By Steve Shaw
Local Democracy Reporter
A PLANNED development of 80 homes and a new hospice could be made up almost entirely of four-bedroom properties under new plans submitted to Thurrock’s planning team.
The development on Little Malgraves Farm on Lower Dunton Road in Bulphan was granted planning permission in June last year with the promise of more homes and a hospice operated by the charity St Luke’s Hospice.
But in a fresh application, housing developer Redrow Homes says “it has become apparent that there is strong latent need for larger family homes” and as a result they want to increase the number of four-bedroom properties from the 40 initially planned, to 65.
This will then have a knock-on effect on the number of three-bed properties which will be slashed from 40 to just 15.
When the council discussed the plans last year it was met with widespread opposition from people who live nearby due to it being located on green belt land. But the council decided to grant planning permission due to the “recognised need for a hospice”.
Opposition to the development also came from the council’s public health department which was critical of the development for only including three and four bed properties.
In contrast to the need for “larger family homes” stated by the developer, the department said at the time that there is a need for “more one bedroom properties to meet the needs of local residents”.
Further concerns were raised about the lack of ‘affordable’ homes after the developer claimed it is not possible to include any because they are also funding the construction of the hospice, which will provide end-of-life care.
Speaking of the need for housing in the borough, Councillor Mike Fletcher, deputy chair of the council’s planning committee, said there is a need for a range of homes and many on the housing waitlist need two or three bed properties.
He said: “The ‘elephant in the room’ for many Thurrock people looking for family homes, is cost.
“For many people in our area there is little chance of a mortgage, while the council have very few three-bedroom homes available, which forces people into private rental, which means of course that they have no chance of building up a deposit for the future. It’s the text-book example of a vicious circle.”