Helena Romanes homes plan 'harmful urbanisation' says council

A bird's eye view rendering of a 200-home development on the Helena Romanes School site in Great Dunmow

The current Helena Romanes School site in Great Dunmow could be replaced by 200 homes if plans are approved - Credit: DAP Architecture Ltd

Plans to replace a Great Dunmow school building with 200 new homes have been branded "harmful urbanisation" ahead of a vote next week.

Helena Romanes School and Sixth Form Centre wants to relocate to a new site on the southern side of Stortford Road, where it plans to build a new all-through school with 2,000 extra primary and secondary school places.

School chiefs want to tear down the current building and build 200 new flats in its place.

But planning officers have raised concerns over the development's impact on eight neighbouring listed buildings, and its lack of any affordable homes.

According to an Uttlesford District Council report, planning officers recommend that permission to build the homes should be refused.

The report reads: "The proposed would present the harmful urbanisation of the site resulting in several impacts to the designated heritage assets, especially considering the diurnal, environmental and season changes."

A section on the residential development replacing the school reads: "There is an opportunity to take land that is partly brownfield, with good existing access and well defined by landscaped boundaries and deliver much-needed, high quality housing to the district.

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"The proposal will offer a range of residential dwelling types, supported by areas of green, public open space, an equipped children's play area, a sustainable urban drainage system, and good walking and cycling connections."

The applicant sought a 'scoping opinion' last year to assess the environmental impact of their proposals before submitting their application.

The applicant also argues that building affordable housing on the development is not viable.

Uttlesford District Council's policy is that all developments within Great Dunmow should provide 40 percent affordable housing.

The Place Services Historic Environment Team has raised concerns about the impact of the development on eight Grade II-listed buildings nearby.

The report reads: "Whilst visually the proposed will be intrusive, other factors such as light pollution, noise pollution and general disturbance must be taken into consideration for all of the above."

Councillors will debate the proposals at a UDC Planning Committee meeting on Wednesday, September 29.