Delayed 350 homes development approved

Aerial drawing of the layout of the scheme

Aerial drawing of the layout of the scheme - Credit: Pegasus Design

A delayed housing development of 350 homes will be built in an Essex village after a meeting between the developer, a local football club and district and parish councils took place to try and resolve issues with the scheme.

Uttlesford District Council’s planning committee unanimously approved the Elsenham scheme at a planning meeting yesterday.

In addition to the homes, the proposals also include provision for new football pitches, a sports pavilion and a new primary school.

It was delayed by the council last month, partly over fears the pavilion would never be used by Elsenham Youth Football Club, with the committee asking for more clarity over the actual needs of the football club, as well as parking arrangements and garden sizes.

Developers Bloor Homes, the football club and representatives from Uttlesford and Elsenham Parish Council met at the start of May to resolve some of the issues with the scheme.

A representative from Bloor confirmed at the meeting that an adult size football pitch can be accommodated on the site, meaning the pavilion will in fact be used by the club.

Alex Clark, Bloor Homes, said: “Members, you have previously considered this to be a good scheme and your chair confirmed at the deferral that only tweaks were needed to make it acceptable. 

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“We have made those tweaks in consultation with key stakeholders who were concerned about them and I believe we have satisfactorily addressed those concerns.

“I therefore respectfully request that you approve this application so the scheme including sporting and education provision can be delivered as soon as possible.”

In a statement read out at the meeting, district council leader Petrina Lees (Residents for Uttlesford, Elsenham) said the meeting between Bloor, the football club and the two councils had resolved some of the issues, but still felt there is too much tandem parking in the scheme.

She said: “I am pleased that the football pitches are now the size required, the pavilion has been addressed and the access issues have been resolved.

“I understand that the gardens in the affordable housing are small and Bloor has pointed out those houses are near the open space. 

“In planning terms I am unsure whether we can do any more with that at the moment.”

Garden sizes in 348 out of the 350 houses comply with Essex Design Guidance, leaving two that do not. Both of these are affordable homes.

Janice Loughlin (Liberal Democrat and Green Alliance, Stort Valley) said: “I’m very pleased the garden sizes are almost compliant. I’m not so pleased that the ones that aren’t are the affordable homes.

Later she said: “I just wish we could have given the affordable homes the same benefits the other houses had.”

Visitor parking will double as parking for school drop-offs, which previously concerned the committee.

A planning officer at the meeting said the Highways Authority does not support car parking in the vicinity of school areas, and that there is currently adequate parking proposed in the scheme.

Moving to approve the scheme, Councillor Paul Fairhurst (Liberal Democrat and Green Alliance, Saffron Walden Shire) said: “I would reluctantly propose for approval on the basis that this is better than nothing and we made some progress.”