Plans to build 550 homes on a former golf club site took one step closer to becoming a reality after receiving no objection from North Weald Bassett Parish Council.

The amended proposal for homes, shops, a park and a primary school on the former North Weald Golf Club site are not being opposed by the parish council provided the housing numbers are removed from the 1,050 homes earmarked for North Weald Village in the Local Plan.

Councillors were told at Monday's virtual planning committee meeting that the amended application from Quinn Estates included proposals for a 10.2-hectare country park which when added to the other open space would provide about 20 hectares of additional green and amenity space which totalled an area over and above that required to be provided as an area of SANG (Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space).

Quinn Estates is also proposing a park-and-ride which would achieve a reduction in the number of vehicles driving through Epping Forest therefore protecting air quality in the area.

Additionally, improved bus services are proposed with plans for electric bikes and charging points for residents.

The parish council's view is a repeat of its response to the original planning application submitted to Epping Forest District Council.

Parish council chairman Alan Buckley said: "My concern (from the council's previous discussions about the application) still stands and probably even more now is the transport situation."

He said with the proposed 555 dwellings, offices and the suggestion from the developer that the scheme would create some 530 new jobs (retail, education and medical centre), an additional 1,400 cars per day at peak times would use the site, travelling via the A414 and the road through the village.

Mr Buckley said: "There are no plans I can see to do any improvements to the A414 which would remain a single lane in each direction."

He added the proposed park and ride would also bring an additional volume of traffic into North Weald along the A414 and through the village.

Councillor Anne Grigg expressed concern over the number of homes proposed which would be on top of the 1,050 homes already earmarked for North Weald Village in the Local Plan.

She said: "Not only will we get the 550 houses and all the facilities but my greatest concerns is that this will be on top of the 1,050 houses identified in the Local Plan.

"There will be several pieces of land between the village and the current golfing facility which will then be open to further development."

She highlighted the 1,050 homes detailed in the Local Plan, the 550 on North Weald Park and "also infilling between the Local Plan area, the village and this development".

Councillor Andy Irvine said: "There are many good things in the application and things that we don't see elsewhere."

However he voiced concern over the amount of land in North Weald Parish which would be developed if the North Weald Park and Latton Priory sites were built on with the resulting 2,500 homes doubling the population of the Parish.

He said: "Over 240 acres of North Weald - that's a huge amount of concrete on green space."

Councillor Dick Spearman said the proposed benefits do not outweigh the impact the development would have on the Parish.

Councillor Terry Blanks supported the proposals on the same terms as the parish council commented previously (with the 550 homes removed from the current allocation of dwellings earmarked for the Parish) as they would bring much-needed community facilities and infrastructure to the Parish.

Councillor Andy Tyler said the proposals were "well thought out" with green areas and much-needed additional housing.

"However on the negative side this proposal is a large one which does open up other areas. We are not going to just get the 550 homes from Quinn (Estates). We have to worry about that."

Councillor Carmela Coop-Rodia said: "This does give a lot of infrastructure that is needed and a lot of leisure facilities that are lacking but on the flip side if we are going to have the houses plus another 1,050 that's a major issue.

"If it's on top then I just don't think it's a good thing."

Parish council clerk Sue de Luca told the meeting she had received letters of support from 3rd North Weald Scouts, North Weald and District Angling Society, UKA (karate association) and North Weald Cricket Club, with one letter of objection from a local resident.

The planning application also includes outline plans for 70-bed retirement accommodation and 70-bed extra care / nursing care accommodation, a two-form entry primary school with outdoor space and parking, a medical facility, a local centre comprising retail space, community centre, sports hub with associated open-air sports pitches, a sports pavilion,, scout hut facility, office space and formal and informal open space, a country park, planting / landscaping and ecological enhancement works, and points of access including a new roundabout on A414

Of the 555 dwellings, full planning permission is being sought for 116 dwellings including affordable housing (40 per cent), a community centre, open space, associated access off Rayley Lane and internal circulation roads, vehicle parking, associated services, infrastructure and landscaping.

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