This page is available for residents’ comments on Social Infrastructure. The views expressed are those of residents and may not be endorsed by the AVF Committee. Please also see comments from meeting of 26 February 2013.
S1 From all of the various meetings I have personally attended since this development was brought to our notice, “Social Infrastucture”,”Design & Density” along with”Transportation” have been top of the list concerning questions asked of Exeter C.C.,Teignbridge D.C. & Devon C.C. & on every occasion the answers we have been given are almost totally negative. Of course this is not correct in respect of “Density” & “Design”, as the Workshops for these two subjects have yet to take place, however I think you will agree we will almost certainly get similar, if not the same, answers to our proposals,ideas & questions. Why!? From the information we have been given over the past year or so, no member of any of the Councils, including our local Councillors, have been able to give a concrete reply, because schools, medical centres, hospitals & the various services needed to run a community have NOT been agreed upon & so have not been planned in advance to meet the requirements to accommodate the new & existing residents that will increase the population of our village by at least 5000+ over the next 20 years & that is without other members of the respective families plus children of all ages, adding to this number. It seems to me that all of the councils have as their motto “We hope”, or “It will be alright on the night”. Transport & in particular additional buses & new bus routes have been discussed but again the planners appear to be grasping at straws. Teignbridge state that schools etc. will be built as from 2018. What good is that? We need these decisions to be made NOW. Decisions that have been made, will not be amended in any way, as ideas put forward by the Forum members are squashed from the word go. We are told that the station at Marsh Barton will proceed whether or not British Rail decide to stop their trains there or not, because by showing central government that our councils are falling in line with their policies, money will be available to help councils invest more in their responsibilities. Finally we have been told that we are to have quite a large number of Gypsy & Travellers camps in the planned areas. A few years ago, I for one, fought tooth & nail to stop this from happening in respect of a planned campsite, at the top of Shillingford Rd. but as always local government do what they want to & when they want to, even if it takes time to organise. Sorry this is a bit long winded but I feel very strongly about this development & your email gave me the opportunity to get up on my soap box. Does anybody think differently?
S2 One thing that I would like to be raised with the planners is the issue with parking for vehicles and general ability of the road to cope with the vehicles, when children are dropped off at Alphington Primary School. There is currently insufficient parking for vehicles and therefore they cannot increase the number of students at the school, unless this is addressed and adequate capacity provided. In addition a number of safety improvements are required in the vicinity of the school to ensure adequate protection to children and parents walking to school. Examples being:-1) More formal road crossing points 2) More pedestrian barriers on the pavements in the vicinity of the school 3) Moving a telegraph pole which is currently in the pavement on a bend, and restricting the pavement width. I have seen the buses coming very close to the children at this location. (NB this comment also appears under transportation)
S3 Nobody seems to be mentioning the provision of buildings to house local shops and surely if we want to try to meld the old and the new areas having people move from one area to another to conduct local shopping might be a good way to start. At the last Open Meeting I remember a long standing resident mentioning that when he first moved in there was a choice of local shops which has now been reduced to only the one, which he did not seem to think was a good thing
S4 SCHOOL – Although Alphington School occupies a reasonable plot, it has now run into space issues with increased class sizes. Further, dropping off and picking up has been made very hard by the local residents enforcing a no parking zone around the school, and no onsite parking for this purpose. With the much wider catchment area now imposed on the school it is not practical to consider that all children will walk to school. Therefore, would it not make more sense for one much larger school rather than two to be constructed with ample parking, future proofed class sizes and increased playing fields? The current land occupied by the school would then be profitably sold off for residential development.
S5 SHOP AND COMMUNITY HALL – Initial thoughts on the shop are that we don’t need an additional shop but the current cluster of shop/chemist/doctor’s surgery will need additional parking to be considered as currently parking on road is insufficient and prone to annoying residents and Ide Lane Surgery regularly runs out of spaces. My suggestion would be that:a. Parking in front of the shop be discouraged (residents only for example).b. A new well lit path be constructed from behind the shop to a new rear entrance. c.The current car park that services Ide Lane Surgery be extended by compulsary purchase of some of the adjacent field – providing extra parking for the surgery as well as shop and chemist customers. d.Similarly the community hall entrance be repositioned at it’s current rear to face the car park. e. If at all possible the road leading in to Ide Lane Surgery to be widened to allow two cars to pass simultaneously.
S6 SCHOOL – The drop off and pick up of children is a nightmare if you are driving past the school at the relevant times, and in an emergency a fire engine would not be able to get through. I don’t see any solution unless the school has an area it could extend for parking within the grounds?
S7 SHOP/BINS – The only comment I would have is that it is better to have one shop doing well than several average ones, and I imagine the current shop could expand to the side, if necessary. I think the recycling bins would be better located on the Marsh Barton Park and Ride, only because I think they are unsightly.
