Dunmow’s bypass still way off after homes plan is opposed by town council

A CONCLUSION to the north-west bypass saga remains way off following the town council’s objection to “deplorable” plans which promised its swift completion.

Bovis Homes offered the carrot of finishing the last 550 yards within 14 months in exchange for backing to build 125 homes on farmland situated between Little Easton and Great Dunmow.

The firm also offered �225,000 to Helena Romanes School for additional parking and improved bus turning facilities and �50,000 to Essex Highways for improved public transport on the B184.

But the proposition was thrown out by councillors at a meeting last week, with members feeling the town would be left short-changed.

Councillors pointed to the failed Wickford Developments bid on the site in 2009. The development company – which has responsibility for the completion of the bypass since it was first granted planning permission for Woodlands Park in November 1991 – made an offer of finishing the road if the council backed its plans to erect 190 homes. The application was rejected by Uttlesford and again on appeal by the planning inspectorate.

Mayor Ron Clover said those issues raised then, particularly over the lack of infrastructure and urbanisation concerns of that part of town, had not been answered in Bovis’ application.

“The issues brought up by the planning inspectorate [in 2009] have not been addressed – what we get for allowing the bypass is insufficient for what we give up,” he said.

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“The developer’s donation to HRS to ease congestion will not make a difference as all the traffic will still have to get in and out of that area.”

Cllr Gwynn Davies added: “There is no difference except in the number of houses. I am concerned this will urbanise the area which is virgin countryside – the plans should be deplored. There is no infrastructure.”

Dunmow’s firm response to Bovis’ offer has been laid out in a letter to Uttlesford, and draws further concerns that the site is “detached, isolated and inaccessible to amenities and facilities of the town”.

“It would be necessary to provide community facilities such as medical provision, a pub, community hall, open spaces and a local shop – in fact, all of the things which together form the “hub” of a settlement,” read the letter, adding that schools and doctors’ surgeries are already at, or reaching, full capacity.

The application was also met with a vehement response from residents, who raised similar concerns with added fears over the potential impact on the local environment and wildlife.

A Bovis Homes spokesman said: “We remain committed to delivering these new homes at sector four for the local community and will continue to work with all interested parties to take the plans forward. We have a proven track record of building quality new homes and delivering improved local infrastructure while making significant financial contributions for the benefit of the local neighbourhood.

“As well as these new homes and the bypass we are proposing new cycleways, footpaths, public open spaces and landscaping, and we believe the plans will be of huge benefit to local people and the local area as a whole. We are sure the council will consider the application on its individual planning merits when coming to its decision.”