Case proven! they cheated!

Knights submitted a complete list of drivel to the council in an effort to divert the Councils attention away from the new facts that have emerged since the appeal.

However in their hast to deny the facts, they inadvertently admitted in writing that their whole case for the capacity at the junction is based on “evidence” that they did not submit to the Inquiry, and ludicrously we actually have a copy of the discredited baseline evidence they cite in which they claim Meadow Lane is 28% narrower than it actually is.

In a month of Sundays, you really couldn’t make this lot up, could you?   But it seems that the developers creativity has no bounds and they actually did!

They have cheated and are putting lives at risk.  Our reply and it’s appendix is on the councils planning site, but feel free to download our letter here! KOMG AKNO Response 1.2

Woeful Designers Response; Our reply!

Yet again, Barratt Homes demonstrate that they do not give a fig about the safety of road users and pedestrians.   In our reply to the woeful Designers Response, we highlight Barratt Homes incredible destain for road safety….  again!

Here is our response to the Council.  This document and Appendices should be published on the Council’s Planning site.

KOMG Safety Response 1.0

We now understand that this application has now been pushed back to August 31st to go before the Planning Committee.

 

Planning Committee

We understand that this proposal will be put before the Planning Committee on AUGUST 19th, around 10am.

We’re hoping to speak on behalf of residents at the meeting and it will all be streamed live on the day.   We’ll let you know more as we find out.

UPDATE: We now understand that this application has now been pushed back to SEPTEMBER to go before the Planning Committee.

 

 

Update on Designers Response Report

The Council have uploaded the Designers Response Report to the planning portal.  You’ll see it at the bottom of the documents list for some reason and it’s called “RESPONSE REPORT – STAGE 2 RSA”.   If you scroll all the way down to “Appendix B – Decision Log”, you’ll see the response to the concerns raised in the safety audit.

In a nutshell, the developers propose to do nothing to mitigate the NEW risks they introduce with this proposed change to the junction design.

The risks identified in the Safety Audit were;

  1. graze-type collisions,
  2. head-on collisions
  3. pedestrian strikes by HGVs

We should not be surprised by this, as it is consistent with developers disrespect for public safety in name of profit.

So if you happen to think that this is a damning indictment of Barratt Homes, then please do feel free to object to the proposals on the grounds;

A) the developers do not propose to mitigate the risks as per their own Road Safety Audit and therefore the changes will introduce NEW serious risks to the junction that will impact pedestrians and vehicles.

B) the developers use the excuse that they would need to use more third party land at number 243 Longton Road to mitigate one of the risks and this is not feasible.  The developers OWN this land, so this claim is ridiculous.

C) the developers are hiding behind the Inspectors rationale for granting planning permission.  However the Inspector was not qualified in Highways Engineering and the detailed design must be signed off by the Local Highways Authority as technically safe and  based on sound engineering principles, which of course the design the inspector ‘approved’ meets neither of these criteria.

D) the developers have not yet submitted a capacity assessment that follows best practice guidance and sound engineering principles which  includes the modelling principles of TRL.  Therefore the base model they rely on, is not fit for purpose and results in serious Highway Safety Risks.

 

KOMG Conclusion on the proposal

There is critical information missing from the application that make it impossible for residents to develop a properly informed opinion on which they can comment on the application.

    1. The missing Designer’s Response to the Road Safety Audit (RSA) is a crucial document that requires the LHA’s approval and sign-off.
    2. The RSA recommendations are damning; citing risk of collisions and potential of HGV strikes on pedestrians.
    3. The matters determined at appeal do not include the technical sign-off of the junction design by the LHA regarding Highway Safety.  The design given planning permission is still subject to LHA technical sign-off and approval, which must take into consideration the risks related to the points raised in this document.
    4. The design of the original junction is;
      • Flawed and has zero separation between large vehicles entering Meadow Lane and pedestrianised area.
      • The pedestrian refuge is out of the pedestrian desire line, and therefore creates a Highway Safety issue.
      • The capacity assessment of the junction using Junctions 9 software is seriously flawed;

The developer could rectify the dispute about the Highway Safety technical issues related to the junction once and for all by simply being honest and demonstrating that the junction improvements are indeed safe by;

  • (A) providing the missing Designer’s Response to the RSA showing how the RSA recommendations are to be implemented
  • (B) providing a confirmatory junction capacity assessment that follows engineering best practice as per TRLs guidance, and is validated to be accurate by AECOM

