An application for 1,200 homes between Little Easton and Great Dunmow has been granted by the Government - after previously being rejected by Uttlesford District Council.

LS Easton Park Development Ltd applied to build between 1,000 and 1,200 homes, a care home, business space and primary school near Highwood Quarry.

The proposals were rejected by Uttlesford District Council in October 2021, with planning committee members saying the plans were 'unsustainable' and 'harmful to the environment'.

However the development would help reduce the district's five-year housing land supply shortfall, and a shortage of primary school places.

Following an appeal launched in February this year, the Secretary of State for Housing and Planning granted planning permission on Monday, September 11.

In considering the appeal, the Secretary of State found the development would not cause harm to any heritage asset in the area, with a low level of impact on the Little Easton Conservation Area or the Church of St Mary the Virgin.

The findings showed that there would be an adverse visual impact on the landscape, and that this "weighed moderately against the proposal", and that there would not be a significant enough impact on highways and transport to refuse permission on traffic grounds alone.

Other factors which weighed against the proposal were the lack of a walkable neighbourhood, and a "unsatisfactory nature" of proposed cycle routes.

The report summarised: "The Secretary of State considers that there are no protective policies which provide a clear reason for refusing the development proposed.

"He further considers that the adverse impacts of granting permission would not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits."

The proposals have met with a lot of backlash from Dunmow and Little Easton residents, many of whom have expressed "overwhelming concern" since the initial application to the district council.


Campaign group Stop Easton Park expressed concern about the size of the development, which they said would increase the population by around 3,000, a 33 per cent rise which they said would "swamp" the historic market town.

They also argued that the development would cause an increase in urban sprawl, result in gridlock on the B1256 and destroy the landscape on entering the historic centre of Little Easton.

The sole access to the development is that used by Highwood Quarry, which campaigners said is "inadequate" for a development of this size.

Vincent Thompson, founder of Stop Easton Park, said: "This decision by the Secretary of State is deeply disappointing and has caused great upset in the local community.

"It demonstrates a legalistic approach taken to extremes without proper regard for the heritage and landscape of Great Dunmow and the surrounding villages.

"It shows the heavy hand of central government inflicting its political agenda to build yet further houses in this highly developed area without regard to local concerns.

"The arguments against this development have been comprehensively and persuasively presented by Uttlesford District Council and others but ignored by the SoS on the basis of land supply figures that are now months out of date."