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Thread: Planning application at Hog Hill

  1. #1

    Default Planning application at Hog Hill

    Planning ref 1429/12 – Application by Vision Redbridge Culture and leisure for changes to facility at Redbridge Cycling Centre. Application dated 16 July 2012. Comments will be considerd up until 6 August by following the link below*
    Main elements of the application are set out in a ‘proposal outline’ http://planningdocs.redbridge.gov.uk...s/00242572.pdf

    The four general reasons given for application are absolutely to be supported;-
    1. Tarmac circuit ‘cut-through’ to be created mid-way on the hill (Hoggenberg) for upper and lower circuits to be operated separately and to provide an easier 1.6km lower circuit that only comes part-way up the hill.
    a. The present lower 1km circuit is thus lengthened and given a climb/descent spur.
    b. The upper ‘indy’ circuit can be lengthened with a spur down the hill.
    2. BMX ‘2-man’ track to be added on the uppermost infield adjacent to the road judges’ cabin.
    3. Sports-pitch floodlighting around the upper circuit
    4. New technical features and trails to be added to the MTB provision.

    As set out, the general features are indeed likely to improve usage by quantity and type of rider. However the supporting documentation does not provide sufficient information to evaluate whether the delivery and operation of these new features will be of suitable type, technically secure, or lead to a nett increase in usage. Many more aspects and details must be considered for some of the following reasons;-
    1. Any cut-through on the road circuit will come on the steepest part of the hill where circuit repairs have already had to be made owing to slippage and seasonal heft.
    a. Ground stability and subsidence is a great concern. The substrate is compacted rubble on a claygate subsoil, so all elements of the circuit can be said to ‘float’ in a way which has been shown to be still in movement. Placing greater concentrated mass where the circuit traverses a slope will likely increase slippage at this location, resulting in cracking and misalignment of the main circuit. - How will the existing circuit's stability be ensured? - What is the risk that all will be lost by bringing in a feature the consulting engineers earlier rejected?
    b. From working on the original circuit layout where grading and camber had to be very carefully detailed right around all the possible loops, it is obvious that severe difficulties will be experienced in making smooth transition for riders leaving one section of the road circuit and making turns to join another. Through experience with the consulting engineers that built the circuit, an enormous amount of detailed work went into ensuring smooth transitions between circuit loops and the main circuit. No changes should be made to the camber or layout of the existing full circuit since this section is critical to rider safety and ground-stability on the hillside – How will the new sections ‘shade-in’ for transition?
    c. Drainage on the slope has been highly problematical with long periods when the lower circuit could not be used due to flooding, so adding more tarmac and lines of impermeability must be carefully considered. – Will new drainage be installed and where will its outlets lead to? – Can it be shown that the increased run-offs and catchments will be soaked up and away by the lower field’s drainage where problems already exist?
    d. No proof of the need for a spur on the upper circuit has been made. It is known that the existing spur from the upper circuit to the lower turn was found to be dangerous by reason of severe injury that resulted to at least one rider there in the circuit’s early days. The upper circuit is highly challenging to use already for reason of its technical turns and level changes. It is easy to mis-judge a tight turn at the bottom of a hill. To add another such feature to this relatively short circuit is probably not to be desired. The upper circuit was intended to offer a facility where riders stayed in line of sight for safety reasons (later level-changes by the pavilion put the lower turn out of sight…) – Is there any need for two links between these parts of the main circuit? – Would it ever be safe to run the two elements of the circuit together in safety? – Would it ever be desirable to use the upper circuit with the spur down the hill? – Would it be better to concentrate on providing just one link to offer the extended lower circuit as set out in the reasons for application?
    2. BMX is absolutely to be desired on the facility for reason of the accessibility and appeal of this discipline in cycle sport and recreational riding.
    a. The ‘2-man’ format proposed is not the norm for BMX. At the location indicated, there is not the space for the normal layout of eight or six lanes that makes the typical regional-level track. Typically a 5m-high start ramp leads to a switchback series of banks and berms laid-out on a rectangle of otherwise level ground. The site slopes away to the NE spur indicated on the outline drawing in a way that BMX tracks do not. The proposed layout would be of no use to regional competition structures. As the supporting document states; “Currently there is no local BMX track in the urban area”, so the need for a ‘proper BMX’ does exist and work should be done to quantify this. A ‘2-man’ may have validity for recreational users, but these are not seen in number using the Pump Track that was supposedly created to offer a similar kind of ride that tails away down a parallel slope just on the other side of that part of the road circuit.
    b. The outline plan offered by the application is not adequate to define the actual ‘BMX 2-man’ track layout, but from its location it is not possible to know now a start ramp could be built-up on a site known to have highly unstable ground conditions from the cuttings and embankments that surround it. Wide cracks in the claygate soil have opened up, visible even through the top-dressed amenity turf. Any such construction would disturb ground that is still not stable from original construction and, unless it is excavated into the site, would also impair visibility around the upper part of the facility.
    c. The idea of only two lanes on a sloping site may only lead to frustration that space available elsewhere on the site was not used to construct a ‘proper’ track. – Much more detail of the actual layout and levels of the ‘2-man’ track , plus an analysis of need and usage is required for any decision to be made on its suitability. – More consideration should be given to offering a BMX track for structured regional competition on other possible sites within the existing facility boundary. For instance; much more level ground is available on the lower field, with the possibility of using existing landforms to provide for a start-ramp on stable ground. – Has any evaluation of need and projected usage been made? – Would a ‘2-man’ offer enough to anyone interested in BMX? – Would a local BMX club be more sustainable with a ‘proper BMX’? – Why do BMX riders not come to the existing Pump Track in any number and would this offering make enough difference to their reasons? – Issues of inter-compatibility between users could arise in this part of the facility: For instance; would BMX riders insist on using the adjacent part of the road circuit to make return from end to start of the layout? Would Cyclocross or MTB XC race layouts be possible without this part of the infield? – Would any such issues arise with a BMX in another area of the facility?
    3. Floodlighting will allow longer periods of operation and is to be desired. The present application is made only by means of a contractor’s tender , offering no means by which the scheme’s suitability for competition can be assessed. The earlier considered opinion of the LB Redbridge planning department was not to allow floodlighting for reason of the site’s wide exposure and superb outlook across E London and its surrounding open fields.– How have these issues been overcome now? – What are the views of the national and local nature conservancy bodies that are known to be highly active? – Would a lower-level of lighting in terms of lux-per-unit and stanchion height be more likely to provide a suitable offer? – Are 18 stanchions 6m in height really necessary to cover the site when typical sports lighting would use far fewer? – What Lux levels are being designed into the scheme? – How will the light pollution across the Fairlop and wider area be received by all neighbouring interests? – What evaluation of the amenity gain has been made? – Where are the stanchions actually to be sited, and will this compromise safety or amenity for users?
    4. The MTB offering has been justifiably criticised as unsuitable for racing and uninspiring. An improvement is to be welcomed and this should be set out in detail for evaluation. No such evaluation can be made from the documentation set out in the application ref 1429/12. Detailed drawings may not be necessary, but a general indication of where improvements can be made, and of what technical features are intended must be offered to existing and intending users. – Perhaps a group could be set-up to bring forwards a set of plans and a ‘self- build’ approach could deliver more participation and long-term buy-in to the eventual scheme? - What evaluation of improved amenity and increased usage has been made?

