Category Archives: Local Plan

Summer 2023 Update

A bumper Newsletter this quarter but we make no apologies for its length since some news is just too important not to share. We hope you find our efforts interesting.

Local Planning Matters

TBAG have submitted objections to the following applications on grounds of Green Belt Policies:
EPF/0292/21 Land north of Forest Drive – developers Anderson Design and Build Limited didn’t waste any time resubmitting with 10 MORE dwellings making it 38 and not the previously applied for 28. The Local Plan describes this site as “The limited northern expansion provides a natural extension to the settlement and is the least harmful to the Green Belt.“ (Para 5.111). TBAG objected to the density, design, road safety, damage to trees etc, and addressed TBAG Supporters’ concerns.
EPF/2206/21 Land adjacent to Gun Cottage, Abridge Road application for a crossover was again refused on appeal.
EPF/1671/22 Blunts Farm, Ivy House. Application for a swimming pool and extensions to house. Refused.
EPF/2728/22 Blunts Farm, Demolition of existing structures and erection of new storage buildings and retention of two storage containers. Under consideration.
EPF/0034/23 28 Piercing Hill, demolition and replacement of existing dwelling. Under consideration. The house is one of the original Manor Villas, built between 1870 and 1872, after the coming of the railway to Theydon Bois in 1865.  TBAG objected to the demolition of this historic building, and EFDC’s Heritage & Conservation Officer has also raised an objection with EFDC Planning.
EPF/0830/23 and EPF/0831/23 Blunts Farm. Resubmissions of applications previously adjudicated to be unlawful for two flats. TBAG has asked why enforcement action was not taken and the applicants permitted to resubmit with no new persuasive evidence. We are concerned about the lack of enforcement action at this site over several decades now.

Local Plan

The Local Plan was formally adopted on 6 March 2023 and will impact the district until 2033. TBAG view this Plan as a Developers’ Charter since EFDC was not prepared to lower the housing numbers in line with latest Government Data. Local Conservative Councillors pushed the plan through ignoring Central Government’s recent concession of a two-year extension to local authorities to allow them to reassess their plans in the light of local constraints (in our case 92% Green Belt and Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation). District Councillor John Philip thought two years was insufficient time to reconsider the statistics, and suggested the district would be left wide open to speculative development if we did not adopt the plan there and then. However, the Government’s own National Planning Policy Framework makes it clear that there is ‘no presumption in favour of sustainable development in the Green Belt’. Cllr Philip also suggested that the Planning Inspector “does not favour our District”! When an Independent Councillor asked if Conservative Councillors had a free vote (i.e. not whipped by their political party) the Leader of the Council, Cllr Chris Whitbread, flushed and replied “No comment”. The Conservative Councillors en-bloc chose to robustly support the plan and voted for it to become our new adopted local plan.
Conservatives have claimed for years that they will “Protect our precious green belt land” and that the “green belt is absolutely sacrosanct” etc and TBAG has reported on these agreeable points of view. But at the same time, there was a top-down edict of housing numbers to be achieved. However, in the final throes of our own Local Plan, Central Government finally recognised constraints such as Green Belt and the Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation and gave a two year allowance beyond the deadline for completion of local plans in which local authorities could review their housing numbers and adjust their plans accordingly.
The Vision for Theydon Bois is stated in this Local Plan to be that “Theydon Bois will continue to maintain its local feel and character and preserve its rural setting, adjacent to the Epping Forest, whilst providing a mix of housing, key local services and high quality independent retail. Theydon Bois will also enhance its leisure facilities and social infrastructure to support existing and future residents.”

The local plan recognises that “Theydon Bois is a village with a strong rural feel” (Para 5.107) and that “The Green Belt plays an important role in maintaining separation and reducing coalescence between neighbouring settlements, most notably Theydon Bois, Waltham Abbey and North Weald Bassett.” (Para 5.8). And when considering Loughton, “Future development should maintain separation from neighbouring Theydon Bois, Buckhurst Hill and Chigwell.” (Vision for Loughton). Para 5.114 states “There are no allocations for traveller accommodation in Theydon Bois.” We have of course had some experience of travellers and it wasn’t all positive; in fact it was far from positive.

