Fighting fund formed in Stebbing to combat new village 'west of Braintree'
PUBLISHED: 06:00 14 August 2017
Thousands of pounds have been pledged in days by residents to fight the threat of Braintree and Stebbing Green merging.
Action group SERCLE (Stop Erosion of Rural Communities in Local Essex) and Stebbing Parish Council are joining forces to pay for professional planners and lawyers to argue against the future development of west of Braintree.
A public meeting held earlier this month in the village, hosted by the council and attended by 60 anxious residents, resulted in immediate donations to a fighting fund, said parish clerk Greg King.
“We asked the public if they would contribute because if they want us to continue fighting it will cost money and the answer was yes.
“We got money on the night. One person ran home to get a cheque book. We’ve had a very good response so far, it’s in the thousands.”
SERCLE, a volunteer umbrella group of villages potentially threatened by both Braintree and Uttlesford District Local Plans’ housing proposals, set up a crowd-funding webpage two weeks ago. It already has more than £2,000.
Its webmaster, Dr Peter Finlay of Stebbing Green, said it made sense to join forces to pay for any professional help.
“The proposals are full of holes but we have to put forward a very credible argument to counter them.
“In parallel the parish council is doing the same thing and so the idea is to combine resources.”
Stebbing council submitted its formal objection to Braintree at the end of July – Uttlesford’s closing date for consultation is September 5. This week Stebbing instructed a planner to help it deal with Uttlesford.
The cross-border west of Braintree new garden village envisages potentially 10,000-12,000 new homes by 2030, with nearly 1,000 under Uttlesford’s plan.
In its objection statement, Stebbing wrote that “west of Braintree” is, in fact, the village of Stebbing.
“You could have presented this as the “West Braintree” settlement, but psychologically the wording suggests to your residents that the development is not IN Braintree. Uttlesford District Council in a similar vein called their development “East of Stebbing” – which is Braintree.
“Stebbing is angry at this duplicity. It is neither fair nor honest to either district’s residents.”
There are fears about villages and towns merging with loss of identity, increased A120 traffic, inadequate schools and health services, the impact on the environment, and unsustainability.
To donate to the SERCLE campaign visit www.chuffed.org/project/33402