Concerns over housing plans for North Weald, Hastingwood and Thornwood

News / Sat 27th Jan 2018 at 11:23am

Parish council: Local Plan is “unfair, undeliverable and unsound”

THE district council’s Local Plan is “unfair, undeliverable and unsound” according to a North Weald parish councillor who claims the Parish has been unfairly treated when compared to other parts of the district.

Councillor Terry Blanks said the North Weald Parish – which includes North Weald Village, Hastingwood and Thornwood Common – was earmarked to take 25 per cent of all the new housing set for the Epping Forest district.

The council has also said it believes the Plan is ‘unsound’ because of the lack of infrastructure proposed to support the number of homes earmarked for the area.

Mr Blanks told Monday’s parish council meeting the Local Plan “charade” started in July 2012 with the Issues and Options consultation when, he said, North Weald was treated differently from all other parts in the district, with areas named as ‘North Weald’, ‘North Weald Airfield’, ‘Thornwood Common’, and “land around Harlow’ which was “basically Hastingwood”.

He said the district council had said at that time that the new development should be “proportionate” across the district.

He added: “Some of the more affluent (parts of the district) Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, suggested North Weald Airfield (for development).

“It was clear even at that early stage there was a bias towards development in North Weald.”

Parish council vice-chairman Brian Eldridge said infrastructure detailed in the Local Plan for North Weald Parish was “practically non-existent”.

Planning committee chairman Baden Clegg said: “We have to say it as it is and others far above us will tell us what will happen to North Weald in the future.”

Council chairman Alan Buckley said: “It (the Local Plan) doesn’t pass the test (for soundness).”

Mr Clegg said: “We really do have to stand up to be counted and the veiled threat (that the district could have to accommodate an additional 9,000 homes if the March 31 submission deadline is not met by the district council)… what happens if the Government changes?

Councillor Andy Tyler said the “threat” had been issued to “bully us”.

He added: “We are hear to represent the people of this parish. We can get it right or get it wrong. If people are going to issue us with a threat I say ‘bring it on’.

“We can sit here and feel we’ve been targeted. I don’t like being threatened. I’m here to represent the people of this parish and do what I feel is right. I think we have to challenge this.”

The parish council agreed unanimously to respond to the district council saying the Plan is “unsound”.

The deadline for public responses is 5pm on Monday, January 29.

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