Para 5.110 confirms the allocation of “approximately 57 homes” to be built in our village, a figure which is too vague to TBAG’s thinking and we expect this to be increased as greedy developers move in. TBAG also wonders if this number takes into account the number of in-fill new homes, including conversions into flats, which have taken place since 2011, the start date of the Plan. This number was “informed by the aspiration of Theydon Bois to maintain its local feel and character” (Para 5.110).

How much more of our Green Belt is to be sacrificed to the developers in the next local plan in 2033? Any more will result in a detrimental effect on the character of our environment in Theydon Bois. Are we to evolve and merge like Debden or Loughton or remain a true village (i.e. less than 7,500 residents)? The Local Plan already designates Theydon Bois as a “Large Village” (Table 5.1) and it is highly unlikely that the numbers of residents are ever going to fall.

And talking of the local plan, a local news stream recently published on its website the following article: “Just how many new homes will be built in the district?”. It examines the interpretation of the word ‘approximately’ which is a definition included in the local plan for housing allocation numbers. One example cited is at the former school site in St John’s Road, Epping where the local plan states this site could accommodate “approximately 34 homes”. However, EFDC have granted Qualis, its own wholly-owned development arm, planning permission for 184 apartments and the conversion of a building into two cottages! See the article in full here.

TBAG have also heard reports regarding the South Epping Masterplan site (Ivy Chimneys), where the Submission Version Local Plan put forward by EFDC originally proposed 900 new homes. The Planning Inspector at the Examination in Public reduced this number to approximately 450 new homes, and we now understand that developers are looking to increase this number and make 450 new homes a MINIMUM number and not an approximate number.

New planning applications submitted following adoption of the Local Plan 2033 have raised serious concerns within TBAG on the efficacy of the Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) included within it. The new applications are putting the HRA to the test but it appears that EFDC are looking to fudge the HRA, its spirit and intention, and allow an excessive number of new dwellings within the 200m zone of protection for the Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The Submission Version Local plan originally called for a protection zone of several kilometres between development and the forest with respect to increased atmospheric pollution and recreational pressure on the forest. We will be relying on the City of London Corporation to object to those applications which put Epping Forest under threat. No amount of cash changing hands can protect our forest from the resultant pollution from inappropriate development.

Epping Forest Clean Air Zone coming?

Events surrounding the London Ultra Low Emission Zone (‘ULEZ’) will, TBAG believe, have a direct effect on whether we will see a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in Epping Forest. In February it was reported in our local press that Epping Forest MP, Dame Eleanor Laing, has added her name to a letter to the Conservative Party Chairman, Greg Hans MP, raising concerns over the proposed introduction of the London ULEZ which is scheduled to come into effect on 29 August this year and which will stretch out from London to the borders of Epping Forest. The letter has been written by David Simmonds MP (Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner). TBAG hopes that Dame Eleanor will show a similar level of concern and lend her support to residents’ objections should her own District Council seek to introduce a CAZ through Epping Forest, which would be an easy revenue raiser for the Council at £12.50 per day, as is proposed for the ULEZ scheme, but will negatively impact on residents. TBAG have not seen the whole letter, but published quotes indicate that “While hurting our constituents, the ULEZ expansion will have a negligible effect on air quality, according to the Mayor’s own independent impact assessment.” It is likely that rat runs would establish as vehicles attempt to avoid the ULEZ by driving through Epping Forest District. The other trend of 20mph speed limits in built-up and residential areas also adds to poor air quality as modern motors are not as efficient at that speed and burn more fuel for a longer time than when travelling at 30mph. 20mph does of course contribute to safer roads. If one doesn’t get you, the other will …

EFDC makes changes to licensing consultation

Another recent move by EFDC to save money is its decision to cease consulting with residents and businesses when an application for a licence or other licensing conditions is received. EFDC claim consulting with nearby residents “… places an unnecessary and administrative burden on the district council …”. They also claim it is “inconsistent with other local authorities both locally and nationally who follow the statutory consultation only.” So, if you live near a premises which might apply for a licence or other licensing conditions you will no longer be notified of the applications. This policy change was effective from 1 June 2023. Previously, EFDC notified residents and businesses within 150 metres of the application premises and has said that it was not “legally required” to do so. The Licensing Act 2003 requires applications to be displayed at the premises and in a local newspaper and statutory consultees e.g. the police, fire, planning and public health authorities must be consulted. Our Parish Council will continue to be notified and applications should appear on the Weekly List too but residents will be reliant on the PC to decide if wider consultation is thought necessary and to action wider consultation through its own methods.

