Residents will have noticed a lot of activity over the last week around the front of the development as large sections of footpaths have been replaced. The footpaths were not of an acceptable standard for Essex Highways due to an excessive number of joins, damage from vehicles and issues where there are connections to services.
To avoid further problems Bellway have elected to replace the entire length of the sections that have thus far been ‘patched up’. These works should be completed imminently.
Work is also due to start on the buff coloured tarmac path in Niblick Green that leads to the boundary with Beaulieu to repair some of the large cracks that have appeared. The paths throughout the central open space between Eagle Rise & Aqua Verde will also be surfaced at the same time. This work is due to start on Thursday 1st August however it is weather dependent.
There will be some disruption to the area and you may therefore need to use one of the other bridle path links to access the play park and path to Beaulieu whilst the work is being undertaken.
There are still also many areas across the development where general remedial work is required. A number of issues including uneven surfaces, gaps between block paving, areas where water is pooling and excessive weed growth are being addressed across the site. Bellway are now working to a final deadline of 31st August to have all works completed ready for sign off by Essex Highways.
I undertook a walk-around with a Bellway representative on Monday 29th July who was well aware of absolutely everything that requires attention. As such, and unless there is a significant new problem that is identified, on-going issues in relation to general highways snagging do not need to be logged via the CRCG website as the RMC, POD Management and Bellway are fully aware of them and the overall situation will be continue to be monitored closely.
Channels Residents Community Group
As residents will be aware, our roads are not in a particularly good state and whilst many of the roads are only a few months old, they look more like they have been built for over 10 years. We have sunken drains, sunken paving, damaged and poorly laid paving, pooling of water, weed growth and general poor workmanship.
We have been pushing Bellway for months about this and despite being promised snagging action plans, we have only received the odd brief verbal update and no evidence of any tangible corrective action.
In early June we made available to both Bellway and our City Councillor (from a planning perspective), a large set of photo examples which were representative (although not exhaustive) of the issues we are facing. In our opinion the ‘finish’ of the roads is absolutely unacceptable and not to the required standard for a new development such as Channels.
Bellway no longer have anyone full time on site and we have serious concerns that we will end up in the middle of protracted arguments between them and Highways whilst our roads are left in a sorry state. We have asked our City Councillor to support in pushing Bellway to appropriately comply with planning requirements and to finish the development to an acceptable standard and the City Council are keeping a watching brief on how things are progressing.
You will have probably noticed that there are sporadic remedial highways works being undertaken across the development and we have been advised that Bellway are currently reviewing all remaining works with Barcon in advance of walking the site with the Essex Highways Clerk of Works. This is an important milestone as it will flag any further action required to meet Highways adoptable standards.
The intention from Bellway remains to obtain sign off from Essex Highways by the end of July/beginning of August however given the extent of the issues that we picked up versus the current rate of remedial works being undertaken, it is very unlikely this deadline will be met.
It is important to note that at present Bellway are wholly responsible for all highways including repairs, upkeep and general maintenance and we will continue to push them, with the support of the City Council, to ensure our roads are of the requisite standard and in line with planning requirements.
Channels Residents Community Group
Many residents may not realise that there are a couple of private roads on the development, the maintenance and upkeep of which are the responsibility of those that occupy the properties in these areas.
As such access is restricted and in particular the turning head at the end of Niblick Green (see image below) should not be used for general parking.
Signs are due to be installed imminently to make clear which areas should be considered as private access and once this has taken place, the areas of note will be confirmed via the website and/or the Facebook Group.
As you will be aware, all of the roads around the development have now been fully surfaced. Bellway needs to lay road markings in line with Highways requirements and the work to complete this is planned for Monday 1st July 2019.
There is likely to be some disruption to traffic during the day however this will be managed by the ground working team still on site at Channels. The areas to be road lined are as follows:
- Completion of double yellows to the road nearest the permanent Bus Stop.
- Permanent Bus Stop boundaries.
- Roads/Junctions nearest the temporary Bus Stop.
- Main road back to the Channels Drive roundabout.
It is likely that some of the priorities at junctions will be changed to accommodate the new bus route (which is also due to go live on Monday 1st July) so please take extra care for the first few days while you familiarise yourselves with any changes.
Please be advised that Bellway have programmed in remedial works along Brassie Wood in anticipation of the Bus Route change at the end of June. The programme is as follows:-
Raising iron works to both areas highlighted on diagram below.
Thursday 13th June
The shaded area in yellow/orange to have 40-60mm of the current surface (binder) planed off and replaced in accordance with Highways Essex instruction. There will be disruption on Brassie Wood from Plots 159 to Plot 169 on this day. Chris (Site Manager) will contact clients individually that live along this part of the road.
Friday 14th June & Monday 17th June
Remedial works to kerbs and preparation for surface/topping layer.
Thursday 20th June
The whole area highlighted will receive the finishing surface coat inclusive of a patch near the temporary bus stop. Again there will be disruption on this day whilst surface works are carried out. Chris will contact the clients individually who are directly affected by this.
Due to a problem with the facility that manufactures the tarmac, the works will now be completed on Friday 21st June. All affected clients have been contacted by Chris however please be aware that there will be disruption along the entire stretch of road for a further day.
There was a further Little Waltham Parish Council meeting on Tuesday 4th June and a number of issues were discussed that impact on the Channels Development. You will note from the updates below that the Parish Council, together with City & County Councillors, are all very supportive of residents on the Channels Development and the Community Group has forged good relationships with each of them to ensure continued engagement.
