South Woodham Ferrers homes plan approved despite concerns over traffic

Plans to build 200 homes in an Essex town have been approved by the local council.

A planning application by Bellway Homes for the Willow Grove Meadows scheme in South Woodham Ferrers, near Chelmsford, was approved by the city council’s planning committee on April 18.

The homes will form part of a larger development north of the town, the first 1,020 homes in which were approved by the committee earlier this year, in a separate planning application by Countryside Properties.

The scheme will also include new and upgraded infrastructure, including open space, allotments, children’s play facilities, sustainable drainage features, foot and cycle paths, and new roads and vehicle access.

Planning agent Oliver Milne, Savills, said at the meeting: “Together with Countryside’s application, Bellway’s application completes the vision for the strategic growth site and will ensure the delivery of much-needed new homes, the necessary infrastructure and a significant quantum of new public open space.”

But some committee members raised concerns about the potential increase in traffic from the scheme, particularly when combined with other proposals nearby.

Councillor Richard Poulter (Con, Bicknacre and East and West Hanningfield) said the overall 1,220 homes are more than has been allocated for the site in the council’s local plan. The land north of South Woodham Ferrers is allocated for 1,000 homes in the plan according to a report.

Proposing a motion to defer a decision on the application until a new transport plan is drawn up, which was voted down by the committee, Cllr Poulter also said the council needed to cooperate more with Maldon District Council over proposals for 700 homes and the new nuclear power station Bradwell B.

He said: “I am very concerned that that increase in traffic from those potential sites has not been allowed for in the traffic assessment that we’ve heard about, not just tonight but at the February meeting.”

Cllr Eleanor Sampson (Lib Dem, Waterhouse Farm) said: “Overall I think it’s a really nice application to see. Allotments, green spaces, off the gas network, all these things that we have to retrofit in other parts of the city.”

The application is for outline planning consent, meaning a more detailed application over reserved matters like the appearance and layout of the homes will come forward at a later stage.

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Charlie Ridler

Local Democracy Reporter