I write as one of the 25 councillors who voted to refuse the application for a Next distribution centre in Waltham Abbey. A decision which I think on balance was the right one.

I had not made up my mind on how I was going to vote until the end of the officer presentation, the contributions from residents, the applicant, the Conservators of Epping Forest and the debate contributions made by my fellow councillors.

In the end I was swayed by three key arguments and factors:

1. I felt that our very special forest was not being adequately protected, an argument very strongly put forward by the professional body legally in charge of safeguarding it, the Conservators.

2. I had not heard a convincing enough case made for the very special circumstances that are required to remove land from the green belt and

3. If this massive site was to be ever used for light industrial use the number of jobs created should have been a lot higher than the number of jobs this single depot application was producing.

This was a balanced decision with lots of different factors and considerations to weigh up and that is why the meeting lasted four hours.

Stephen Murray

Independent Loughton Councillor