Inspector overturns refusal of 1,100-home Essex urban extension

A planning inspector has allowed an appeal against an Essex council's refusal of plans for a 1,138-home urban extension on flood risk grounds after he concluded that the developer's approach to surface water drainage was in "full compliance with the development plan".

A masterplan image of the Heybridge North scheme (pic credit: Countryside Properties)
A masterplan image of the Heybridge North scheme (pic credit: Countryside Properties)

In March, members of Maldon District Council's planning committee threw out the Heybridge North plans submitted by developer Countryside Properties, against a recommendation for approval from planners.

The council's formal reasons for refusal said: "Insufficient evidence has been submitted with the application to demonstrate that the proposed development would be able to incorporate adequate surface water drainage infrastructure and that the infrastructure that would be proposed would be maintained in a manner that would ensure that the development would not cause increased flood risk within the vicinity of the site and the catchment area of the watercourses that are within the site."

The hybrid application sought full permission for a new road, plus outline application for the homes, a local centre, a residential care home, primary school, childcare facilities and playing fields.

The scheme was proposed for a 76-hectare greenfield site to the north of the village of Heybridge.

Now, a planning inspector has allowed Countryside’s appeal against the refusal.

The inspector ruled that the appellants' approach to mitigating flood risk "is a perfectly reasonable one".

Among the measures proposed by the developer, the report states, is for a management company to maintain the site's sustainable urban drainage scheme (SuDS) features through an estate charge.

He said there is "nothing in it that falls foul of the requirements" of the council’s local plan "which requires amongst other things, development not to increase flood risk on site and elsewhere and to demonstrate how opportunities to reduce the causes and impacts of flooding have been maximised through sustainable urban drainage schemes, and other measures".

The inspector concluded: "In my view, the appellant has proceeded in a reasonable manner throughout and the approach the proposal takes to surface water drainage is in full compliance with the development plan."

After the developer submitted another application for an identitical scheme on the site, Maldon Council approved the proposal last month (October) ahead of the appeal decision being issued.

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