Residents must fight development, says councillor

UDC building

Uttlesford District Council building - Credit: Archant

A Stansted Mountfitchet councillor says residents must be prepared to fight "tooth and nail" against controversial plans to build 168 homes on farmland to the north of the town.

Uttlesford District Council refused an application for the development on land west of Pennington Lane, which includes 40 percent affordable homes, public open space, drainage systems, landscaping and associated infrastructure, in a decision dated March 18.  

UDC said the design, layout, scale and appearance of the development by Bloor Homes would have a detrimental impact on the Bentfield Green conservation area and mean the loss of open countryside.  

However, Bloor Homes has appealed the decision to the planning inspectorate saying the council "failed to give notice of its decision within the appropriate period on an application for permission or approval."

Cllr Daniel Brett from Stansted Mountfitchet Parish Council said: "We cannot depend on just a refusal by UDC, whose powers are weakened by the lack of a credible Local Plan and less than five years' housing land supply, nor can we count that past appeal refusals provide a reliable defence against this development.

"As such, residents should expect to fight tooth and nail against this proposal."

A spokeswoman for Bloor Homes said: “Unfortunately, UDC has a really poor supply of housing land and is some years away from replacing its out of date Local Plan.

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"It has no interim plan to fix its planning and housing problems. In these circumstances, and in line with National Planning Policy, UDC should be embracing the benefits of sustainably proposed housing development - including affordable housing and financial support for local infrastructure.

"Instead, Bloor Homes, in common with other applicants seeking to invest in the locality, has to use its last resort of appealing to the Secretary of State to secure a reasonable consideration of its proposals.”

A council spokesperson said: “While UDC accepts it does not currently have the required five year housing supply, the council will not be pressured into allowing what it considers to be inappropriate development to take place.  

"New development in Uttlesford needs to be of a high standard to reflect the quality of the environment and so proposals that fail to meet this requirement will be refused planning permission.”