Support Theydon Bois Dark Sky Policy

Loughton Astronomical Society (LAS) are the village’s most vociferous group when it comes to protecting our Dark Sky Policy. We have been notified by LAS that there is a petition to protect dark skies nationwide, including Theydon Bois, and you may wish to support this. See

Thank you for reading to the end! Your support is greatly appreciated.


TBAG had several supporters and members of its Committee present at both the demonstration outside Civic Offices and at the Extraordinary Meeting of the Council on Monday 6 March 2023. You may view the webcast of the meeting, which is 1 hour and 14 minutes long, here.

It was confirmed that some 1457 acres will be removed from the District’s Green Belt to enable new homes to be built of which 988 acres for garden communities and 321 acres for North Weald Basset, South of Epping and Waltham Abbey North masterplan areas. This is entirely avoidable were EFDC to acknowledge, as Central Government has done, that the Green Belt is a constraint on our ability to build more homes. EFDC also fail summarily to acknowledge that a surfeit of new dwellings over and above what is needed will contribute greatly to the poor air quality of the district not only with emissions from construction but the permanent increase in domestic emissions thereafter. The 11,400 new homes that have been approved in this plan are based on nine-year-old, out of date, Government statistics while only 5,000 homes are actually needed, calculated using latest Government statistics making this Plan a developers’ charter. EFDC have doggedly adhered to these figures and refuse to review the Plan given the opportunity to do so. They appear to take the view that if we charge everyone driving a polluting car through the forest, we can give the money to the trees and this will apparently make it all alright.

There are ‘strategic masterplan sites’ already formulated and indeed, cash strapped EFDC are currently recruiting for Building Services Engineers and a Senior Building Surveyor which might suggest there are a few done deals which were just waiting for the Local Plan to be adopted.

There followed a short debate where only a few Councillors spoke. All the concerns that TBAG have reported on previously were mentioned as well as other issues like older people not being adequately addressed in the Plan, that the infrastructure is not adequate for the amount of proposed housing, and that the impact of it will have a negative effect on the character of existing communities, an admission that doctors are in short supply, and that there was not enough in the Plan on good design.

One Councillor asked if members would say whether there had been a whip of group members to vote for the adoption of the plan or whether Councillors would be free to vote how they wanted. The Conservative group leader was asked for his answer and replied “no comment”. A point of order was then raised by Cllr Philip and the question was not publicly asked, but the Conservative Group Leader, Cllr Whitbread did appear flustered and later made reference to Everything Epping Forest about a ‘leak’ from his private group meeting, but he was not clear on what that leak was. Outside the meeting a Conservative Councillor was asked this question again to which they replied, “No comment”. The question of a whip was not denied by the Conservative Group.

Our own Councillor Clive Amos spoke well and pointed out that the political climate regarding planning had changed from the old top-down approach to Local Authorities now being much more central to the way their plan is devised. He also referred to the letter of 5 December 2022 from Michael Gove, MP, (Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Minister for Intergovernmental Relations) to all Conservative MPs, which could protect our Green Belt from being built on were the two-year transition period implemented. This point fell on deaf ears.

Our second Councillor John Philip said that technically the last plan expired in 2006, which is not correct as that plan was extended and adopted in 2006. He said that he had met in 2011 with the Government’s Chief Planning Officer who said there is no reason why a local plan cannot be done within 12 months or at a push 18 months, but Cllr Philip went on to say that this plan had taken so long because there had been so much public consultation. Some of this consultation was clearly ignored. Interestingly, he suggested that the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol do not always act in the best interests of this district when considering refused applications and he referred to one application that had not been refused but run out of time for EFDC to decide and was successful on appeal. He agreed that it is not a perfect plan but said that it was as good as we can get. He actually said they had looked at the Green Belt’s purposes and then looked at the bits of our Green Belt that were best suited to keep and the ones that were not. He advised members to ‘know your plan’ and make use of it.

Another Councillor asked what the option was if we did not adopt the plan. Members were incorrectly told that developers from anywhere could submit applications to build anywhere, and that because we wouldn’t have an adopted plan those applications would be seriously considered by the Secretary of State and the Council would be wide open to speculative developers. TBAG disagree with this since the National Planning Policy Framework is just that, a national policy that would protect our Green Belt and moreover not seek to move its boundaries.

Members requested a recorded vote, and the outcome is set out below. Unsurprisingly, given the earlier question, all Conservative Councillors voted in favour of the Plan. We shall see just how good this plan is as time passes but one thing is for sure, if it takes EFDC so inordinately long to devise a plan, they had better start on the next one now to avoid another protracted and expensive exercise.


57 Councillors in total

Apologies for absence (8)

Cllr Elizabeth Gabbett, Green Party
Cllr Richard Bassett, Conservative
Cllr Jodie Lucas, Conservative
Cllr Ian Hadley, Conservative
Cllr Judy Jennings, Loughton Residents Association
Cllr Bob Jennings, Loughton Residents Association
Cllr Jayna Jogia, Loughton Residents Association
Cllr Cherry McCredie, Liberal Democrats – on Zoom (cannot vote)

Votes in favour of adoption of Local Plan (37)

Cllr Nigel Avey, Conservative
Cllr Raymond Balcombe, Conservative
Cllr Nigel Bedford, Conservative
Cllr Pranav Bhanot, Conservative
Cllr Peter Bolton, Conservative
Cllr Heather Brady, Conservative
Cllr Les Burrows, Conservative
Cllr Stephen Heather, Conservative
Cllr Helen Kane, Conservative
Cllr Sam Kane, Conservative
Cllr Paul Keska, Conservative
Cllr Jeane Lea, Conservative
Cllr Alan Lion, Conservative
Cllr Tim Matthews, Conservative
Cllr Jaymey McIvor, Conservative
Cllr Richard Morgan, Conservative
Cllr Joseph Parsons, Conservative
Cllr Aniket Patel, Conservative
Cllr Smruti Patel, Conservative
Cllr John Philip, Conservative
Cllr Ronda Pugsley, Conservative
Cllr Kaz Rizvi, Conservative
Cllr Mary Sartin, Conservative
Cllr Paul Stalker, Conservative
Cllr David Stocker, Conservative
Cllr Darshan Sunger, Conservative
Cllr Basil Vaz, Conservative
Cllr Chris Whitbread, Conservative
Cllr Holly Whitbread, Conservative
Cllr Ken Williamson, Conservative
Cllr Shane Yerrell, Conservative
Cllr Ian Allgood, Loughton Residents Association
Cllr Roger Baldwin, Loughton Residents Association
Cllr Rose Brookes, Loughton Residents Association
Cllr Howard Kauffman, Loughton Residents Association
Cllr Louise Mead, Loughton Residents Association
Cllr Caroline Pond, Loughton Residents Association

Votes against adoption of Local Plan (9)

Cllr Clive Amos, Liberal Democrats
Cllr Janet Whitehouse, Liberal Democrats
Cllr John Whitehouse, Liberal Democrats
Cllr Simon Heap, Green Party
Cllr Julian Leppert, British Democrats
Cllr Michael Owen, Loughton Residents Association
Cllr Deborah Barlow, Independent
Cllr Stephen Murray, Independent
Cllr Sheree Rackham, Independent

Abstentions from the vote (3)

Cllr Chidi Nweke, Loughton Residents Association
Cllr Chris Pond, Loughton Residents Association
Cllr David Wixley, Loughton Residents Association

Urgent Update March 2023


The Planning Inspector examining our Local Plan has submitted his final report declaring the Plan ‘Sound’. TBAG are not satisfied that this Plan is sound for several reasons (see below). The submission version Local Plan is to be discussed at an EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL MEETING of the Council next Monday 6 March 2023 at the Civic Offices. Your elected local District Councillors may vote either for or against adoption of this Plan and we would urge our supporters to lobby these Councillors and ask them to vote AGAINST adoption, on the grounds that this Plan is UNSOUND in its current state and should properly be revised. Your Councillor’s contact details are below. Note also that there is to be a demonstration organised by The Epping Society at 18:30 on Monday 6 March outside EFDC Civic Office, Epping which you may wish to join.

