedestrian/ cycle links between Deansleigh Road and Riverside Avenue. 

Greenbelt: A Nature Reserve is proposed adjacent to the development site which will enable improved public access to the greenbelt.

Trees: All veteran trees will be retained as part of the proposed scheme. Substantial work has been undertaken to ensure that they are protected to ensure their longevity, and they form an integral part of the landscaping proposals.

Flooding: Whilst a section of the scheme will be in the outer extent of the River Stour floodplain, and there is a small loss of capacity for the flood plain, this is off-set by the inclusion of a number of attenuation basins.  These will also form part of the landscaping features and contribute towards making this area a place where people can spend leisure time in a green open space.

Cob barn: Historic England submitted a response and the Council as the applicant will address the issue in relation to the justification of the demolition of the Cob Barn which is required for the Phase 2 works.

Air quality: assessments on the proposed scheme show that there will be negligible impact on air quality.

Street lighting: will be in the development site only and not on the new junction and overbridge. Embankment planting is planned to shield light from vehicle headlights, particularly in relation to nearby housing.

Gary Powell, Head of Traffic, Engineering & Major Projects, said; “Since submitting the planning application, significant progress has been made to address the issues and concerns raised. We are pleased to report that the holding objection from Wessex Water has now been removed, and there is agreement in principle from Natural England, subject to planning conditions and funding arrangements.

“We are working closely with the Environment Agency to satisfy their outstanding concerns and hope to resolve this very soon. Negotiations are progressing between the Council as the applicant and the Local Planning Authority, and additional information relating to the outstanding issues will be submitted early next month for further consultation.”

The planning application consists of Phase 1 and Phase 2. At the current time, only Phase 1 has funding from the Dorset LEP, with construction due to commence in Spring 2019 subject to planning consent.  No date for planning board has been set yet but it is likely to take place in the Autumn. 

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