Concerns raised over play location next to speeding hotspot

London Road, Great Chesterford, Essex is the site of Hills Residential's planning application

London Road, leaving Great Chesterford from the south, where developer Hills Residential proposes to build a children's playground as part of their 76-home development. - Credit: Google maps

Concerns have been raised about a proposed children’s playground being built next to a 50mph road “notorious for speeding problems” in Uttlesford.

The £30million development in Great Chesterford, which will be almost the same size as neighbouring village Little Chesterford, would include a woodland buffer zone to protect its 76 houses from traffic and noise on London Road and flooding from the River Cam.

Aerial plan of London Road, Great Chesterford, Essex for Hills Residential planning application

An aerial plan of a proposed development alongside London Road, just south of Great Chesterford. A children's playground is proposed to sit at the northern corner. - Credit: Hills Residential

The development was granted outline planning permission by just one vote in 2019, but Uttlesford District Council’s planning committee on Thursday August 5 unanimously voted to defer their decision until the design issues have been resolved.

Neil Gregory, deputy leader of Uttlesford Independents, told the committee he felt the developer had cut corners because outline permission had already been granted.

He said: “We have a situation where small children will be playing next to a road which is a 50 mile limit slowing down to a 30 mile limit, which is notorious for speeding and traffic problems and notorious for accidents, one of which only happened last week and which I circulated details of, next to a flood area.

“It’s not good enough. It’s sloppy, it’s slapdash, it’s dangerous, the developers need to go back and pay attention.”

Hills Residential, the developer, acquired the site in October 2020, after outline permission had been granted.

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Chloe Houston, development manager and Saffron Walden resident, represented Hills at the meeting.

She maintained the proposals were safe and deliverable.

“The formal play area will be located in the North East corner of the site as this is the closest point to Great Chesterford, meaning that the play space will benefit the wider community.

“The play area will be securely fenced and we have worked with Uttlesford District Council, the highways and the flood authorities to ensure that the play area is appropriately positioned and it is safe.

“The site will be providing a sustainable drainage strategy designed to accommodate a one in one hundred year flood event plus 40 percent.”

Cllr Mark Lemon reminded the committee of the need for affordable housing in the district.

He said: “I don’t think that the design and everything is 100 percent.

“But the other side of it is that we do need affordable homes badly in this area and I’m not sure that by delaying,

"I’m not happy that if we delay this application we’re just delaying the building of affordable homes that are so needed by the public in Uttlesford.”

Forty percent of the 76 houses would be affordable homes and five percent of these would be wheelchair accessible.

The buildings would be mostly two storey with traditional external materials, along with a two and a half storey central apartment block.

Other than the playground, the application also plans for a central garden, woodland and orchard areas to the south.

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