Shock approval for “inappropriate” development

A CONTROVERSIAL development that brings “no benefit to the town” has been given a shock approval by the Planning Inspectorate despite widespread opposition.

Taylor Wimpey has been granted outline planning permission to build 100 homes on land south of Ongar Road.

The plan was initially refused by Uttlesford District Council in October 2011 as it is outside development limits, there are not enough school places and road safety would be compromised. The application also received [over 100] letters of objection from residents.

However, at an appeal hearing on June 7 the planning inspector, John Chase, overturned the decision.

District councillor Keith Mackman, who represented Uttlesford at the hearing alongside Cllr Vic Ranger, told the Broadcast he was “bitterly disappointed” by the ruling, adding the development brings “no benefit to the town in any way, shape or form”.

“Vic and I were treated like village idiots. The planning inspector took all our concerns on board and then just dismissed them. Instead he fell for the developer’s waffle hook line and sinker,” he said.

“The development is totally inappropriate, unsustainable and it throws the allocated sites into contention.

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“Dunmow has to take 1,150 houses over the next 15 years so we need to get something out of it. 100 houses on the Ongar Rd site bring no advantages and prejudice the preferred allocation of 300 homes Smiths Farm, which, if approved, would bring a tangible benefit to the town.”

Uttlesford has even been forced to pick up the bill for the cost of the appeal, and has just over 30 days to appeal the decision in the High Court. Cllr Mackman believes this is one fight the district council can not afford to back down from.

“Understandably the council has to pick its fights but I believe this is one it can’t afford not to have,” he added. “I think it is important we make a stand because if developers are allowed to put their schemes where they want the council becomes redundant.”

A Taylor Wimpey spokesman said: “The development, which will include 40 affordable homes, will go some way to help alleviate the area’s affordable and market housing shortage, as acknowledged by Uttlesford District Council at the appeal hearing.

“We look forward to liaising with stakeholders and residents during the statutory consultation period, to allow us to formulate detailed plans for the site.”

Things could get even worse in Dunmow, though. Redrow Homes has re-submitted outline planning permission for 73 homes at the north of Ongar Road. The deadline for comments on the application is July 5.