Theydon Bois Action Group believe that this plan is UNSOUND and would comment as follows:

  • As TBAG have been citing for several years now, the Plan proposes too large a number of new dwellings (11,400) based on out of date, nine-year-old Office for National Statistics (ONS) data. EFDC refuse to use the 2016 and 2018 ONS figures plus the 2021 census figures which would mean less than HALF this number of new homes are actually required in our District.
  • The majority of these proposed dwellings would therefore have to be built on our precious Green Belt land which the Government had previously declared as being “absolutely sacrosanct”.
  • TBAG have major concerns about the impact of the proposed number of dwellings upon the integrity of Epping Forest SAC with respect to visitor numbers and air quality issues. EFDC propose to mitigate against this excessive number of houses, and the knock-on effects caused by them, by the introduction of an aspirational scheme of making a Clean Air Zone along Forest roads. This will only cause resentment and even more pollution when drivers detour to avoid these charges or be obliged to pay £12.50 per day.
  • There is no guarantee that the dwellings to be developed will meet any of our District’s needs. Developers historically prefer to build executive homes (which will have lovely Green Belt views) to see the greatest return on their investment. This district does not need more executive homes – it needs affordable homes.
  • TBAG do believe that the concerns of the original Inspector, Mrs Louise Phillips, about the impact that development on this scale would have on the Forest, have not been addressed. Instead, it is proposed that development to within 400m of the Forest shall be allowed and closer still if a ‘case’ can be made. So much for protecting our Forest.
  • TBAG do not believe that taking cash from drivers and installing chemical absorption pits to allegedly remove oxides of nitrogen etc., are the ways to protect our Forest. The only way to protect the Forest from atmospheric pollution is to reduce the excessive number of dwellings proposed in this Plan and their resultant emissions.
  • Since the conception of this Local Plan, Government have done a policy ‘U’ turn on planning, accepting that Green Belt land should not be built on to meet housing needs and that this need should be determined by actual local needs and not top-down, inflated figures imposed by Central Government.
  • Government are currently consulting on further changes to the National Planning Policy Framework which is used as a basis for formulating Local Plans, particularly with regard to housing numbers. TBAG feel the proposed Local Plan should now be held in abeyance until these new Governmental policies are made otherwise our new Local Plan will be out of date too soon after adoption, to the detriment of our District.
  • Many Tory MPs voiced discontent with the excessive and enforced housing numbers, and loss of Green Belt and surrounding countryside, and rebelled against the Government’s proposed White Paper on planning policy and then forced amendments to the current Levelling up and Regeneration Bill currently going through the House of Lords.
  • TBAG has long thought that the excessive number of dwellings proposed by Government is purely a quest to raise the general level of economic activity through development and its supporting supply chain to overcome the effects of the original 2008 recession. This is despite the fact that there are already 1.2m extant planning permissions on land banked by developers which have not been built out.
  • Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Minister for Intergovernmental Relations, wrote to all Conservative MPs on 5 December 2022. He said, inter alia, that reforms have been made e.g. “scrapping policies like top-down regional targets that built nothing but resentment”. And of the Green Belt he confirms that “we will be clear that local planning authorities are not expected to review the Green Belt to deliver housing.” “This is in line with commitments made by the Prime Minister in the Summer.” “The effect of these changes will be to make absolutely clear that Local Housing Need should always be a starting point – but no more than that – and importantly, that areas will not be expected to meet this need where they are subject to genuine constraints.” Epping Forest District is very much constrained by being 92% Green Belt and the Forest SAC.
  • Most importantly, Michael Gove MP went on to confirm in his letter that “Where authorities are well-advanced in producing a new plan, but the constraints which I have outlined mean that the amount of land to be released needs to be reassessed, I will give those places a two year period to revise their plan against the changes we propose and to get it adopted.” EFDC should take full advantage of this two-year transition period and revise housing numbers in the District and their sites to properly reflect need, protect our Green Belt and the Forest SAC. There can be no excuse for not taking advantage of this Ministerial statement.
  • In a House of Commons debate on 20 February 2023, Michael Gove MP reaffirmed his commitment to protecting the suburban Green Belt and to ensuring that communities receive the new homes that they need.

