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Friday, 25 April 2014

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Concerns over traffic, school places if 150 new homes built in Dalston

Dozens of villagers turned out to find out more about a Story Homes plan to build up 150 homes in Dalston.

Dallas Brewis photo
Dallas Brewis

Officials from the firm explained more about the proposal and took questions from residents at a meeting in the village.

A wide range of issues were aired, including concern about the likely need to expand school provision, the impact of increased traffic flows, and a suggestion that the building of so many homes could drive down local houses prices.

Andy Dolby, from Story Homes, said the firm would strive to make the development – likely to reach the planning application stage by the end of the month – fit in with the existing character of the village, which he described as a “very attractive place”.

He said: “We want to take a cue from the quality of the environment you have here, so that it will not be a monotonous development.”

Colleague Rachel Lightfoot stressed the plans – on display at Dalston’s Victory Hall last night – were not “set in stone” and the purpose of the meeting was to encourage input from villagers.

Resident Peter Brookes said Dalston was not at present welcoming to pedestrians, and called for a 20mph speed limit throughout the village. He urged Story Homes to consider putting a pedestrian crossing somewhere on Station Road.

Dallas Brewis suggested that “speed tables” could be used to slow traffic, and said the design and orientation of the houses should encourage low energy use, reducing their carbon footprint.

Dalston ward city councillor Nicola Clarke asked the Story officials what consideration had been given to including affordable homes for young people. She was told that this issue would be catered for, though details were unavailable.

Parish councillor John Kelsey raised an issue taken up by several of those at the meeting, and said: “Where are people going to send their children to school? It’s likely they will want to bring them to St Michael’s [Primary School], which would face extra pressure.”

Fellow parish councillor Oliver Rickerby said the school was already “bursting at the seams”.

The Story officials said they were talking to the county council about it.

“Fetching in a few desks from the county council is not a good solution – something needs to be done to accommodate these children before anyone moves in,” said Mr Rickerby.

He was concerned about the effect of so many new homes on the already struggling housing market.

He added: “It will make houses more difficult to sell and will depress the houses they are likely to get for them.”

Residents were worried about the impact on traffic flows as the meeting heard a prediction that the scheme could add up to 600 traffic movements per day.

The Story Homes officials were confident they could find buyers for the homes, which would be built over four years and that the housing market locally could sustain the sale of the houses.

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