Bid for housing and sports development in Bulphan thrown out

THE Thurrock Council planning committee has thrown out an application for housing and sports development in Bulphan.

Members were informed that the application sought planning permission for 52 assisted living apartments, in four blocks, with café/restaurant facilities, a separate convenience store and doctors surgery, changing rooms/ club room with outdoor sports pitch and ancillary parking and landscaping with two access points to Church Lane.

It was considered inappropriate development of the Green Belt and the matters of detail were also deemed unacceptable.

You can follow the full debate from the 50th minute of the audio below.

It was proposed by Councillor Liddiard and seconded by Councillor Little that the application be refused as per the Officer recommendation.

For (To refuse permission): Councillors Tom Kelly (Chair), Kevin Wheeler (Vice-Chair), Chris Baker, Steve Liddiard, Brian Little and David Potter

Against: Councillor Gerard Rice

Abstain: Councillors Colin Churchman and Tunde Ojetola

Below are the minutes published by Thurrock Council.

Councillor Rice asked for clarity as to the proposed height of the buildings. Officers advised that they would be 2-storey buildings with pitched roofs, so around 8-9m high.

A Resident was invited to the committee to make a statement in objection to the application.

Reasons of objection included:

MUGA facilities already exist in the village;
– A new shop is already to be provided in the village;
– Principle of development in the Green Belt;
– Not a suitable road for development;
– Not an appropriate location for such a development;
– Noise pollution and access during construction;
– Increased noise activity when constructed;
– Development is outside the village envelope;
– Impact of vehicle movements on the village;
– Lack of suitable public transport;
– The site is in close proximity to Thurrock Airfield;
– The application is for outline consent only and the eventual type and density
if therefore unknown;
– Parkers Farm Road is very narrow and is used, especially by cyclists;
– Site is on a flood plain.

A Ward Councillor, Councillor Sue Little, was also invited to the committee to make a statement opposing the application.

The Agent Gary Coxall was invited to the committee to make his statement of support.

The Committee discussed claims that the applicant had worked closely with the Health and Wellbeing Board on the scheme. It was confirmed that there had been discussions around desirable schemes for elderly residents housing but the location had not been supported.

The committee discussed reference to bungalows and the nature of use of the farmhouse and sought clarity as there were conflicting statements. Officers advised there was no information regarding other nearby sites.

The Chair sympathised that there needed to be more choice for elderly residents as the Council seemed to favour town centre-based locations and asked whether there were any plans for similar developments in the future. The Head of Planning & Growth advised the Committee that the new Local Plan was currently being developed including these types of property, but the idea would be urban extension to ensure links to the community and prevent social isolation.

Councillor Rice discussed the controversial nature of the application as funding for social care was being reduced so there would be a need to encourage private funding for these types of development and though it would be undesirable use of the Green Belt there was a dire need for these types of properties. Councillor Ojetola sympathised with this view but highlighted that the application did not comply with the Council’s current policy.

The Vice-Chair expressed the need to protect the green Belt for future generations. The Campaign to Protect Rural England Representative supported the officers’ recommendation and accepted that there may be a need to build on Green Belt moving forward but there was a need to be selective about which sites. This site was particularly inappropriate, regardless of its Green Belt status, due to the single carriageway access road. A previous application had shown laybys; there was a design to widen the carriageway but the land either side was privately owned land which was farmed.

Councillor Little noted the list of negative considerations which gave a very clear indication from officers. He considered that the development was an inappropriate use of the Green Belt, in the wrong location to benefit its intended residents, would cause chaos on the … view t

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