Plans for 350 homes in South Woodham Ferrers revealed

Proposals have been put forward for 350 homes in South Woodham Ferrers – a plan that has been previously argued would “split the town in two”.

Bellway Homes has indicated that it intends to submit an application for the development of Willow Grove Meadow on land to the north of South Woodham Ferrers.

The land has already been allocated in the newly adopted local plan which set out parameters for 1,000 new homes, five travellers pitches, alongside business and retail space.

There is also the potential for a primary school and nursery on the same site.

Within this site allocation, Bellway is preparing plans for the first phase starting with an application for a scoping opinion request – a very early stage of the planning process which asks a planning authority what information should be provided in an environmental impact statement.

If all goes to plan, Bellway anticipate the development will start in 2021/22 with first occupations of new homes in 2022/23.

The environmental impact assessment (EIA) may have a significant influence on the final plan. It ensures that a local planning authority, Chelmsford City Council in this case, decides planning permission in the full knowledge of the likely significant effects.

The aim of an EIA is to also ensure that the public is given early and effective opportunities to participate in the decision making procedures.

The EIA will identify environmental effects by estimating the predicted change that will take place as a result of the construction and operation, which will also include how traffic will be affected in the town.

The application site comprises two fields bounded to the west by Willow Grove, to the south by Burnham Road and to the east by the B1418.

But objectors say the development cannot be tied into the existing housing due to the amount of traffic currently travelling on the B1012.

Representatives from South Woodham Ferrers Action Group told the council’s development policy committee in the interim stages of the local development plan evolution that the proposed development will “split the town in two”.

A statement as part of the EIA scoping report application to Chelmsford Council said: “Within this overall allocation, the applicant is currently preparing designs for one phase of the growth area at South Woodham Ferrers, to be known as Willow Grove, comprising up to 350 dwellings, with provision of new internal access roads and footways, open space, sustainable urban drainage system and associated  landscaping with access from Burnham Road.

“The application site comprises two fields bounded to the west by Willow Grove, to the south by Burnham Road and to the east by the B1418.

“The planning submission will be an outline application (With all matters reserved with the exception of access to the site).

“Before submitting a planning application for the proposed development, the applicant will undertake an environmental impact assessment.

“EIA is a process that examines the likely significant environmental effects of a development proposal and provide the decision maker with sufficient information about these.

“The remainder of the allocated site area is subject to a separate proposal, currently being progressed by Countryside in conjunction with Essex County Council.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter