Plans for major housing development in Bulphan may be rejected

By Local Democracy Reporter
Steve Shaw

A PLAN to build a major housing development could be thrown out following a recommendation from the council’s planning team.

The outline planning application is to build a development made up of 116 new homes, three shops and a pub on land adjacent to Church Road in Bulphan, Thurrock.

Among the homes would be 46 categorised as ‘affordable’.

Bulphan

But the council’s planning officers have said in a report that permission should be refused because it would mean building on green belt land.

The site is currently used for the grazing of horses and is open with no buildings apart from a field shelter. The applicant claims the development should be exempt from the green belt concerns because of ‘special circumstances’, including the large number of affordable housing.

In the report, the planning officers note: “The considerations promoted by the applicant fall some considerable way short of constituting very special circumstances and it follows that harm is not clearly outweighed and that the application should be refused.

“There are no planning conditions that could be used to make the proposal acceptable in planning terms.”

The application has also attracted 76 objections from families living nearby, with concerns raised about overdevelopment, increased traffic and limited infrastructure such as schools and health facilities.

One letter warned: “To allow development on this site would set a precedent, opening the flood gates to over green belt sites to be developed against the wishes of local residents who believe Bulphan should be kept as a small village.”

Another states: “The proposed build is dangerously close to an already overloaded A128. The junctions are notoriously difficult to negotiate because of high traffic flow and the junction nearest to the proposed development has already suffered many fatalities.”

The plot of land has been put forward to be included within Thurrock Council’s Local Plan, which requires the construction of almost 28,000 homes over a 20-year period. However, the plan is yet to been adopted.

Labour Councillor Gerard Rice of the Chadwell St Mary ward warned members of the council’s planning committee during the last meeting that they cannot keep turning down developments due to the green belt.

“Sooner or later we are going to have to pass these applications,” he told the committee.

“The government has told us we have to build these homes, they are going to have to be built in the green belt, so places like Bulphan will be down for a couple of thousand, Fobbing will be down for a thousand plus – everybody has to make their contribution.”

The planning committee will have the final say on the application when it is discussed at a meeting on June 6.

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