Thaxted residents form campaign group to fight unwanted planning developments

'Hands off Thaxted' campaigners Suzanne Compagnioni, Tom Wilson and Ray Knight. 'Hands off Thaxted' campaigners Suzanne Compagnioni, Tom Wilson and Ray Knight.

Friday, April 25, 2014
12:09 PM

Thaxted residents have formed their own group to fight unwanted housing developments on greenfield sites.

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It follows a meeting – believed to be attended by the largest number of the town’s residents in recent years – called amid concerns over a planning application for a large-scale development.

An outline application for development of up to 120 homes on land west of Walden Road has since been submitted by Cheshire-based Gladman Developments. It includes provision of open space with recreational facilities.

Ray Knight, chairman of the ‘Hands Off Thaxted’ campaign, described the application as “on a scale and density never before seen by Thaxted”.

“When asked specifically, there was no-one present at the meeting in favour of the development,” he added.

“The sense was one of widespread hostility and outrage that such an attempt to impose a wholly inappropriate development on Thaxted would wreck its legacy for generations to come.”

Mr Knight said the proposed development was not part of the draft Local Plan recently approved by Uttlesford District Council.

It was agreed at the meeting for separate letters of objection to be sent to Gladman, while attendees also expressed a desire for Thaxted Parish Council to express its objections to the plans.

“Thaxted is being subjected to a number of greenfield developments which are inconsistent with the town itself,” said Mr Knight.

“There is widespread resentment at such developments and at those who support them and provide the means to inflict such developments on this jewel of a town and the community who live there and cherish it.”

The group is holding a second meeting to discuss the application, on May 6 at 8pm in the parish church. It is open to the public.

Ruth Ship, chairman of the parish council, said: “The council has actively opposed all of the large-scale planning applications that have been presented in the last few years.

“I am now particularly worried about an application to build 120 houses on the Walden Road and I applaud the efforts of the recently formed residents’ group, who have been working hard in the community to raise awareness of the planning issues that we are facing at present.

“It is my view that Thaxted simply cannot absorb any more large developments in such a short space in time; in just over the last year the distict council has granted permission for over 120 houses. This could increase to 170 houses if the Wedow Road 2 Appeal is successful this week; this can’t go on, the infastructure can’t cope.”

In its design and access statement to UDC, supporting the application, Gladman says: “The overall vision for the site is to provide a distinctive and high quality place, which enhances the qualities and character of Thaxted.”

It adds: “The development will create up to 120 dwellings with associated public open space, which provides a choice of housing to meet the needs of the area, whilst respecting and enhancing the site’s environmental and cultural assets. It will also promote the use of sustainable transport and plug into the existing public right of way network.

“Housing will be set within a robust green infrastructure, which will include existing mature trees and hedgerows. This will help to integrate development within the landscape and create a distinctive sense of place.”

• Anyone wishing for information about the ‘Hands Off Thaxted’ campaign can reach the organisers by e-mailing thaxted@weareresidents.org or visiting thaxted.weareresidents.org

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