PLANNING permission has been granted for 350 new homes on a controversial site in Stanford-le-Hope.
Residents in Stanford-le-Hope have fought a battle against the development planned by Barratt Homes on land west of Butts Lane but though members of Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation’s planning committee expressed regret, they said they had no choice but to give the development the green light.
In front of a packed public gallery at the Corporation’s Purfleet offices, officers detailed the scheme, which will take up unused land and part of the nearby St Clere’s Golf course.
Residents have fought a vigorous campaign against the plans, and were supported in their fight against the scheme by Thurrock Council’s planning committee – but they were told it was the lack of a land release policy by the Council that forced the Corporation’s hand.
Chairman of Residents Against Inappropriate Development, Steve Brampton told YT that they would not be giving up.
He said: “We are desperately disappointed but we are determined to carry on. The application goes to the secretary of state and we will also be writing to plead our case.
“Sixty of us turned up on a Monday afternoon to see the future of our area played out in front of us.
“We understand the DC are in a difficult position but we will continue to fight against 350 homes being built on the Green Belt when there are alternatives.”
Though the scheme sits in designated Green Belt, Corporation officers advised their committee members that a lack of agreed strategy from the Council meant the developers could find justification for building in Green Belt.
A report said: “Thurrock Council has not demonstrated an up to date five year supply of deliverable sites. There appears to be a little prospect of delivering and maintaining a five-year supply of housing land in the immediate future without limited Green Belt release.
“There is a demonstrable shortfall in affordable housing completions measured against need. The development would make a valuable contribution to address affordable housing needs in Thurrock.
“It is considered that these amount to very special circumstances and clearly outweigh the harm to this Green Belt site.”
Residents have pledged to fight on, and it is likely that a final decision will end up being made by a Government Planning Inquiry.