A three-week inquiry opens today into Weston Homes Plc’s application to Uttlesford District Council for a mixed-use development in Takeley, which comprises 188 New Homes (40% of them affordable), 3568 Sqm of flexible employment space, an 1ha extension to the local primary school site, long-term management, extension and enhancement to Prior’s Wood ancient woodland, new formal and informal open space provision, new cycleway and pedestrian links and provision of permissive walking routes.
The appeal scheme received officers’ recommendation for approval. However, elected Members refused the scheme on the basis of adverse impacts on: the character and appearance of the surrounding area (including the Countryside Protection Zone), nearby heritage assets and the adjacent ancient woodland at Prior’s Wood.
The wider context of this refusal is of interest. On 8 February 2022, Minister of State for Housing wrote to the Council notifying them that subject to powers conferred by section 62A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the Council be formally ‘designated.’ The designation relates to the Council’s performance in determining major planning applications. More specifically, it flows from the high proportion of overturning of the professional planning officers’ recommendations that are not subsequently upheld at appeal, This is understood to be the first appeal of a planning decision of this local authority following that section 62A designation.
Matthew Dale-Harris will appear for the Rule 6 Party, Takeley Parish Council.