243 Takeley homes granted outline approval despite concerns

Aerial plans for the 88 home development in Parsonage Lane, Takeley, Uttlesford

Aerial plans for the 88 home development in Parsonage Lane in Takeley - Credit: Pegasus Design

Hundreds of homes for Takeley have been approved through two planning applications, despite fears they could erode protected countryside around Stansted Airport.

Uttlesford District Council's planning committee yesterday (May 11) gave outline approval for 155 homes on land west of Garnetts, Dunmow Road and to 88 homes on land east of Parsonage Road.

Aerial plans for the 155 home development in Dunmow Road, Takeley, Uttlesford

Aerial plans for the 155 home development in Dunmow Road, Takeley - Credit: Pegasus Design

Aerial plans for the 88 home development in Parsonage Lane, Takeley, Uttlesford

Aerial plans for the 88 home development in Parsonage Lane in Takeley - Credit: Pegasus Design

Despite their approval, both proposals by Endurance Estates Land Promotion Ltd drew criticism from councillors.

Their location is in the Countryside Protection Zone (CPZ), a belt of countryside aimed at mitigating the impact of the airport on neighbouring towns and villages.

One councillor claimed the protected countryside was being eroded by successive developments.

The sites are also close to the Church of the Holy Trinity, a Grade 1 listed building, and Prior’s Wood ancient woodland, respectively.

But councillors conceded that old planning policies such as the CPZ no longer had enough legal weight to protect the countryside whilst the council did not have a Local Plan.

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Of the 155 homes on land west of Garnetts, Dunmow Road, 68 will be affordable housing, while 10% will be self-build houses and 5% will be wheelchair accessible.

Part of the land will be retained for agricultural use, in addition to public open space and a children’s play area.

Holy Trinity Church lies at the site’s western boundary.

Speaking on behalf of the applicant, Duncan Jenkins the Project Director at Endurance Estates said the benefits of the scheme were “over and above” those provided by similar developments in Takeley.

These included six additional affordable homes on top of the proposed 40% and a minimum 20% reduction in carbon emissions.

He said: “There are no outstanding technical objections to the application and all concerns have been addressed in a considered manner.”

But Councillor Janice Loughlin said the CPZ should be “on par with the Green Belt” and that she had a problem with building in it.

She said: “Having been on this committee for quite a while now, I’ve gradually seen it been eroded over a period of years and as I said, if we keep on doing that we won’t have a CPZ anymore, or we’ll have such a small piece of land between us and the airport that it won’t be relevant."

Council officer Nigel Brown told the committee the CPZ, which was set out in the council’s 2005 Local Plan, is a “well out of date policy”, and consequently was not currently a sufficient legal reason to reject applications.

While the council does not have an up to date Local Plan or a five-year housing land supply, a titled balance in favour of sustainable development applies.

Councillor Neil Reeve echoed statements by officers, despite expressing unease over growing development in the zone.

He said: “Set against that are the benefits of the development on its own and I think in its own right, especially if it were somewhere else, it’s a fine development.”

The meeting also approved the outline application for 88 homes on land east of Parsonage Road

The A120 trunk road runs north of the Parsonage Lane site and a potential area of public open space would be retained between it and the development.

Prior’s Wood borders the south east of the site, but a tree buffer has been proposed by the applicant.

Councillor Judy Emmanuel argued planning for a children’s playground in the buffer was a “contradiction” and weakened its effectiveness.

Speaking at the meeting as a resident, Vere Isham said future residents would be disturbed by noise from planes flying overhead and blighted by pollution from traffic on the nearby A120 as well as aircraft.

He said: “This development extends Takeley ever closer to coalescence with Stansted Airport, further losing the original concept of an airport in the countryside.”

Mr Jenkins said the environmental health officer was satisfied with the potential levels of noise from the airport and had signed off on the proposals.

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