Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Controversial planning application in Grays passed

A CONTROVERSIAL planning application for three new homes in Grays was passed by a reluctant chairman’s casting vote.

At last week’s meeting of Thurrock Council’s planning committee members were asked to give a decision on a plan to partly demolish a property at 48 Lucas Road to form an access road to the rear of the site where three new two bedroomed homes would be built.

The application had been deferred once for a site visit, with concerns raised over access and planning.

Those concerns were echoed again at last week’s meeting when councillors found themselves largely against the scheme, but limited in their opposition because several years ago permission for the build had been granted.

That permission had expired and so a new application was put forward by Mr Komol Miah, and councillors heard that it was likely, even if they refused the scheme, he would win his case on appeal because of the earlier precedent.

That didn’t stop plenty of concern being expressed though. Cllr Chris Baker said: “When we visited, there were cars parked all over the show, it was very busy. And that was at 11am. I have been by there later and Christ knows how people are going to get in and out of the site, I can’t see it happening.”

Cllr Baker also said he had concerns about the impact on neighbours the building process would have, expressing concern about potential problems with hedgerows and fencing.

Cllr Brian Little said: “I think this is over development, I’m really at a loss to see how you can get three new homes into this site. We are trying to squeeze three into a site for two and it seems bizarre to allow this. It’s a step too far.”

Before councillors cast their vote, they were warned by Head of Planning & Growth Andy Millard that they would have problems in finding an acceptable reason to reject the plan, given the previous consent.

He said: “You would have to show something demonstrably different to the planning application and it is very similar.”

When the vote was taken, three councillors voted to approve and three to reject, with two abstentions.

One of those abstainers was chairman Terry Hipsey who was then forced to make a casting vote.

He said: “I’m not very happy and I haven’t been persuaded. I’m minded to let the planning inspectorate take a look at this rather than side with the development. I think there will be a little bit of traffic mayhem here.”

However, in the end, he said he felt he couldn’t risk the cost of an appeal going against the authority and despite adding: “There are a lot of issues I am not happy with,” he gave a reluctant green light to the plan – a move that clearly upset some local residents in the public gallery, who as they left the chamber exchanged angry words with the developer and his representatives.

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