Green belt homes plan ‘will not add extra pressure’ on services

Plans have been submitted for dozens of houses and a care home on green belt land next to the A12.

The site that Cala Homes wants to develop into 57 homes is in Ingatestone.

But there has also been concern regarding how infrastructure, such as doctors surgeries, will be able to cope with the development on land off Roman Road. If given the go ahead the development would follow on from permission for two other nearby developments.

Cala says most people moving in will already live in Ingatestone and therefore will not add extra pressure.

To the immediate north on the opposite side of Romans Road a planning application has been recently submitted for a new care home, head office and centre of excellence.

To the south of the site on the eastern side of Roman Road is a recently approved Redrow Homes development of 110 homes on the former Ingatestone Garden Centre.

There the permission was granted on appeal with the inspector deciding that the development could proceed due to “very special circumstances” given the benefits outweighed the harm to the green belt.

Reserved matters have since been submitted and approved in December 2021.

Cala Homes wants to build 57 homes, including 21 affordable homes over 1 and 2 bedroom apartments and 2, 3 and 4 bedroom homes. The site has been included in the soon to be adopted local plan as a suitable place for housing.

Cala has admitted concern from the town over the pressures on infrastructure including schools and doctors currently being over capacity and not able to cope with the increase in population and whether a sufficient number of parking spaces had been proposed on site, and whether parking pressures would affecting adjoining streets.

It has also received representations that there are too many houses proposed for the site.

In response Cala said: “The capacity of the site has been determined through extensive analysis of its opportunities and constraints, together with an appraisal of the character and density of existing development in the surrounding area.

“The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires planning decisions to make efficient and effective use of land, particularly that which is released from the Green Belt. This was a key consideration for the borough council when preparing the new Local Plan and determining that this site should accommodate around 57 dwellings.

“The evidence to support this was presented to the independent Planning Inspectors appointed to examine the new Local Plan and they were satisfied that the number of dwellings proposed is appropriate.”

It adds: “The capacity of infrastructure to accommodate new development is understandably a common concern to existing residents, and this is addressed through the NPPF which requires infrastructure providers to identify where new or improved infrastructure may be necessary to directly offset any additional demand that cannot be met by existing services.

“Based on its market research Cala believe that the new homes this will provide will be of greatest interest to existing Ingatestone residents, particularly families whose grown up children are looking to move out or elderly residents looking to downsize.

“Therefore these individuals will already be registered at local services and will not add extra pressure.”

In conclusion a planning statement says: “The proposed development will deliver an allocation which is expected to make an important and early contribution to meeting the urgent need for new housing the borough over the plan period.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter