Traffic, school and health worries over new Stafford housing estate
Plans for a new housing estate on the site of old Staffordshire Police headquarters have sparked fears over extra traffic and pressure on health services.
The brownfield area, at Baswich Park, has been sold to housing developer Bellway Homes for £15 million.
The firm held an exhibition at Wildwood Community Centre on Wednesday unveiling its scheme to build 127 homes on the 16-acre site confirming they were likely to submit a formal application to Stafford Borough Council in September.
Controversy already surrounds the plans because Bellway do not intend to deliver any affordable homes at the site and instead have proposed to locate them at another one of their developments in Doxey.
It means all of new homes at Baswich Park will be put on the market sparking criticism that the developer is fuelling social segregation in the borough.
Residents at the exhibition expressed concerns the already heavy volume of traffic around the site’s access points of Cannock Road and Weeping Cross, would increase both during the building work and beyond completion.
Further fears included the added pressure the new residents would place on medical facilities and schools.
Weeping Cross Health Care surgery is the GP that caters for the area, but residents commented how the centre already struggles with footfall.
Diane Downing, who lives on nearby Wildwood Lawns, said: “My biggest concern is that there are no medical facilities or doctors’ surgeries.
“In the past it has struggled to cope. A doctors’ surgery will be vital.
“The only one is a small surgery at Weeping Cross. It’s quite difficult to get an appointment.”
Mrs Downing was not concerned by Bellway’s plans for affordable housing in Doxey.
“I think it’s quite good that there will be private housing as they’re mainly private estates around here.”
Mrs Downing’s husband John, president of Stafford Rangers Football Club, added: “They haven’t explained about schools in this area. Are the schools going to take extra pupils on?”
Terence Foster, of Weeping Cross, described how the development’s plans of including four and five-bedroom houses in three-storey buildings came as no surprise given the sales figures.
“They’ve reportedly paid £15m for the land,” he said. “I can’t see how it would be economically or financially viable for them to make a return with affordable houses.
“It’s quite clear they’re going to be expensive houses.”
Mr Foster added: “They have given insufficient thoughts to the access points. There will be upwards of 40 cars per day extra coming out of there and traffic coming out of nearby Lynton Avenue. There is awful traffic there in the mornings.”
Resident Helen Matlew said: “Where are the people going to come from? Are they going to be local people?
“Are the people that buy the housing going to be commuters and not bring anything into the town?”
Chris O’Hanlon of Bellway, said discussions with the council is underway regarding the issue of overcrowded roads and access to the site.
Likewise he said potential investment from the developer to expand health facilities in the area would be up to the authority to decide.
While Mr O’Hanlon stated the proposal to locate the affordable houses on the Doxey site was the ‘vision’ of the council and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner in Staffordshire, which previously owned the site.
He added: “There have been the usual issues highlighted. Highways and getting children in schools.
“There were also comments on the drainage. But there were more positive ones as well. We’re redeveloping a brownfield site with new housing in the area.”