Thursday, July 25, 2024

Airfield homes plan in Orsett is grounded by councillors who reject applicant’s message

THURROCK councillors rejected plans to build 750 homes on green belt land after a developer slammed the council for being “hugely behind” on building new homes reports the Local Democracy Reporter.

Planning officers recommended refusal of the new homes, a medical facility along with retail and commercial units on Thurrock Airfield at Kings Farm, Parkers Farm Road, Orsett.

At a planning committee meeting on Tuesday, councillors were threatened with the new Labour Government’s target of building 1.5million new homes and a review of green belt policy if the plan was to be decided by the planning inspectorate on appeal.

Kevin Leigh, speaking on behalf of developer, Grasslands Ltd, criticised an assessment of the council’s local plan. He said: “At the moment you have no plan in place. You are massively out of date and you are hugely behind on providing housing. The plan in itself doesn’t provide enough housing for you to match up to what this new government says is going to be 300,000 houses per year.

“It may be that orthodox planning encourages people to think green belt is immutable but that is going to change. It probably should have changed a long time ago and we wouldn’t be in the housing crisis that we’re in. You cannot protect every blade of grass.”

Mr Leigh added: “Although your officer takes the orthodox view you should turn this down because it doesn’t tick all the boxes, you’ve got two choices. You could defer today to go away and try and sort out what’s left of the issues, bearing in mind you need housing and it will be imposed on you by the planning inspectorate or you can agree sites.

“You can have a think about whether you want to help this government bring the housing it promised and got voted in to provide or whether you want to keep flying in the face of that.”

Barry Johnson, Conservative councillor for Orsett, said: “Apart from the site being firmly within the metropolitan green belt which remains precious it’s quite clear the village of Bulphan and the site itself cannot accommodate an application of this size.

“I also do not see how the building of flats or buildings of three storeys high could be in keeping with the area. This is fenland and as such is flat so any building of this type would have a massive impact on the openness of this green belt site.”

The council has received 85 letters objecting to the application, including from Dunton Community Forum.

Mr Johnson added: “I’m aware of many letters of objection. Some of them stand out, in particular the proposal is nearly twice the size of the existing Bulphan Village which would not only change the character of the area, it would see a vastly rural area turned into another village, which if allowed would encourage urban sprawl. Neither the A128 nor Bulphan Village can cope with an application of this size.”


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