A bid to build up to 555 homes at a former golf club will be decided at a public inquiry.

The vacant North Weald Golf Club site could be transformed by plans for hundreds of homes along with a retirement home, nursing home, primary school, medical facilities, retail and office space, country park and a park-and-ride facility.

The outline planning application was first submitted by developer Quinn Estates in 2018, but four years on, the application remains undetermined by Epping Forest District Council. New planning documents by the applicant had been submitted in March this year.

Any decision has now been taken out of the council’s hands with an appeal over non-determination lodged with the Planning Inspectorate on May 20.

The inquiry will allow interested parties to put cases forward for why the application should or should not be approved, with the Government-appointed planning inspector making the final call.

The golf club land, off Rayley Lane, is situated in the green belt. Quinn Estates has outlined huge plans for the site which include building homes as well as introducing health, educational, and transport infrastructure.

The current application is outline which means even if plans were to be approved, full detailed plans will still need to be approved by the council.

Explaining why the council had not made any decision on the application, a spokesperson said: "This planning application is a large-scale major development proposal that has been revised and therefore resulted in considerable consultation on more than one occasion since it was first submitted, which has delayed it being reported to a planning committee for a decision."

Previously, North Weald Parish Council says the “village feel” of North Weald would be lost if the plans are given the green light - with concerns about what other developments may come in the council’s local plan.

Chairman Cllr Alan Buckley said previously: “When this was first proposed, the residents were very, very keen to ensure that North Weald retained its identity as a village.

“With all these homes the concept of a village disappears. All we seem to be doing is bringing more and more people and cars into North Weald. It’s far too big.”

In 2021, the parish council voted to object to the latest application on the grounds that far too many homes are proposed - and said the proposed community facilities do not “outweigh the high number of proposed homes”.