Elsenham houses approved as planning inspector overrules Uttlesford District Council

PUBLISHED: 17:00 15 September 2020

Housing plans in Rush Lane, Elsenham

Housing plans in Rush Lane, Elsenham


40 houses on land south of Rush Lane have been granted on appeal in Elsenham by a planning inspector. Uttlesford District Council’s planning committee had rejected the application in November last year.

Artist impression of development at Rush Lane in ElsenhamArtist impression of development at Rush Lane in Elsenham

The planning inspector said the biggest factor was the development includes affordable housing. He added there would be benefits to the local economy, including employment, throughout the construction period.

He ruled that strong evidence about harm outweighing benefits of the development, and about the presence of bats, had not been presented.

He said the development would result in “limited harm” to the countryside. But he said there are “small biodiversity gains”: the location of the development, the range of local shops and services and a more frequent bus service.

The inspector approved the application subject to a number of conditions including drainage, noise mitigation and construction hours.

Last year, UDC had declined the application from Rosconn Strategic Land Limited, Nigel John Burfield Holmes, Rosemary Holmes, Mark Burfield Holmes, Robert Murton Holmes, Sasha Renwick Holmes and Tanya Renwick Cran. Councillors said the location was outside the permitted development zone, would harm the character of the countryside, and the application was contrary to previous Local Plan feedback.

Councillor Graham Mott, chairman of Elsenham Parish Council, said: “We regret that it was approved as the parish council opposed the application. The percentage of houses grew 66 percent since 2011, which is a large increase for what is still a small village.

“The cumulative effect is what should be considered. This is 40 houses on top of 130 approved at the end of last year, and hundreds before that.”

Cllr Mott also spoke about a need for a similar approval of services and local employment so that residents do not have to travel far. He said Elsenham is “uniquely difficult” to reach by road.

He added: “I attended the hearing of the appeal. It was too narrowly based - on particular objections which the planning committee made.

“The inspector interestingly referred to Elsenham in his report as a ‘town’. That tells you quite a lot.”

R4U district councillor for Elsenham Petrina Lees said: “I am disappointed with the planning inspector’s decision.

“It appears that the directive to build build build, is being adhered to.

“Nearby residents are devastated by this decision, and feel their forever homes are not forever homes anymore.

“We do need affordable homes in Uttlesford, though they must be in suitable locations.”

The agent for the applicant did not wish to comment.

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