Developers refute claims of major Stansted housebuilding programme

DEVELOPERS have shrugged off suggestions that they have major expansion plans for farmland north of Stansted.

Reports had suggested that nationwide firms Bloor Homes and Martin Grant Homes were drawing up plans to build 200 homes land north of Walpole Farm.

But representatives from Bloor and consultancy firm Pegasus Planning Consultants attended a parish council meeting last week to assure councillors and residents that “hundreds of houses are not on our agenda and never have been”.

Simon Butler-Finbow of Bloor Homes said: “There is no such plan for that many houses. We have had discussions but they have been about what we can bring to the village rather than focused on houses.”

John Holden of Pegasus agreed, adding: “We have got as far as identifying the places where we cannot develop. Only the north of the settlement is available. We are currently looking at what contribution an area of land will make to the future of the village.

“I do not think it will be several hundred homes but at this moment in time there is nothing.”

However, parish councillors are less than convinced by the companies’ reassurances.

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Cllr Bill Stiles explained that the council is “very cautious” following the mass development of Foresthall Park.

“This community needs a break to re-balance the range of services in the village has on offer before having another big development,” he said. “Our village plan sets out that this community does not want any more big developments in the foreseeable future.”

His views were endorsed by Cllr Peter Jones. He said: “When completed Foresthall Park will add another 700 homes to the village and although I recognise that there needs to be development I do not like to see big slabs - I do not want to see another Foresthall Park.”

Speaking after the meeting parish council chairman Geoffrey Sell admitted that Bloor Homes had not been “completely frank”.

“It was stated that they had no plans yet for the site but I produced an e-mail from October 2010 which I had written after a meeting that I, clerk Ruth Clifford and Cllr Jones had with them. In the letter I wrote ‘they would like to develop up to 200 mainly family type houses’. These are clearly plans to me,” he said.

“The mood of the meeting both from members of the public and from councillors was clearly hostile to any development on this site.

“I am concerned about the coalescence of Stansted with Ugley if this development were to go ahead. Until we get a local development framework it is a time of great planning uncertainty. We need to be vigilant.”

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