21/02304/FULLN 1 Conversion of Amport House into a Boutique Hotel with additional accommodation in the grounds (planning use class C1), kids club, energy centre, cycle storage, new swim club (planning use class E) and landscaping enhancements I Amport House Furzedown Lane Amport SP118BG
Monxton Parish Council objects to this planning application on the following grounds:
- Impact of additional traffic through Monxton High Street, Green Lane and Amport Road with a non-credible and non-existent traffic plan. In addition the current application understates the potential traffic and is based on wholly unsubstantiated statistics from the previous use by the MOD and some hotel in Ireland.
- The additional demand on the current, totally unfit for use shambolic, sewage system provided by Southern Water makes it highly likely to exacerbate the current problems with sewage as it is currently being either tankered from Monxton, Amport, East Cholderton and Abbotts Ann, or over-pumped into the local river (Pillhill Brook) which is a tributary of the Test River. This is due to the inability of Sothern Water to provide a functioning system, which is the subject of a major effort by all the aforementioned councils to resolve with the vendor.
- Trees: any attempt to cut down mature trees when we are all trying to save the planet should be prevented and they should move the swimming pool to an area which does not require tree felling.
Increase in traffic is our major concern. The application does not have sufficient information on, nor solutions for, traffic volumes and management during construction and post opening of the hotel. The Transport Statement provided by the applicants, is incomplete and does not refer to the impact of construction traffic at all nor set out a traffic management plan during construction. This plan is totally unacceptable and leaves a lot unaddressed that will impact adversely upon Monxton and the residents of the High Street in particular. It does not consider the impact of additional traffic on Amport School and Monxton’s narrow main street. To suggest that the MOD used the site in the same intensity as that is proposed is not credible. In terms of post construction traffic generated by the operation of the hotel the statement contains misleading unsubstantiated assertions about traffic uses under the previous owners; does not address the fact that many of the routes to the proposed hotel involve narrow lanes through local villages and presents misleading data for former levels of traffic and unreliable projections for traffic movements based on over optimistic assumptions and TRICS data for a single inappropriate analog of a transport survey done on a hotel in Limerick, Rep of Ireland in 2013 which is place many miles from any neighbouring villages.
We have broadly calculated that based on 50 – 60 staff only on duty every 24 hr period (for a 4* hotel which could be 40% more for a 5* hotel) (and does not take into account part time workers) is likely to be an extra 3,000 car movements per month through the village equating to approx. an extra 12% traffic coming through Monxton. On top of that are at least 15 goods deliveries per day, external members for the leisure clubs , non-resident restaurant users esp heavy on Sunday lunch and the afternoon tea market.
The traffic plans are flawed:
From the WEST
• The approach from the WEST through QUARLEY is wrong and the authors of this report have obviously done this off a map since you cannot exit the A303 WESTBOUND at THRUXTON airfield.
• The approach from the WEST via the A303 is via the exits at THRUXTON Village. There are two the exits the first being safer but a bit more complicated; the second is more obvious but more challenging.
S106 funding should be requested to ensure enhanced passing places on this route.
From the EAST
• The plan has gone for the most obvious route through Monxton and S106 requirement is needed for proper passing places on this route. The roads are narrow with many pinch points and often blocked with cars in the high street. Traffic backs up both ways when they can’t pass through the high street easily.
There is no mention of staff routing to work nor of any green travel plans for staff: bicycle, central transport lead on by hotel.
The hotel will be open to both residents and non-residents all year. Successful hotels aim for 80-90% occupancy. Monxton is typically quieter in the evenings and at weekends so enjoys a short respite from an otherwise busy cut through of cars and large lorries. That is likely to change and traffic will now be equally heavy at weekends and also evenings as people visit the leisure/eating facilities. Acceptable proposals for mitigating the associated risks to pedestrians and other road users put forward. The roads in the area are heavily used by horse riders and cyclists alike.
The statement also says “opportunities for individuals to walk or access the site by public transport are broadly limited”. That is a total understatement, Bus services to Amport are very limited so visitors to the new hotel will need a taxi or hotel pick up from Grateley or Andover stations if they arrived by train, which would result in no traffic benefit.
The planning also states that “the guests at Another Place venues and grounds often do not leave the hotel ground during their stay”. The two hotels referred to are in wholly different locations to Amport House. One is on a beach in Cornwall and the other is in a very rural location in The Lake District. There are many tourist attractions round so guests would naturally want to visit them. All tourist attractions locally require a car or taxi including, Stone Henge, Salisbury, Winchester, Danebury Hill Fort and many others.
There also needs to be an agreement that the hotel will put right any damages to verges or to property during the construction phase when there is likely to be large lorries delivering supplies.
Amport and Monxton has a very stressed sewage system which has resulted in Southern Water using emergency powers this year to “over-pump” sewage into the Pillhill Brook, a precious chalk stream with consequential risks to the ecology of the river system and threat to public health. This winter alone we have experienced tankers 24/7 through the village for some months. The development of a hotel of the proposed size and varied facilities would be equivalent in water usage terms to an increase in the population of Amport of about 10%. In addition to the additional water resources required for a 52 room hotel with a bar and two restaurants,
The large swimming club complex is or particular concern, and its impact has not been included in the analysis. The current sewage system has no spare capacity and so this will result in further environmental damage and threats to public health if it results in more “over-pumping” and tanker usage.
The application seeks to remove a number of healthy mature trees to allow further development of this site and its historic gardens. The loss of these trees must be prevented or at least mitigated by new plantings.
At a time where we are involved in an urgent carbon emissions crisis, right now, is it appropriate to allow these tree removals without a much more compelling rationale than the desire to build a swim club?