Autumn 2014 Update

In our June report we mentioned the promising Ten Minute Rule Bill, which had been raised in the House of Commons by Greg Mulholland MP and had cross party support. He was critical of certain aspects of the National Planning Policy Framework, which appeared to override the Localism Bill and put the wishes of developers over those of local communities, especially with regard to building on green field and Green Belt sites in preference to brownfield sites. Unfortunately the Bill did not receive a second reading because the allotted date of 6th June 2014 was the day of the Normandy D Day celebrations and the House did not sit.

Also of national interest, the Department for Communities and Local Government has just published yet another public consultation document, entitled “Technical Consultation on Planning”, with the stated aim of improving the planning system. The following link gives details of the Consultation:

Theydon Bois Action Group will examine this document and respond as appropriate.

The progress of Epping Forest District Council’s (EFDC) new “Local Plan” seems to be suffering further delays and it is unclear now if the “Preferred Options”, as to where new development could take place within our District, will be announced by the 30th October 2014 as previously stated. From September, a series of Area Based Workshops will be set up so that Councillors can begin to consider the options and implications for their area of the District. The target date for submission of the new District wide Local Plan for examination by the Secretary of State is now scheduled for the autumn of 2016.

Theydon Bois Action Group continues to monitor local planning applications which would have a harmful impact on the Green Belt around our village. We have raised comprehensive objections and made presentations at EFDC Planning Committees where appropriate.

Blunts Farm – EPF/0382/14: Agricultural storage building refused under permitted development but was resubmitted as a full planning application EPF/1193/14. This was also refused due to the harm to the Green Belt which would be caused by its size and location, along with lack of evidence of agricultural need.

EPF/1032/14: Another application for a large agricultural machinery storage building in a small field in Coopersale Lane, was refused under permitted development. This has also been resubmitted as a full planning application, EPF/1593/14, to which TBAG has raised an objection.

Oak Hill Farm – EPF/0670/14: TBAG spoke against this application, for a 1.8 metre high perimeter fencing around the entire Oak Hill Farm site, at Planning East Committee in July, when it was refused. It was then referred to the higher District Development Control Committee meeting on 13th August, when the recommendation from Planning East for ‘refusal’ was rejected by a majority of one vote, in spite of strong representations from TBAG and Councillor Sue Jones. However, the permission for the fencing will include a condition preventing the planting of Laurel (an invasive species) as screening.

Sixteen String Jack Public House: Many of you will have noticed that the pub has closed. The same developers who built apartments on the Railway Arms site have now drawn up plans for apartments on this site but no formal planning application has been submitted to date. Theydon Bois Action Group will carefully consider any proposals but take the view that any development must respect the sensitivity of the site which is bordered by Green Belt land at the rural/settlement edge of the village.