Agenda item

Planning Application EPF/2727/20 - Land at Greensted Road, Chipping Ongar CM5 9LA

(Service Manager – Development Management) To consider the attached report for the construction of a residential development comprising of 95 units, together with open space, car parking and landscaping (amended plans received).


The Planning Officer, I Ansell, presented a report for the construction of a residential development comprising of 95 units, together with open space, car parking and landscaping. This application had originally been considered by Area Plans Sub-Committee East who referred the application to this Committee following a tied vote, and requested that a number be considered further, namely:

·       parking provision within the development;

·       additional engagement with local residents and the Parish Council;

·       provision of parish homes within the affordable element; and

·       further information on flood mitigation measures.

As a result, the applicant had submitted revised plans to increase the amount of parking available, which included a detailed Flood Risk Assessment.


I Ansell stated that the site comprised of approximately 3.5 hectares of open land to the west of Ongar, and was mostly scrubland with areas of hedging along the boundaries and through the centre of the site. The site and much of the adjoining land was within the Metropolitan Green Belt, but it was allocated for residential development within the Council’s Local Plan Submission Version. The application sought permission to construct 76 houses and 19 flats in blocks of no more than 6 units. The houses would be a mixture of 1-bed, 2-bed, 3-bed and 4-bed properties. The proposal would also deliver affordable rental dwellings and affordable intermediate dwellings, consisting of 39 dwellings in total. The layout of the site had been informed by several constraints including the existing infrastructure and landscape, drainage, biodiversity requirements and accessibility. Planning Officers had concluded that the positive benefits of the proposal far outweighed the concerns and were recommending that planning permission be granted, subject to conditions and an appropriate legal agreement.


The Committee noted the summary of representations that had been received in respect of the amended plans before the Committee, which included an objection from Ongar Town Council. The Committee heard from an objector representing the Ongar Neighbourhood Plan Community Group, the Town Council and the applicant’s agent before proceeding to debate the application.


I Ansell clarified several points for the Committee during the debate:

·       the health provision funding figures had been provided by the local health authorities, and the full amount requested had been agreed by the applicant;

·       the Ongar Neighbourhood Plan had been considered as it carried some weight, and although it had been agreed at a local referendum, it had not been through the final stage of adoption at Council;

·       the site was not in a flood risk area and neither was it a protected habitat;

·       the attenuation pond was designed to capture water and release it in a controlled manner, and would have both soakaway and discharge elements;

·       the highways authority had requested improvements to nearby bus stops including real time information boards, but there had been no request for a contribution for additional bus services;

·       the existing hedging on the boundary of the site would be retained but cut back in places to improve the sight lines for traffic entering and leaving the site;

·       the affordable housing element of the scheme comprised of 40% of the total dwellings, in line with Council policy;

·       the application was for fewer dwellings than agreed for the site in the Local Plan Submission Version.


The Committee accepted that the site was allocated for development in the Local Plan Submission Version, and that best use of the allocated sites had to be made to preserve more of the countryside within the District. It was also acknowledged that local residents did not object to the development of the site itself, but did object to the density of the development proposed, as well as the risk of flooding. In addition, the amount of affordable housing that the scheme was providing was also recognised.


However, the Committee felt that this was not an appropriate development for this site as it was more suited for an urban setting rather than a rural area, there was unreliable public transport for the site so parking would be an issue, the provision of additional parking space in the revised plans had led to the removal of the front gardens, this in turn had compromised the design of the scheme, the site did not have good accessibility, the improvement of the existing bus stops would not significantly improve public transport in the vicinity, and Ongar needed more family homes not more 1-bed flats.


The recommendation to grant planning permission for the application was lost when put to the vote. Cllr B Vaz proposed a motion to refuse planning permission, which was seconded by Cllr C C Pond.




(1)        That planning application EPF/2627/20 for the land at Greensted Road in Chipping Ongar be refused planning permission for the following reasons:


1…Taking account of the site constraints identified in the evolution of the application, the quantum of development proposed amounts to an over intensive form of development that is inappropriate to the location on the edge of the settlement and out of character with the scale and pattern of development in the locality, contrary to policies CP2, CP7, DBE1, DBE2 and DBE3 of the adopted Local Plan (1998) and Alterations (2006), policies DM9 and DM10 of the Local Plan Submission Version 2017, and the NPPF 2021.


2…The development makes inadequate overall provision for parking to serve the level of development proposed, taking account of the location of the site remote from access to public transport, the existing constraints to on-street parking on Greensted Road in particular, and lack of support for alternative active travel modes, resulting in increased vehicular activity and overspill parking in the immediate surrounding roads to the detriment of general amenity and safety, contrary to policies DBE2, DBE6, DBE9, ST2 and ST6 of the adopted Local Plan (1998) and Alterations (2006), policies T1, DM9 and DM10 of the Local Plan Submission Version 2017, and the NPPF 2021.


3…The development fails to provide an appropriate mix of type and size of housing units in the over provision of 1 and 2 bed dwellings and the under provision of larger family units that fails to meet the housing delivery objectives set out in the Strategic Housing Market Assessment and failing to reflect the character of the locality and resulting in an overconcentration of smaller house types with this immediate locality, contrary to policies CP1, CP7, H1A and H4A of the adopted Local Plan (1998) and Alterations (2006), policies SP1, SP2 and H1 of the Local Plan Submission Version 2017, and the NPPF 2021.


4…The proposals as represented by the uncharacteristic height and clustering of the flatted blocks in the centre of the development, the dominance of parking around the said flatted blocks and lack of private amenity space, and the visual dominance of frontage parking, arising from the overall level of development amounts to poor design and results in a poor visual environment and public realm, and a poor standard of amenity for future occupiers, contrary to policies CP2, CP7, DBE1, DBE3, DBE5, DBE8 of the adopted Local Plan (1998) and Alterations (2006), policies SP3, DM9 and DM10 of the Local Plan Submission

Version 2017, and the NPPF 2021.


5…In the absence of a completed s106 agreement, the application fails to mitigate impacts on the wider area, including the Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation, and fails to make adequate provision for local infrastructure contributions to address increased demand for local services and facilities arising directly from the development, contrary to policies CP1, CP6, CP9, NC1, ST2 and I1A of the adopted Local Plan (1998) and Alterations (2006), policies SP1, SP3, T1, T2, DM2, DM5, DM22, P4 and D1 – D4 inclusive of the Local Plan Submission Version 2017, and the NPPF 2021.

Supporting documents: