Plans for 168 new homes in Essex countryside

Plans for 168 new homes in Saffron Waldon are set to be thrown out by the council
-Credit: (Image: Google Maps)

Correction: A previous version of this article reported that the planning application by Chase New Homes for 168 properties on land to the west of Thaxted Road was set to be thrown out by the local Council. We now understand that the application was a "reserved matters application", whereby outline planning permission had already been granted, however the Council needed to consider further specific details in light of concerns raised. We are happy to clarify that the application has not been thrown out.

Plans for more than 100 new homes in Saffron Walden are set to be thrown out by the council over concerns about noise from a nearby skate park. The proposals by Chase New Homes for 168 properties on land to the west of Thaxted Road have received more than five objections from residents who raise a number of concerns including possible flooding at the site.

Uttlesford District Council’s planning committee is set to refuse the plan at a meeting on June 26. It comes after the council was placed into special measures for refusing too many planning applications after warnings from the government.

It means that applications for major development - more than 10 houses or more than one hectare - can be made directly to the Government's Planning Inspectorate, although developers can still apply directly to the council for planning permission.

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The council officers report, ahead of the meeting, states: “The application was considered by the planning committee on May 29 and was deferred to address the concerns of noise raised by the council’s environmental health officer.

“The application has been assessed by the council’s environmental health officer, who has advised that the noise from the skate park has not been assessed appropriately and is likely to have a significant impact upon the future users of the proposed development without the appropriate mitigation.”

A resident who objected to the plans in a letter to the council raised serious concerns about flooding. He said: “It is my understanding that Thaxted Road has flooded many times over the years.

"Two of the most recent examples being in 2021 when the Lord Butler Leisure Centre was flooded and had to close, and again just last month. Building on these fields will only make matters worse as the area able to absorb such rainfall would be greatly reduced making flooding more likely and more frequent. Mitigation to prevent flooding is therefore essential.”

The lead local flooding authority did not object to this application.

If agreed the plans would see 24 one-bedroom flats, 2 one-bedroom bungalows, two two-bedroom bungalows, 22 two-bedroom homes, 46 three-bedroom homes, 48 four-bedroom properties, and 10 five-bedroom houses. Last December, Michael Gove, who was the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, at the time, named and shamed Uttlesford District Council for planning failures.

The authority was one of three in Essex on his seven-strong hit list along with Basildon and Castle Point councils.

Chase New Homes managing director, Gary Bartonsaid: "We have always tried to positively engage with the Council and to have an amicable relationship, but the planning department continues to take an inappropriate, obtrusive stance that seems to stem from politics within the Council instead of from interpreting actual planning policy."