TBAG would strongly urge supporters to approach their elected District Councillors (contact details below) to impress upon them that blindly voting politically to adopt this local plan will be letting down their residents very badly in the light of Michael Gove’s December letter which gives EFDC every chance with a two year transition period for them to revisit the required housing numbers in our district using the latest ONS statistics (not outdated statistics) and REDUCE the number of dwellings to be built in our district up to 2033 AND to take into account the obvious constraints this district has being 92% London Metropolitan Green Belt. This will at one fell swoop not only protect our Green Belt and our Forest, but will also put the housing where it is needed and in the numbers and types that are needed and not in the volume that will bring favour from developers and increased revenue through new council tax payments etc. without providing supporting infrastructure (schools, doctors, shops etc.). It’s our district and we must be heard that we want it to stay green and pleasant and not concreted over and lost forever. If we do not need the volume of houses proposed, why should we lose Green Belt to accommodate them? We will never get that Green Belt back, and if ‘alternative sites’ of green belt are allocated to compensate for such loss, what good will that be to us, the residents who live adjacent to the existing Green Belt?  Pushing the Green Belt out further from London does not compensate residents, nor does it appeal to Londoners who choose to visit our countryside for their recreation who will then have to travel further to reach it WITHOUT the convenience of the London Underground, and likely increasing emissions in the process. Our Epping Forest District Green Belt has been in existence for nigh on 90 years and while not all of this land is especially scenic nor necessarily possessed of a wild and romantic beauty, it is its undeveloped character that is of importance. The aim of Green Belts was not as long-term land banks for developers, but to resist the pressure to build, and it is this point that EFDC seem loathe to recognise. Moreover, Green Belts everywhere are a wildlife resource remaining vital not only for ecosystem services it provides for humanity, but also the natural world’s intrinsic right to exist. As climate change causes animals and plants to migrate as their climatic niches move, it is vital to retain linked green areas for corridors for these animals and plants. We must remind Councillors and EFDC of these points.

Councillor Clive Amos:
Phone: 01992 813876
Address: 37 Woburn Avenue, Theydon Bois

Councillor John Philip, Finance Portfolio Holder:
Phone: 01992 812473
Address: 28 Woodland Way, Theydon Bois

Spring 2023 Update

Local Planning Matters

EPF/1406/22 Blunts Farm Change of Use to B8 Storage, validated in June 2022, remains undecided. EPF/1189/22 and EPF/1107/22 retrospective applications for flats at Blunts Farm have both been declared unlawful by EFDC. EPF/2416/22 new dwellings in the Green Belt at Mossford Green Nursery has been refused. Since our last report TBAG have objected to the following developments on grounds of inappropriateness in the Green Belt: EPF/1671/22 a swimming pool and extensions at Ivy House, Blunts Farm, EPF/2505/22 rear balcony extension etc at Grey’s Farm, Green Glade and EPF/0034/23 28 Piercing Hill, demolition and rebuild as a three-storey house.

National Planning Policy News and EFDC’s Local Plan

A large number of Conservative MPs have voiced considerable concerns about Government planning policies contained within the Levelling Up Bill which is still proceeding through the House of Lords having already been through the House of Commons. There has been considerable discontent about housing numbers being thrust on local authorities by Central Government in a quest to raise the general level of economic activity through development and its supporting supply chain. On 5 December 2022, Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Minister for Intergovernmental Relations, wrote to all Conservative MPs. He said, inter alia, that reforms have been made e.g. “scrapping policies like top-down regional targets that built nothing but resentment”. And of the Green Belt he confirms that “we will be clear that local planning authorities are not expected to review the Green Belt to deliver housing”, Emphasis added. “This is in line with commitments made by the Prime Minister in the Summer.” “The effect of these changes will be to make absolutely clear that Local Housing Need should always be a starting point – but no more than that – and importantly, that areas will not be expected to meet this need where they are subject to genuine constraints.” Epping Forest District is very much constrained by being 92% Green Belt and the Forest SAC and the actual NEED for housing, based on the most current statistics from the ONS and not out of date, 2014 statistics. Gove went on to confirm that “Where authorities are well-advanced in producing a new plan, but the constraints which I have outlined mean that the amount of land to be released needs to be reassessed, I will give those places a two year period to revise their plan against the changes we propose and to get it adopted.” Emphasis added. Will EFDC reassess?

