The preparation of the District’s new Local Plan is slowly moving forward but the publication of the Consultation on the ‘Preferred Options’ – where development is likely to take place – is not now due until mid May 2015. Epping Forest District Council is currently considering three main housing target options for the District, which range from between 6,400 and 10,200 new homes being built and which will require the release of Green Belt land. Unfortunately, all Local Authorities have to follow the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework which insists that they must take ‘account of migration’ when assessing housing need.
However, a recent Ministerial statement, on 6th October, from Eric Pickles MP said that ‘Councils must protect our precious Green Belt land’ and also that ‘housing need – including for traveller sites – does not justify the harm done to the green belt by inappropriate development’. Theydon Bois Action Group (TBAG) is not sure whether this is a ‘sea change’ in Government Policy which will now prevent building on Green Belt land or merely an attempt to pass the blame onto Local Authorities. Only time will tell.
On 5th November, the Chairman of TBAG took part in the London Green Belt Council’s launch of the first comprehensive Map of the Metropolitan Green Belt at the House of Commons. It is clear that our concerns regarding pressure for development on our Green Belt land are also shared by all 70 member Constituencies of the London Green Belt Council.
Specific planning applications which affect Theydon Bois:
Sixteen String Jack public house. TBAG, along with many other village groups and individuals, has raised a strong objection to the proposed demolition of the pub to make way for 13 new apartments (EPF/2040/14).
Tennis Club. The other planning item of particular importance to Theydon Bois residents is the Appeal by the Tennis Club to the Planning Inspectorate following the refusal by EFDC to allow flood lighting of one of the courts. TBAG has submitted a further objection against what would be a highly intrusive development on a sensitive Green Belt site, which forms part of the Buxton Trust land.
Blunts Farm. A proposal for a large new agricultural machinery storage building in a small field in Coopersale Lane (EPF/1593/14) was refused by EFDC. The applicant has now submitted an Appeal to the Planning Inspectorate to which TBAG will be making a further representation.
Stable adjacent to 1 Gun Cottage, Abridge Road (EPF/0255/14). Following a refusal by EFDC to convert the stable to a new dwelling, the applicant has now lodged an Appeal with the Planning Inspectorate. TBAG will also submit a further objection to this inappropriate development on a Green Belt site at the rural edge of the village.
This being the centenary of the start of WW1, our Committee felt quite strongly that they would like to lay a wreath at the village war memorial on behalf of TBAG. Had those service personnel, and thousands of servicemen and women since, not given their lives for our freedom, TBAG, if it existed at all, could have very different aims today. We decided not to use ‘fighting funds’ so a collection was made from Committee members for the wreath which was laid by our Vice-Chair.
TBAG extends season’s greetings to all villagers and wishes you all the very best for the New Year.