Joy as plans to build 750 homes are thrown out

Echo: Hands off – the Residents Association celebrate Hands off – the Residents Association celebrate

JUBILANT residents are celebrating after plans for 750 homes on green belt were thrown out.

Residents campaigning against Meridian Strategic Land’s plans for hundreds of new homes off Pound Lane, Bowers Gifford, waited four months for the Secretary of State’s decision, after a public inquiry in February.

Basildon Council refused the original application in September after 5,000 outraged residents signed a petition.

However Meridian, working for Nottinghamshire County Council, appealed the decision, and a four-day inquiry was held.

Local Government Minister Eric Pickles backed the inspectorate’s decision to refuse the proposals for land at Little Chalvedon Hall Farm, off Homestead Road.

It was found developing the land, which the county council’s pension fund bought for a reported £4.2million, would be “inappropriate” and would increase traffic to an unacceptable level.

Campaigners said proposals for 750 homes, a medical centre and primary school would blur the boundaries between Bowers Gifford, North Benfleet and Pitsea – turning the village into a small town.

Mr Pickles said if the site wasn’t green belt it would have been developed, saying it was a “strong candidate for housing development, being in a sustainable location and well related to existing settlements.”

Rose Griffin, of Bowers Gifford and North Benfleet Residents’ Association, said: “We are so pleased. We spoke to the public and heard their views.

The residents of Bowers Gifford have been so supportive and we are delighted with the support not just from them, but residents in Pitsea too.”

Basildon Council’s Draft Local Plan sets out where 12,000 new homes will be built in Basildon, by 2031. A total of 9,100 could be built on green belt land and 3,425 in urban areas.

However, the plan, drawn up under the last Conservative administration, excludes the Little Chalvedon Hall Farm site – arguing it should be preserved.

Councillor Richard Moore, Basildon Council's cabinet member for regeneration and planning, said: “We are pleased the Secretary of State has upheld our decision to refuse planning permission for a residential development at Little Chalvedon Hall. Having said that, we note his comments that it's likely the council will need to release green belt land in order to meet future housing need.”

David Newberry, managing director of Meridian, said he would be pushing for the council to include the site in the local plan.

He said: “I think what we do now, is progress it to the local plan in the way the Secretary of State told us to. The fact of the matter is any decision about any green belt release will be made through the local plan. We still regard this as one of the best sites in the district.

“Basildon Council does not meet its building requirements, and the only way they can meet it is by building 9,000 homes in the green belt.”

‘We are so pleased. The residents of Bowers Gifford have been so supportive WHAT DO YOU THINK E-mail echo.letters@nqe.com DESPITE the celebrations, residents are not letting their guard down and say they will continue fighting if the case is taken to the High Court.

Bowers Gifford and North Benfleet Residents’ Association says it will continue to oppose plans from landowners Nottinghamshire County Council Pension Fund.

Rose Griffin, from the association, said: “It’s fantastic news and we are absolutely over the moon, but we know the battle is not over.

“I don’t think we are out of the danger zone until we have a core strategy in place, but we are ready to fight for the green belt again.”

Chairman Robert Smillie added: “We are excited and all the councillors are over the moon. To take it to High court the costs would be in the hundreds of thousands and if they lose it will be expensive, which is a risk for a pension fund.”

Basildon MP Stephen Metcalfe, who spoke at the planning inquiry on behalf of residents, welcomed the news.

He said: “I am delighted. I would like to thank every person who made their views known to me on this issue, as it enabled me to effectively communicate the strength of feeling against the plans to the Inspectorate.”

A DECISION to veto 165 homes on green belt land in Benfleet added weight to the ruling.

The High Court threw out plans for Glebelands in January, after developers Fox Land and Property took their plans to the top court after Local Government Minister Eric Pickles turned down proposals at the planning appeal stage.

A High Court showdown took place in December and Mr Justice Blake agreed with Mr Pickles’ ruling on the 7.4 hectare site. That decision was was considered in Mr Pickles’ latest ruling.

The planning inspectorate’s report said the plans for land at Glebelands was “less harmful” than the land just 800m away in Bowers Gifford, and the decision to rule out building must be considered. The report added: “The logic of that decision indicates that there should be a refusal on this site.”

Comments (8)

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10:00am Fri 20 Jun 14

Jack222 says...

