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Green belt housing battle to continue
11:00am Tuesday 24th September 2013 in News
THE fight over plans for 750 homes on green belt land in Bowers Gifford is set to continue, although they were turned down by Basildon Council.
Aberdeen Asset Management, acting for Nottinghamshire Pension Fund, has appealed on the grounds the council failed to decide on the planning application in the set time limit.
The pension fund paid £4.15million for the land, off Pound Lane, to build a housing estate, shops and a primary school as an investment to help provide pensions for public sector employees in Nottinghamshire.
Basildon Council’s planning committee rejected the proposals last week, even though an appeal had already been lodged.
Ed Crockett, from Aberdeen Asset Management, said: “Planning regulations required the application to have been determined by June 10.
“The application was made on February 15, and as the application has not been progressed to a decision some sevenmonths later, an appeal was lodged.”
The plans were rejected after more than 100 residents turned out to lobby councillors against the proposal, which they claimed would destroy wildlife and their village community.
The pension fund managers said they and developer Meridian Strategic Land would now respond to issues raised by Basildon Council in refusing the application, including not coming up with adequate plans for the school, health centre, affordable housing or sports facilities.
Mr Crockett added: “We will seek to work with the relevant authorities to agree matters where possible and will present full evidence in support of the case at the public inquiry, a date for which will be set in due course.”
Rose Griffin, chairman of the Bowers Gifford and North Benfleet Residents’ Association said: “I am appalled to learn they have already put in an appeal.
“In any case, it is a pity neither Meridian nor Nottinghamshire Pension Fund were interested enough to come along to the development control committee to hear what local people and their elected councillors had to say about the application to build on the green belt in our village.”
Basildon Council said it was aware of the timeliness issue, but wasn’t told about the appeal ahead of last week’s meeting. It assured residents the appeal did not nullify the planning refusal.
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