PLANS for an executive housing estate on Thurrock green belt land were approved last week, despite objections by local councillors.
A scheme for 19 detached homes of a largely derelict triangle of land adjacent to the A128 and the entry road to the village of Bulphan was initially recommended for refusal by planning officers but they brought a revised recommendation to Thursday’s meeting of Thurrock’ Council’s planning committee and the scheme was largely welcomed by its members.
The site, owned and to be developed by TOWIE reality TV celebrity and owner of Brentwood’s Sugar Hut, Mick Norcross , is currently largely scrubland, with a metal clad barn and polytunnels on it.
One of the main objections initially raised by planning officers was the danger of flooding in the area, but in revised documentation put to members, they have now discounted that fear and suggested the site be approved. It was one of a number of parcels of land across the Borough that had been earmarked for housing in the Council’s site specific housing allocation plan approved several years ago.
At last week’s meeting ward councillor Sue Little spoke against the development, says that its current "poor untidy state" was not sufficient reason on its own to allow housebuilding and she added that the new housing would be completely against the "character of the village."
The openness of the green belt and the rural setting of the village would be seriously compromised and the street scene of the village totally altered,2 she told members. Clrr Little also cited a lack of existing amenities in the village, which recently saw its only shop close, no available places at the small village school, and a lack of public transport as major reasons why the scheme should be rejected.
And when it came to a debate her husband and fellow ward councillor, Brian Little, who is vice -chairman of the planning committee spoke about the dangers any children would face crossing the busy A128 to get into the main part of the village or attend school and the risk of accidents that making the current junction busier would bring. "There has not been a risk assessment on this as far as I am aware” he told the meeting.
Cllr Gerard Rice said: “I understand what Cllr Brian Little is concerned about, but in the real world this is a very exciting proposal.
“Here we have 19 executive houses that are going to be built to a high standard. We are always being told that we need to keep our senior managers in the Borough and this is a development that would do that.
“I would like to see our new Chief executive, when he or she is appointed, move into one of these homes.”
Cllr Robert Ray also discounted problems of children crossing the A128 to go to school, saying: “I agree with Cllr Rice about the need for these type of homes and the sort of people that live in them will see the mums taking the children to school in their Chelsea wagons.”
Committee chairman Cllr Terry Hipsey also supported the scheme, saying the homes were the sort that “directors moving to our area would want to live in” and that any concerns over the road crossing and other issues could be dealt with in detail when a full planning application for the site was submitted.
A majority of members voted to give the site outline planning permission, a decision that will need to be ratified by the Government’s planning authority because it is in the green belt, and Mr Norcross was quick to celebrate, announcing on his Facebook page: "I can’t wait to get started on my latest development of 19 large executive homes in the beautiful village of Bulphan.”