Councillors set to debate up to 1,000 new homes on Thurrock green belt

Thurrock councillors are set to weigh up the pros and cons of a controversial development that could see 1,000 homes built on green belt – despite almost 200 objections.

An application for outline planning permission for a development in Linford of up to 830 homes if the Lower Thames Crossing is constructed or 1,000 homes if it does not go ahead will be debated by the planning committee on Tuesday.

The application includes a new primary school, health centre, new road network and a pedestrian railway crossing.

The council received 180 objections to the proposal following consultations launched last year which closed in May.

These included fears access to the site was unsafe, additional traffic, urban sprawl into the green belt and loss of farmland and wildlife.

Residents were also concerned the area is already overdeveloped and underfunded with “severe shortages of social infrastructure”. One described the long drawn out application as “a black cloud hanging over residents”.

The council’s highways department has also objected to the scheme over fears of the impact it would have on the local road network.

The site measures 184-acre site consists of three parcels of arable land. The first is located to the west of Linford Recreation Ground, extending to Becklands Farm, and is bordered by Muckingford Road to the south. It is this first parcel that would be excluded from the scheme should the Lower Thames Crossing development proceed.

The second parcel is south of Muckingford Road but north of the railway line and the third is south of the railway line, extending to Love Lane.

The plan was first submitted in 2016 and was originally recommended for refusal. It would have normally been submitted to the secretary of state for a final decision but it coincided with plans for the Lower Thames Crossing which have yet to be determined.

The applicant, Cogent Land LLP, has now submitted an appeal over non-determination and the planning committee’s decision will form part of the council’s case for the appeal.

Unusually the application is in two parts depending on the future of the Lower Thames Crossing and councillors will be asked to decide on both.

If approved the applicant would be expected to make an education contribution of more than £9million for 830 homes or more than £11million for 1,000 homes. Contributions to the NHS would be £428,700 or £516,800 respectively.

In a report to the committee, planning officers said: “The proposals are inappropriate development in the green belt, would lead to the loss of openness and would cause some harm to the purposes of the green belt.”

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter