Essex council allows 210 homes in green gap

Scaled-down plans have been approved to develop up to 210 homes on the edge of Frinton-on-Sea in Essex after planners advised that the council could not demonstrate a five-year land supply.

Hamford Water: 'no significant disturbance' from housing scheme
Hamford Water: 'no significant disturbance' from housing scheme

Landowner the Burghes Estate submitted revised outline plans after a larger scheme for 250 homes at the 12-hectare greenfield site was deferred by the district council’s planning committee in July to allow further negotiations with the applicants.

An updated report produced by Tendring District Council officers for yesterday's planning committee meeting recognised that the scheme, which includes open space and play areas, would reduce a local green gap identified in the council’s 2007 adopted local plan between Frinton and the neighbouring village of Kirby-le-Soken.

The committee report recorded concerns over the scheme from Frinton and Walton Town Council, Frinton Residents Association, Kirby-le-Soken Village Preservation Society, ward councillor Robert Bucke and 24 local residents. 

However, the report said that, because the authority cannot demonstrate a five-year housing land supply, the presumption in favour of sustainable development set out in the National Planning Policy Framework applies to the proposal.

Officers advised that a "significant" green gap would remain between Frinton and Kirby-le-Soken. They also said that the scheme would not cause significant disturbance to internationally important habitats at nearby Hamford Water.

They said the site is in a "highly accessible" location within a short distance of schools, shops, other community facilities and bus and rail services - factors which have led to its allocation for residential development in the council’s preferred options local plan document, issued for comment this summer.

Officers also advised that, in light of this spring’s Court of Appeal judgment in Cheshire East Borough Council v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Richborough Estates, "the council cannot simply refuse planning permission for development within local green gaps on the basis that the local green gap policy should carry full weight".

Officers recommended approval of the application subject to a planning gain deal, to be agreed within six months, that could earn Essex County Council more than £1 million for early years childcare and primary school provision and £18,000 per place required at secondary schools. A £63,370 contribution to the NHS is also expected.

In line with the council’s requirement for larger-scale development to provide 30 per cent affordable housing, the report said that the developers will also be expected to provide up to 63 dwellings at discounted price or 18 gifted dwellings through a section 106 agreement.

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