Dunton Hills a ‘breach of green belt planning principles’ argues councillor

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A planned town of more than 2,700 homes is tantamount to “a confirmed breach of green belt planning principles”, a councillor has argued.

Brentwood Borough Council’s plans for a Dunton Hills garden village was signed off as part of its local plan on Wednesday, January 22, allowing the document to be examined in public for adoption by the government.

It means Dunton Hills would make up more than a third of the 7,787 new homes Brentwood Council is making provision for between now and 2033.

Other major allocations include 580 homes on West Horndon Industrial Park, 825 homes on land north of Shenfield, 473 split across the former Ford HQ and Warley waste depot and 300 in the William Hunter Way car park.

Other significant allocations include 200 homes for land off Doddinghurst Road, 100 in Brentwood railway station car park, 125 on land east of Nags Head Lane, 161 on land south of Ingatestone and 57 adjacent to the Ingatestone bypass.

However, the prospect of a huge development, that may grow eventually to 4,000 homes in Dunton, has sparked heavy criticism from people living on its doorstep, as well those councillors who represent them.

Speaking at an Essex County Council (ECC) meeting setting out the launch of a consultation into a new ECC housing policy, Essex County councillor Stephen Hillier, who also represents Langdon Hills on Basildon Council, said: “It’s far enough from Brentwood that they don’t have to deliver any infrastructure –  that will all fall on Basildon to provide.

“And in that part of the world where the proposal is it goes right up to the boundary with Basildon, and so Basildon has to protect the green belt and there will be something like a 400 metre strip that divides Dunton Hills with Basildon.”

He said the green belt is there to “prevent the coalescence of townships”.

“So by giving air to the idea of Dunton Hills is almost putting in place a confirmed breach of green belt planning principles,” he added.

“There is precious little green belt space left now to prevent Southend joining up with London as one big lump of concrete.

“My borough ward is where most of the objections are coming from to Dunton Hills and I don’t think I could give any support, tacit or implicit that promotes the idea of the development going ahead.”

Brentwood Borough Council Leader, Cllr Chris Hossack said: “The local development plan is vital to make sure residents have control over the future shape of our borough.

“Having taken on board residents’ concerns following the consultation we have adjusted the housing numbers for Blackmore, Shenfield and Dunton Hills Garden Village.

“The plan can stand or fall on the meticulous attention to detail that is expected when it goes before a planning inspector.

So it has been imperative that we have undertaken this change while adhering to all the policies and statutory requirements.

“The changes add no additional units to the overall plan, and the reallocation accounts for a movement of one per cent of the total number to be submitted to the inspector.

“We deem this to be a minor change.I am pleased we have been able to adjust our local development plan in this way to take on board local concerns.

“We now have a robust local plan which be finally submitted to the planning inspector by the end of the month.”

Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]

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