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Planning and Development (Essex)

Volume 501: debated on Wednesday 2 December 2009

The Petition of Emma Shamshoum, residents of Thundersley and others,

Declares that the proposed development of 150 houses by Barratt Homes in Thundersley is premature and unacceptable for a number of sound and material planning reasons; is contrary to the extant Development Plan which seeks to retain the land as undeveloped until it has been proved that it is necessary to release it for housing, and alternative sites for future housing are still being considered in the replacement Core Strategy which has not yet been to the Planning Inspector; moreover, the land is identified as a “Local Wildlife Site” which both the current Development Plan and the new Core Strategy are committed to protect; Barratt’s plan to cover all the existing open grassland with houses and roads, retaining only a narrow “wildlife corridor” through the centre, is unacceptable; if this application is approved a “green light” will be given for progressive further development until all of “The Chase” green fields and woodland are buried under bricks and concrete; and the development will put the existing infrastructure such as roads, parking, leisure facilities and public services such as schools and doctors under intolerable strain.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to encourage Castle Point Borough Council to consider this objection and petition formally and to reject Barratt’s proposal and to ensure the matter is dealt with by councillors who can and will then be held to account for their decision.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Bob Spink, Official Report, 12 October 2009; Vol. 497, c. 134.]


Observations from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government:

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government is aware that a planning application has been submitted to Castle Point Borough Council in respect of the above development. He is advised that the application was registered on 1st September.

The determination of planning applications is primarily the responsibility of the Borough Council as local planning authority, and the Secretary of State cannot comment on the merits or otherwise of any application, or prospective application.

Decisions on planning applications are required to be in accordance with the adopted development plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise. The Government’s statements of national planning policy, such as Planning Policy Statement 9, Biodiversity and Geological Conservation, are material considerations which must be taken into account, where relevant, in planning decisions, but it is the responsibility of the local planning authority to identify and weigh up all the different issues, in the context of the specific local circumstances, having regard to the views of local residents and other interested parties.

The Secretary of State may decide to call in an application for his own determination where he considers that it raises issues of more than local importance, but his policy is to be very selective about this. As it is possible that the proposal may, at some future date come within his jurisdiction, it would be inappropriate to comment on the matter raised in the petition.