Why are things never merely 'rejected'; the emotionality - and predictability - of 'thrown out' is very cheap journalism.
Why are things never merely 'rejected'; the emotionality - and predictability - of 'thrown out' is very cheap journalism. Jack222
  • Score: 0

10:43am Fri 20 Jun 14

Howard Cháse says...

And the proposed development in Basildon's Dry Street won't increase traffic to an unacceptable level in Nethermayne where the road is already under gridlock conditions for too long each day?
And the proposed development in Basildon's Dry Street won't increase traffic to an unacceptable level in Nethermayne where the road is already under gridlock conditions for too long each day? Howard Cháse
  • Score: 2

12:26pm Fri 20 Jun 14

Ian P says...

"David Newberry, managing director of Meridian, said: We still regard this as one of the best sites in the district". Well just for your information Mr Newberry, so do the local residents, but for opposing reasons. If you want to build on Green Belt there is plenty of it in Nottinghamshire.
"David Newberry, managing director of Meridian, said: We still regard this as one of the best sites in the district". Well just for your information Mr Newberry, so do the local residents, but for opposing reasons. If you want to build on Green Belt there is plenty of it in Nottinghamshire. Ian P
  • Score: 6

1:31pm Fri 20 Jun 14

sesibollox says...

Fantastic news, we can keep our off road quads down there, on the build front, there's still Jotmans, as the number of suitable places for the super estate dwindles somewhat
Fantastic news, we can keep our off road quads down there, on the build front, there's still Jotmans, as the number of suitable places for the super estate dwindles somewhat sesibollox
  • Score: 1

5:13pm Fri 20 Jun 14

lillie1967 says...

if they are going to 'release' green belt then what is the point of green belt in first place then - I do not understand the obsession that these developers have for destroying green areas over brown field sites....and what's wrong with green belt in Nottingham? go buy nice green fields on your doorstep and try to build on it and see how your residents like it under their nose...councils and developers will only be happy when there are no green belts sites or green fields left and its just a concrete council...I appreciate the need for more housing but when I see people coming to this country wanting free housing for them and their 5 wives and 11 children and any money they do get is sent back to their family in india/Pakistan/where
ver its a never ending cycle - my son is 25 and is lucky to have a job but cannot afford to move out because he cannot afford the extortionate rents being charged nor find any affordable housing - where is all this so called affordable housing - I don't see any even when they are supposed to build some in their estates - even when the estates do get built they are snapped up by Chinese investors so the sacrifice of our green belt is for noting - when the green belt is gone its gone for ever - doesn't anyone give a s**t except for money...
if they are going to 'release' green belt then what is the point of green belt in first place then - I do not understand the obsession that these developers have for destroying green areas over brown field sites....and what's wrong with green belt in Nottingham? go buy nice green fields on your doorstep and try to build on it and see how your residents like it under their nose...councils and developers will only be happy when there are no green belts sites or green fields left and its just a concrete council...I appreciate the need for more housing but when I see people coming to this country wanting free housing for them and their 5 wives and 11 children and any money they do get is sent back to their family in india/Pakistan/where ver its a never ending cycle - my son is 25 and is lucky to have a job but cannot afford to move out because he cannot afford the extortionate rents being charged nor find any affordable housing - where is all this so called affordable housing - I don't see any even when they are supposed to build some in their estates - even when the estates do get built they are snapped up by Chinese investors so the sacrifice of our green belt is for noting - when the green belt is gone its gone for ever - doesn't anyone give a s**t except for money... lillie1967
  • Score: 4

8:00pm Fri 20 Jun 14

John Right says...

Grand news, hitch up the caravans, wheres my hand bell...
Grand news, hitch up the caravans, wheres my hand bell... John Right
  • Score: 1

12:42pm Sat 21 Jun 14

Howard Cháse says...

According to a planning notice in this week's Recorder the Council are selling off some greenbelt in Crays Hill Road.

Did someone bung big Eric a biscuit?
According to a planning notice in this week's Recorder the Council are selling off some greenbelt in Crays Hill Road. Did someone bung big Eric a biscuit? Howard Cháse
  • Score: 2

10:23pm Sat 21 Jun 14

Sensible Man says...

The "developers" are just pure hateful filth. Pretty straightforward really. Just p*** off you shoebox loving filth.
The "developers" are just pure hateful filth. Pretty straightforward really. Just p*** off you shoebox loving filth. Sensible Man
  • Score: 2

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