Residents stand firm against plans for new homes development in Thaxted

RESIDENTS have claimed that a 55-house development planned for a quiet Thaxted street will push the town’s infrastructure to breaking point.

Endurance Estates has submitted an outline application to Uttlesford District Council to develop scrub land at the end of Wedow Road.

It has been met with fierce opposition by residents worried about the increased potential of flooding and pressure on the town’s over-crowded schools, roads and sewage system.

Brook View resident Ray Lander, whose house backs onto the site, told the Reporter: “This is not a case of NIMBYism. I always thought that building work would happen at some stage on the site. But 55 houses is over the top.

“The ground acts like a sponge. If concreted over it would cause water to rush into the stream, flooding the town.

“Roads around the site are narrow; there is not much employment here so people would be commuting and using their cars.

“The new development will also completely land lock a farmer’s field.

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“The sewage system, the school and doctor’s surgery are full to capacity and this application would overload everything.”

Gay Wilkins, also of Brook View, agreed. She said: “It goes completely against the town’s Design Statement which clearly states that the scrub land at the end of Wedow Road should not be built on.

“There are also reports that there are Common lizards and Slow Worms on the site that are especially protected.”

Endurance Estates held a public exhibition about the proposals earlier this month – in which plans for 75 houses were originally mooted – and residents were unimpressed.

“It was as if planning permission had already been given and we were offered options on how it would go forward,” added Mr Lander, a retired investment banker. “There has been a certain arrogance about it which to me is not good business.”

Planning director for Endurance Estates, Ben Hotton, said: “The local authority doesn’t have a five-year housing supply which means that developers will be using that to put in all sorts of applications to push developments through.

“We believe that our scheme is more sustainable and appropriate for Thaxted.

“It is a relatively small scheme which will compliment the existing urban settlement. It is close to the town centre and local amenities.

“We have assessed the capacity of the highways, drainage and sewerage and do not believe that this scheme will have a detrimental impact.

“We have also engaged with the community. Originally we put forward a scheme for 75 houses which met national policy standards, but we reduced that to 55 houses in response to local concerns.”

He added: “We are very keen to take this scheme forward to compliment Thaxted and as a benefit to the local population.”

• Residents can make their feelings on the application known by April 5, by writing to: The Chief Planning Officer, Uttlesford District Council, London Road, Saffron Walden, CB11 4ER, quoting reference UTT/0477/11/OP.