Dunton Hills garden village school plans revealed

New details have been revealed about the Dunton Hills garden village, including the amount of provision being planned for the elderly and young.

Education facilities include a secondary school, three primary schools and early years provision. The secondary school could be co-located with a primary school.

Three care homes are also being planned for the development. However, there is no mention of a new doctors surgery, although the masterplan describes a GP surgery located close to the site in West Horndon.

The Dunton Hills farmstead, home to former agricultural buildings dating from the late 17th to mid 19th century, including a Grade II listed farmhouse and two historic barns, are planned to be kept and used as a focal point of the garden village.

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

A market square is being planned on the eastern edge of Dunton Fanns, facing the village green and farmstead.

A secondary school, which could be colocated with a primary school, will be visible from the wetlands along an east-west route connecting Dunton Fanns with Dunton Waters.

The provision of allotments and community gardens, as well as orchards and room even for beehives, may also be included near the farmstead.

The masterplan will set the framework for how detailed design features are progressed in the garden village, shaping the look and feel of Dunton Hills through a set of mandatory principles, which set out the spatial and overarching guidelines for Dunton Hills garden village.

It is proposed that prior to its approval the masterplan is subject to public consultation, proposed to take place in the summer.

The site is seen as critical in the delivery of Brentwood Council’s local plan – that sets out where 7,752 new homes should be built between 2016 and 2033 – by delivering a minimum of 2,770 homes within the plan period up to 2033, and around a total of 4,000 homes altogether.

The plan is now with the government, which will decide whether it is compliant, deliverable and can be adopted.

In the meantime West Horndon Parish Council has repeated its concerns – compounded by plans for a major industrial estate next door – that the area’s transport infrastructure is insufficient, with plans for a 35,000 sqm industrial estate capable of providing up to 1,000 jobs.

West Horndon Industrial Park is also set to be developed into 750 homes.

Councillor Dan McNicol, chairman of West Horndon Parish Council, said: “The traffic on the A128 at Halfway House is already horrendous but what they are now proposing on top of Dunton Hills, putting in an industrial estate which is going to employ 1,000 people.”

He said the A127 – which is likely to take a large brunt of the traffic generated in the area  – is already congested.

He added: “They are not proposing doing extra work on the A127 itself but the potential to add extra traffic on to the A127 is crazy.

“We have said all along that the infrastructure  it is not suitable.”

However, the plans for the industrial park next to the garden village have been recommended for refusal by Brentwood Borough Council’s planning officers, ahead of a meeting on Wednesday, March 11.

Vision for Dunton Waters
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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter