Brentwood flats plan rejected

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Plans for more than 80 flats on Brentwood’s former blood donation centre have been rejected unanimously.

Fairview New homes had asked Brentwood Borough Council for permission to develop the former blood donation and test centre in Crescent Drive into 86 apartments in four separate residential blocks ranging from two to five storeys.

The development envisaged106 car parking spaces.

But with concerns over traffic as well as arguments the development – which includes one, two, and three bed family units – is too big for the area and is not suitable for families with children, Brentwood planning committee members rejected the application out of hand at a meeting on Wednesday, December 18.

Norman Randall, who lives on the road, said: “They could put another application in that was smaller and more applicable to the site and they could probably do that without much trouble, providing they listen.”

Brentwood Council’s draft local plan, which allocates where 7,752 new homes should be built between 2016 and 2033, only envisages 55 homes for the Crescent Drive property.

However, that is yet to be formally adopted and planning developers are still free to speculate on applications with far more homes than those in the plan.

The Enfield-based housebuilder snapped up the 3.7-acre site on an unconditional basis from Homes England, with a price in excess of £7million.

Located off Crescent Drive, the centre was closed in March 2015 after the NHS Blood and Transfusions board deemed the hub surplus to requirements.

The site currently comprises the vacant main blood centre building, associated workshops and former car park, as well as approximately 0.5ha of green space and woodland, which is protected by the greenbelt.

Mr Randall added that the road is a rat run for traffic – by 8.10am long queues of traffic stretch back towards Shenfield, while parking is already at a premium and residents calculate the number of parking spaces that have been made available compared to the actual need is short by about 60 per cent. 

He  said: “People have been asking why don’t they just build a few more houses like the ones on the street.”

It was the end of a long-running saga after a decision was taken to shut the building when experts said the NHS required fewer platelet donations, on which Brentwood focused.

The centre was previously the target of an online petition, which received over 1,400 signatures in a bid to halt the closure.

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter

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