Skip to main content

Stop Easton Park

A DEVELOPMENT OF 10,000 HOMES THREATENS THE DUNMOW AREA

Stop Easton Park is urging residents of Little Easton and surrounding areas, including Great Dunmow, Takeley, Canfield, Great Easton, Broxted and Thaxted to make their views known about a proposed development of 10,000 new homes

The proposed Easton Park development forms part of Uttlesford District Council’s 15 year Local Housing Plan

It will have a huge impact on infrastructure, productive farmland, employment and wildlife within the area. Concerns have also been raised about the site’s proximity to Stansted Airport.

Stop Easton Park is committed to raising awareness of the threat posed to the local area, and others like it. If the development of 10,000 homes in this unsuitable location is granted it could have a devastating effect on the surrounding area.

The negative impact of the development falls into two main areas of concern: the technical reasons that the site is not suitable for development and what would be lost as a result of the Easton Park development.

INFRASTRUCTURE CONCERNS

 Infrastructure is just one of the concerns as to why the Easton Park site is unsuitable for a development of 10,000 new homes. It is estimated that the development will bring an additional 15,000 cars to the area and significantly increase commuter traffic as there is no nearby trainline that residents can use to commute on.

When combined with the 35,000 homes being proposed in areas around Braintree and Harlow, the combined effect on the A120 and M11 roads will lead to massive  congestion, risk of accidents and higher levels of poisonous NOX gasses.

Five hour delays as petrol tanker crash shuts M11 motorway

Five hour delays as petrol tanker crash shuts M11 motorway

Other infrastructure concerns include:

  • increased traffic trying to reach Stansted Airport
  • the nearest trains, travelling from Stansted Airport and Bishop's Stortford into London, are already over crowded
  • the proposed Easton Park development will have only one access via the B1526, a road that is used by numerous HGV vehicles accessing the nearby quarry. Other major roads links include the A120, B184 and the M11 which are currently heavily congested at peak times and the Birchanger Roundabout at Junction 8,  regularly suffers from major delays.
  • Local infrastructure such as public transport, roads, schools, local hospitals & doctor's surgeries are already stretched. There is no police station to tackle any additional crime. Water & waste would also need upgrading.

HOUSING

Great Dunmow will double in size by 2033 from 3800 to 7000 homes (an increase of 185%) even without EP development. Adding the proposed 10,000 houses of EP would lead to an increase in size of 450%.  

Around 47% of all non-homeowners in the district have incomes under £15,000 per annum, therefore affordability to buy or rent will be a BIG issue.

EMPLOYMENT

Employment for those living on the new development is also a huge concern to members of Stop Easton Park. In 2015 Uttlesford District Council made the following comment as part of its Conservation Area proposal:

Because of the lack of local opportunities out-commuting is high and has led in the past fifty years to a change in the residential make-up of the village. There are few opportunities for immediate local employment”.

The main hub of employment for Easton Park will be Stansted Airport who plan on increasing jobs over a 25 year period to 5,000.  Harlow (23,000 new homes), Braintree (12,000 new homes) and other smaller developments all expect a portion of this small pie.

COALSCENCE

Garden Communities are meant to be stand alone settlements. At the closest point the Easton Park site lies at just 285 metres from extended Great Dunmow so cannot be seen as separate or indeed anything other than an extension of Great Dunmow. This coalscence will put tremendous pressure on a small historical town that is due to double in size.

Great Dunmow

Great Dunmow historical town 

WHAT WILL BE LOST?

The proposed Easton Park development will risk loss of what currently exists in three main areas: wildlife, heritage and productive farmland.

The Wildlife and Wetland Trust state that 57% of freshwater and wetland species have declined, (of this number 29% have declined strongly). The area where the proposed development will be located could have a further detrimental effect on these figures as natural habitats are destroyed to make way for housing. It will also envelop High Wood, a designated ancient woodland.
Easton Park is home to a host of wildlife, including priority and protected species such as bats, great crested newts, grass snakes, barn owls, kingfishers and many others.

Grass SnakeBat

Grass snake and Daubenton bat

Its not just wildlife that is at risk from the proposed development. There is also a threat to the local heritage. The local area is rich in cultural and historical significance and is home to number of iconic properties that would be at risk if the development were to go ahead.


The grand Elizabethan Easton Lodge mansion but destroyed by fire in 1847

 The Manor at Little Easton is recorded in the Little Domesday Book. Easton Park itself, a former Deer Park, was gifted to Sir Henry Maynard in 1590, by Elizabeth I. In 1597 he built an Elizabethan mansion on the site where the Tudor hunting lodge once stood. The young Frances Evelyn 'Daisy' Maynard inherited the estate in 1865.  She married Lord Brooke, who later became the 5th Earl of Warwick. Her warm liaison with The Prince of Wales, a frequent guest at Easton Lodge was the talk of the time. 

 

 'Daisy' Maynard & The Prince of Wales

 

The converted Grade II Tithe Barn Theatre welcomed many cultural greats including, H G Wells (who lived in Grade II* Easton Glebe on the estate), Ellen Terry, Charlie Chaplin, Gracie Fields, George Formby, Rowan Atkinson, Bill Cotton, Tim Rice and Esther Rantzen.

The magnificent landscaped grounds have been a setting for multiple TV shows.

 

Grade II Little Easton Manor

The elaborate Gardens of Easton Lodge were designed by Harold Peto in 1902 and are designated Grade II by the English Heritage. They attract visitors both far and wide.

 

Grade II listed Gardens of Easton Lodge

In addition, during WW2 the Easton Lodge Estate was requisitioned by the United states Air Force 386th Bomb Group (the Crusaders). These men helped facilitate the allied breakout

from Saint-Lô leading to the eventual defeat of the German army in France. On 11th April

1944 it was also the first UK airfield visited by General Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander and future US president.      

The beautiful stain glass windowsThe beautiful stain glass windows

The Grade 1 listed St Mary's Church has two glass stained windows dedicated to his USAAF servicemen. 

The proposed Easton Park development will also see the destruction of productive farmland.

 

Easton Park's Grade 2 farmland

Between 2006 and 2012 alone, the UK lost 2,200 square kilometres of agricultural land to development and the pace has in all likelihood sped up since then. Britain is running out of farmland and will have a shortfall of two million hectares by 2030.  

This land is classified as the best and most versatile and is productive good high yielding agricultural land that should not be built over.


 An engraving by P.C Canot in 1756 of Easton Lodge Estate and Deer Park

OBJECTIONS

Easton Park has an intrinsic character and a history that dates back 700 years. With exception to the quarry, the unspoilt surrounding countryside is a wildlife corridor for protected animals to roam freely around the ancient woodlands, arable farmland and landscaped ponds and lakes.  Local residents, hikers, fishermen and busy city dwellers enjoy its tranquil setting and the beautiful historical Gardens.

 

Easton Park's fishing ponds

The scale of the Easton Park development will have a detrimental impact on all of the above.  It will be replaced by an unsightly large urban sprawl. The densely populated area will cause more noise & light pollution, habitat loss, litter, crime, pressure on local services, gridlocked roads and congestion that will increase toxic greenhouse emissions, affecting the well-being of local residents and future generations to come. The only people who will benefit from this proposal are the developers. 

Stop Easton Park campaign fiercely opposes this proposal. This vital asset must be protected at all costs.