The inspector who is examining the district council’s Local Plan has called for the building of 154 homes on Jessel Green to be removed.

In December 2017, Epping Forest District Council voted through the 11,400 home Local Plan including the construction of houses on the beloved Debden green space.

The controversial decision to demolish Jessel Green prompted a huge amount of anger within the community leading to petitions and protests.

Government planning inspector Louise Phillips addressed residents at a public hearing last night on Wednesday, August 8.

Ms Phillips outlined the 21-page 'interim advice' report to Epping Forest District Council, where she described Jessel Green as "a vast, unfenced open space at the centre of a large housing area" with the space contributing "significantly to the character and appearance of the area and lends itself to a range of leisure activities.”

“It is clearly well used by local residents, including for organised events", she continued. "Whilst there are a number of other open spaces in the vicinity of the site, none which I observed compare to Jessel Green in respect of either scale or character.

“Given the importance of Jessel Green to both visual and social amenity, the benefit of the proposed housing would not outweigh the harm which would be caused by the loss of the open space.

"For this reason, the allocation would not be justified and it should be deleted from the Plan


My conclusion stands whether or not there would remain a surplus of amenity green space in Loughton.”

Leader of the Save Jeseel Green campaign Neil Bartlett and his wife Amanda posted their response on Facebook page saying: “We are actually a little bit chocked up right now! Obviously as previously stated this is interim advice and not the conclusive outcome but have a read for yourselves.”

Councillor Chris Pond of Loughton Residents Association (LRA) also shared his reaction to the latest report.

“Wednesday August 7, 2019 should go down as a red-letter day for Loughton,” he said. “The Planning Inspector, Louise Phillips, has recommended in her letter dated Friday, August 2.

“This does not mean JG is definitely saved, but EFDC, if they do not accept her recommendations, of which this is one of many, would possibly see their whole local plan rejected. They are not making any comment or giving any undertaking at present.

“So many thanks are due to Save Jessel Green, the Town Council, and indeed ourselves, and all those individuals who protested.

“It is they who so far as we can see at the moment have saved this wonderful open space in the middle of Debden.”

Ms Phillips also said during the final hearing with the council that changes would be required to the Local Plan document.

"My conclusion at this stage is that further MMs are required and that in some cases additional work will need to be done by the council to establish their precise form". she said.

LRA Cllr Stephen Murray was also delighted about the Ms Phillips report, saying: “This is excellent news , our council needs to respond positively to this finding by the inspector.

“Even though I am 8,000 miles away with a team helping to build classrooms in Zimbabwe I can feel the rejoicing.

“A great community campaign on so many levels with local residents rallying to save their community green. Congratulations to everyone involved particularly Neil Bartlett.

“In my opinion the local Conservative leadership of Epping Forest District Council need to move fast to accept this recommendation and not compound their previous mistakes with any intransigence on their part.”

City of London Councillor and Epping Forest trustee Ben Murphy voiced similar thoughts in regards to the district council to take action.

His post on Twitter said: “This is a hugely important moment for all those who have worked so hard to provide evidence to @savejesselgreen

“It’s also critical these green spaces are protected, as a buffer to urban sprawl around

@CoLEppingForest. I hope @eppingforestdc take note.”

Epping Forest District Council issued a statement following the meeting saying they acknowledge that "in some cases" additional work needs to be done.

The council thanked Inspector Ms Phillips for her comprehensive and helpful advice, which will help complete the additional work to the Main Modifications.

No further comment will be made by EFDC until it has considered the Inspector’s and other professional advice.

The whole advice can be read at