Local Planning Matters
Rear 33/34 Piercing Hill – Old Coach House. The application to demolish the building and replace it with a new dwelling, because of the ‘uneconomical’ costs of a conversion, has since been withdrawn.
Lillicroft Nurseries – Following a refusal to demolish and replace the existing bungalow and build a second bungalow on the nursery land, an application has been made to replace the existing small wooden dwelling with a new bungalow more than 4 times the size. Theydon Bois Action Group has submitted a strong objection to the plans which are contrary to Local and National Green Belt Policies.
EFDC Draft Local Plan & Protection of the Green Belt
Councillor John Philip, the District Council Planning and Governance Portfolio Holder, will present a report on the Regulation 19 Pre-Submission Local Plan at a full Council meeting (Epping Forest District Council) in December. The Public Consultation on the Plan will then commence and continue over the Christmas/New Year period into January 2018 without any prior consultation on the new (in excess of 160) sites put forward for development. EFDC is now racing ahead with a view to submitting the new Local Plan to the Planning Inspector by 31st March 2018. Failure to meet this deadline could see an additional 9,000 homes, on top of the 11,400 already allocated for Epping Forest District, under a new methodology to calculate housing need, which was put forward by the Government in a recent Consultation. TBAG submitted a robust response to this Consultation – ‘Planning for the right homes in the right places’ – pointing out fundamental flaws in the proposed new methodology and citing local knowledge of the housing situation. We also wrote directly to Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, copied to the Prime Minister and our MP. We are pleased to see that our Local Authority and MP are at last making a stand against these unrealistic housing targets but remain extremely disappointed that they were not prepared, at the outset of the Local Plan process, to challenge the Government over the loss of our ‘precious Green Belt’, unlike MPs in Surrey, Kent and Hertfordshire. The current housing target of 11,400 new homes would already mean a loss of about 500 hectares of Green Belt land which, by comparison, amounts to almost a quarter of the size of Epping Forest. It is simply not good enough to say that we are only losing around 1.5% of the District’s existing Green Belt!
The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in the Autumn Budget that the Government would “Continue the strong protection of the Green Belt.” Unfortunately, the Government has not delivered on its past promises in this respect, effectively passing the responsibility or blame on to Local Authorities who are forced to build on their Green Belt to meet unrealistic housing targets. The Chancellor also stated that there are 270,000 potential new homes in London which have planning permission but have not been built. Land banking by developers? It is unfortunate that the previous Chancellor chose a policy of building our way out of the 2008 recession and developers choose green field sites rather than brown field because it is cheaper for them.
TBAG’s Chairman sits on the Executive Committee of The London Green Belt Council, who have been active in facilitating the recent creation of the All Party Parliamentary Group on London’s Green Belt. This will enable a more effective pro-Green Belt voice to be heard, both in the House of Commons and the Lords.
TBAG extends season’s greetings to all villagers and wishes you all the very best for the New Year.