A new planning application has been submitted to EFDC for the site situated parallel to the M25  accessed from Dowding Way in Waltham Abbey. WARA has received numerous complaints from Residents about this proposal and have been asked to object on their behalf. Please find below a copy of our letter objecting to the site.

Re: Application EPF/14113/18 Land North Dowding Way Waltham Abbey EN9 3YX

Dear Mr Rogers

In Summary: –

We strongly oppose this planning application on a number of points, please find our objections listed below in no particular order.

However, we do understand this site is scheduled to be removed from its Green Belt status in the new EFDC Town plan and so it is thought we might expect officers and council members to anticipate this change of status in their decision. We therefore include a number of conditions we would like to see implemented, if that is your standpoint and decide to approve this application on that basis.

  • Residents inform us they wish to maintain the Green Belt status of this land for future generations. However, as mentioned above we understand this land is earmarked for industrial use in the new Local Plan, at present not approved and until it is, developers need to demonstrate special circumstances to justify removing the land out of the Green Belt and we do not see within this application any special circumstances submitted or demonstrated.
  • At the public meeting held by developers in May, (Waltham Abbey Town Hall) it was highlighted by residents that Waltham Abbey has a serious sewerage issue with antiquated drains no longer fit for purpose and not updated for 100 years. I do not see where developers, after having been advised of the problem have tackled this issue in their application. Were they to be connected to our existing system this will exacerbate current problems faced in the Town. We know from previous experience that Thames Water will probably not object to any application, as they see this as additional revenues streams to be generated and will only deal with the matter when a critical emergency arrises. Drainage in Waltham Abbey, whether it be foul or surface water drainage is at maximum capacity and this needs to be addressed before new developments are permitted. So will you please ensure there is a condition to negate this problem, if you deem to approve the application.
  • Dowding Way is the designated access road that would be used should this application be approved. Developers propose a new roundabout layout to support the entrance to the site to constructed on Dowding Way. The current condition of this road is extremely poor, our residents inform us that they do not consider the road was built to the standard required to accept the volume of HGV traffic from the Sainsbury’s site when constructed. It badly needs to be updated before any addition traffic is taken into account. I presume that this site comes under the auspices of Highways England rather than ECC Highways as this site and its access route is on a main junction with the M25. Has the authority been advised and have they seen the condition of Dowding Way. Our residents inform us, it is subsiding in many places and has pot holes generated by commercial vehicles using this road and is in constantly in need of repair.
  • Next stated at their public meeting, that they anticipate 700 vehicle movements daily in and out of the proposed new depot. They also state they will employ up to 955 workers on the site.
    Whilst we appreciate these workers will be on shift rotation and will not all arrive and leave at the same time, it is still huge amount of additional traffic on a poorly constructed road.
  • If, in your wisdom you choose to approve this application then, we insist that as a condition of approval, Dowding Way be uprated to a dual carriageway from J26 of the M25 to at least the new proposed roundabout, this would improve the section used by the Next transport and not exacerbate the road situation further.
  • WARA understand that the huge volume of deliveries will arrive and also be dispatched in smaller delivery vehicles on a 24 hours daily basis to the area surrounding London.
  • We therefore ask that you make the same stipulation required of Sainsbury’s in their application. Namely that all incoming and outgoing vehicles, do so using J26 of the M25 and not be permitted to use the local roads. This would avoid adding to the rush hour congestion through Waltham Abbey, when using the (A121) Dowding Way and Sewardstone Road (A112). We would also like you to stipulate that no parking is permitted in Dowding Way for vehicles waiting to enter the depot. This situation was highlighted at the public meeting and causes much anguish to residents on the Meridian Estate with vehicles from Sainsbury’s leaving refrigeration engines running when parking outside Sainsbury’s depot at night. Whilst we accept that it is highly unlikely that Next would be using refrigerated vehicles, never the less parking in an issue we wish to avoid.
  • With regards to the 955 employees, there is poor information as to how the staff reach the site. Waltham Abbey is poorly serviced by public transport and there is no public transport running passed or near to this site. The Aviva 505 bus service that operated along the Sewardstone Road ceased some time ago and now operates only on a 2 hourly service on Saturdays. That service, if still available would have meant, at least a mile walk along from Sewardstone Road along Dowding Way to the Next entrance. The nearest bus service to the site is the EoS 66 service that operates along Honey Lane with a Bus stop outside the Marriott Hotel. This service travels to Loughton and back to Waltham Cross. At its peak time, the service runs every 30 minutes, less often during off peak and not at all after 8.30pm. The Marriott bus stop is also over a mile from the proposed Next site entrance. The bus service is mainly run for students travelling to Debden college and offers a much reduced service on non-school days. So as previously mentioned, a very poor public service available in this area.
  • It was stated by Next at the Public meeting that the vast majority of employees of the new proposed development will be on minimum wage contracts, so very possibly unlikely to afford their own form of transport, other than bicycles.
  • To assist with this situation if you approve the application, we suggest that Next be made to offer a local mini-bus/coach service for the transport of employees to bus/train termini or to local destinations to collect and deliver employees at each shift change. Workers that live in the town and able to walk or cycle to the proposed depot will find that Dowding Way has no footpath or street lights, this is not a safe environment in daytime and even worse in the evenings for anyone, let alone a lone woman walking home in the early hours. The mini-bus/ coach service could alleviate this situation and Wara believe Next should take a positive view with regards to the welfare of its staff in this matter if approval is forthcoming. We ask that the service be compulsory upon Next and not like the Gilwell Hill situation where developers funded the service for a short while and then left residents to sort it for themselves. With the resulting outcome that the 505 bus service is now non-existent except for the Saturday service.
  • WARA asks the question, what will happen to Dowding Way if and when the Northern Gateway Access Route (NGAR) that L.B. Enfield continues to campaign for, is eventually approved by Government to alleviate the traffic dilemma around J25 of the M25.
  • Information for Council members that may or may not be are unaware of the scheme, the NGAR plan is primarily in order to relieve the traffic congestion at J25 of the M25 from traffic merging from the A10 and A1055 just prior to J25. The NGAR plan proposes to divert traffic intending to travel East on the M25 and will divert this traffic from the A1055 onto a new stretch of road to connect to the A121 Meridian Way to join with the M25 at J26.
  • The Waltham Abbey section of the NGAR plan, actually proposes to use Dowding Way and is a fundamental part of the NGAR route supported by TFL and Broxbourne Council. As such it is highly likely to be backed by government in the future when reapplied for. WARA think this should be taken into account when considering this application and its consequences.
  • We understand from reliable sources that the NGAR plan was an integral part of L.B. Enfield’s local plan, but was temporarily removed to facilitate an easier passage for approval of their plan. However, it has been stated they will return to NGAR when the Local Plan is approved and development of the vast number of new homes in their North East Enfield Action Plan (NEEAP) section of their Local Plan commences. The NGAR scheme remains a fundamental and crucial part to their strategy we are told.
  • Access to the M25 is already at a critical stage for transport using (A1055) Meridian Way through Mollison Ave, (Brimsdown) to Bullsmoor Lane, (Waltham Cross) route to access the M25. With the new (NEEAP) proposed development in their Local plan adding yet more traffic, it seems inevitable that they will persevere with the NGAR plan.
  • EFDC officers are well aware of the NGAR scheme and were successful in their opposition against the scheme on its first appearance some 16yrs ago and at a later appeal. However, we are informed that Enfield has taken on board objections raised by the Inspector and will counteract them in their revised application that has been temporarily shelved.
  • Please see L.B. Enfield public notice attachment relating to NGAR for more info. Enfield have spent a lot time, energy and earmarked at huge amount of money in formulating the NGAR and NEEAP plans and both are part of their overall strategy.