The Parish Council will formally submit an objection to application 19/00581/REM which proposes the construction of 300 new dwellings in the area on the other side of the bridle path (Zones K and L). This is on the grounds that the design of the dwellings are not in keeping with the surrounding area and more importantly that there is insufficient infrastructure in place to support them, including the lack of a crossing at the bottom of the bridle path on Essex Regiment Way.
Bus Service (51)
The Parish Clerk and Parish Councillor Melanie Williamson attended a transport stakeholder meeting on 4th June and it transpired that First Bus have amended timetables (by increasing the gap between buses) to ensure buses run on time. First Bus indicated that once the new route begins to include the parts of the wider development on the other side of the Radial Distributor Road, the time between the 51 services will increase with the service only running every 40/45 minutes (assuming it’s on time!) rather than the 30 minutes as originally planned, even at peak times.
This is considered unacceptable and County Councillor John Aldridge confirmed to the Parish Council that he would take up this issue on behalf of residents. The Community Group will also write to Councillor John Aldridge on behalf of residents and will again make contact with the organisation (Transport Planning Associates) that was initially secured to arrange the contract with First Bus as we believe that developers have provided funding to deliver a bus service every 30 minutes.
Crossing for Essex Regiment Way
The Parish Council confirmed that it would formally support Councillor John Aldridge in continuing to lobby for a crossing at the bottom of the bridle path to enable safe passage across Essex Regiment Way. Councillor Aldridge believes that residents are essentially ‘land locked’ and does not accept that there are any valid reasons as to why a crossing cannot be installed immediately, even if it is not in line with the planned trajectory for the work taking place. The Community Group will additionally write to Councillor Aldridge on behalf of residents noting the same concerns.
Highways Adoption for Phase 1/2
Residents will no doubt be aware of the poor state of the roads on the Bellway phase of the development. Many of the roads are only a few months old and yet look more like they have been in place for many years. There are sunken drains, sunken paving, damaged and poorly laid paving, pooling of water, weed growth and general poor workmanship. The Community Group has been pushing Bellway in recent months about this and yet we have only received high level generic updates and no evidence of any tangible corrective action.
As a result contact has been made with City Councillor Barry Knight who has raised the issue on our behalf and he formally advised the Parish Council that he will be supporting residents in ensuring the problems are resolved. Key stakeholders within the City Council (Planning) and County Council (Highways) are aware and are currently investigating.
The site team have advised that further works to complete the roads at the entrance of the development along Fairway Drive and Mashie Link are due to be carried out on Thursday 21st March and Friday 22nd March.
The area in question has had its ironworks and damaged kerbs replaced as per previous updates and there will continue to be access along these roads during the above dates, albeit restricted.
The Bellway traffic marshal will be present to assist and residents directly affected should have been notified where this has been possible.
Further to the information posted in late January in relation to the raising of ironworks in preparation for the tarmac topping of Fairway Drive & Mashie Link, the Bellway site team have advised that the work could not be completed at first visit due to the bus route being affected, even though at initial planning this was not thought to be an issue.
Barconn will be raising ironworks as part of their 2nd phase of operations to the area along Fairway Drive and Mashie Link in readiness for tarmac which is pencilled in for the latter part of week commencing 11th March 2019. The areas affected are highlighted in the diagram below:
After discussion with First Bus, Bellway have agreed a temporary change to the normal route for the bus to allow completion of the required works. This will commence on Monday 4th March and end on Friday 15th March:
Bellway will supply a traffic marshal to assist in the reversing of the bus during working hours (7.30am to 5.00pm) however the bus will revert back to its normal route during non-working hours (5.00pm to 7.30am) and at weekends.
Access for vehicles to Fairway Drive & Mashie Link will continue to be available albeit there may be some barriers to negotiate in various places during the 2 week works period.
If you know someone that doesn’t have access to the Facebook Group or this website, please advise them of the above plans 🙂
Remedial Work to Kerbs & Raising of Ironworks
Please see below a drawing showing the area where Barconn will imminently be carrying out remedial works to the kerbs and raising ironworks on the roads in readiness for the tarmac topping.
- Kerb works to commence January 22nd along Mashie Link;
- Kerb works to follow from January 23rd/24th January along Fairway Drive (from Newt crossing to raised block paving);
- Raising of ironworks along Mashie Link and Fairway Drive to commence on Thursday 24th January.
The site team envisages that the remedial kerb works will be completed within 2 weeks however the raised ironworks will remain until the road is ‘topped out’, which is booked for early March 2019.
Following updates from the site team, we have been informed that all missing lamp posts have now been installed into their designated positions. The diagram below indicates the current position:
Where possible the position of some lamp posts has been amended as a response to residents concerns however there is little scope to make significant changes as Bellway are not permitted to deviate from Highways & Planning requirements.
There will be some remedial work required around the lamp posts following connection but at least all lights shown as connected should be working. The lamp posts at the bus stop have been scheduled for January as further discussions need to take place in relation to the bus route as this will be impacted by the ground-works.
The following problems have been encountered:
31A (Outside Plot 80): The Site Team has not yet gained permission to dig up a trench in the clients front garden and therefore will not connect this lamp post until permission is granted. Even if permission is granted, as it will not be possible to reinstate this garden and the road in time for Christmas a decision has been taken to wait until the new year.
56A (Outside Plot 74): Although the lamp post is now fitted a shroud needs to be fitted due to the proximity of the lamp to the clients window. This connection will be carried out once the shroud has been fitted.
12A (Outside Plot 131): The trench has been open and ready for connection however the Site Team have been advised by the Utilities Company that the wrong cable was exposed. For now the ground-workers have been instructed to make safe the trench currently excavated and await permission from the Utility Company to reopen the trench ready for connection. This will not happen until the new year.