Illegal dumping ground in Doddinghurst could become exclusive housing development

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Plans for an exclusive housing development on green belt in Doddinghurst have been submitted two years after prosecution proceedings were halted for illegal dumping of waste following the death of the landowner.

Over the last 20 years the land at Waterworks Spring Farm has primarily been used as a landfill site for the dumping of inert demolition waste.

But the dumping is so extensive in areas that many of the boundary trees and those that form part of ancient woodland have died.

Remediating the land will cost in the region of £1.75million.

The plot sizes for the nine four-bed houses are generally a third of an acre, while the six five-bed houses occupy half an acre.

Blueprint Properties’ plans – described as a magic number to maintain openness and return the cost of remediation – had sparked flooding concerns from nearby villages.

But a report to Brentwood Council from the Environment Agency says the risk of surface water flooding is low, no specific mitigation measures are considered necessary.

The issue of the dumping of waste stretches back to October 2016, when Essex County Council witnessed importation, deposition, storing and spreading of waste materials on the land.

An enforcement notice was served on October 27, 2016, including a cease and desist notice and that all waste materials should be removed.

However, the land owner continued to import waste materials onto the land and on May 25, 2017, Essex County Council prosecuted the land owner for failure to comply.

The defendant was found guilty and fined £800 with costs of £1,400 and a victim surcharge of £80, totalling £2,280.

Another site visit was carried out on February 7, 2018, which recognised the waste remained on the land and the enforcement notice had not been complied with.

A statement was prepared for a second prosecution in magistrates’ court, but prior to that Essex County Council was advised that the land owner had died in March 2018.

Blueprint Properties says its plan, which cannot for reasons based on profit margins have any affordable housing allocation, outweighs harm in the green belt.

A statement as part of a planning application submitted by Blueprint said: “The site is of poor appearance and is considered to be a local eyesore. The site has a number of structures located across the site and there has been previous landfill activity.

“The structures include a Portakabin, storage containers, derelict buildings and debris lying around the site.

“The site has not been restored, evidence of the landfill exists, and therefore the site is considered to be previously developed land.

“Overall the appearance of the site is neglected and the intention is to remove all buildings, structures and debris. The cost of remediating the land will be in excess of £1.75million.

“The proposal to remove the unsightly structures that are spread throughout the site and remediate the landfill area is considered to weigh in favour of the development and represents very special circumstances.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter