Concerns new garden village plan could adversely affect West Horndon

Plans that give the green light for a huge development that could eventually grow to around 4,000 homes have been met with concerns that it could impact a nearby village.

Brentwood Borough Council passed outline plans for 3,700 homes at Dunton Garden Village at a meeting on November 29.

However, concerns have been raised about the impact on nearby West Horndon which is also set to see 2,000 homes being built near the station.

Both plans would equate to more than half of Brentwood’s housing allocation up to 2033,  totalling 7,752 homes that will all be built in the West Horndon area.

Councillor Gemma Houghton, of West Horndon Parish Council, told the planning committee that a key concern was the planned move of the doctor’s surgery away from the village into the middle of the new development and how West Horndon primary school could be impacted.

She added it is “critical” an alternative access to Dunton Hills was provided along the eastern boundary to enable emergency service access.

She said: “The parish council is concerned about the comments from the GP practice that they would like to relocate to Dunton Hills Village. This surgery is a key service used by residents of West Horndon.

“The parish council is concerned that the removal of this service from West Horndon will have an unacceptable negative impact on residents many of whom are ageing and may not be able to travel.

“We are also keen to ensure that West Horndon residents are not adversely impacted by new residents of Dunton Hills using this facility before the new doctor’s is constructed.”

The development – a key plan of the borough’s local plan housing allocation – will also come with an ‘all-through’ secondary school with a community sports hub and three primary schools with early years provision, a children’s nursery and crèche alongside an employment hub will be built.

Cllr Houghton said: “We also keen to ensure West Horndon primary school pupils are not adversely impacted by new residents of Dunton Hills Village using the existing primary school before the new ones are constructed.”

David Barnes, from CEG, the main land promoter for the village, said: “We are looking at a medical centre coming onto the site and we have had discussions with the doctors’ surgery and they are keen to come to the site. It’s a new facility and a better facility.

“But that surgery is not there to be moved on day one. There is going to have to be a temporary facility provided on site.”

Justin Booij, Brentwood Council’s senior planning officer for the Dunton Hills project, said: “We are totally aware the GP surgery would like to relocate to the development site. They have grown out of their own site and we note there is requirement to ensure the temporary use of Dunton residents that should not overflood the existing facility there. So there is a timing issue with the development of the new health facility within the new site.

“Similar for schools. Essex County Council has commented that it is essential facilities need to be in place when need arises not afterwards.”

Brentwood Council will have to return to agree the detail of developer contributions towards the infrastructure of the project.

The development also envisages a village centre with a market square, community building, healthcare provision a place of worship, a gym, as well as a public house, betting shops and hot food takeaway units. Sitting alongside is set to be a cricket ground with a pavilion, and a football hub with changing and social facilities.

The development, which could eventually grow to around 4,000 homes, is being envisaged in three distinct areas – Dunton Fanns, Dunton Woods and Dunton Waters – each anchored by a primary school and small-scale local facilities.

Dunton is one of 14 garden villages by the Government in January 2017 and is identified in the emerging Brentwood Borough Local Plan as a strategic housing allocation to meet the majority of the borough’s housing need within the plan period to 2033.

Across the local plan period, a total of 7,752 new dwellings need to be added to the borough’s existing stock.

Initial steps – in the form of an environmental impact assessment – have been taken ahead of another application for 2,000 homes in West Horndon itself.

The proposed development will include the construction of a residential-led development comprising up to 2,000 homes; a multi-modal transport hub and facilitating enhancements to the existing station.

There will also be a range of community uses including primary and secondary schools, a local centre with small-scale commercial uses and public open space.

Full planning permission will be also sought for the enabling infrastructure to accommodate the proposed development comprising the access and road from the A128.

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter