THE latest bid by a developer to build new homes in Badgers Dene in Grays has been rejected by planning councillors – who have reversed a recommendation by planning officers to approve.
A previous application for eight homes on the site had previously been rejected – though it is subject to an appeal which remains undecided.
Grays Riverside ward councillors have joined local residents in the area in opposing the development of the site – which is the only green and open space left in the area.
Speaking on behalf of colleagues Cllrs Martin Kerin and Jane Pothecary, Cllr Tony Fish told tonight’s (Thursday, 26 November) meeting of Thurrock Council’s planning committee that significant objections remained to building.
He said: “The design is out of keeping with surrounding properties, the proposal will change the whole character of the area, the pressure on the local primary school will be unsustainable
And he added that the construction of the site would lead to an unacceptable intrusion into the lives of nearby residents and concluded: “The area is renowned for orchids, badgers and other forms of wildlife.
“This has no provision for affordable housing and does nothing to solve Thurrock’s housing crisis.”
The application found little favour among councillors. Only chairman Cllr Tom Kelly supported it, while Cllr Gary Byrne abstained.
Cllr Kelly said: “Maybe its a matter for the developer to show patience and come back at another point in time under a different committee.
“My view is that I think it is OK but we are a committee of differing opinions.”
Six other members of the committee supported going against a recommendation for approval, with Cllr Mike Fletcher summing up opposition by saying: “I am concerned about shoehorning buildings into the last bit of green belt that is available.”
Cllr Fletcher detailed a number of reasons why the build should be opposed, summed up in the decision which said the development was not wanted because of its ‘siting and mass appearance that would would result in an incongruous development that is out of character with the area.”
After the decision was made Cllr Kerin released a statement saying: “We welcome the decision of the planning committee to reject the building on this tiny slither of land in Badgers Dene.
“This is the second time we have had to fight to protect this green space for our residents.
“The residents of Badgers Dene can rest assured that the three of us will always fight to defend this much-loved part of the estate.”