Local Planning Matters
Planning permission was finally granted for the development of 7 apartments and one ‘cottage’ on the site of the Sixteen String Jack PH (EPF/2000/16). In spite of the reduction in the number of flats, Theydon Bois Action Group considered that the final design, due to its height, bulk and insufficient set back, did not fully address the Planning Inspector’s reasons for dismissing the earlier appeal. TBAG raised a further objection as did the City of London (Epping Forest) and local residents. Only time will tell what the true impact of the development will be on this sensitive location at the edge of the village!
TBAG also objected to the application for 2 large dwellings to replace agricultural buildings in the Green Belt at Blunts Farm (EPF/2298/16), citing an earlier Planning Inspector’s appeal dismissal relating to this site. EFDC also recognised the relevance of the Planning Inspector’s reasons and refused the application.
We were disappointed that the two incidences of unlawful activity on secluded sites off the Abridge Road were both granted a Certificate of Lawful Development because EFDC accepted the evidence put forward and that the activity had continued without being detected for 10 years. TBAG objected on the grounds that insufficiently robust evidence had been provided. One of the applications was refused at Planning East Committee but this decision was, unfortunately, reversed by the higher District Development Control Committee. Had the matter gone to appeal, it would have been interesting to have had a Planning Inspector’s opinion.
Draft Local Plan & Protection of the Green Belt
Residents were concerned that three new development sites to the East of the railway line have been proposed in EFDC’s Draft Local Plan as the railway line is a permanent and definitive boundary between the village and the Green Belt. TBAG will raise the strongest objection to breaching this boundary and, along with the Rural Preservation Society, have been working with our Parish Council and their planning consultant. EFDC claim that 11,400 new homes are needed across the District to provide homes for our children up to the year 2033. This is not true as the growth purely from within the District is “fairly small”, about 200 a year, as stated by EFDC in their Issues & Options Consultation Document. This would only amount to a few thousand homes needed for our Local Plan. The Metropolitan Green Belt was put it place to protect the countryside around London and yet EFDC are proposing to alter our Green Belt boundaries, under pressure from Government, and take land out of the Green Belt for development due to outward migration from London by people who want, rather than need, to live here as well as pressure from Harlow Town who wish to expand by building on land in Epping Forest District.
The Green Belt land in our District is effectively being squeezed by pressures from London and Harlow due to Government policies for “Growth” and through promoting development along the M11 Corridor from London to Stansted and Cambridge, including Harlow, which will drive a brown field development “wedge” through the Green Belt where we live!
Government Ministers have consistently stated that they will “Protect our precious Green Belt land” and that “The Green Belt is absolutely sacrosanct” and that unmet housing need does not justify building on the Green Belt. Yet these promises are not being honoured in practice. Theydon Bois Action Group have launched a Petition to protect all Green Belts in England. Please visit our Website and sign the petition if you value our Green Belt.
TBAG extends season’s greetings to all villagers and wishes you all the very best for the New Year.