Essex village wins home fight win against planners

PUBLISHED: 11:27 25 September 2009 | UPDATED: 07:23 30 May 2010

VILLAGERS have claimed victory in an 18-year fight against planners trying to build private homes in the centre of Leaden Roding. Replacement sheltered accommodation on Holloway Crescent and Holloway Close had been earmarked by Uttlesford District Council

VILLAGERS have claimed victory in an 18-year fight against planners trying to build private homes in the centre of Leaden Roding.

Replacement sheltered accommodation on Holloway Crescent and Holloway Close had been earmarked by Uttlesford District Council and a contractor, Swan Housing, had been approached to come up with a building plan, which was agreed in 2008.

However, those plans were met with disgust when it emerged that residents were going to be forced out of their current homes to make way for new houses and that a percentage of the housing would be for private sale and rent.

Despite several rounds of consultations residents say that the developers have not listened to them enough. Via a dedicated concern group, they urged the council to consider a different option of just renovating the current sheltered accommodation block and building only affordable housing.

Jo Waters headed a group of around 30 villagers who turned up to voice their concerns at the council's community and housing committee meeting on Thursday.

He said: "We understand the need for the redevelopment of the current sheltered housing, but not for Holloway Close.

"There are many reasons for this view; forcing residents from their homes, sustainability of the proposals and the sheer level of development planned on land which forms the centre of our village.

"Our group represents a large and varied cross-section of our community and a resounding 97 per cent are against this development."

The swathe of support managed to influence the committee's decision as the councillors agreed to implement a scheme of 38 houses - of which 30 would be affordable and eight for shared ownership. This was not considered financially viable for Swan Housing when negotiations first started.

However, now that the scheme is largely agreed, the housing group will have the first option on whether they would like to take the council up and provide the necessary houses and flats.

Swan Housing's Akin Durowoju said that much work was being done in looking at what was deliverable. He emphasised that any scheme would address the needs and aspirations of residents.

It is understood that Swan may still take up the council on the scheme.

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