S8 re comment S6, I think it would be possible to have a one way system within the school grounds by scrapping the existing roundabout and making the existing entrance/exit an entrance only, creating a new roadway inside the grounds as close to the fence as possible with a drop off/waiting area along the roadway , and an exit opposite Smithfield Road. If this was carefully engineered it could improve safety.
S9 I would like to put forward my anxiety on the places available to children at pre-school age( 3 to 5 years) within the Alphington community. Alphington pre-school is based in the old school building ( Community Centre). The Centre is in need of an update and pre-school numbers have now increased in excess of 80 children. I am concerned that within the debate there has been no talk of pre-school, as before the planning of new homes we were going to be hopefully part of Alphington Primary. I hope that the community centre can have funds to develop the old school building, in order for us to cater for the increase in children the new homes will bring. Currently the building is in need of an update, however the priority for the committee running the centre has been the building of the new village hall and there are no spare funds to refurbish and update the school premises. I feel it is paramount that this issue is talked about as the government is now putting forward funding for 2 year olds and this is putting more pressure on us, as a charity run pre-school, to find more places. Furthermore, it has been proven that a child’s early years foundation years are vitally important and they should have adequate facilities and resources to ensure all children, have the opportunity to develop to their full potential .
S10 a. Alphington School is full, with not a spare inch of classroom or hall to spare. 100 extra spaces would be a lot to absorb. The outside space is well used so please don’t build on it. There are already too many primary schools this side of the river with limited outdoor space. Another school is needed as part of the new 2500 development. With ref to the parking outside school, would it be worth doing a questionnaire of the parents who drive already to find out their reasons ? ie. distance / having to get to work / smaller children in tow. There might be the possibility of walking buses from certain areas to save some driving. You could divide the school catchment into walking catchments and see if there is interest by parents to make it work. Less cars zooming around would make it safer. b. Shops – The current geography of the shops does not lend itself to creating a central community hub. The new 2500 houses should definitely include a parade of shop units. This would reduce car usage and make it more attractive to residents. Imagine if we could have a bank, hairdressers, post office, general store and fish and chip shop near a nice new community hall. If this also was near a new children’s play area and public loos it would be great. Think how many trips to St Thomas would no longer be needed. c. The existing community buildings should be maintained and improved for the benefit of the current residents. A new hall would be needed for the 2500 extra. Overall, as the proposed 2500 houses is the same size as Cranbrook, shouldn’t we be looking at what is being provided for that ? Why couldn’t we have a library for example ? –Editor’s Note- Teignbridge DC do propose to have a shopping precinct at Matford.
S11 a. Expansion of Alphington School. I think our school is excellent and would be happy to see it expanded provided quality was maintained. Why provide something new when quality provision already exists and I’m sure would welcome any extra funding. My concern would be that if 100 extra places will be required it is likely these spaces would need to be spread across the school years – say 15 extra spaces per year? Currently, I think each year has two classes of max 30 pupils. If an extra 7 or 8 pupils were added to each class I think the classes would be too large for beneficial learning. If the proposal is to put an extra class in to every year, it would mean that class size would reduce to max 25 – theoretically resulting in a better teacher pupil ratio. However, if each year were to have three classes instead of two it would presumably mean existing classes would need to be divided. I would be concerned about any affect such a division would have on the children. They have already formed close bonds with their classmates. Further, increasing the school by 25% might result in losing it’s small / family / community feel. Could some of the extra spaces needed be accommodated by Kenn school, Ide, Exminster, etc? or is the 100 already our share of the spaces needed? In principle, I would support the idea of expanding alphington school provided these concerns were taken into account somehow. b. Additional shops. Why would we need more shops? With the spar, Lidls, The pharmacy, the post office, Sainsburys, the electric shop, the carpet shop, bakers yard & marsh barton stuff all on our doorstep, plus the mobile businesses of the food van and the chip van I see no need for more. Small businesses must be struggling to survive in the current economic climate and this is likely to be the case for the foreseeable future. Extra footfall for existing businesses would surely be the way to go – supporting and enhancing what we have already – businesses that are established, needed and supported in the local community. As for the recycling, we have the spar facilities, those at sainsbury’s and we are really near the main recycling centre for Exeter on Marsh Barton – why do we need more? c. Community facilities. I think we have a good number of facilities in Alphington, albeit a little worn! With the hall, the community centre, the scout hut, the cricket club and the stuff that goes on at the school – polartis classes in the evening etc, again there seems little mileage in creating something new. If there’s funding floating around for community facilities with this new development I think we should be trying to get our existing facilities brought up to date a bit more – improving structure of the buildings, energy efficiency, size, accessibility etc. Establishing new facilities from any capital grant would eventually need revenue funding from the community and as a community we already struggle to meet the financial needs of the existing provision. If we could improve what we’ve got we would potentially be able to get more use out of the existing provision – and thereby be able to swallow the extra demand the development would bring. d.Thank you for asking for our comments and taking the time to listen, process and move things forward for us all. We really appreciate your efforts on behalf of our community.