  2. #2

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    The application is so lacking in detail. Each element has failed to show any analysis or detail in how it will deliver based on need, amenity or sustainability. Such analysis of usage and amenity in report format for each aspect of the application would be a minimum requirement from any of the regular sports funding bodies. – Has this basic work even been done, and if it has: Why is this not included in the application? - What is the business or sustainability case being made? – What is the amenity gain of each separate element and why was each particular format for delivery chosen over other possibilities? – How can commercial tender documents provide detailed support for amenity decisions?
    In the light of previous detailed applications for the creation of this facility it would be expected that at least a Screening Report should be offered on the need for an Environmental Impact Assessment, at which time users would reasonably request a wider review of the planting and fencing schemes within the site, since the removal or changes to many of these would have little or no environmental impact on the dead or overgrown plantings inside.
    It would greatly assist all interested parties to have detail of the four main elements within this application, and it is respectfully suggested that beyond a ‘Need and Amenity Report’, there could be a consultation over the detail with users. This would be the best way to gain support for what may well be a sensible application, but which could be greatly improved in substance, detail and outcome.
    Provided the missing details can deliver the improved amenity and sustainability without detrimental effects on the present amenity, users would back the application; but without the detail and analysis there is no substance to support.
    - Perhaps it would be best to make this into an outline application or to withdraw, pending carefully consulted and detailed work on how to change existing elements and to bring in new ones. The provision of such detail into an application before the Planning Committee should at least be governed by condition and covenanted by strategy for later decision. This requires at least some evaluation of whether such new elements will improve or widen amenity and can be made environmentally, technically and operationally sustainable through successful delivery to the demand of more users: - Something which those users whose campaigning work secured this facility and funding into the London Borough of Redbridge would hope they could decide to support wholeheartedly.

    *Comments can be made and all documentation found at;-
    http://planning.redbridge.gov.uk/swiftlg/apas/run/WPHAPPDETAIL.DisplayUrl?theApnID=1429/12&backURL=<a href=wphappcriteria.display?paSearchKey=331336>Sea rch Criteria</a> > <a href='wphappsearchres.displayResultsURL?ResultID=5 297500%26StartIndex=1%26SortOrder=rgndat:desc%26Di spResultsAs=WPHAPPSEARCHRES%26BackURL=<a href=wphappcriteria.display?paSearchKey=331336>Sea rch Criteria</a>'>Search Results</a>

  3. #3

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    I'm advised there is no plan to provide a spur down the hill for the upper circuit. The cut through is for the lower circuit to come up and then take riders back down the hill.
    BMX may be expanded to 4, 6 or 8-lane in the actual delivery.
    Lighting is already low-level and an indication has been given it will not be refused permission on environmental grounds.
    MTB needs more of an offering than at preesnt if it is to sustain.

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