Homes mean more cars and pollution
On Thursday, Blaby District Council will be voting on the planning application to build 4,250 houses in the Lubbesthorpe area bordered by Braunstone Town, Leicester Forest East and Enderby.
This land is enclosed by a road network including Narborough Road South, A5460, A47 and including Fosse Park, the M1 and M69 and Lubbesthorpe Way.
All of which are already heavily congested at peak times.
A reasonable estimate is that 4,250 households would accommodate some 10,000 people, who would depend on something between 6,000 and 7,000 vehicles for use on the road network for travel to work, school, shopping and leisure.
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An increase on this scale would lead to major traffic congestion on an already crowded principal road network and the resultant economic cost of the inevitable gridlock delays would be incalculable.
Traffic increase also raises the serious issue of air pollution.
A review of air quality commissioned by Blaby District Council and dated August 31 makes interesting reading.
The document conceded that (new housing) "has potential to substantially increase traffic volume on key routes and would be expected to have a most detrimental effect on air quality".
The report contains impressive graphs, charts and scientific data analysis and concludes with the startling assumption that nitrogen oxide emissions across Blaby District Council are predicted to decline substantially as a result of more stringent emission controls to vehicles.
There is some confusion here between an admission of a detrimental effect on air quality, followed by a prediction that emissions will decline by 2031.
This appears to suggest we must suffer poor air quality now but that the next generation will have lots of fresh air to breathe – if you believe that.
Leaving aside questions of road traffic density and air quality, the main issue is the impact the sheer scale of the proposals will have on the area.
Blaby District Council has 50 square miles at its disposal and the proposal to dump development on this scale on a few acres of greenbelt agricultural land around Lubbesthorpe leads to a strong suspicion of collective nimbyism on the part of those councillors with no direct connection with the area.
If that is the case, there is no hope the weight of public opposition and opinion will influence the decision.
What price the pre and post-election pledges that we would enjoy a "green government" and one that would "listen to the voice of public opinion"?
Jack Haselgrove, Leicester.