Great Dunmow: Wasteland site could be transformed into park

PUBLISHED: 08:55 25 April 2014

Great Dunmow Town Council has been offered a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to take control of a 23-acre park - as well as £250,000 to maintain it.

Knight Developments, which is behind the 68-home Brick Kiln Farm development on St Edmunds Lane, has proposed in its detailed planning application to extend the Chelmer Valley Park with an ecological biodiversity site.

Outline plans for the site have already been approved, so 
development will go ahead.

However, if the detailed application is approved, landscapers will transform the site from wasteland into an area residents can enjoy with the addition of benches, trees, plants, woodland, meadow, as well as footpaths and a river crossing.

Once completed, the area will be looked after by the developers for one year. It will then be signed off and handed to the town council along with almost £250,000 to maintain it for 20 years – if the local authority accepts the offer.

Councillor Trudi Hughes welcomed the proposal at a meeting of the council’s Downs & Commons committee, last Thursday (April 17).

She said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It would be amazing for us and I think we need to engage with it whole heartedly.”

If the plan does go ahead, it would mean the town council has control of both areas on either side of the river. Cllr Hughes described this as being “an amazing gain” for the council.

Once the developers make an official offer, the council will have eight weeks to accept. Even if it does accept, but is not happy with the park once it is completed, the council can still refuse the offer.

Speaking after the meeting, Dunmow town mayor, Cllr Phil Milne, told the Broadcast: “Although we did not like the houses, that has already been decided so really we have to move forward.

“I think this is a very good opportunity. It will mean we have control of both sides of the river enabling us to do what we think is best for the town.”

The town council had objected to the planning application itself though, citing potential problems including flooding and design.

The application is expected to go before Uttlesford District Council in the near future.

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