Don't allow housing development on Jawbone without a footpath and footbridge.
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It is widely accepted that there is a great need for new houses across the city. It is understood locally that the land around Platts Lane and the Intermet Site (Oughtibridge) has long been earmarked for housing.
However, none of the current planning proposals allow for a footpath down the hill into Oughtibridge village that includes a safe means for pedestrians to cross over the railway line. The existing road bridge over the railway is already too narrow and it is difficult for larger vehicles to pass in opposite directions. Any footpath that takes up space currently occupied by the road on the existing bridge would therefore be extremely dangerous, particularly in bad weather.
Any addition of traffic lights either side of the bridge to make it into a single direction crossing would cause long tailbacks, having a negative environmental impact for local residents and increasing journey time on what is a very important route for local people out to the M1. Traffic queues would also make it difficult for residents on Station Lane and Clough Grove to emerge onto Oughtibridge Lane. Even with single file traffic light control, pedestrians would still be in danger from large lorries, which frequently have to swing wide to go around the corner after the bridge.
In the transport assessment in the planning application for one of the current developments, the report states that "there are, however, existing warning signs for drivers that there are pedestrians in the road, and the speed limit is 30mph. As such it is considered that the lack of footway will not be a deterrent to journeys on foot."
Frankly, anyone with any local knowledge would find this statement laughable. The lack of a footpath already is a deterrent to journeys on foot; very few residents of the development on Fairholme Heights or houses on Oughtibridge Lane currently risk walking along this dangerous, steep and fast road down into the village and no one with children would consider this a safe route to school. It is highly unlikely that residents of any new development would behave differently, particularly as the road will only get busier with increased numbers of houses. This transport statement does not stand up to the reality of the situation.
It is not acceptable for new houses to be built without any pedestrian access to the village; we should be encouraging people to use their cars as little as possible. The only safe solution is for the developers to build a footbridge over the railway adjacent to the road bridge and join this to a safe footpath connecting communities above and below the bridge.
We strongly urge Sheffield City Council to make any planning permission granted for this site subject to the condition that developers must construct both a new pedestrian bridge over the railway and safe continuous footpath into the village.
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