Lake Lothing Third Crossing

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Lake Lothing Third Crossing

Received 21 September 2018
From Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP on behalf of Northumbrian Water Limited

Representation

INTRODUCTION AND CONTEXT
This relevant representation is provided on behalf of Northumbrian Water Limited (“NWL”) who own and operate Northumbrian Water and Essex & Suffolk Water, and form part of the Northumbrian Water Group.
NWL is the freehold owner of Trinity House (and the associated land) (registered under Title number SK347381) located at the southern end of Riverside Business Park. Part of the NWL land falls within the proposed Order Limits under plots 3-43, 3-46, 3-47, 3-48, 4-08, 5-01, 5-02, 5-03, 5-04 and 5-32 and would be subject to compulsory acquisition powers in the DCO.
NWL has been in regular discussion with Suffolk County Council (“SCC”) regarding the proposed third bridge crossing (the “Scheme”). Although NWL has consistently made clear that it does not in principle object to the Scheme, NWL has some concerns regarding the specific content of the DCO application documents, and in the way in which the Scheme would impact on NWL’s land interests and its critical operational activities at Trinity House, both during construction and in the operation of the new bridge and surrounding public highway network.

NWL operations at Trinity House
Trinity House is a strategic operational site comprising a purpose-built customer service centre (for both the Northumbrian and Essex & Suffolk operating regions of NWL). Opened in 2013, Trinity House operates from 7.30am until 8.00pm Monday to Friday and 8.00am until 5.00pm on Saturdays. It employs over 240 people (with capacity for 263), comprising a mixture of full and part time as well as temporary personnel. The need for shift working and continuous operation of services, as well as a policy that encourages and supports flexi-time workers, requires access to significant car parking, and NWL has two car parks with 106 spaces. Even with such provision, NWL staff also utilize on street parking.
NWL is a statutory undertaker regulated by Ofwat and supplies potable water and associated sewerage and waste water treatment services to 2.7m people in the north east. In the south NWL (through Essex & Suffolk Water) supplies potable water services to over 1.8m people. While NWL operates a virtual billing contact centre through two offices (Trinity House and Northumbria House in Durham), all letter, email and web contact is dealt with in Trinity House. In addition, over two thirds of the debt collection services operate from Trinity House.
Ofwat operates a Service Incentive Mechanism (SIM) which measures customer satisfaction levels in relation to regulated water and sewerage companies. SIM is a financial incentive that affects the prices NWL is allowed to charge. Companies that perform better for their customers will be rewarded with higher price limits. Conversely, those that perform less well will have a penalty imposed. This is achieved through an adjustment to the price limit for each company after all other financial modeling has taken place. Penalties can reach £30m for poor SIM performance and therefore this is a key area of focus for NWL’s business in terms of delivering unrivaled customer service and not creating any risk of penalty under the SIM model.
In the year 2016/17 NWL achieved joint first place in industry, and in 2017/18 was ranked third for water and sewerage companies. Key to maintaining a high level of service is avoiding any unnecessary disruption to services that would otherwise result in increased customer wait time. Such disruption or interruption of services from Trinity House would result in reputational damage to the business, a lower SIM score, and in certain cases exposure to financial penalties.

Trinity House Planning Permission
Trinity House was constructed pursuant to planning permission granted in February 2013 (ref: DC/12/1391/FUL). This permission includes an ongoing planning condition which requires NWL to maintain ecology mitigation measures in association with an approved Habitat Mitigation Plan, and approved landscaping plans (“Habitat Condition”). The habitats mitigation area is located on the north-east part of NWL’s land to the east of the secondary car park, and includes land within the Order Limits which is subject to temporary possession and permanent acquisition of land and rights over land.

SUMMARY OF KEY CONCERNS

TEMPORARY POSSESSION AND COMPULSORY PURCHASE OF NWL LAND INTERESTS
• Effect on NWL’s ability to continue to comply with the Habitat Condition – NWL disagrees with the assertion made by SCC that the effects of the Scheme on NWL’s land interests would be only slightly adverse during construction and negligible during operation as they result in the permanent loss of an area of required habitat which would prejudice NWL’s ability to comply with the Habitats Condition. The inclusion of article 3(3) does not address this as the disapplication provisions in section 120(5) of the Planning Act 2008 relate only to modification of a statutory provision (so would not extend to planning conditions issued pursuant to a planning permission) and in any event are limited to land falling within the Order Limits.
• Approach to temporary possession – lack of detail provided on any measures to be taken to relocate existing habitat in the affected area, or on the effects of existing ecology on the site (other than the weevil wasp).
• Reinstatement of landscaping and the effects of future access rights – lack of detail regarding how this will be controlled so that the appropriate habitat is reinstated and how that will be protected when SCC exercise their access rights over the land for maintenance of the Scheme.
• Provision for replacement habitat – there does not appear to be any reference in the DCO application for provision of replacement habitat land in relation to the area of NWL land which will be permanently acquired for the purposes of the Scheme, nor any reference confirming a net gain in bio diversity as would be expected for such a project.

