Pool-in-Wharfedale Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group (PNPSG) objects to outline planning application ref 16/06906OT. The main concern is that any development in Pool-in-Wharfedale needs to come from an overall plan for the future of the village, as the village is already under considerable pressure from heavy traffic, pedestrian safety issues, poor infrastructure and connectivity.

The premature release of this site could jeopardise future structured development of the village at a time when the infrastructure, transportation and environmental issues could be better addressed.

Flooding and Drainage

The proposed site is categorised by the Environmental Agency as being at high risk of surface water flooding. PNPSG is not convinced that the flood water mitigation measures could cope with the volume of surface water the village currently experiences. In recent years, flooding has occurred every three or four years. Predictions are that flooding will become significantly more frequent and severe in the future.

The existing watercourse is inadequate, let alone for any increased volume.

The area where the proposed SUMP would go has a history of landslip which is a concern for its future stability. Any remedial action must not have an impact on the surrounding areas.

In this locality house insurers disregard any measures to cope with flooding. One flood is enough to financially impact the rest of that property’s life, which also impacts the value of the property.

The measures for alleviating the risk of surface water flooding will be the subject of a separate planning application. This increases the overall risk of the planned development in terms of costs and will inevitably decrease the developer’s margin, which is obviously not in their interest. This then carries the risk that an already technically challenging building project is potentially further jeopardised by shortcuts during the building process. The community/Leeds City Council would be left with the financial burden of any law enforcement to rectify a potentially dangerous situation (landslide, surface water flooding).

Transport, Sustainability and Disability Access

The transport plans are not realistic. Walking in Pool presents many challenges and many residents consider it is currently unsafe because of narrow footpaths along busy A-roads that do not allow for an easy passage of two HGVs in opposite directions. We would request a pedestrian risk assessment be carried out in the village. The footpaths are not of uniform width and some places cannot offer safe passage for pushchairs or wheelchairs.

Recently the Police were unable to carry out traffic surveys on Old Pool Bank because it was deemed unsafe according to Health and Safety Standards for their personnel to stand to carry out the survey.

The pedestrian access to the village from the proposed site would mean walking up Chapel Hill Road to Old Pool Bank, left to the A658 and then cross this extremely busy road. The alternative to crossing the A658 would be to use a pavement which is not much over a foot wide

There is evidence with the Police (due to unsafe parking practices) that people drive their children to school to avoid the perceived safety issue of walking to school. The result is a vast number of cars parking on the roadside during school drop off and pick up times.

The Parish Council has frequently received reports of residents fearing for their personal safety in ‘near miss’ incidents when walking up Old Pool Bank. We would hope that it would be a condition of any planning permission, now or in the future, that the developer would be required to put in a footpath/cycleway and vehicle passing places on the whole of lower Old Pool Bank.

The proposed Wharfedale Greenway is fully supported by all involved local authorities including Leeds City Council, and is critical for the future sustainability of Pool for cyclists, walkers and disabled travellers. Both proposed branches of the Greenway route must be preserved, ready for the construction of the Greenway to begin in the next two or three years.

Pool lies within the Leeds commuter belt. There is one direct bus per day to Leeds, the 781. That leaves at lunchtime one day and returns late in the morning on the following day!

There is one possible bus journey to get a commuter to Leeds for 8.30 am. This is the 6:55, 747 service to the Dyneley Arms crossroads, where the pedestrian would have to cross the A658 with rush hour traffic to reach the bus-stop for the X84 to Leeds. There are no pedestrian signals at the Dyneley lights and no let-up in the traffic. If the 6:55 failed, the commuter would be late for work as the next 747 goes at 8:12. Sandersons’ assertion that the car is the ‘preferred’ mode of transport for commuters is absurd. It is the ONLY reliable form of transport.

Pool is central for commuters working in Bradford, Harrogate, Ilkley and other employment hubs, besides Leeds. It is not unreasonable to project that the construction of 35 new houses means at least 70 more cars on the already congested streets.

Both ends of (lower) Old Pool Bank are notorious high risk junctions and Pool Parish Council has put forward numerous suggestions, with consultations, to try to alleviate the problem. Any increase in volume, regardless of scale, will exacerbate the situation. The junction from Chapel Hill Road onto Old Pool Bank occurs at a narrow point in the road, making it almost impossible for one car to enter at the same time as another is exiting. Visibility is poor for access onto Old Pool Bank. The same is true of the junction between Old Pool bank and the A660.

Sewerage

We understand that the sewage works for Pool located in Arthington were constructed in 1968 for the number of houses then being served, plus 10% - the catchment areas being Pool, Arthington, Bramhope and Castley. We would estimate that the number of houses is now two or three times what it was in 1968. The sewage works do overflow at times of high rainfall and raw sewage does spill onto the riverside fields and thence into the river. These works would need a thorough restructuring before any further development could be allowed in the area. When the Swallow Estate was constructed, at the opposite side of Pool Bank New Road from the proposed development, that led to flooding of the sewers below, on Arthington Lane. The effects of the proposed new development would be likely to be far worse.

Sewage smells have been complained about around the village which has previously led to repairs being made.

Bats/Ecology

The site has been shown to support 5 out of the 10 species of bats in the UK, suggesting this area is of significant value for bats. The guidance for bat surveys identifies that three surveys should be undertaken during spring, summer and autumn. This has not been done. We are informed that the current design does not adequately incorporate a buffer and/or enhancement along habitat corridors which will likely result in the devaluation of these features for wildlife and the loss of certain species from the site.

We feel that the appropriate surveys should be carried out in order to assess the site correctly, particularly as one species of bat is nationally very rare.

Visual Impairment

The screening of the site is poor. It is detrimental not only to wildlife but also to the significant long-distance views registered in the Pool Conservation Area document as being of more than local importance.

Suggested housing type

According to a survey carried out by the NPSG in 2016 the order of preferred new housing types by the community is as follows: 1.) Semi-detached, 2.) flats, 3.) supported living, terrace and detached. The outline planning application does not address the need of the community.