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TBAG Fundraising Evening – a resounding success!

Our fundraising evening in the Theydon Bois Balti House on Monday 27th April was a complete ‘sell out’ and a resounding success thanks to all of those who came along to show their support for TBAG and appreciation of our lovely village and precious Green Belt surroundings.

Our special thanks go to Atique and all of his staff in the Balti House for hosting the event and for providing such delicious food at two full sittings. It gave residents and supporters a chance to enjoy a first class meal in very pleasant surroundings, chat with friends and join in a real community event. There were many compliments about the food and suggestions that this should become a regular TBAG event. We shall bear it in mind!

During the evening, a very successful raffle was held and we would like to give our special thanks to all of those local businesses and individuals who donated such generous prizes. There were some unique and interesting works of art, theatre tickets, vouchers for local businesses, several consumable luxuries and various other unusual but useful gifts.

All in all it was a very enjoyable evening and, thanks to the efforts of all involved, TBAG managed to raise over £2,000 towards their fighting fund. A heartfelt Thank You to everyone for your ongoing support of our voluntary work on behalf of all of the village.

TBAG NEEDS YOU!

TBAG IS FUNDRAISING!

As you will be aware, the most imminent threat to the village from development is the proposed car park on Green Belt land by Transport for London (TfL).  Why is this a threat?  Not only is the site squarely within the London Metropolitan Green Belt and a car park would not normally be considered ‘exceptional circumstances’ for development here, but more importantly it would represent the first significant breach of the ‘Urban Edge’ (a planning term) of the village which is delineated by the railway lines.  If the Green Belt to the east of the railway lines is allowed to be developed, Theydon Bois can expect more than a few planning applications from our old friends on Old Foresters and Blunts Farm to name just two.

As ever, the situation is not so clear cut.  This is not just another full planning application that TBAG are resisting as we would normally.  TfL is attempting to develop the car park using Permitted Development rights conferred on them by Victorian Railway Acts, the detail of which has expired.  TBAG has already taken legal advice which indicates that TfL do not have those Permitted Development rights as they had not previously allocated or developed the land in question for railway operations use.  The TBAG Committee is therefore taking legal advice with a view to considering an action for Judicial Review of the decision taken by Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) to consider the application for prior approval (of permitted development) to be a valid one.

While TBAG has some fighting funds available, legal assistance is expensive.  To date, we have already spent £2,700 to get to our present position.  In addition, we also have to consider our financial position in the event of a lost review and the consequential costs that would arise from the defending party.

And for anyone who might feel that we need more parking space for the station, consider this: TfL have already put forward the existing Car Park and the Balti House Restaurant site, both brown field sites, under EFDC’s Call for Sites exercise as being suitable for housing development.  So the development will likely not amount to additional parking but replacement parking which will also greatly affect the rural environment on the east of the railway.  As ever, keep an eye on our website for more detail and up to date information.

TBAG NEEDS YOU! Please consider making a donation to our current fighting fund.  All proceeds will go towards our legal expenses.  The TBAG Committee are Theydon resident volunteers and do not charge for their time in administering this or any of the work that they do.  We do it, as our logo says, to protect the village of Theydon Bois.  Donations can be made as follows:  Cheques (made payable to Theydon Bois Action Group) or cash may be dropped in to the village Post Office and left with the staff. Please put it in an envelope marked TBAG. Or email us via the website or reply to this mailing to arrange for your donation to be collected. We also hope to be holding fundraising curry nights in the Balti House very soon and will be in touch again with the details.

Huge thanks go to our village Post Office for agreeing to help with this fundraiser and thanks to you too reader for your continued support.

Blunts Farm Development – Appeal Dismissed

TBAG are delighted to announce the decision of the Government Planning Inspectorate Inspector, Mr William Fieldhouse, to dismiss the application for the demolition of agricultural buildings and erection of four ‘executive’ dwelling houses on this Metropolitan Green Belt farm site. The Inspector confirmed that the lawful use of the site is agricultural and commented that “it seems clear that the appellant has no intention of using his land for that purpose.” TBAG has been of the same mind for several years now. Read the full Decision here.

TBAG Fights for Village at Blunts Appeal Hearing

Around a dozen TBAG supporters, including three members of the TBAG Committee, attended the Planning Inspectorate’s Appeal hearing for the Blunt’s Farm application to develop the Green Belt farmyard into an enclave of four executive 5 bedroom houses. Also supporting the village in opposition to the development were three representatives from the Theydon Bois & District Rural Preservation Society and one local Councillor. The Appellant, Mark Swan was joined by a team of four professionals, including a QC, to defend their corner. The hearing started at 10am.

TBAG were of course there to defend the Green Belt in Theydon Bois from inappropriate development and all Committee members and some supporters spoke up, often making compelling arguments. The hearing went on until 15:05 when it was adjourned to reconvene at a site meeting on Blunt’s Farm. Three members of the TBAG Committee and one from the Rural Pres were given permission by the landowners to attend the site meeting. From the proposed site it is apparent that the first floors and roof lights of any new dwellings would look clearly over the village and conversely, the village will clearly see the proposed buildings on the horizon, especially at night.

The hearing officially closed at 4:30 and TBAG now await the Inspector’s decision which will be published in around three weeks time.

Blunts Farm – Planning Application for four residential buildings

A second and revised application to replace a farm house and build three new executive size houses on the site of existing agricultural barns at Blunts Farm (EPF/2468/12) was this evening on the Agenda at the Planning East Sub-Committee meeting at Civic Offices in Epping. Surprisingly, the application was recommended for approval by the Planning Case Officer. A planning agent spoke on behalf of the Applicant. There were two speakers in opposition to the application, the Chair of the Theydon Bois Parish Council Planning Committee and a member of the TBAG Committee. Sound and clear arguments were put forward by both objectors to demonstrate how this application was contrary to several paragraphs of planning policy documents both national and local. After due consideration, Councillors unanimously voted to refuse this revised application for a housing development on Metropolitan Green Belt land as being sufficiently contrary to current planning legislation and the inevitable intrusion into the Theydon Bois Dark Sky Policy.