Newport planning appeal: 'Residents come up to me with tears in their eyes'
PUBLISHED: 09:23 20 February 2019 | UPDATED: 09:23 20 February 2019
Residents in Newport have been approaching their district councillor "with tears in their eyes" at the prospect of 150 new homes being built in the village, a planning inquiry heard.
Countryside Properties launched an appeal against Uttlesford District Council’s refusal to grant planning permission for the housing development in Wicken Road, Newport last year.
The planning committee refused the application for three reasons - impact on air quality, harm to the character of the village and concerns about the impact on local roads.
At the opening of the inquiry on February 12, the developer said the proposal was a “carefully designed” and “sensitive” scheme and the site was “unremarkable agricultural land” - a claim disputed by Newport Parish Council.
He added that the proposals were a “logical extension to the town” and granting planning permission for the site “would enable the council to meet unmet housing needs in the district”.
The five-day inquiry finished yesterday (January 19) with public speaking sessions from Newport residents and councillors.
The speakers were Newport parish councillors Judy Emanuel and Howard Bowman, residents Clive Bridgeman, David Mayle and Lorna Ward, and district councillors Anthony Gerard, Paul Fairhurst and Neil Hargreaves.
Cllr Gerard told the planning inspector: “I have residents coming up to me with tears in their eyes at the prospect of this application being approved, at the prospect of losing even more greenfield land that would otherwise be available to them being removed by concrete and housing that is not needed by Newport; at the prospect of losing the beauty that lies just beyond their front doors that they have enjoyed all of their lives and that have worked so hard for to leave as a legacy to their children and grandchildren.
“This application does not demonstrably benefit Newport. It demonstrably harms Newport. It is ludicrous of the appellant to claim this disconnected estate cutting right across a valued landscape and footpath is any sort of asset to the community when we can surely all see it is not.”
It is the parish council’s case that the quality of the landscape will be “significantly and demonstrably” damaged by the proposed development.
Cllr Emanuel said: “In the continued absence of an up-to-date local plan speculative development in Newport has exploded. In 2011 there were 974 houses in Newport. Since then a further 523 dwellings have been approved across 42 separate developments. That’s a 54 per cent increase.”
Other speakers were concerned about the severe landscape damage to be caused by a new road bisecting Harcamlow Way and cutting into Wicken Road, and the removal of large areas of mature hornbeam and the intrusion of a housing estate into a much valued open space.
A further two-day hearing is expected to take place in June on air pollution.