Residents in a Chelmsford village have criticised property developers after they relaunched an application to build more than 100 homes and expand a primary school.
Bellway Homes has submitted new plans to build on a greenbelt site at the bottom of Aragon Road in Great Leighs.
The application also outlines proposals to expand Great Leighs Primary School on the same road.
The new plans come just two months after Bellway’s initial proposal to build 205 houses on the same site were refused by Chelmsford City Council after they deemed the site “unsuitable for development”.
The land is not part of any site earmarked for development as part of Chelmsford City Council’s LDP.
Why do local residents reject these proposals?
Bob and Lorraine Wale, who live at 17 Aragon Road, started a campaign to halt the original plans and feel that the new proposal is no better.
Bob, 55, who works as a yacht broker, said: “We bought this house five years ago knowing that we would have busy traffic twice a day because of the school.
“But if more than 100 houses are built, there are going to be hundreds of cars having to get down Aragon Road at the same time as the school run.
“This road will become jammed. Everyone around there will have to use a car as well because there are no local shops.
“They are not really considering the people of Great Leighs. We want to preserve the intrinsic character of the village.”
Lorraine, also 55, said: “We worked really hard last time out to make sure everyone knew how to object to the application.
“No one wants the development here.”
Resident reasons against Great Leighs development
- Site was not earmarked in Chelmsford City Council’s Local Plan.
- Would ruin countryside views.
- Access road (Aragon Road) will be a danger at peak times.
- Pick-up points highlighted in Bellway’s Plans are not sufficient.
- Only one way out into the village will cause problems especially at peak times.
Debbie Niccol, 54, lives on the same road and also objects to the recent application.
“I am furious about the plans,” she said.
“The council has already outlined all of the sites earmarked for development.
“This was deemed unsuitable.”
Debbie bought her current house three years ago and moved into the area because of its ‘village feel’.
But she fears that if this plan is pushed through the character of the village will be lost.
She added: “We bought our house because we loved the village feel.
“We don’t want it to become a housing estate – once you start getting bigger it becomes a faceless community.
“There is not enough infrastructure in place.
“All of the reasons that it didn’t go through last time have not changed.
“I am absolutely sick of these developers – I feel we do not have a voice in all of this.”
Jackie Ritchie, who also lives in the area, said: “There are not enough transport links.
“The road will be a nightmare for the school.
“I take my son to Chelmer Valley High School and I cannot get out of my road as it is.
“The plans will not work because people will not park in the designated areas, they will park as close to the school as they can.
“I do not know if it will go through or not but I can see myself being pushed out if it does go ahead.”
Bellway say they have addressed the concerns made by residents in the area by adapting the plan.
Great Leighs Primary School has also been approached for a comment.
How do the new plans differ from the old proposals?
Bellway Homes submitted an Outline Planning Application to Chelmsford City Council on February 5.
The application is for 120 new homes with public open space, landscaping and land for expansion of Great Leighs Primary School.
The site is located to the north of Longlands Farm and Boreham Road at the bottom of Aragon Road.
It is on the same site as their previous application for 205 homes which was refused by the council on November 27, 2017.
Here are the similarities and differences between the two applications:
- 120 new homes (including 35 per cent affordable) down from 205 homes.
- Still include fully equipped play areas and land for Great Leighs Primary School.
- Vehicular access from Aragon Road.
- No vehicular access to Boreham Road.
- Parking in the development for pick-up and drop-off to the school.
- Retention of existing public rights of way.
- Inclusion of 15m green buffer to Sandylay Woodland.
A spokesperson for Bellway said: “We have worked in consultation with the local Council and community to take all views into consideration and ultimately, to make amendments to our plans.
“As part of this, we have significantly reduced the number of homes from 205 to 120.
“We look forward to making progress on this development, and delivering much needed new homes in this popular area.”
Source: Essex Live