Protesters gather to fight park expansion

PUBLISHED: 06:02 16 November 2006 | UPDATED: 21:26 29 May 2010

Nicola Douglas is one of the campaigners fighting the expansion of Oakwood Park - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

Nicola Douglas is one of the campaigners fighting the expansion of Oakwood Park - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

THERE was standing room only as more than 100 Felsted residents packed the village s URC Hall to speak out about the proposed expansion of Oakwood Park into the village. Nicola Douglas, Felsted resident and parish councillor, told people at the public mee

THERE was standing room only as more than 100 Felsted residents packed the village's URC Hall to speak out about the proposed expansion of Oakwood Park into the village.

Nicola Douglas, Felsted resident and parish councillor, told people at the public meeting about developers Enodis's proposal to build an extra 162 houses on greenfield land that currently separates the village from the new housing development.

"Of those 162 houses, Enodis wants to build 85 on a greenfield site that is currently being used as temporary storage for soil taken from the Oakwood park development," said Mrs Douglas.

According to the agreements put in place, Mrs Douglas said the soil must be removed by April 2009 and the field returned to its original state of a green field.

She said: "The green field development is the main issue here. It is inappropriate to develop into Felsted and this flies in the face of the democratic process where we have a planning process in place.

"If this permission to build these houses here is given by the inquiry, then it makes a mockery of having a planning process at all."

The meeting came as the date approaches for the planning inquiry where Enodis will appeal against Uttlesford District Council's unanimous decision to reject the application.

The inquiry will be held on November 21 and in the meantime, campaigners are gathering steam in the hope of putting a stop to it.

Cllr Alan Thawley, chair of the environment committee at Uttlesford District Council, said: "Enodis's proposals are completely against the new local development plan, adopted recently in 2005, after the issues were explored thoroughly and rejected by the District Council, the local plan inquiry and finally the secretary of state at that time."

Uttlesford District Council's Mike Ovenden, head of the South Team of Planners, gave an account of Enodis's proposal and the reasons that councillors had given for their unanimous refusal after a very clear set of recommendations from their officers.

The meeting agreed to put several presentations to the imminent inquiry and for as many Felsted villagers as possible to attend during the four days of the proceedings.

MP Sir Alan Haslehurst said: "I'm entirely against the development proposals and fully endorse the council's original decision.

"The campaign now rests in the hands of the residents who are so infuriated by these plans, and the barrister who has been employed by the council to take the case.

"We need to bring the message home to the developers that this scheme is not what people want."

The planning inquiry will start at 10am in the committee room of the Uttlesford District Council offices in Great Dunmow High Street on Tuesday, November 21.

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