Council blocks bid to build in Stansted Airport protection zone

A sketch rendering of Weston Homes' Warish Hall development, proposed for Takeley

A drawing of the proposed Warish Hall development in Takeley, which has been blocked by councillors - Credit: Weston Homes

A controversial plan to build homes in a buffer shielding small villages from Stansted Airport has been refused.

Weston Homes applied to build 188 homes near Warish Hall in the Uttlesford Countryside Protection Zone.

The zone separates Takeley from the international airport.

But Uttlesford District Council's planning committee unanimously voted to refuse permission for the development at a meeting yesterday (December 15).

Councillor Janice Loughlin said she was "shocked" by parts of the application.

She told the meeting: "It's a well-known fact that Uttlesford doesn't have a five-year land supply, and this development would help to decrease this figure.

"However, the lack of a five-year land supply doesn't mean that we have to ruin vast swathes of countryside, especially when the sites are contrary to policy."

Most Read

The development would have included a commercial area, an extension to Roseacres Primary School, and a new medical centre.

Weston Homes said its plan would have provided houses and jobs.

It also argued at the meeting that any impact on the environment could be mitigated using Prior's Wood and boundary planting.

Martin Pearce, Weston Homes' head of design, said: "Irrespective of the council's current housing supply position, or the progress of the Uttlesford Local Plan, I would simply ask whether this scheme is good enough.

"And does it comprise a beneficial community offer?

"I firmly believe that the answer to this question is 'yes'."

But the plan has received backlash from Takeley residents.

Before the meeting, UDC received 149 representations.

A 585-strong online protest group - STOP The Warish Hall Development - was formed.

Takeley parish councillor Jackie Cheetham, who has lived in the village for 49 years, said: "This application has received more objections to the council from Takeley residents than any other for many years."

Richard Haynes, a CPRE Countryside Charity trustee, dismissed claims that the plans would contribute to the natural or local environment.

He said: "The only thing this contributes, frankly, is to destroy it."

Most of the existing 25.15 hectare site is currently used for agriculture, according to council reports.