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Benfleet homes plan earmarked for refusal
7:00am Thursday 26th September 2013 in Local News
CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a housing estate on a green belt site in Benfleet have been earmarked for refusal.
Developer Persimmon Homes is seeking to build 265 homes south of Jotmans Farm, claiming the proposals would go a long way to easing the borough’s housing shortage.
More than 600 people have objected to the plans, saying road, health and education infrastructures would not cope with the influx of extra residents.
Now, council officers have recommended the plans be rejected at a planning meeting next week.
A Castle Point Council report, compiled by chief development control officer Kim Fisher, states: “The proposal represents inappropriate development in the green belt in respect of which the applicant has failed to advance any very special circumstances which might justify a departure from normal green belt policy.
“In addition, it is considered the proposal is premature in that it seeks to determine the location of future residential development outside the confines of the examination in public of the new local plan.”
Speculation now surrounds whether the site could go through a costly appeals process if the application is turned down. The council has set aside £1.25million to defend nine green belt sites – including Jotmans – from potential development should a series of planning appeals be launched by housing developers.
The council is already fighting to save the Glebelands green belt site after the developers took their case to the High Court.
A spokesman for Charles Church, who submitted the plans on behalf of Persimmon Homes, said: “We’re disappointed our application for Jotmans Lane has been recommended for refusal.
“We will be looking carefully at the reasons given and will be monitoring the committee’s decision closely.
“The fact remains there is an overwhelming need for more homes to be built locally, and in recent years Castle Point Council has failed to deliver anywhere near enough.
“The Government has made it very clear it expects councils to identify enough land to meet local housing needs. This proposal gives the council the opportunity to address this shortage. We very much hope the committee takes this opportunity.”
The planning meeting will take place at the council offices, in Kiln Road, Thundersley, from 7.30pm on Tuesday, October 1.
For more information, visit www.castlepoint.gov.uk
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