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"Shoddy" homes bid is kicked out
10:18am Wednesday 31st October 2012 in News
A CHARITY’S “shoddy” application to build 35 new homes on green belt in North Stifford has been refused.
The Four Acre Trust came in for criticism at the latest meeting of Thurrock Council’s planning committee, after it emerged little had been done engage with residents in the village, who are furious about the plans, or ward councillors.
The committee heard more than 40 people have signed petitions against the two applications at the former Ardale site, in Harrington Crescent, one for ten homes and another for 25.
Speaking on behalf of residents was Dennis Brockhurst, chairman of the North Stifford Village Community Group, who said the village’s infrastructure can’t support that amount of new homes and it was disappointing no community facilities were included.
He added: “We are ready to negotiate with the applicant, but what we don’t want to see is the site developed purely for saleable gains – there has to be something for the benefit of the community.”
Conservative ward councillor Simon Wooton also spoke against the application, and was concerned about school places in neighbouring Chafford Hundred.
He said: “A further 35 homes will have an impact on community infrastructure, school places in particular, which are already in critically short supply.”
Miss Newman, a volunteer from the trust, which supports charities working with young people, argued the case for applications, saying the new homes would replace derelict buildings and add to the council’s housing targets.
She also claimed the trust had sent out letters to residents and was willing to engage with them, but this was angrily disputed by residents.
Planning officers were not convinced there were any special circumstances to allow building on the green belt.
Cllr Shane Hebb urged the applicants to go back to the drawing board, saying: “This application comes across as opportunistic at best, shoddy at worst.”