Villagers delighted after inspector rejects ‘landmark’ appeal for 110 homes

Residents from Lawford celebrate after plans for 110 homes were rejected by a government planning in

Residents from Lawford celebrate after plans for 110 homes were rejected by a government planning inspector. Picture: BOB GOODING - Credit: Archant

Plans for 110 homes in a north Essex village have been rejected for the final time – to the delight of a local campaign group who have called the decision a “triumph for local passion”.

The proposals, to build 110 new houses on greenfield land in Lawford, near Manningtree, went before a government planning inspector after applicant Gladman's Developments appealed a decision to reject the development by Tendring District Council in 2018.

The conclusion of the six-day public inquiry, which saw the local authority backed by the Lawford Tye Action Group (LTAG) take on the development company in July, was published this week, to the relief of concerned residents.

Planning inspector Helen Heward dismissed the plans in her report, finding that the negative effects of the application outweighed the positive.

John Hall MBE, former head of the Essex Wildlife Trust, put forward the environmental arguments against the development alongside wildlife expert Dr Chris Gibson.

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He said: "When the result was published the villagers were jubilant. They were overjoyed and delighted with the outcome.

"I don't think an application of this size in a small village has ever received so much interest.

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"On the original application there were 280 objections by locals, and when they submitted the second one there were 315.

"More than 60 people came to the inquiry, so many they had to rearrange the room to fit them in.

"I think that shows how pleased the villagers are."

The inquiry was a landmark case due to the environmental arguments made and the "unprecedented" local interest.

One of the key arguments made to Ms Heward was regarding wildlife species which have protection under Section 41 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities NERC Act.

In her conclusion she said: "It is essential that the presence or otherwise of protected species and the extent that they may be affected by the proposed development, is established.

"The evidence is not sufficient to demonstrate that the biodiversity interests, including species protected by Section 41 of the NERC Act and Wildlife and Countryside Act, could be satisfactorily conserved or adequately mitigated or compensated."

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