Public outcry against Bloor Homes' plan for 168 new houses in Stansted 'unprecedented', say campaigners
"Unprecedented and astonishing" is how the chairman of campaign group Save Stansted Village (SSV) described the public's response in opposition to a developer's planning application 168 new homes.
James Hogg told the Indie last week that more than 1,500 objections to Bloor Homes' plan for farmland off Pennington Lane had been submitted to Uttlesford District Council (UDC), which said it would still be accepting representations beyond the previous week's deadline for comments.
"This is an unprecedented and astonishing response which demonstrates the level of objection to this planning application," said Mr Hogg.
"I don't know, but I doubt there's ever been a local planning application that has had such a universal outcry," he said. "Objections were received from all over Stansted, not just adjacent to the location. This is not a Nimby response."
There had also been strong objections on behalf of Bentfield Primary School on the grounds of access danger and risk to vulnerable pupils with special needs, he added.
Bloor wants to build a mixture of one- to four-bedroom homes, including affordable housing, with public open space and a play area to the west of Pennington Lane, a designated 'Quiet Lane'.
SSV, which fought off a similar scheme in 2013, this time launched a co-ordinated campaign via social media, with an army of volunteers who delivered leaflets throughout the village. It also received support from neighbouring parishes.
Cllr Geoffrey Sell, one of two Stansted North representatives on UDC, said: "It was a good campaign in 2013, but effective use has been made this time of social media such as Stansted Matters and Stansted Really Matters Facebook pages. I've contacted about 300 people myself to encourage them to submit their views and clearly many residents feel that this application is flawed.
"Flawed because it is the wrong location, and there is also real concern about the highways infrastructure, or lack of it, about the access through Rainsford Road, past the primary school, the loss of the landscape and the potential for urban sprawl."
SSV met with UDC planning officers and Stansted's district councillors last Tuesday (Sept 29) to discuss its concerns.
Said Mr Hogg: "The purpose of the meeting is to understand what criteria planning are using to determine applications, given the housing land supply.
"Are they taking the previous application dismissal at inquiry into account? What weight is being placed on the huge public outcry against the development? And what actions will they take regarding the lack of information provided by the developer in the planning application."