‘Victory for common sense’ as Stansted homes appeal dismissed

Residents in Stansted lined up to sign a petition opposing the 140-home development earmarked for the Bentfield Green area. Residents in Stansted lined up to sign a petition opposing the 140-home development earmarked for the Bentfield Green area.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014
2:47 PM

Plans to build up to 140 homes in an area described as “the jewel in Stansted’s crown” have been thrown out on appeal.

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Today (Tuesday) it was announced the Planning Inspectorate had dismissed an appeal by developer Taylor Wimpey over Uttlesford District Council’s decision to reject its proposal to develop land in Bentfield Green, Stansted Mountfitchet.

Parish council chairman Geoffrey Sell hailed what he called a “victory for the people of Stansted and for common sense”.

He, along with the council and a campaign group called Save Stansted Village – made up of residents including those from Bentfield Green – petitioned against the development.

“I consider myself privileged to have worked alongside such a fine bunch of people,” Cllr Sell said.

“This is a fantastic victory for the people of Stansted and for common sense. This decision is a magnificent vindication of the huge amount of time devoted by the parish council and Save Stansted Village to stopping Taylor Wimpey at Bentfield Green.”

Cllr Jonathan Rich, district councillor for Stansted North, where Bentfield Green is located, added: “This is a great victory for both activism and localism. I would like to pay tribute to the hard work and effort of the people in my ward, and particularly everyone from Save Stansted Village.

“I feel particularly proud to represent them today, and I think the evidence we advanced was very strong. I would also like to thank people from neighbouring wards who helped us.”

He added: “In my view, it was crucial that our arguments were presented by a united front. More good will come of it too, not least when the Inspector’s excellent and careful reasons are digested by our brave planning committee.

“I also hope that SSV will keep up their fantastic work protecting our community.”

The proposal included provision for a primary school, allotments, public open space, sports pavilion and associated parking, village green provision, landscaping, and associated infrastructure and access.

Uttlesford’s planning committee rejected it last July despite a recommendation for approval from officers. The impact on the rural community and agricultural land, road access to the site and traffic, and its proximity to Bentfield Primary School, were all given as reasons for refusal but Taylor Wimpey decided to appeal.

It took three days for the Inspector to return his decision.

Summarising the outcome, Paul Dobsen, appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, wrote that Bentfield Green was “understandably described by some residents as ‘the jewel in Stansted’s crown’”.

He added: “Bentfield Green also seems to me to enjoy the tranquil character and atmosphere of a historic village location set on the edge of quiet countryside, connected to but also set apart from the rest of modern Stansted, and generally blessed with very little visiting or through traffic.

“I regard these attributes of local distinctiveness and tranquillity – both somewhat intangible but nevertheless perceptibly real and much appreciated by the local community – as making a significant contribution to the character of the Conservation Area. In the terms of the National Planning Policy Framework, they are factors which help to describe and define it as a designated heritage asset.”

A spokesman for Taylor Wimpey said: “We are very disappointed to learn that our appeal has been dismissed by the Planning Inspector. We are currently reviewing the decision with a view to considering our options for this site.”

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