CONSTRUCTION PHASING
• Maintaining access to Trinity House and Canning Road – although the proposed construction phases (as set out in Section 5 of the Environmental Statement) indicate that construction of the Waveney Drive junction and new access road to allow access to the Riverside Business Park will be the first phase, there is a lack of clarity as to how this will be secured, and that access to Riverside Business Park (and Trinity House) will be maintained at all times. In relation to the eastern end of Canning Road, the DCO (in Schedule 4) does not expressly acknowledge that this junction will cease to operate, nor the timing for when this would occur.
• Maintaining constant connectivity of services to Trinity House – a lack of detail regarding the measures to be taken, and how these will be secured through the DCO to ensure that all services to Trinity House are maintained (and what measures would be taken to secure emergency connectivity should that prove necessary).

DRAFT DCO PROVISIONS
• Article 3 (disapplication of legislation) – concerns over the efficacy and purpose of article 3(3) which purports to disapply the effects of planning conditions (see above).
• Article 6 (protective works to buildings) – specific concerns of the inclusion of powers lasting 5 years after the date the Scheme comes into use, and which extend to buildings beyond the Order Limits, and include rights to enter buildings to carry out surveys and monitoring (including leaving behind apparatus) and where reasonably required (art 16(4)) effectively secure exclusive temporary possession of the land and buildings for the purposes of carrying out protective works.
• Schedule 2 Requirements – further to concerns on the nature of specific requirements (and potential need for additional requirements including controls on sequencing and phasing), NWL does not consider the inclusion of a deemed discharge provision in relation to applications to discharge requirements to be appropriate, particularly where these decisions impact on third party interests.
• Schedule 4 (permanent stopping up of highways) – the lack of express reference to cessation of traffic access between Canning Road and Riverside Road and any necessary sequencing provisions (see above).

INTERIM CODE OF CONSTRUCTION PRACTICE (“CoCP”)
• Insufficient detail to ensure that the final form CoCP will mitigate the effects of the construction activities on NWL’s operations at Trinity House and the measures to be taken to ensure no disruption to connectivity of services to the building, or those aimed at minimizing the effects of noise and vibration.
• Concerns over proposed core working hours and the criteria and management of proposed periods of extended hours.
• Lack of detail regarding maintaining access to Riverside Business Park and connectivity to services (see above).
• Further details required in relation to the approach to reinstating habitat on the NWL land being used for construction purposes (see also above).

HIGHWAY DESIGN
• New Access Road / New Canning Road Priority Junction – the proposed layout requires further review in the interests of highway safety. There is no proposed right turn lane facility into Canning Road (the vast majority of vehicles will turn right). The junction visibility splays should be shown, particularly to the right to vehicles exiting from the direction of Nexen, in order to demonstrate that the appropriate level of visibility can be achieved.
• New Access Road 90 degree bend – in the interests of highway safety, the forward visibility should be shown on the General Arrangement Plan, and land set aside to accommodate the visibility envelope. We note that the Landscaping Plans (Sheet 2 of 2) shows proposed trees immediately either side of the new access road which could impede forward visibility. Further details should be given as to how the proposed land take for the Order Limits will be disposed of so as to maintain the required forward visibility around the bend within the future highway boundary.
• Canning Road junction with Riverside Road – Canning Road to Riverside Road is to be stopped up, but no turning head has been provided at the end. Furthermore, existing pedestrian/cycle accessibility to Canning Road is to be severed to Riverside Road. It is not clear how this accessibility will be maintained for existing staff at the Riverside Business Park.
• Pedestrian crossings – there are proposed new crossings on Waveney Drive and Riverside Road on the entry/exits to the new southern roundabout. Given the forecast doubling of traffic on Waveney Drive as a result of the Scheme, and the Environmental Statement conclusion that Waveney Drive will have a substantial disbenefit with significant adverse effects on fear and intimidation and severance for pedestrians, these proposed new crossings should be controlled crossings for both pedestrians and cyclists in order to maintain/enhance accessibility by non-motorised users to the Riverside Business Park.

