Serious shortcomings in Marsh Lane Bridge Consultation and Plan

The planning officers report relating to the proposal for demolition of two sound bridges and replacement by one heavy goods bridge at Marsh Lane Fields can be found here:  https://saveleytonmarsh.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/26032013-planning-committee-item-49-marsh-lane-bridge.pdf
There are many issues with this scheme and the release of key information related to the scheme to the public.
There appear to be numerous documents which were not put online and 5 of which were submitted after the formal expiry date for consultation submissions -.
“A3.08/SS/05 Rev A received on 20th February 2013, A3.08/SS/06-1 Rev B and A.3.08/SS-6-02 Rev B received on 27th February 2013, A3.08/SS/06-01 Rev C received on 5th March 2013 and A3.08/SS/04-1 and A3.08/SS/04 Rev B received on 11th March 2013.”
This made it very difficult to submit an informed consultation response in the statutory period since it is not clear what exactly is being proposed or included in the application, there seem to have been significant late alterations:
The road carriageway width has suddenly increased by 20% from 3m in the original application to :
“10.18 The bridge would have a main vehicular carriageway of approximately 3.65m”
The approach slope which was stated in the DAS as “The western approach to the bridge will have a 1:12 gradient in order to minimise its impact on the flood plain” –   is now reported in the officers report as “In terms of disabled access, the gradient of the western access is 1 in 20 and the eastern access would be 1 in 21, which would comply with the Local Planning Authority’s access standards.”
So what is the gradient going to be? We don’t know because no plan of the approach slopes were submitted. It seems to be a choice of non-compliance with access standards due to too steep a slope, or a shallow slope which increases flood risk. This is a fundamental problem with the proposal.
Most significantly, there is project creep with the bridge replacement necessitating widening the brook and replanting the banks – yet more disruption and destruction of the existing SINC habitat. The application description is simply “Replacement of existing vehicle and pedestrian bridges with single bridge” which it now appears is misleading.
Not only is money being wasted on an unnecessary replacement bridge that will encourage heavier vehicles through Marsh Lane, it is being done in a way that increases flood risk and requires reengineering Dagenham Brook, adding further cost and with unpredictable environmental effect.
“10.12 it is noted that there are future plans to reduce local flood risk by widening Dagenham Brook where it passes through the Park; this will significantly improve the flow capacity of the Brook which in turn will reduce any risk of flooding.”
Where are these ‘future plans’?,  they were not mentioned in the original planning submission. in fact it said in s11.4 “The Environment Agency advised that that there are no plans to widen the channel or any other plans which would affect the proposed bridge.”
If these future plans are required to mitigate the increased flood risk arising as a direct consequence the bridge they should have been clearly included upfront as part of the bridge proposal.
“The proposed brook widening scheme will also remove the Japanese Knotweed and Giant Hogweed along the banks which will enhance the wildlife and ecology in the Brook
10.16 Further to this, the proposed plans indicate that there would be proposed riverside enhancement including planting up and down stream of the proposed new bridge crossing at Marsh Lane.”
It states in the FRA that there are no invasive species near the bridge – this must be another case of selectively playing the invasive species card where convenient.
The plans available during the statutory consultation period did not indicate any ‘proposed riverside enhancement’.
Furthermore attempting to widen the brook in the vicinity of Marsh Lane raises a number of issues – there are large trees growing on the banks, and the steep east bank is close to property boundaries and cannot be widened on that side. The FRA mentioned ‘reprofiling the west bank upstream of the bridge’ but there is a row of large trees within 3m of the edge of the brook and it’s difficult to see how this can be achieved. Photo
“10.10 The Dagenham Brook is in a flood zone 3 area and care has to be taken to ensure that the design of the footbridge does not negatively
impact on this zone and nearby property.
10.11 In terms of flood risk, the scheme has been designed in consultation with the Environment Agency. The Environment Agency have reviewed
the proposals and have not raised an objection subject to the imposition of a condition controlling that prior to the commencement of
the development a scheme to provide an acceptable flood storage compensation scheme on a level for level and volume for volume basis at the site has been agreed. Subject to the inclusion of a suitable condition, it is considered that adequate regard has been afforded to flood risk.”
Conditions
“3. The development hereby permitted shall not be commenced until such time as a scheme to provide an acceptable flood storage
compensation scheme on a level for level and volume for volume basis at the site has been submitted to and approved in writing by
the Local Planning Authority.
The fluvial flood storage compensation area shall be constructed prior to the construction or installation of any approach embankments for the new bridge.”
So for all intents and purposes, this appears to be an objection by the EA since they are clearly saying the bridge by itself is not acceptable on flood risk grounds.
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