Continuing from the previous consultation the Department for Transport (DfT) has launched another consultation process on the New Thames Crossing. With the tarmac from the widening of the M25 and the paint of the white lines from introduction of the new so-called “free-flow” toll hardly dry and the chaos caused by work on the A13 junction it cannot be believed that appropriate time and analysis of the affects they have had on traffic and congestion.
The DfT seems to be pushing very hard for the worse possible of all options, Option C, cutting across the end of Church Lane and very close to Norman Church and barn conversions with elevated sections running down the middle of all the green belt land all the way from Tilbury. The entire area will be blighted by this unnecessary and expensive tar and cement white elephant.
Read the details that DfT are prepared to make public here.
What has the Hokey Cokey, boomerangs and Bad Pennies got in common with North Ockendon? The continuing attempts to blight the area and the green belt by the regurgitation of planning applications to build a housing estate of prefabricated rabbit hutches again of course.
Yes, almost a year to the day since the last attempt by the applicant to get planning permission for the purposefully run-down kennels site the plans that were withdrawn shortly afterwards have been resubmitted again and with the same errors and omissions as before.
The usual advice leaflets will be distributed again, but suffice it to say, if you have a copy of your previous objections you could simply send an identical copy in, as I don’t believe there are any changes.
It seems that hardly a week goes by without someone looking for a quick and easy way to make big bucks out of green belt land without having the slightest care or consideration for those that live within in it. Soon after the Secretary of State turned down the Kennels housing estate for being wholly inappropriate development of the Green Belt there followed yet another application by the same applicant for the same site with even uglier and more cramped pre-fabricated buildings.
On the back of this Mr Markus Wierenga of Green Switch Developments Ltd has now submitted an appeal to the Secretary of State for development of a number of fields again on green belt land at Clay Tye Farm that was refused permission by Havering Council as being inappropriate development with no special reasons justifying development.
The term Solar Farm doesn’t sound unpleasant until you recognise the reality of what this application will do – destroy more of our green belt land. Although most of us understand the need to look for alternative energy sources to fossil fuels this application has nothing to do with trying to address climate change or be “green” it is to make money at the expense of the green belt again. There are alternatives galore to building on green field sites but if the developer gets permission it’s often a cheaper option for them as there is nothing on the site that needs to be cleared they just build. In this case the number of green fields under threat is colossal. The stated application size would be the same as 20 football pitches and would stretch for most of the length of Clay Tye Road. The farm would be visible to every property on the eastern side of the road.
The application details can be seen here depending on whether you can get access to Havering Council’s planning website:-
A brief article after a chat with Ron Ower of the Residents Association about the latest attempt at obtaining planning permission for the Kennels Site. We were very pleased that the North Ockendon blog was also approached by the Romford Recorder! Fame at last.
We will be adding a much more detailed account as soon as possible, but it is worth noting that the height of the “buildings” has been reduced by one metre. If you see crowds of Umpa Lumpa about they are probably hoping to get on the waiting list…..
Below is a summation by our local expert of the Appeal Decision for the Kennels 30 “Rabbit Hutch” houses development application that had already been soundly dismissed by the local council. Most people with a grain of common sense having read the reasons for the council’s decision would have realised that the application didn’t have a cat in hell’s chance of winning if it went to final appeal with the government. However as the say, “fools rush in where angels fear to tread”.
Appeal Decision – The Ockendon Kennels North Ockendon RM14 3PT
Decision on Appeal: DISMISSED (i.e. APPLICATION FAILED).
Factors the Planning Inspectorate considered whether it was:-
Inappropriate development in the Green Belt;
Acceptable form of development having regard to its flood zone location;
Whether the development makes adequate provision for local infrastructure and affordable housing;
Effect on the character and appearance of the area; and
If the development amounted to inappropriate development whether this amounted to very special circumstances to justify it.
Inappropriate development of the Green Belt
The development of the Green Belt is governed by the National Planning Policy Framework it is material to any development. There have to be very special circumstances for any development to be approved.