 

Finally, we would remind the LHA of their duty to ensure that;

    • The reasoning behind the design and capacity modelling of the junction is “Reasoned, rational, and logical and is based on sound engineering, judgement”
    • The design is sustainable on the evidence;
    • The design avoids foreseeable risks to individuals;
    • The design avoids trapping people into danger

The original junction design and the improved  junction design fail on all of the points above and given that Local Authorities have statutory duties related to road safety, including a duty to;

  • take steps to reduce and prevent accidents,
  • promote road safety,
  • and secure the safe movement of traffic (including pedestrians) on their roads;

It would be a deliberate act of negligence on behalf of the LHA and the Officers involved to knowingly grant technical approval for a design with the above Highway Safety issues.  

Until such time as these documents (A and B above) are available, we recommend OBJECTION to the proposed improvements, but when the developer supplies them and they show that the junction will genuinely be safe in highway safety terms, we should be prepared to support this “improvement”.

UPDATE 21 July

To access the Council Planning Portal go to the website (www.planning.stoke.gov.uk/online-applications) to view the application and track its progress by searching for the reference: 65439.

Initial thoughts

Regrettably, there isn’t enough information provided by the developer to allow us to support or object to the specific proposal at this stage.   There are plenty of technical aspects that will have a direct impact on safety at the junction that we’re working through and will update this site with shortly.   A number of things we’re sure of is that the capacity assessments of the future junction are technically unsound;

  1. asserting the the junction is a roundabout! ( honestly ),
  2. defying the laws of mathematics in one of their key explanations
  3. the Inspector Ahmm… forgetting all of the evidence presented about the right turn being the cause of issues at the junction
  4. the developers new Transport people AECOM, ignoring the complete shambles of the prior technical work for the junction.

We’ll pop more of a reasoned argument online shortly, however something you can do right now if you’d like to make a start is to ask the council;

The Road Safety Audit states that vehicles can not undertake all manoeuvres at the junction efficiently and safely and therefore collisions with other road users may occur and that there is  potential for pedestrian strikes at the crossing point on Meadow Lane leading to injuries.  The safety audit recommendation is;

“It is recommended that the right turn harbourage is extended on Longton Road to ensure vehicles can safely enter without overhanging the opposing running lane. It is also recommended that the eastern kerb line is amended to provide a greater radius for vehicles to exit Meadow Lane in the correct lane and reduce the risk of a vehicle overrunning the pedestrian crossing point.”

However as these recommendations will be difficult to put right for various reasons, we are not surprised that the developers have not put forward a corresponding Designer’s Response.  BUT this is a requirement and the Council have to sign it off.

So, if you write the council asking for them to publish in plenty of time for you to make an informed decision, the designer’s response to the RSA, particularly on 4.2.1 “Basic Design Principles”, as they apply to the approved and proposed layout.

You can register your objection to the scheme until the Designer’s Response is published, and reserve the right to remove your objection if they manage to solve the issue.

 

 

 

 

Amendments to junction layout

Barratt Homes have responded to the one of the safety points for the junction and are proposing a few tweaks to the design.  They widen the turn into Meadow Lane slightly and move the pedestrian refuge to the top of the junction.

As the proposed changes go, they seem sensible at first sight and are certainly better than the nonsense that was approved at the Appeal.

There are issues with some of the ‘facts’ stated by Knights in the application documents and the changes do absolutely nothing to improve overall safety at the junction given that permission for it was granted based on the developer endorsing what they knew was unsafe engineering practice and deliberately misleading the Inspector.

All of the documents are available on the Council Planning site, just search for Meadow Lane!

Screenshot 2020-07-08 at 09.31.04.png

 

We will carefully consider the application and will update this blog with our views in time for residents to support or object to the proposal.

They’re at it again! Double Yellow Lines

Barratt Homes, not content with the planning permission obtained by dishonest, underhand means, are now trying to circumvent due process at the cost of local residents again!

To be absolutely clear, Barratt Homes with their partner in crime Ascalon Properties, have planning permission to change the Meadow Lane / Longton Road junction to facilitate their scheme to destroy the Meadow.  Their ‘approved’ plan for the junction is quite clear and according to them quite safe, despite the fact that there is nothing they can do to make that junction safe for the development.

