Brentwood Local Plan 2016 - 2033 (Pre-Submission, Regulation 19)

Representation ID: 22603

Received: 19/03/2019

Respondent: Cllr. Andrew Watley

Legally compliant? No

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Yes

Representation Summary:

I object to sites R25 and R26 within the LDP.
Not chosen for good planning protocols, but convenient due to developers lined up.
At last LDP iteration - inappropriate to develop in the villages due to a lack of infrastructure. Nothing changed.
The scale of 70 new houses in a village of 350 houses is totally out of proportion - will change character.
Poor access. Flooding risk to village increased. Lack of good transport links.
Blackmore School at capacity - would force pupils out of the area.
No 'very special circumstances' to warrant building on greenbelt.

Change suggested by respondent:

Taking out R25 and R26 as potential developments.

Full text:

First of all I would like to fully support and endorse the response that has been sent in by Blackmore, Hook End and Wyatts Green Parish Council, which is a very full report, covering all the points in finer detail. In addition I make my own points below.
* At a public meeting held at Blackmore Village Hall in January 2019, with local residents and the BBC Strategic Planning Team, a number of points became blindingly clear. The inclusion in the LDP of sites R25 and R26 was in no way due to good planning protocol but all to do with the convenience of having developers ready and able to develop these two sites. This is no way to choose areas for development within the LDP and appears to be the 'tail wagging the dog'. Developers work on the basis of commercial interest - profit - and will not have the requirements of the local community at the head of its priority list. What research or survey, if any, has been done by BBC in Blackmore and the Parish to determine that we need this housing? I understand that both Stondon Massey and Navestock, neighbouring parishes, both wish to increase housing stock but have been turned down by BBC. How can this be right when there are so many good reasons not to develop in Blackmore. Or is this again 'developer led'?
* In the last iteration of the LDP it was stated by BBC that it was inappropriate to develop in the villages due to the lack of, or restricted, infrastructure that existed. I am struggling to see what has changed from then until now to suddenly make these two developments practical.
* The sheer scale of development -70 houses - in what is a small village of some 350 dwellings cannot do anything other than change the character of the village. An increase of around 20%. Again, why do BBC feel it appropriate to expand a small village by this amount? It is disproportionate and it appears that only the presence of willing developers has prompted its inclusion in the LDP. Again - not the way to plan extra housing.
* The access to these two sites is poor at best. Red Rose Lane is very narrow and single track in places and was an old plague detour route. The extra car movements generated by this level of housing will be a big strain and added danger on the local roads whether using Red Rose Lane or Woollard Way (close to the school) or Orchard Piece for access. Whilst the village does have some bus service it is of a limited nature and the building of these two sites will put added pressure on the local road infrastructure as inevitably new house owners will be forced to use cars for the purposes of getting to their employment or local station.
* Blackmore does have a history of flooding and in very recent years has seen properties around The Green get flooded. Inevitably this development will force more surface water down into the Village. This is without taking into effect the developments which are taking place right on the borders of the Parish by our neighbouring parishes.
* Both these two sites are within the green belt which is protected and can only be used if there are 'very special circumstances'. We haven't been shown any proof of these 'very special circumstances' and that would appear to put building on these two sites at odds with planning regulations (NPPF). What is so special as to disregard the protection of green belt around the Blackmore village? Or is it again the convenience of having those developers in the wings.
* Our local Blackmore Primary School is at capacity at the moment and its classroom sizes make it impossible to increase the number of pupils within a class. No solution was given for this problem at the meeting. No extra funding mentioned. The result will be to force children to be placed in schools away from the village and hinder new youngsters to integrate into the area. It will also force more vehicular use in the area as parents ferry them to neighbouring schools.
For the reasons above I do strongly object to the two sites - R25 and R26 - being included in the LDP and feel that BBC have not fully considered all the implications in including them. I do not feel that using these two parcels of green belt has in any way been proven to be warranted. I do understand that new housing has to be planned and built but I feel a more practical way for villages such as Blackmore is to use up infill areas and smaller spaces to gradually increase the numbers of housing stock without resorting to larger developments which unbalance the village.
Cllr Andrew Watley