STANSTED: Planning for flats on Total garage site rejected

PUBLISHED: 08:13 22 February 2010 | UPDATED: 22:10 31 May 2010

RESIDENTS have claimed a first round victory in staving off the threat of a new housing complex near to the centre of Stansted Mountfitchet. Planning permission for 14 two-bedroom flats to replace the Total Petrol Station on Cambridge Road was rejected by

RESIDENTS have claimed a first round victory in staving off the threat of a new housing complex near to the centre of Stansted Mountfitchet.

Planning permission for 14 two-bedroom flats to replace the Total Petrol Station on Cambridge Road was rejected by Uttlesford District Council last week.

However the agent, Bryan Engwell, working on behalf of developers F B Motors, still wants the development to go ahead and he has indicated that an appeal or a design change will be forthcoming.

He said: "The flats are in-keeping with the surrounding village and the traffic is likely to be reduced because of the removal of the petrol station. Plus no more tankers will need to visit."

He added that he had been in discussions with the council's planning department to bring forward the best possible scheme and it would be hard to see how it could be rejected as a result - he did leave the door open on changing the design to match councillors wishes and resubmitting an application later this year.

When the plan to demolish the garage first surfaced it was met with outrage and complete objection from Stansted's parish council. Weeks' later a petition was completed bearing 327 names against the proposals and handed to planners.

The reasons for such a venomous opposition were made clear. Residents believe that more housing would completely dominate the village centre, over-urbanising it.

Ray Woodcock, a resident who lives nearby, made this known minutes before the decision was made at the council chambers on Wednesday (February 16).

Speaking on behalf of residents, he said: "We do not want our village to become another Bishop Stortford with three-storey blocks of flats just littered around everywhere.

"If this development ever gets agreed it will be the start of a downward spiral into total urbanisation. The design of this building was totally out of character with the its surroundings and the whole community does not want any more flats."

The block had been designed as an arc at the corner of Cambridge Road and Bentfield Road, with parking space and amenities located behind.

However, the council rejected the plan unanimously mainly due to its high height and lack of cohesion with its surroundings.

Councillor Catherine Dean was on of the committee to dismiss the plans. She said: "Nearby Hermitage House is a monstrosity and I don't think we should be replicating it like this. It would just be a block that is too high, too bulky and too in your face. It would be better if the roof line was lower and lots of various heights."

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