Benfleet residents cheer as plans for new homes in Essex town refused

Controversial plans for 47 homes on greenbelt land in a south Essex town have been thrown out by the council over fears about the impact to the environment.

Castle Point Council’s planning committee rejected the bid by Foxberry Developments to build 47 homes on land off Chase Mews, Benfleet due to concerns about harming the greenbelt land and nature at a meeting on Tuesday night.

The committee went against the planning officer’s report which recommended the plans were approved, the councillors also went against the advice of Stephen Garner , assistant director of development services at Castle Point Council, who felt the arguments against the plans were not strong enough.

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The plans received 168 objections from angry residents. Michael Fuller, Canvey Independent councillor for Canvey North and portfolio holder for the environment said: “Quite simply the decision we make is if the harm to the greenbelt is outweighed by the benefits.

“My conclusion is that the report and the debate this evening has shown that there is insufficient evidence to say that the benefits outweigh the harm to the greenbelt, therefore that is why I refuse the application.”

Rob Lillis , People’s Independent Party councillor for St Mary’s, told the meeting: “In undertaking our consideration, the committee has unanimously concluded that no substantial exceptions are met and justify the development, no substantial exceptions have been identified and it is therefore considered the proposal will amount to inappropriate development within the greenbelt, which is by definition harmful to the purposes of the greenbelt and is therefore refused.”

Jamie Huntman, Canvey Independent Party councillor for Canvey Central, added: “My view is it is a material consideration that we have a preservation of nature.

“I don’t think there’s been enough weight put onto that argument, I think having looked into it ina lot more depth the badger set is far larger then we were led to believe. It would have a detrimental impact on not only the badger set but all wildlife on that site.”

The decision to refuse the plans was met by loud clapping and cheering from the packed public gallery. Foxberry Developments was contacted for comment.