Concerns that number of homes in Hastingwood and Thornwood to double

Politics / Tue 4th Oct 2016 pm31 02:24pm

THE number of homes in the parish of North Weald Bassett would more than double in the next 17 years if all the possible sites for housing contained in the Epping Forest District Draft Local Plan are approved.

The potential 113 per cent increase in the number of properties in North Weald, Hastingwood and Thornwood has been branded “unacceptable” by parish councillor Terry Blanks.

Speaking at a recent extraordinary parish council meeting, Mr Blanks said: “North Weald is a village and we would be more than doubling the size of that village.”

The parish is earmarked to take 2,760 of the 8,450 allocated for the Epping Forest district, the draft document reveals.

The parish council’s planning committee chairman, Baden Clegg, said the parish was “being hit extremely hard”.

Land south of Vicarage Lane is earmarked for some 590 homes with a further 288 homes proposed for Bluemans Farm, off the A414 near the Talbot roundabout.

About 27 homes are proposed for the nearby Chase Farm industrial estate with some 225 homes proposed for North Weald Airfield, on land alongside Merlin Way.

Other sites in North Weald village include fields east and west of Church Lane and north of Lancaster road (about 276 homes) and land east of Church Lane and west of Harrison Drive (about 49 homes).

Latton Priory, near the M11 roundabout at Hastingwood, is considered suitable for 1,000 homes – the largest single development site proposed in the Epping Forest district.

Fifty homes could go on the Riddings Garden Centre site in Hastingwood.

Cllr Blanks advised councillors that he is concerned about the proportionality.

Parish councillor Sheila Jackman raised concern over the infrastructure required to support the new homes.

She said: “It’s the doctors, where are we going to get the medical facilities from? Health is something that concerns everybody and that’s part of the infrastructure that we should be considering very seriously.

“It’s a worry now and it will be a worry with an increase population.”

Councillor Andy Tyler also highlighted issues regarding police and fire resources.

Councillor Nigel Bedford said: “This isn’t all happening tomorrow. This plan is until 2033. Yearly it’s 250 homes across the district. The important thing for us is how they are put in. We don’t want them all at once in North Weald because six years later someone would come along and say ‘we want 3,000 more houses’.”

In response to the 113 per cent figure, Epping Forest District Council leader Chris Whitbread told the meeting that balancing the proportion of homes to parishes across the district was “one of the most difficult things to do” as he highlighted the lack of potential development space in Buckhurst Hill.

Mr Whitbread added: “It is always difficult to find a true balance across the district.”

Earlier Mr Whitbread had told the meeting: “There are real choices (in the Draft Local Plan), this is a plan in development.”

He added: “It has all been about consultation. This Local Plan started in 2007, we’ve been going for a decade on it and that’s because we have listened.

“We’ve gone through a really long process.”

Parish council chairman Cyril Hawkins said: “We have to look forward. It’s no good looking downwards. We have to make the best of these sites. We have to be looking at doing the right thing.”

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