TBAG takes the Government to task over protection of the Green Belt. See our letter to Sajid Javid (Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government) urging him to take specific action to deliver on the Government’s many ‘promises’ to protect the Green Belt. We want to see Action from the Government, not Weasel Words.
The greatest threats to our Green Belt since the Metropolitan Green Belt was established in 1955
TBAG would like to reiterate that we are not a political organisation or affiliated to any political party. However, it should be recognised that it is the incumbent political party of the day that have their hand on the tiller when it comes to steering the fate of our Green Belt in Theydon Bois. TBAG will react to extant party policies and action taken by any party which does not accord with TBAG’s aim to protect the Green Belt. TBAG will praise (not support) any political body that concurs with our mission statement which is fundamentally to protect the Green Belt around our village but we will not shrink from criticising any political organisation of whatever complexion that does not actively and effectively seek to protect the Green Belt.
Why is protection of the Green Belt so important for Theydon Bois?
Theydon Bois and its village character are dependent on our surrounding Green Belt. This is what makes Theydon the special place we all enjoy living in. If the Green Belt boundaries around our village are altered to allow for development, Theydon Bois will be changed forever. It will no longer be a village but will soon become a town.
The Bigger Picture – The London Stansted Cambridge Corridor
Were you aware that a strategic partnership of Local Government, the Greater London Authority, several further and higher education institutions, the private sector and developers, grandly named The London Stansted Cambridge Consortium (LSCC) was formed in 2013? The Consortium’s primary aim is to develop a brown field wedge, with housing, industry and associated infrastructure, reaching out from Central London and along the M11 corridor to Cambridge. One of its effects will be to seriously erode the Green Belt in Epping Forest District. See http://lscc.co and the map at http://lscc.co/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Growth-Commision-Map.jpg showing Theydon Bois in the middle of the southern end of the area. A series of such wedges or ‘spokes’ are envisaged to pierce through the London Metropolitan Green Belt in all directions and the London Stansted Cambridge Corridor (‘LSCC’ is also used to represent the ‘Corridor’) will pass right through Epping Forest District. Harlow & Gilston, as a new Garden Town, is described as being at the ‘heart of the corridor’ and ‘lying in the core area of the LSCC’.
Local Planning Matters
The Old School House, Coppice Row. Following the ‘demolition’ of much of the original building, the owner has now submitted a further application described as “The extension and conversion of” this historic, locally listed building – Ref. EPF/0811/17. The reality is that any development would now necessitate a rebuild, rather than a conversion. The present plans are for a more intensive development of 2 x 5 bedroom dwellings, instead of the 2013 approved plans for one 3 bedroom and one 4 bedroom dwelling. TBAG has submitted a strong objection to the increase in bedrooms, from 7 to 10, as this would result in an over-intensification of residential use on what is a highly sensitive Green Belt site adjacent to the Churchyard, War Memorial and the SSSI of Epping Forest.
Draft Local Plan & Protection of the Green Belt:-
EFDC have been holding Development Forum meetings with potential developers of sites around Harlow and across the rest of Epping Forest District. It appears that over 60 new sites have come forward but details have not been made public and no Minutes of these meetings have been published.
Local Planning Matters
The Old School House, Coppice Row. Many villagers who have walked past the Old School House have been appalled to see how little of the original building remains. Permission was granted in 2013 to extend and convert the existing building into two dwellings, not to demolish and rebuild it. Theydon Bois Action Group (TBAG) strongly objected to the large extension and change of use which would result in an intensification of use and a harmful impact on the sensitive Green Belt site adjacent to St Mary’s Churchyard. Many people considered that the best way to preserve this Locally Listed building was to approve the extension and conversion to residential use. Sadly, it is now evident that this was not the case as the majority of the building has been demolished, contrary to the planning permission which was granted.
Marcris Nursing Home, Coopersale Lane. Following Epping Forest District Council’s (EFDC) refusal of a proposal to demolish the care home and replace it with a new building containing 11 flats, a new proposal (EPF/3321/16) has been submitted to convert the existing building into 11 flats. TBAG has written a further strong objection to the loss of a much needed care home facility and change of use which would result in a harmful impact on the Green Belt and Protected Coopersale Lane due to the over-intensification of use of the site.
Draft Local Plan & Protection of the Green Belt
The level of housing development proposed for Theydon Bois in the Draft Local Plan, put forward by EFDC, would increase the size of our village by nearly 25%. Almost all of the development would be in the Green Belt with the largest proportion being to the east of the railway line, which has always formed a definitive and permanent Green Belt boundary to our village. TBAG have raised a strong and comprehensive objection, in particular to the proposed major expansion of our village and the associated encroachment into the Green Belt. The full letter of objection can be viewed here.
TBAG has submitted a thorough and comprehensive group response to the Draft Local Plan consultation. Our letter dated 10 December 2016 may be downloaded and read here.