Newport residents asked for thoughts on what to do with land backing on to primary school

RESIDENTS have been asked for their opinions about what to do with a piece of land which backs on to a primary school.

A trustee of a 4.6 hectare piece of land west of London Road, Newport, made a presentation to the parish council on Monday evening at a meeting attended by nearly 20 members of the public.

Belinda Challenger, whose grandfather Arthur Ellis owned the land before it was passed on to her, is currently letting it to a farmer.

But she said the site had been earmarked for development in Uttlesford District Council’s draft Local Plan.

“We are interested in finding out the views of the parish council and the village as to what people think about this piece of land if it is adopted into the district council’s Local Plan.

“We want to take your views into account,” explained Mrs Challenger, before adding she also owned a 1.9 hectare piece of land off Bury Water Lane known to her as “The Swamp”.

Her husband Colin said if it were up to the couple they would “give the whole lot away” but that this would upset other beneficiaries of the Arthur Ellis Trust.

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He said: “The spanner in the works is the beneficiaries because the trust cannot simply give the land away. They are all distant family members and if, for example, the piece of land was sold for less than half of what it was worth they might get upset.”

Responding to a question from Uttlesford District Councillor Jeremy Rose about whether the village would be able to buy the land, Mr Challenger said this was an option but that it would have to be sold “in the region of the market price”.

He added: “We have vampire and Dracula developers where we live in north Oxfordshire so we understand what it’s like to be on both sides and that is why we would want low density housing development.”

Parish councillor Tom Archer said there was a “fundamental infrastructure problem” in the surrounding area, while resident Susan Cameron, who later in the meeting was co-opted on to the council, raised concerns about traffic. The village’s sewage and water systems were also highlighted as areas that needed addressing.

Headteacher of Newport Primary School, John Howett, was at the meeting. He said afterwards: “If more houses are built in Newport then this will have an impact on the school as far as child numbers are concerned. Whatever happens with the land the school is committed to providing top quality education to the children of Newport.”

Residents should e-mail parish clerk Christine Griffin at or call 01799 542541 to share their thoughts on the land.