Bid to 'join' Dunmow and Easton with more than 1,000 homes blocked

Drawings of a proposed housing estate for Easton and Dunmow. In the centre, an oval-shaped park.

Developers hoped to build 1,000-1,200 homes on land between Little Easton and Great Dunmow - Credit: Barton Willmore/LDRS

Councillors have rejected the concept of building more than 1,000 homes which would effectively join two rural communities together.

Uttlesford District Council's Planning Committee unanimously rejected the principle of building between 1,000 and 1,200 homes, a care home, business space and primary school on land between Little Easton and Great Dunmow yesterday (October 27).

Planning committee members said the proposal was unsustainable and harmful to the environment.

The applicant, L S Easton Park Development Ltd, wanted to build the estate near Highwood Quarry, which is responsible for 300 HGV movements each day.

Thousands of residents would also have had to use a single access point to the A120, shared with the quarry.

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

Councillor Katy Rodwell, from Little Easton Parish Council, told the planning committee: "There has been overwhelming concern expressed by our residents and those in neighbouring villages."

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Tony Clark, a Great Dunmow resident and retired builder, said: "Speaking as an experienced civil engineer, who has on many occasions had to install temporary roads and construct new works around existing buildings, the present scheme that they're putting forward simply will not work.

"It's unsustainable. It's dangerous."

A section of a statement accompanying the proposals, written by Barton Willmore, read: "With high-quality and sustainable design principles at its heart, the emerging proposals include new homes, a new neighbourhood centre, and a primary school.

"Throughout the scheme, we propose to open and link areas of previously inaccessible green space for the enjoyment of new and existing residents alike."

Despite promises of sustainability in the application, district councillor Louise Pepper warned that homes on this land would have an adverse environmental impact.

Cllr Pepper said: "What are the adverse impacts for this development? Traffic, an increase of CO2 and air pollution, the majority of residents will travel by car."

The application was an outline plan.

A similar application for up to 700 homes was refused permission in 2013 and dismissed on appeal by the Secretary of State in 2016.

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