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HARVEST HOUSE, LOW ROAD, BRESSINGHAM, IP22 2DB

PP 2016/1447: Bressingham: Demolition of 5 buildings and construction of 17 storage silos, 10 intake silos, 1 dust box, 1 machinery building, 3 grain driers and 6 bulk out load hoppers. New permanent and temporary access for construction vehicles and upgrading of on-site roadways.

Briefing Note for the Bressingham Council:

 
WHAT IS THE HIGHWAY AUTHORITY'S ROLE IN THE PLANNING PROCESS?

The Highway Authority are a statutory stakeholder in the planning process offering a technical response to planning proposals. South Norfolk District Council (SNDC), as Planning Authority, are ultimately responsible in determining the application.

In this instance, the planning application has already been granted consent by democratically elected members of South Norfolk SNDC planning committee. During this time, one of our officers, Adrian Jacklin, was in attendance at that meeting to answer questions.

The Parish Council and local residents were given the opportunity to raise any and all concerns they might have with SNDC prior to elected members making their decision.
Highway Network:

This site at Bressingham is served directly from the A1066. This road has the designation as a Principal Route within the Norfolk Route Hierarchy. The route is also designated as a Corridor of Movement. In the vicinity of the application site the road is subject to the national speed limit for single carriageway roads of 60mph. Central ladder hatch markings are provided along this section of the A1066 to denote the hazards and to deter overtaking.

On corridors of movement new development is usually resisted unless there are compelling reasons to support, such as where the development is of overriding public/national need, the access is required to serve essential development, where it has been proved incapable of being sited elsewhere or there is a highway safety improvement to existing users / junctions (as is the case here).

In such instances the development must be served by a safe means of access.

 
WHAT HIGHWAY CONSIDERATIONS ARISE FROM THE PLANNING PERMISSION?

The development will result in an increase in the tonnages to be stored at the site from approximately 30,000 tonnes to 80,000 tonnes, with a corresponding increase in vehicle movements.

The applicant outlined that vehicle movements during the months of June, July and August will increase from 50, 56 and 81 to 122,143 and 161 movements per day respectively.

By their very nature, these movement will be by HGV or tractors with trailers delivering grain. Particularly concern would be the slow moving movements right turning into the site across the stream of fast moving traffic.

 
WHY ARE THE PROPOSALS AND ASSOCIATED INCREASE IN TRAFFIC MOVEMENT CONSIDERED TO BE ACCEPTABLE TO THE HIGHWAY AUTHORITY?
Whilst the proposed new development will increase the volume of traffic, providing a right turn lane on the A1066, where one does not currently exist is beneficial.

The existence of an access in this location is a matter of fact and therefore a degree of conflict and interference to the passage of through vehicles already occurs. However the provision of a RHTL offers a significant safety enhancement to both existing and new users.

There is a highway safety benefit from providing a right turn lane at this location. Due to the constant and free flowing nature of the traffic along this stretch of the A1066, westbound vehicles accessing the development site currently have to slow down and stop in a live lane of traffic to wait to turn. Whilst stopping in the opposite direction would be unlikely, the slowing down of vehicles exiting the main road currently interferes with the flow of traffic.

Taking into account the speed and largely unimpeded flow of traffic along this stretch of road, it is clear that vehicles stopping in a live carriageway whilst waiting to execute a right-turn is not an acceptable situation in safety terms as it leads to a high propensity for tail end collisions. This in turn can also lead to drivers waiting on the live carriageway taking risks and pulling in front of oncoming traffic in order to enter the site. Subject to the provision of the right turn lane, then the increase in the volume of traffic entering the site is not an issue.

 
WHY HAVE THE PLANS FOR THE RIGHT HAND TURN LANE BEEN REVISED SINCE SNDC GRANTED THE PLANNING PERMISSION?

At the time of the planning application, the drawings submitted were simply indicative to show there was a reasonable expectation that a right turn lane could be provided. Once consent was granted the detail is then addressed as part of the formal technical S278 vetting procedure. If for any reason as part of that vetting process it transpired the right turn lane could not have been provided, then the applicants could not comply with the conditions appended to their consent and their planning consent would have lapsed. This is a standard approach.
Condition 5a of the planning permission required the developer to submit further detailed drawings for technical vetting through the S278 process.

The developer subsequently submitted their detailed design for the right turn lane which has been technically vetted by NCC as local highway authority and found to be acceptable.

 
DOES THE SCHEME MEET WITH DESIGN STANDARDS?
In this case, it was necessary to make minor adjustments to the design, as part of the technical vetting process, however this is common practice and typical with such schemes. I would however stress that the design complies with design standards and has been subject to the required Safety Audit. It was also made clear to members of the planning committee that this would be the case at the time they determined the application.
 
WHAT WAS INVOLVED WITH THE S278 TECHNICAL VETTING PROCESS?
As with all such schemes, the design was checked against national standards and was subject to a safety audit. The design complies with national technical standards with no outstanding issues raised by the safety auditors.
 
HAS THE RIGHT HAND TURN LANE DESIGN NOW BEEN AGREED?

