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Stop Easton Park

Full Council Meeting – 11th July 2017

Councillor Andy Dodsley - Chair, Little Easton Parish Council

At the Parish Forum last week, there was wide disbelief from local people that the development of two major sites along the A120 corridor – 20,000 new houses and an additional 6000 car journeys at peak time – will not totally overwhelm our already congested transport infrastructure.

Councillors from many parish councils, not just those directly impacted by the proposed developments, expressed their concerns that the transport study vastly underplays the impact that these developments will have upon the local road network – particularly the A120 and Junction 8 of the M11. Villages are already used as rat-runs to avoid the existing traffic issues around the district and these plans will lead to a huge increase in congestion.

Does the council seriously believe that they will be able to generate a so called “modal shift” in transport habits whereby people in rural areas will move away from their cars? We don’t think so.

Little Easton Parish are determined to preserve our heritage for future generations and we believe that the proposed Easton Park development is the wrong development in the wrong place and if it happens will deliver urban sprawl from Great Dunmow to Stansted Airport filling in all the open countryside, more than trebling the size of Dunmow from 3800 to 17000 houses with a further 10,000 just down the A120 at Stebbing.

It will deliver the irreversible destruction of the settings of vast numbers of listed heritage assets – So many in fact that they could not all be accommodated in the heritage impact assessment for Easton Park and were not individually assessed in the same way as all the other sites – An approach we still disagree with and will continue to challenge.

This proposal will have an enormous detrimental impact on this area’s unique identity, exceptional rural setting and wildlife, which unquestionably goes against the National Planning Policy Framework.

It will deliver the destruction of an historic deer park - concreted over by 10,000 homes. Once it’s concreted over – it’s gone forever.

A wonderful dark sky landscape will be blighted by light pollution.

Valuable agricultural land will be gone forever

This is more than just a blight on the local area – it is the total destruction of it.

Your vote today is a critical stage in the process. You are merely the current caretakers of our district and what you do now will affect this area long after you are gone.

Before voting today, I would urge you to consider the legacy that you will be leaving – Is your legacy to future generations to be the paving over of our heritage, and the creation of creeping urban sprawl and travel chaos?

I hope you will agree that it isn’t a legacy to be proud of.

Vincent Thompson - Stop Easton Park Residents Group

Councillors.

I address you on behalf of the Residents Action Group, STOP EASTON PARK.

I am concerned. Concerned that:

  • You are encouraged to vote in favour of proposals that are deeply unsympathetic to the rural nature of our District;
  • That the Local Plan lacks detail in key areas;
  • That the drop-in exhibitions are limited to three and a half hours each;
  • And that the public have only six weeks in which to respond.

In short, the cart has been put before the horse to fit a predetermined plan. And now these proposals are being forced on your electorate, your tax payers without due process or consultation.

As you know it is the Inspector who must decide whether or not the Plan is ‘sound’. Your attention has been focused on a narrow, legalistic definition of the word ‘sound’. But I am advised that the Inspector’s primary obligation is to use his judgement or what some might call common sense.

So, using your common sense, before you vote, I ask you to consider:-

  • Does it make sense to embark on building a New Town of 10,000 houses for maybe 30,000 people so close to a major airport?
  • In line of the prevailing wind with the attendant health issues?
  • Under a major flight path with resultant noise issues?
  • Directly alongside a working quarry?
  • Immediately adjacent to the enlarged Dunmow, Takeley and Canfield?
  • With inadequate access?
  • And limited employment?
  • To create a dormitory town?
  • To clog up the overburdened Junction 8?
  • And promoted by a developer with a dire record at Ebbsfleet?

What will the Inspector conclude?

I know that times have changed and that houses need to be built.

But don’t tell me that the proposed New Towns are the only solution. Clearly there are alternatives, both now and in the near future. Why is there no reference to Carver Barracks becoming available within the time frame of this Plan? Is Uttlesford to have four New Towns?

Councillors, I have written to you about the unique heritage of Easton Park, one of the great parks of Essex for hundreds of years, and to highlight its potential as an oasis in years to come. Such assets must be preserved. Not squandered on flawed solutions to short term pressures.

And I have no doubt that the Inspector will agree.

So, I suggest that you vote against this plan.

Thank you for your time.