WARA are convinced Enfield will persevere with this approach until the NGAR plan succeeds.

In conclusion

Wara ask you to reject this proposal, we would much prefer for this site, when the (Local Plan is approved) and the site is released from Green Belt, to see smaller industrial units developed here. Businesses that employ more labour per sq mtr of land and not see more warehouse/depots such as the Sainsbury/Next depots. We need to encourage the type of industrial development on this site, that supports a larger variety of businesses. Industries that will employ our expanding population as forecast in EFDC’s new local plan. The type of businesses that will provide proper long term jobs that are not minimum wage, or zero hours contract operations, as the Next proposal purports to be.

These type of businesses will create greater prosperity for the long term future of the area. Waltham Abbey is currently considered a deprived area and by creating minimum wage jobs as Next propose will only exacerbate the situation further. This site is earmarked in the new Town Plan for Industrial expansion and our main hope for a more prosperous future is to bring in industries that will enhance the income of our local population and then spend some of that income in our local shops.

Minimum wage jobs will bring in people to the site travelling from further afield. This was voiced strongly at the public meeting, local people will not be able to rent or purchase homes in this area and afford to work at the proposed Next depot.

90% of Waltham Abbey is in the Green Belt and consequently land here is at a premium.

Very little land is available for our housing needs, let alone industrial developments, so we must be very circumspect as to how we allocate what precious land that becomes available. We must not squander this precious resource, as it can only be replaced by the loss of yet more green belt, we must ensure we make best use of the limited land available and maximise its potential.

WARA do not consider this proposal to be the best possible use of this Green Belt land.

Wara accepts we need new industrial developments, businesses that bring jobs with better prospects and wages, to the Town. Moreover, we do not need to take the first proposal that arrives for the site.

A proposal that will not improve the Towns prospects of ridding itself of the totally unwanted, deprived area status, that hangs like a black cloud over the Town.

This site is a prime location, sitting alongside the M25, so let us encourage the right type of industries to settle here and by doing so re-invigorate our Town.