A considerable campaign was run to prevent EFDC from developing Jessel Green and we were as pleased as many other groups to learn the Inspector had instructed the site be removed from the plan (Action 22 – 130 homes). The reason for this was “The development of a major part of it for housing would therefore harm the character and appearance of the area and severely compromise an important local facility.”
She also took out further development at Limes Farm Chigwell largely for access reasons (Action 26 – 100 homes) and Land at Chigwell Convent (impact on listed assets Action 27 – 28 homes) as well as at Roydon (Action 28 – 14 homes possibly rising to 120).
It must be recognised that the actions called for by the Inspector are not requests or recommendations by the Inspector but effectively they are requirements, failing which the Local Plan would not be approved.
Together these amount to a loss of 272 homes from the council’s plans which it will have to try to make up elsewhere. The shortfall will be increased by the Inspector’s insistence that proposed development at station car parks (especially Loughton) could not be built to 13 storeys as TfL had proposed (Action 17). A restriction the 5-6 storeys proposed by EFDC might make the developments unviable and yet further increase the deficit to be resolved.
We had mixed feelings about the local plan hearings and the Inspector’s letter. We were pleased that more work was called for on environmental pollution issues and on the viability of Epping South (950+ houses) (Action 19: To review the site capacity). Also, the revised Green belt boundaries are to be changed and better secured at Latton Priory and Harlow East.
However, we were disappointed that EFDC rejected so many proposals made by us and by others which were put forward after careful thought and in an attempt to improve a local plan which appeared to be so lacking in public support. We had hoped the Inspector might have supported our points to a greater extent. Instead we will propose many of our ideas that are solely applicable to Epping to the Neighbourhood Plan working group.
We will discuss the different plans in a later posting.