Daventry Town Council Voices Grave Concern Over Long-term Financial Funding of Canal
Posted: Thu, 12 Jan 2017 17:10 by Daventry Town Council
As well as the written objections made by Daventry Town Council to the new canal arm, Daventry Town Council made a further representation to members of the Daventry District Council Planning Committee, at its planning meeting last night, as the Town Council is gravely concerned with the sustainability of this project and the long term financial burden it could bring to all residents in the District.
In summary, the Town Council considers that this application is premature, lacks in proper integration with other adjacent planning proposals, particularly the proposed North East Sustainable Urban Extension, and therefore should be refused on the grounds it is not sustainable development.
A major concern for DTC is the cost of the project and the likelihood that this will impact on the overall Community Infrastructure Levy pot and the ability of the District Council to fund other critical infrastructure required by the Joint Core Strategy. Similarly of concern is the long-term operation, management and maintenance of the Canal Arm; who will provide this and how much it will cost? This is a concern echoed by the River and Canal Trust which has a fundamental stake in ensuring the proper delivery of any canal scheme. The Town Council does not wish to see this become a burden on local taxpayers but equally any new infrastructure should have an operation and maintenance system in place before it is built.
The reason this scheme is premature is that is fails to take into account and integrate the development proposals for the NE Sustainable Urban Extension. The loss of pedestrian footbridges can potentially be recovered through future proposals from this development – although there is no guarantee. However, the opportunity to provide for a dedicated bus link from the new development to Monksmoor Farm does not seem to have been explored even though a vehicular bridge is now being proposed to provide access for maintenance. The provision of a bus link across the Country Park extension is a specific aim of the Daventry Town Transport Strategy (2013) produced by the County Council. The Monksmoor Masterplan even has a potential future bus link route identified which would help to facilitate a circular route for the town that could serve all communities. The proposed vehicular bridge at chainage 1800 would not help to provide this and could be moved to chainage 1900 or 1950 to deliver a 'green bridge' that would facilitate maintenance access and also a dedicated bus link as well as creating a suitable crossing for wildlife. This provides the opportunity to create and continue the wildlife corridors across the Country Park extension and into the new urban extension - something which the Wildlife Trust supports. A more modern approach to bridge design would therefore be appropriate in this case, something again suggested by the Canal and River Trust. This solution would be preferable and achieve more objectives than providing tunnels or culverts for wildlife to use.
The Town Council also considers that the Canal Arm without sufficient access points and a bus link will create issues for the sustainable movement of people around the town. The proposed urban extension is now only proposing 2 schools, a primary and an all-through school, which are likely to be phased later in the development. Therefore, the initial residents of the development will be looking to existing schools within the town and the new school planned for Monksmoor Farm. Without safe and accessible routes across the Canal Arm unsustainable patterns of travel will be created in order to access schools which have spare capacity.
In conclusion DTC believes that this proposal cannot be considered in isolation and that the number of outstanding concerns and issues mean that the application should be refused until such time that the full-life costs of this infrastructure are understood with any impact on other infrastructure delivery and the integration issues with neighbouring development resolved.