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.