Over the border: Parish council opposes “far too big” housing scheme

General / Fri 7th May 2021 at 02:53pm

THE ‘village concept’ of North Weald would disappear if plans for hundreds of homes on the former North Weald Golf Club site are approved, the parish council has said.

North Weald Bassett Parish Council has stated that when other proposed local developments are taken into account – the 1,050 homes in the district council Local Plan for North Weald plus 1,050 homes for the Latton Priory site and the residential home and care home proposals in the ‘North Weald Park’ plans – some 2,600 new dwellings could be built in the Parish.

That could mean an additional 6,000 residents, parish council chairman Alan Buckley told Monday’s planning committee meeting.

He added: “This gives me grave concerns.”

Originally the parish council supported the ‘North Weald Park’ proposals, provided the 555 homes were taken off the 1,050-home allocation detailed for North Weald Village in the Local Plan.

Mr Buckley added the proposals would attract additional traffic to North Weald with traffic levels further increased by traffic set to travel to and from the airfield where a Masterplan details office space, and a new access road off Epping Road near the Debt of Honour, and to and from the proposed ‘North Weald Park’ Park and Ride.

He said: “That will bring a lot more traffic into the Parish of North Weald.

“We are putting an awful lot of traffic and people into a small area and no-one can tell me we’ve tried to expand the roads in this area. 

“Anybody who is local to this area knows how much of a nightmare this area can be.

“We are putting an awful lot of projects into one small area. It would have been bad enough with 1,050 homes but with another 50-60 per cent I just feel it’s unacceptable.”

Mr Buckley added: “When this was first proposed, the residents were very, very keen to ensure that North Weald retained its identity as a village. 

“With all these homes the concept of a village disappears. All we seem to be doing is bringing more and more people and cars into North Weald. It’s far too big.”

Mr Buckley said all the proposed housing sites are within “one square mile” with an “horrendous” number of homes currently being proposed.

“The centre of North Weald moves out (with the North Weald Park proposals) and impacts even more on the Hastingwood and Thornwood side of the Parish. It’s far too large for a small area.”

Councillor Andy Irvine said: “Our job is to represent our parishioners and I don’t have any that have come up to me and said they want more traffic.”

He added the area was already faced with additional traffic using the Inland Border Facility on the airfield, and the proposals to hold the airfield market on Sundays as well as Saturdays.

Councillor Anne Grigg said: “This site is in the Green Belt. If granted the space between the village and this site will probably go to infill and that means another few hundred houses. 

She added that while the scheme “has its good points” the plus points were outweighed by the Green Belt issue and the amount of traffic that would be generated.

The idea of developing the North Weald Golf Club site was first raised by Quinn Estates in early 2017 with the first application submitted in June 2018. 

Three amended applications have since been submitted.

Parish council planning officer Adriana Jones told Monday’s meeting the latest application clarified the situation regarding the green space and bus proposals.

She added a letter from the Land Trust confirmed to Quinn Estates that the Trust would be willing to take on the management of an initial 15.69 hectare area of open space.

There was now also a letter to Quinn Estates from Galleon Travel confirming that Quinn Estates will provide three fully electric buses so that Galleon Travel / Trustbus can enhance the 420 service with stops to Epping and Harlow via the new park and ride site.

The parish council voted to object to the latest application on the grounds that far too many homes are proposed, with the number not being removed from the current North Weald Village allocation – and also concerns over the density, Green Belt issues and it going against the Local Plan.

The council’s statement to the district council adds that while good community facilities are proposed in the plans “they do not outweigh the high number of homes (proposed) which would change the make-up of the village”.

The application continues to propose the original elements – up to 555 homes (including affordable homes) 70-bed retirement accommodation, 70-bed extra care/nursing care accommodation, a two-form entry primary school, a medical centre, retail and office space, a community centre, sports hub with sports pitches, a sports pavilion scout hut, and formal and informal open space with a country park and a Park and Ride facility, and a new roundabout on the A414.

Of the 555 dwellings proposed, full planning permission is being sought for 116 dwellings (with 40 per cent ‘affordable’), a community centre, open space and access off Rayley Lane.
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