In a House of Commons debate, 20 February 2023, a comment by Michael Gove in reply to an enquiry by MP Gagan Mohindra about his constituents voices being heard in attempting to protect south west Hertfordshire, Mr Gove said “It is absolutely vital that communities in the suburban green belt such as his have the opportunity to ensure that people have the new homes that they NEED and that we preserve the communities that make his constituency so attractive to so many.” Emphasis added.

It is hoped that our own elected representative is making as much effort. But it may all be too late because Inspector Bore submitted his final report on 16 February 2023, ignoring our Green Belt constraints and the detrimental environmental impact that the unnecessary and excessive number of houses (11,400) will have on Epping Forest, and the proposed adoption of the Epping Forest District Local Plan 2011 to 2033 will be considered at an Extraordinary Meeting of the Council on 6  March 2023. TBAG consider the plan to be unsound. By the time you read this, it could be all over – until the next one!

Winter 2022 Update

Local Planning Matters

EPF/1406/22 Blunts Farm Change of Use to B8 Storage and associated development – revised application, remains “under consideration”. This application was validated in June this year, almost six months ago. TBAG does not understand why EFDC are taking so long to consider this apparently straightforward application.

Certificates of Lawful Development EPF/1189/22 validated on 23 May and EPF/1107/22 validated on 13 May, both for alleged existing use of two unlawful flats, in a barn on Blunts Farm, remain undetermined. TBAG have raised strong objections to these applications refuting the accuracy of the claims that the two flats have been lived in continuously for more than four years and we fail to again understand why it is taking EFDC so long to arrive at a decision.

EPF/1748/22 Detached cart lodge in agricultural field adjacent to Theydon Hall Lodge, Abridge Road which TBAG objected to on green belt grounds has been refused. In contrast we note that this application took approximately 3 months to determine.

EPF/2461/22 Demolition of existing buildings, erection of replacement dwelling and 5 new “Executive style” dwellings at Mossford Green Nursery, Abridge Road. TBAG objected on several grounds including the unsustainability of the location. Validated on 26 October, it is anyone’s guess how long this application will take to determine.

Local Green Belt News

TBAG welcomes the long overdue securing of the entrance to the site at Former Old Foresters which has now been closed with 12 concrete blocks. This should ensure that there are no repeats of the fly tipping that was regularly taking place on the site following the departure of the travellers. Villagers may be aware of the enormous fire which was started on the huge fly-tip on this site, which sent toxic smoke wafting across the village, on the evening of Saturday 22 October and which took 5 fire engines and many firefighter hours to extinguish.

TBAG are encouraged to also note that concrete blocks have been positioned at the entrance to the track leading to the Former Old Foresters, off Station Hill, which will prevent the unlawful parking and dumping along the trackway which is privately owned land.

EFDC’s Local Plan

The consultation on the remaining Main Modifications to the emerging Plan are currently underway and TBAG will be reviewing the documents and making their representation as appropriate.

TBAG continue to assert that too many houses (11,400) are proposed in EFDC’s emerging local plan when latest Government statistics show that less than half of that number are actually required in our district. The Levelling Up Bill is legislation intended to deal with regional inequalities, but also contains a number of planning measures. On 23 November, 47 Conservative MPs rebelled by signing an amendment to the Government’s Levelling Up Bill, currently going through Parliament. The amendment would ban government-calculated housing targets from influencing planning applications. Under the current system, councils are meant to plan to build a certain number of homes using a government-set formula for ‘housing need’ and not using local, actual need, numbers.

These targets are then supposed to be incorporated into local plans for housebuilding drawn up by councils. Downing Street is quoted as saying that it remained committed to the target of building 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s. We are unaware if our MP has supported this welcomed amendment. Other amendments tabled by these 47 rebels would create stricter time-limits to start building for developers granted planning permission. At the moment there are around a million permissions for homes granted, but where no home has been built.