Plans for a new link road and junction directly connecting the A338 with the Wessex Fields business park are still being progressed, with a new planning application underway.
The new planning application is in the process of being submitted to the Local Planning Authority and will be subject to the 30 day statutory consultation period.
The proposed scheme will improve the transport infrastructure in this part of the town by creating a new access from the A338 to the Wessex Fields Business Park.
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, Historic England and the Environment Agency. This process has resulted in the Council in its capacity as the applicant to submit additional information as part of the planning application process.
Due to the complexity of the original planning application and the number of changes being brought forward, a new planning application will be submitted taking on board all the additional information, and addressing the feedback that has been raised.
Larry Austin, Service Director for Environment, said; “Since submitting the planning application, significant progress has been made to address the issues and concerns raised by statutory consultees and the local community. 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.
“As the applicant, the Council has listened carefully to the concerns raised and we have amended the plans accordingly. A new planning application will streamline this feedback and allow a much clearer and accurate picture of what is now being proposed to be submitted.”
The most notable elements from the feedback that form part of the new planning application include:
Re-alignment of the spine road: To address concerns about the impact of the proposed road from the A338 to Deansleigh Road on adjacent properties, the alignment will be changed to ensure that noise mitigation can be provided using a reasonable height fence and landscaping proposals.
Cob barn: Historic England submitted a response and the new planning application will include the retention of the Cob Barn
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 a new landscape design. 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.
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.
The new planning application will consist 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. Work on Phase 2 will only commence when appropriate funding has been made available.
Plans for future link road will improve access to Royal Bournemouth Hospital and unlock major employment site
Bournemouth Council’s plans to build a new link road and junction directly from the A338 to connect with the Wessex Fields business park and improve access to Royal Bournemouth Hospital have been well received by business leaders and the Trust.
Delivered as part of the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership’s Bournemouth International Growth (BIG) programme the proposed scheme will enable people to access employment opportunities at Wessex Fields, and provide a second route into the Royal Bournemouth Hospital.
Wessex Fields is one of two major economic employment sites in Bournemouth. The proposed link road and junction will unlock this area of land for development and create over 2,000 new jobs.
Councillor Mike Greene, Bournemouth’s Cabinet Member responsible for Transport, said; “Wessex Fields is a significant asset in Bournemouth and the area is already earmarked for economic development. However, the existing road networks are congested, inadequate and are acting as a barrier to growth.
“Through this additional government funding we have an opportunity to transform the transport infrastructure in this part of the town and enable Wessex Fields to reach its full economic potential, creating more jobs for the future.
“As part of the public exhibitions held earlier this year we received positive feedback from residents and businesses on the draft designs for the new link road and junction.
“We will continue to engage with key stakeholders as we progress the plans ahead of submitting the planning application later this year. As part of the planning process all residents will have the opportunity to have their say.”
In addition to creating new jobs and providing a second access to the hospital, the new link road and junction will also retain existing jobs, reduce congestion on Castle Lane East, improve sustainable travel options and reduce road casualties in the area.
RBCH Estates Manager, Edwin Davies, said; “The Trust fully supports the Council in this project and welcomes the benefits a new junction on the A338 would bring. It would significantly improve vehicle access to the Royal Bournemouth Hospital (RBH), ensuring our patients, visitors and hardworking staff would not have to endure delays accessing or leaving the site, particularly during peak periods in the afternoon. The junction would also help to alleviate congestion that occurs on the RBH site sporadically as a result of road works and traffic incidents on the main roads around the hospital.”
Earlier this year residents and businesses attended a series of roadshows where draft plans for the link road and junction were on display. Feedback was well received with many businesses showing support for the scheme.
Gordon Page, Chairman of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, said; “The Wessex Fields business park, along with the adjacent Chaseside business area, is a vital employment site in Dorset, home to 10,000 jobs. However, poor access from Castle Lane East and traffic congestion are impacting upon businesses and currently hindering development and growth.
“Building a new link road from the A338 to Wessex Fields will provide a significant economic boost to the area, by unlocking new employment land with the potential to create over 2,000 new jobs. In addition, the road will safeguard existing jobs, address congestion, improve connectivity, encourage sustainable travel, reduce road casualties and provide a second access route into the Royal Bournemouth Hospital.”
A planning application for the new link road and junction is expected to be submitted in August 2017. If approved, construction will begin in Spring 2019.