Local MP is angered over ‘shameful’ Hatfield Peverel planning decisions

Published: 9th July 2019 - 11:50 am Category: Local News

Witham MP Priti Patel has expressed her anger and disappointment on behalf of local residents over three planning decisions taken by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, which will impose development on two sites in Hatfield Peverel. The planning applications for 120 dwellings at Gleneagles Way and 140 dwellings at Stone Path Drive were called in by the previous Secretary of State, as well as a planning appeal for 80 dwellings at Stone Path Drive, which had previously been refused but was overturned after a legal challenge.

Priti, who has been supporting residents over a three-year period in opposing these unwelcome developments, said: “This shameful and appalling decision by the Secretary of State will devastate hundreds of local families who have campaigned hard against these plans and risks wrecking the village. Both sites were outside of the settlement boundary and will cause harm to the countryside, risks to road safety and place huge new pressures on our public services. It will leave school children having to walk miles along the A12 to get to and from school every day and place overwhelming pressures on the local GP surgery.”

“The community in Hatfield Peverel has already accepted hundreds of new dwellings, including on the former Arla Dairy site, and have drafted a Neighbourhood Plan to take control of development in the village and allocate suitable sites for development. The addition of 260 more homes across these two sites will undermine all the work that has taken place on the Neighbourhood Plan and shows a callous disregard for local views.”

“The reports from the Planning Inspector that recommended granting permission, with which the Secretary of State has agreed, were atrocious. Crass and ill-thought-through assumptions have been made about the impact on public services, transport and amenities but the fact is, these developments will put huge pressures on the village, which will not be addressed. While the reports acknowledged that both developments could cause harm, they dismissed residents’ concerns because Braintree District Council does not have a five-year supply of housing. This is an outrageous decision and while the Government constantly talks about empowering communities in the planning process, this decision marks the death knell of localism. These decisions have torpedoed the village’s Neighbourhood Plan and I will be making my disgust at the Secretary of State’s decision very clear.”

Priti praised local residents for their campaign against these proposals and for their work in fighting the plans. Priti said:

“The local community has come together strongly to oppose these plans and I commend them for their commitment, determination and hard work. Residents and the Parish Council have put up a robust fight, of which they should be very proud. While the odds were stacked against us in fighting developers with deep pockets, a Council that abandoned the village and a Planning Inspector and Secretary of State who ignored our concerns, we pushed them all the way and came close to winning. While the developers have threatened legal action, tried to bully the community, undertaken a dodgy consultation and made outrageous claims, residents can hold their heads high, having fought fairly and honestly.”

Priti also criticised the inconsistent approach taken by Braintree District Council to these development proposals. She added:

“The Council failed to support residents in their fights against these developments and caved into developers rather than try to defend their Local Plan. These sites had been objected to by the Council during the Local Plan process. However, when the applications came to the planning committee and while they have been with the Planning Inspector and Secretary of State, the Council has turned its back on Hatfield Peverel and sided with the developers, who have run roughshod over the local community. It is also shocking that on other appeals elsewhere in the District the Council has opposed development and defended its five-year housing supply but in Hatfield Peverel they agreed with the developers. This inconsistent position puts the Council at risk of losing other cases. The Council’s delays in progressing the village’s proposed Neighbourhood Plan have also had a detrimental impact by reducing the levels of protection which could have been applied to these sites.”


Documents

PP to MHCLG re Hatfield Peverel Planning Decisions (2019 July 9)
PP on Hatfield Peverel Planning Decisions (2019 July)


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