Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Gurnite composes an objection is support of Water Lane residents

Water Lane issues once again dominate the Gurn this week but please scroll down for some other very important posts (Cawdor/Delnies, Sandown, ward forum passion, strong opinions from the Visit Nairn group, Sheenas Common Good questions). Please note that if you too want to help the Water Lane residents then please read the paragraph following this letter from a Gurnite for details.
'Dear Mr McCracken,
I wish to object to the current plans to build new housing in Water Lane
The lane in common with several similar lanes that join the High Street contains housing and commercial buildings that were in place long before the current high use/ownership of motor vehicles.Vehicular access to Water Lane is limited to that of the junction with the High Street, no modern day development would be acceptable with such limited access provision.
In terms of health & safety vehicular access should be discouraged rather than increased as the exit from Water Lane is extremely difficult to negotiate, offering the driver little or no vision of pedestrian traffic or indeed vehicular traffic on the High Street which s/he is entering. Other than the removal of buildings I cannot see any way in which this might be improved except by installing traffic lights at this junction.
Water Lane also offers very restricted access at the High Street end in terms of width, this would I suggest precludes some vehicles gaining access to the lane including importantly emergency vehicles. Increased traffic use might well mean higher damage risk to the walls of adjacent properties, especially if construction vehicles need to access the lane.
The majority of the High Street end of the lane is currently paved but there is insufficient area for a pavement to be built to also allow use by motor vehicles. Pedestrians and vehicles are therefore forced to share this space with no clear demarcation for either party; this has to be seen as a high-risk safety issue for the lane.
The lane does not currently enjoy any special speed limit or indeed any traffic calming in order to encourage low speeds and extreme caution by drivers. At the very least signage is needed and a clear indication of a turning point within the lane if indeed one can be created. The width of vehicles entering the lane is governed by the adjacent building but a length restriction should also be considered. Limits should be put in place before any building work commences. There also needs to be clear signage and also road/pavement marking to alert pedestrians of the possible hazard of vehicles entering or leaving Water Lane.
Currently any vehicle leaving Water Lane to enter the High Street has to effectively nudge onto the High Street pavement in the hope that pedestrians will stop to allow him/her to exit. Rights of way are non apparent (If they exist at all) and this could easily lead to a pedestrian stepping in front of and being struck by a moving vehicle trying to exit the lane.
I would suggest that the council looks at the issue of vehicular access and how to improve the safety of pedestrians within this area outwith this planning application.
Fire safety and emergency vehicle access
A full fire risk assessment should take place. The difficult/severely restricted access rules out access by emergency vehicles so all fire fighting and emergency equipment would have to be manually carried from the High Street. This is far from ideal, and whilst the current buildings also have this limitation it would surely be foolhardy to put further lives at risk by agreeing to any further building in Water Lane? Increasingly emergency services are dealing with obese members of the public, which necessitates a vehicle being close by in order to use lifting apparatus etc. If rescue equipment is limited to that which can be carried from the High Street it might not be sufficient compared to that available if there were vehicular access.If it is agreed that the building can go ahead should fire safety fears demand extra fire insulation within the new properties.
Car Parking
Whilst the plans put forward offer very limited car parking it might well be the case that each new adult resident owns a car and wishes to park it outside their new home. The lack of car parking space will inevitably lead to conflict with new and established residents. Nearby car parking is limited (High Street) and likely to be further decreased when Highland Council expands it’s Streetscaping plans to include the whole High Street.
Garden/Play area
No garden space is offered with the properties, so should the new housing attract any families with children (Either resident or visiting) there is no safe outside play area. Worse, parents might see the street area outside the new development as a safe play area but this would put their children not only in conflict with, but also in severe danger from any vehicles using the lane. Any driver manoeuvring a vehicle within the confines of Water Lane might well be concentrating on avoiding buildings and other vehicles rather than children playing, this could lead to a tragic accident. There are no nearby alternative play areas and as far as I know none planned.
Has Highland Council fully adopted Water Lane? I ask that question with regard to the maintenance and upkeep of the current ‘road’ surface in Water Lane. Who will be responsible for ensuring that the current surface is maintained and is of high enough quality to support increased vehicle use, especially for any proposed building work.
Water Lane is currently a quiet mostly residential area, with pedestrians using the lane either to get to and from their homes or to gain access to and from the river, vehicle use is limited. An influx of new residents to the proposed new housing would very much change the character of the lane for current residents. The size of the proposed new build would mean both loss of light to the lane and would detract from the quality of life of the current inhabitants.If Nairn were an inner city then the plans that have been submitted might seem acceptable but it is not. Any developer wants to maximise the land that they have but this proposal seems out of keeping with Nairn and current buildings within Water Lane.The lane holds much historical interest and although not currently a preservation area might well attract that status soon.I very much hope that planning permission is not granted and that any future development involves local residents and the community long before it comes to the planning stage.
Yours sincerely'
You can also make an online objection on this webpage. It seems to accept comments but if you click onto the tab to read the comments it won't allow you to do so (IE7 anyway). The Gurn has published details of the plans and they are also available in the Courthouse. Why not take a walk down Water Lane and see for yourself the impact this development will have.
There it is Gurnites, it is worth considering supporting your fellow citizens because such a planning application could affect your area next.
Those concerned about this development have until Tuesday the 1st of September to register their objections that's only 6 Days

1 comment:

Jimmy said...

The fire safety document should comprise that the staff members should know the dangers associated in working with the electrical appliances. They should know that the work they are doing is dangerous or not? If it is, then, to what extent it is dangerous.