There are limited exceptions allowing development. Linda Jeffries considered that the redevelopment of what was a brown field site would not have a great impact on the openness of the Green Belt land. Whilst the Inspector agreed the Kennels could be considered brown field land Linda Jeffries still needed to demonstrate that this development would not have a great impact on openness and the purpose of the Green Belt.
The volumes of the existing properties were far smaller than the proposed buildings. The footprint of the buildings would significantly exceed that of the existing development.
The Inspectorate indicated that although there was some screening due to the footprint and volume 30 dwellings would still have significantly greater bulk, mass and height compared to the existing buildings on the site. The new buildings would need parking spaces, fencing which would further erode the openness of the Green Belt which was not acceptable.
The Inspector indicated that the development of these new buildings is isolated from built up areas so the development would encroach into the countryside. The Inspector indicated that this is the reason the Green Belt was development to stop such inappropriate development.
Flood Zone Location
The area has a low flood zone area.
The new development has not consulted with the Environment Agency in connection with any potential risk with regard to flooding so the Inspector could not reach a fully informed conclusion.
Local Infrastructure and affordable housing
Where there are more than 10 new properties built 50% must be affordable housing to reflect Core Planning Principles.
Linda Jeffries indicates that the proposal would bring “much needed low cost housing to the area”. This is directly contradicted by the fact that there is no s.106 agreement in place – no indication that she has any mechanism to ensure that the legal requirement concerning affordable housing is in place.
Effect on character and appearance of the area
Linda Jeffries said that for the existing properties in the area there was no rigid style and setting the new buildings she proposes back from the highway would not impact on the area.
The Inspectorate recognised that the dilapidated buildings would be removed but that the new development would mean that the proposed scheme would detract from the character of the area and would result in harm to the character and appearance of the area.
The Ockendon Wildlife Trust was recognised as having no suitable and realistic mechanism.
Linda Jeffries argued that the dwellings would exceed the standard building regulations and energy performances. There was no technical evidence to support this.
The housing development was considered by the Inspector to be inappropriate development applying the stringent national planning policy tests which the Inspector was required to apply.
The Inspector considered that any factors that might be in favour of the development were outweighed by the very substantial harm by reason of inappropriateness of the development and there were no special circumstances justifying development of the Green Belt.demonstrate that this development would not have a great impact on openness and the purpose of the Green Belt.circumstances justifying development of the Green Belt.
We have held back on writing this post until the police enquiry and legal position of the case had been resolved, but we can now reveal that a local resident uncovered human remains at the Old Rectory while landscaping his garden. A skull had been found in a shallow grave and the police were notified.
The skull can be seen in the centre of the photograph
The police immediately cordoned off the crime scene with tape and posted a 24 hour guard on the site.
A police officer manages a smile at the scene of the grime find
Detectives were called in and in scenes reminiscent of CSI the forensic team got to work. The oldest residents of the area were interviewed to establish who the previous residents of the Old Rectory were and questions were asked over any missing persons known of from the area. Speculation that the skull was that of a child based on its size.
The skull was later sent off to Hawaii, USA where a specialist carbon dating team analysed the skull the results of which we can now be the first to publish on line.
The skull is in fact not that of a child but an older man, and is believed to date back to around 1490 to 1520. The police are not looking for any other suspects and no arrests have been made.
The latest from DfT seems to be that the minister has decided to wait to see what the effect of “free-flow tolling” is before any decision is taken on any additional Thames Crossing. Free-flow charging is due to begin in October 2014. Note that as a precursor to free-flow tolling additional gantries have been erected over the M25, with additional speed cameras and these have now been switched on. How long it will take to measure the effect of free-flow tolling is anyone’s guess but one can imagine it will be well into the next government, and it is additionally imaginable that there may be some tinkering with exactly how free-flow tolling is set up. There were rumours of a 20mph speed limit which sounds more like a choke-flow tolling….