CAR PARKING
• Reduction in on street car parking – despite the application documents stating that demand for car parking at Riverside Business Park is greater than supply (causing daily overspill use of on street parking on Riverside Road and Canning Road) the proposals include further parking restrictions on Canning Road and Riverside Road which result in a net loss of on street parking of around 48 vehicles. We do not consider the assertion that the proposals will encourage a reduction in parking need through improved connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists to be justified and have concerns that the Transport Assessment states that any displacement of on street parking would occur in the neighbouring residential streets (which we would consider inappropriate and insufficient).
• Consultation on parking requirements – although local residents were consulted on the proposed on street parking regulations on Durban Road, Kimberley Road, Notley Road and Kirkley Run, there does not appear to be any reference of consultation with local businesses in Riverside Business Park in terms of the proposed on street parking restrictions on Canning Road and Riverside Road.
• Canning Road restrictions - it is not clear from the application documents why it is proposed to restrict all existing on street parking on Canning Road, since this on street parking should not affect the operation of the Scheme. NWL would argue this should remain as existing.
• Lack of parking on new access road – there is no justification as to why on street parking could not be provided on the new access road, which would mitigate the loss of on street parking proposed elsewhere.

TRAFFIC AND TRANSPORT – DURING CONSTRUCTION
• HGV impact – the ES forecasts 108 two-way HGVs per day to the southern compound, which enter via Waveney Drive, but then states that this “does not require detailed assessment as it will not constitute a change in traffic of greater than 30% on any link within the study area”, however the number of HGVs will increase by more than 30% on Waveney Drive, as a result (>85%). Reassessment should be undertaken to determine if there are likely to be any significant effects arising, and associated mitigation measures to be adopted during the peak construction phase.
• HGV trip distribution and assignment – there appears to be no mention of this in the application documents, and we consider the likely trip assignment of HGVs on Waveney Drive should be reviewed and assessed to fully understand the likely impacts (and associated mitigation, if required).
• Abnormal HGV loads – there is no mention of this in the application pack. Abnormal loads should be considered, and how they will be managed so as to not interfere with local business operations.

TRAFFIC AND TRANSPORT - OPERATIONS
• Waveney Drive increase in traffic– the technical assessment work concludes that there will be a doubling of traffic on Waveney Drive due to the Scheme, and as a result, will experience a substantial disbenefit with significant adverse effects on fear and intimidation and severance for pedestrians. No mitigation has been recommended as a result of the conclusion. Further mitigation measures to address this significant adverse effect to pedestrians should be considered.
• Waveney Drive link capacity - although junction capacity assessments have been undertaken in relation to junctions on Waveney Drive, no assessment has been made regarding the link capacity of Waveney Drive and Victoria Road to determine whether the existing road corridor can accommodate this forecast increase in traffic as a result of the Scheme. A link capacity assessment should be undertaken.
• New Access Road / Waveney Drive Priority Ghost Island Junction – the junction capacity assessments for the future year of 2037 only appear to include existing Riverside Business Park traffic level quantums. The assessment does not include likely future forecast traffic flows on the New Access Road associated with the Kirkley Waterfront and Sustainable Urban Neighbourhood (Policy WLP2.4 of the Waveney Local Plan Final Draft Plan March 2018), and future additional development at the existing Riverside Business Park. As a result, the proposed priority ghost island junction may not be appropriate to accommodate the future demand in this area (i.e. not future-proofed for the allocation). It is recommended that the future capacity and proposed junction form/layout should be reconsidered, and should be capable of accommodating the expected and future traffic flow without excessive delay to traffic on the New Access Road (this is also raised in the Stage 1 Road Safety Audit report Problem 1 and Designers’ Response). This should be considered from the outset since it could affect the proposed road alignment of the New Access Road and the form of the junction which will be fixed as part of the DCO.
• Rail level crossing on B1531 Victoria Road – there is minimal information detailed on the likely forecast impact on the existing rail level crossing as a result of the Scheme, particularly since there is forecast to be almost a doubling of traffic on Victoria Way and Waveney Drive. It is not clear what level of consultation has taken place with Network Rail and the local highway authority in terms of considering the safety implications of this forecast impact, since level crossings are considered by the Rail industry as a key safety concern in some instances, and Network Rail’s policy position on level crossings is broadly to close, bridge over or tunnel under level crossings to address this safety concern.

NOISE AND VIBRATION EFFECTS ARISING FROM THE SCHEME
There is a need for further clarification on a number of areas within the Environmental Statement relating to noise and vibration, including:
• what mitigation measures have been recommended to protect Trinity House and how these will be secured (particularly given the lack of detail in the Interim Code of Construction Practice);
• assumptions made in relation to operational road traffic noise (for flows < 1000 veh/18-hour);
• location and distances in relation to closest construction works to Trinity House; and
• reasons for variations in assessment data (such as duration of short term measurements, lack of consistent data collection at all points).