To implement the plans for the junction, they need to come up with a detailed plan, have it approved by the Local Highways Authority, then get a Section 278 agreement in place to allow them to make the changes.

Because of their deceit at the Appeal about their plans for the junction being safe, they’ll now find it virtually impossible to be able to actually prove that it is safe enough to be added to the local highway network when it comes down to detailed planning.

And so, in Barratt’s usual weaselly way, they have started what we suspect will be a long campaign of underhand tactics to undermine our democratic processes with no regard for the impact on existing residents, because quite frankly they have proven that they only care about profit and do not care a jot about the people they impact, including their own customers.

Despite;

  • there being no issue with parking causing obstruction or safety risks at the junction today and;
  • there being no issue with  parking raised in Barratt’s approved model for the junction and;
  • the approved plans for the junction showing the existing double yellow lines pretty much where they are today;

They have, without providing any actual reason or explanation applied to have the double yellow lines at the junction doubled in length, thereby denying perfectly good parking at the end of Meadow Lane for residents, parents who then continue on foot to Ash Green, shoppers who walk round to the Brough Lane shops, visitors who go on to access the canal towpath on foot, and very importantly to staff, customers and delivery drivers related to Trentham Bathrooms.

The impact of displacing this parking, has not been considered and it will create a safety risk, as it will force drivers to park further down in Meadow Lane, adjacent to driveways and particularly near the bottle neck outside number 22.

The reason they do cite is; to ‘facilitate’ a s278 agreement.  The issue with this is that the s278 agreement does not exist and no-one knows what will be in it, and if it is consistent with  the approved appeal junction design, then there is no need to increase the length of the double yellow lines!

We at KOMG ask that if you believe like us, that this another cynical attempt by Barratt Homes to circumvent due and democratic processes that would require a proper assessment of the impacts in a detailed plan, or you do not wish for the top of Meadow Lane to become a dangerous congested parking area with displaced vehicles then please do object to the plan by ;

  • emailing   traffic.orders@stoke.gov.uk
  • writing to   David Follows, Place, Growth & Prosperity Directorate, Civic Centre, Stoke, ST4 1HH

with reference MB/NM/TRO12/2019.     

See the full Notice from the Council here:   Notice and Documents from SOT CC

  1. Left: Approved planning permission.
  2. Right: What they’re now trying to get through.

For more information such as details of the councils policy of approving Double Yellow Lines when there are;

  • no obstructions or safety risks at the junction due to parking currently or forecast and;
  • no approved planning permission documents to support them and;
  • no s278 or agreed detailed junction plans in place;
  • or even to ask for a copy of the s278 agreement or any supporting documents cited as the reason for the double yellow lines, then call;

David Follows on 01782 234963

Given Barratt’s track record, this probably won’t be the last of the double yellow lines they’ll apply for.  We reckon that they’ll also apply for double yellows throughout  the estate as they can not get the construction traffic safely through if residents park cars legally on the roads!

Lastly by the way of other news, we’re continuing to work on behalf of residents, and are at the final stage of a complaints process with Planning Inspectorate.  So far, the Planning Inspectorate have had to apologise in writing for mishandling our complaint (trying to fob us off), and they’ve also had to uphold our complaint about the Inspectors decision on the junction.    There is more to come…….  keep an eye on the blog.

 

Inspector grants planning permission

I write this post absolutely stunned that despite 4 years of substantive facts showing that the junction will not work, and the representatives for the Appellant’s constant misrepresentations and lies, the inspector has ignored the application of the law of mathematics in the traffic flow calculations and still granted planning permission.

What can you say!   Click the link below to read the decision.

Appeal Decision – 3204828

Update:  We’re getting a lot of feedback on this and summing it up, it suffices to say that it just shows how tilted in favour of developers, this process is and that it must be acceptable to be dishonest, mislead the Inspector and have your lies taken into consideration in support of the decision.   During the Appeal, KOMG did ask the Inspector if witnesses were considered under oath when giving evidence, however the inspector said no, he just expected them to be honest.  So, they’ve got away with it.  If they’d have been under oath, they’d have been guilty of perjury and could be prosecuted.

I have to say that this kind of decision which beggars belief and flies in the face of the facts, must be why the developers have been so blatantly sloppy and deceitful all along.  They always knew they’d win irrespective of the lies or disregard of public safety.