Yes. The decision to provide a right turn lane was made by SNDC when they approved pp 2016/1447. Following technical vetting of the detailed design, SNDC subsequently discharged Condition 5a under pp 2017/1377 approving the design.

There is now no ability to overturn that decision.

 
WHO IS FUNDING THE WORKS?
The works are fully funded by the developer with no cost to NCC or the public. The developer is also required to fund the design check (on a cost recharge basis), construction supervision and administrative costs associated with the S278.
 
WILL THE SCHEME RESULT IN FURTHER MAINTENANCE AT NCC EXPENSE?
No. The developer will be required to provide a commuted maintenance contribution.
 
WHEN WILL THE WORKS BE CARRIED OUT?
Condition 5 b requires the applicant to provide the right hand turn lane prior to the commencement of use permitted by pp 2016/1447.
At this stage we are not aware of a proposed construction date for the scheme, however as with all works of the highway the developer will need to receive street works approval and agree the required traffic management.
 
WILL THE WORKS BE AUDITED ONCE THEY HAVE BEEN COMPLETED?

As with all such schemes, a stage 3 safety audit will be carried out after the works have been completed on the ground. The purpose is to make sure that what has been constructed on the ground is in accordance with the approved design or if any amendments are been made during construction, that they are safe.


The scheme will result in a narrowing of the roadside verge on the north side of the A1066.

 
WILL THIS RESULT IN THE VERGE BEING NARROWER THAN THE REQUIRED MINIMUM STANDARD?
Whilst the Design standards (DMRB) outlines widths relating to the trunk road network administered by Highways England, there is no requirement to provide a minimum verge width on the local highway network. It is the inevitable consequence of an evolved and historic road network that verge widths will vary and widths of 1.0m are commonplace on the Local Authority network.
 
WILL THE SCHEME RESULT IN COMPROMISED VISIBILITY FROM THE EXISTING PROPERTIES TO THE SOUTH OF THE A1066 (OPPOSITE THE SITE)?

There will be no change to the existing level of visibility from the accesses to the south as the approved design has been developed to leave the southern kerbline as existing.

 

WILL THE PRESENCE OF THE RHTL AND ASSOCIATED SOLID WHITE LINE SYSTEM CAUSE SAFETY CONCERNS AND ACCESS RESTRICTIONS FOR EASTBOUND VEHICLES ACCESSING THE PROPERTIES TO THE SOUTH?
No there is suitable lining proposed to ensure that the right hand turn facility will not be misused. There are several locations where double white lines are present in the vicinity of junctions and private accesses. Whilst it is illegal to cross a solid white line to overtake, it is not illegal to turn in to them. Please see rule 129 of the Highway Code https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/general-rules-techniques-and-advice-for-all-drivers-and-riders-103-to-158. Any vehicles accessing the private drives / junctions to the south (from the west) will continue to do so as per the existing situation i.e. wait (if required) in the eastbound lane until a suitable gap in westbound traffic occurs before crossing.
 
WILL THE EXISTING SET OF CONCRETE STEPS FOR FOUR WINDS BE MAINTAINED? WILL THEY CAUSE A SAFETY ISSUE?
The existing steps will remain. This has been fully considered as part of the safety audit which concluded that given the bottom step is no higher than a kerbstone and less than 1m wide at the road edge in the unlikely event they are struck by a passing vehicle they would not present a significant hazard.
 
WILL THE FRONTAGE BOUNDARIES OF THE 2 RESIDENTIAL PROPERTIES (FOUR WINDS AND WAVENEY HOUSE) BE AFFECTED BY THE SCHEME?
No. Whilst the highway verge will be narrowed in front of both properties, the existing southern boundaries, including the hedge and steps outside Fourwinds, will not be affected.
 
WILL CROSSING OF THE A1066 FOR THOSE USING THE NEARBY PROW ROUTES BE DANGEROUS?
At the crossing point of the PROW the overall carriageway width will be widened by less than 2 m. It is accepted that it will take marginally longer to cross the
carriageway, a pedestrian’s view to the east from both north and south verge is to full standard. Visibility to the west will be improved by displacing eastbound traffic to the north. Whilst one must always take great care when crossing a 60 mph “A” class road, the professional view of the highway authority is that the road is not significantly more dangerous to cross than the current layout.
 
WILL THE RIGHT HAND TURN LANE REQUIRE STREET LIGHTING?
No. There is no obvious need for street lighting here.
 
WHY ARE THE RUNNING LANES ONLY 3M WIDE (9M TOTAL) WHEN THE ORIGINAL DRAWING ILLUSTRATED A WIDER CARRIAGEWAY MEASURING 9.8M?
During the detailed design phase the running lanes were narrowed to 3 m, to ensure that the southern kerb line was not impacted. The revised design still confirm to national standards. There are many right turn lane facilities, which have a 3m through and turning lanes, on the rural A class network, particularly where they have been retro-fitted (as is the case here). They are provided primarily to reduce tail end conflicts and have proven successful in achieving this.
 
HAVE TRACK RUNS BEEN UNDERTAKEN AS PART OF THE VETTING PROCESS?
There is no requirement to undertake track runs for a something that compiles with standard. All the track runs would show is that a particular standard works – which is the whole purpose of having a standard in the first place

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