Traffic concerns over new nursery in Laindon

An early years centre being planned by Essex County Council for a new estate in Basildon will cause serious traffic problems, residents have warned.

The Dunton Fields Early Years and Children’s Centre is being planned as part of a new housing development of 450 homes at the Dunton Fields estate in Laindon.

The nursery, on land off Warwick Crescent, will serve the new community by providing a 56‐place learning facility for local children up to the age of four, to cater for increasing local population numbers and demand for school places.

However, residents have raised concerns that traffic generated by the early learning centre will impact on their own parking provision in the estate that they say is already cramped.

One anonymised resident, responding to  the plan in a consultation, said: “I have concerns over people using the road as an access route to the nursery which can cause congestion and be used for parking etc.

“We originally purchased this house as it was off the main road and is very quiet and safe as its only passing traffic is residents, this will now change and become a busy through road. If the plans are passed I will now consider moving as I feel strongly about this.”

Another said: “Have the people that designed this actually been to Roedean Crescent?

“Putting the entrance on a very small road dead opposite two houses makes zero sense. 56 places and you think most people will walk.

“If you don’t live on the estate it’s a 20 minute-plus walk which means a lot of people will be driving.

“Especially as the main reason for a child attending nursery is while the parents go to work.”

Another added: “I am a resident on the estate and the volume of cars and traffic is absolutely ridiculous.

“To even think about increasing the volume of people and cars on the estate by one would be unthinkable.

“Furthermore, many residents have moved to this estate for a quieter and more relaxing life. I can’t imagine anyone would want to have a nursery of screaming children on their doorstep.

“In addition, on this estate we pay a maintenance for the upkeep of the gardens etc. and I do not support the invitation of people from outside the development to be able to come in and create mess/litter whilst not contributing to fees.

“The development is a quiet and relaxing environment and I strongly believe that it should be kept this way.”
A statement accompanying the planning application said priority would be given to pedestrians and cyclists.

“Highways and traffic issues were those most often cited by local residents during the consultation,” added the statement.

“It is not possible to prevent parents from driving to and from the centre if they choose to do so.

“However, centre operator will implement a travel plan to discourage parents from doing so.

“The drop off/pick up area accesses directly onto Warwick Crescent, to discourage drivers from routing via Roedean Crescent.”

The statement added that a minimum of 12 teaching staff and a janitor will be working at the site, where 14 parking spaces will be provided on site for staff.

“Eight secure, covered cycle parking bays are provided on site, meeting the required standard of one space per four staff plus one space per 10 child spaces,” added the statement.

“The nearest residential properties would be 20 metres from the school and its outdoor play zones.

“Although there would be some noise associated with the use of the site as an early years centre, most notably that of children playing outside in the play zones, pre-schools are not uncommon in residential areas.

“Indeed, schools for nursery aged children are normally found in residential areas close to the households they serve.

“Overall, it is not considered that the proposed use of the site for an early years centre would result in an unacceptable loss of amenity to surrounding residential properties.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter