Loughton Residents Association

LRA

PLANNING AND LICENSING

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You can find individual cases on the District Council website
We give an occasional selection here.

MORE on planning & licensing

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Planning cases (December 2015)
We report on major cases here. However, the LRA Plans Group comments to the Town & District Councils on other applications, sometimes simply to make sure a particular point is fully considered – here are a few recent examples (with the District Council’s decisions):

  • a new garage and extension which we felt left insufficient “amenity space” – approved.
  • new houses which we felt would be “garden-grabbing”, which is against Government policy, had insufficient amenity space and parking, would adversely affect the houses next to it and would endanger an attractive tree – turned down.
  • a new children’s nursery – we asked for a condition to prevent the parking spaces at the front being used for anything other than drop-offs & pick-ups, and this was agreed with the applicant.
  • replacing an existing house & garage with two maisonettes, which we felt would be overdevelopment of the site, out of keeping with the street-scene, would adversely affect a neighbouring property and a nearby tree, and would mean losing some trees - turned down.
  • a new garage and other changes, which we objected to because it would involve building the garage in front of the existing building line - approved.
  • new front railings and other changes, which we were concerned would remove an attractive green frontage – turned down for reasons connected with the other proposed changes.

Epping Forest College (Borders Lane) – future plans for Lucton’s Field and the Middle Site (December 2015)
At a recent meeting, College representatives were questioned by District Cllrs, including LRA Cllrs Ken Angold-Stephens, David Wixley and Leon Girling. More or watch the webcast.

20 Ollards Grove (December 2015)
Appeal hearing against refusal of planning consent for a change of use from a dwelling house to use as a residential institution as an Approved Premises for the management and supervision of offenders or defendants.

The appeal hearing at the District Council Offices in Epping last Thursday was attended by the Council Planning Officer (Stephan Solon) and the head of Community Safety (Richard Gardiner), the police, LRA Cllrs Ken Angold-Stephens and Carol Davies, David Linnell (LRA Plans Group) and around 20 concerned residents – but not by the appellant, Mr Sanjay Raj!

Despite there having been emails between the Council and the appellant the day before, no reason had been given by the appellant for failing to appear and it appeared that there was no realistic possibility of adjourning the hearing until he could do so – indeed, it was alleged at the hearing that Mr Raj does not actually exist but is a pseudonym being used by some-one else.

This left the Planning Inspector in some difficulty, as the Inspectorate rules on fairness mean that he couldn’t proceed to discuss the merits of the case. Instead he will consider how to proceed in these very unusual circumstances. He acknowledged the depth of feeling among residents, and promised to come to a conclusion as soon as possible.

In view of the abortive nature of the meeting and the considerable amount of work involved in preparing for it, there were applications for costs against Mr Raj from the Council, the Police and a solicitor representing an interested party.

Pyrles Lane nursery & Council garage sites (December 2015)
The application for housing on the District Council (EFDC) nursery site is expected to be heard at a meeting of the District Development Management Committee in Epping on February 24th. The applications for housing on several EFDC garage sites may heard at the local planning committee in Loughton on January 6th or February 3rd. Residents are concerned about the nursery site, and most of the garage sites, and LPG has delivered letters to nearby residents and has put in detailed objections on these.

38 Chigwell Lane (December 2015)
Conversion of offices to flats. Planning objections has been raised by the LRA Plans Group.

Telecoms mast on land near junction Westall Road/Burney Drive (December 2015)
This has been refused.

Dragons Nursery Road new house (December 2015)
This has been referred to from the local District Council planning committee to District Development Management Committee, and now approved.

257 Chester Road (December 2015)
An extra house. This has been refused.

Bridge House Roding Road - flats on old caretaker’s house site (December 2015)
This has been deferred.

51 High Road (December 2015)
Block of flats. This has been refused unanimously.

Knolly’s Nursery, Pick Hill, Waltham Abbey (December 2015)
A special meeting of the District Council approved an application for 79 residential dwellings of which 63 would be affordable, a children’s day nursery and a new access roundabout. This, amazingly, was approved, against the Planning Officer’s recommendation and despite his comment that it was against Government Green Belt Policy – it sets a very worrying precedent. We understand that the Waltham Abbey Residents Association will be writing to the Secretary of State to ask him to call in the application, and the LRA Plans Group will do the same. More

Debden Hall, Debden Lane (December 2015)
There are plans to build a new hall (inspired by the original Debden Hall, built in Debden Green in 1775 but destroyed by fire in 1929) and to improve an area of woodland. Local residents, LRA Cllrs and David Linnell (for the LRA Plans Group) have seen details. We have been concerned about this site for some years. Building a new hall here could prevent a more widespread development of the site, but should anything be allowed on Green Belt?
News article

Proposed New Debden Hall

Oaklands School, Albion Hill (December 2015)
Residents have been plagued by traffic problems here for years. The school is now proposing to provide a 34-space car-park and dropping off/ picking up area, with access from Warren Hill (More on the plan). They also want to increase the school roll from 243 to 273 pupils. The LRA Plans Group will ask volunteers to deliver a letter to nearby residents.

If you’re an Oaklands parent we’d appreciate your comments (and so would the Town & District Councils), and please pass the letter on to other parents.

Oakwood Hill telecoms mast (December 2015)
The applicant has withdrawn the application to put a mast on the back edge of the north side pavement, 50m west of the junction with Marlescroft Way.

Langston Road shopping park (October 2015)
The Council has bought out its original partner, and is pressing ahead with tenders for the highways work to make Chigwell Lane into three lanes [it is looking increasingly unlikely that work will start before Christmas]. They report that strong interest in the Shopping Park continues and unsolicited bids are being received from major retailers despite “anchor” lettings not being completed yet.  
Langston Road shopping park

Sir Winston Churchill & Oakwood Hill sites (October 2015)
Work has started on both sites.

2 Connaught Avenue (October 2015)
We are very pleased that a Planning Inspector has turned down an appeal against the refusal by the District Council of an application for 8 flats and an underground car-park on this prominent site.

Residents, Loughton Town Council and the LRA Plans Group had argued that the proposal was wholly out-of-keeping with the surrounding houses and would have a harmful effect on the character & appearance of the area. The Council had earlier turned down an application for a block of nine flats on the site.
2 Connaught Avenue

The terms of the Inspector’s decision are such as to make us optimistic that any further proposals from the developer will be far more in keeping with the site’s surroundings. It also sets a good precedent, whereas had the appeal succeeded this could have set a very dangerous precedent across the town.

Co-op site, Church Hill (next to the ESSO garage) (October 2015)
We have heard from the Co-op that, because of the approval on appeal of the Sainsbury’s Local development on the old car-park on the other side of the garage, they won’t be proceeding with a Co-op store but will be putting the site on the market.

We expect that in due course we will have an application for block of flats here.
Co-op site, Church Hill

Converting office premises to residential use (October 2015)
The government will extend the temporary permitted development rights for conversions, introduced in 2013 (subject to local authority prior approval of a limited range of matters) beyond their current expiry date of 30 May 2016. [Yet another weakening of local influence on planning matters.]

LUXE - the end of the disturbances? (October 2015)
For nearly ten years, local residents have suffered from noise, damage and violent disturbances from customers coming out of LuXe in the small hours. When the District Council spotted that LuXe doesn’t have planning permission to operate as a “night-club”, LuXe claimed that they were only a “late-night bar”. The LRA Plans Group and local residents supported the Council’s view.

Eventually the Council took enforcement action against LuXe, which then appealed. LRA Cllr Ken Angold-Stephens and LRA Plans Group Chairman David Linnell were at the hearing, plus local residents and a couple of other local Cllrs. Ken & David argued strongly in favour of a common-sense view of what makes a “night-club”.

The Inspector turned down the appeal, accepting the views of the Council & LRA, and comprehensibly refuting LuXe’s arguments.

The Council will give LuXe time to react and can then close them down if they don’t stop operating as a night-club – we wait to see what LuXe will do next!

Church Hill service station (September 2015)
The new owners applied to the District Council to amend their licence to an all-night licence for alcohol sales and hot drinks. A group of residents objected, as did the police, LRA Plans Group and Loughton Town Council (LTC). Just before the hearing the police withdrew their objection. We attended the hearing - without the police objection we were in a catch-22 situation, as for the sub-committee to turn down the application they would need actual evidence of disturbances and problems, but such evidence cannot exist before the amendment is granted and sales start. We are grateful to the residents who came along to a frustrating morning’s hearing; LTC were also represented.

We will be asking nearby residents to report any problems to the Council and (where appropriate) to the police. Little or no action may be taken at the time, but this will build up a dossier and if there is a significant volume of problems then the licence can be reviewed.
Local paper report

Burton Road development (September 2015)
LRA and other Cllrs were extremely concerned by the way in which the District Council has ridden rough-shod over the interests of local residents on a controversial plan to build 51 council houses and flats on Burton Road, which runs parallel to The Broadway. So they insisted the final decision should go to a special meeting of the Full Council.
Nobody objected to a much-needed housing development, but local councillors and residents argued what was proposed was just too intensive and would overshadow properties in Torrington Drive. The development was approved, but none of the Cllrs representing Loughton spoke for the proposal, or voted in favour (non-LRA Cllrs split largely on party lines).

Sir Winston Churchill site (September 2015)
LRA Cllr Chris Pond’s request for a more suitable set of hoardings seems to have borne fruit.

Former tennis courts, corner Alderton Hill & Roding Road (September 2015)
The District Council have approved McCarthy & Stone’s planning application for 38 retirement apartments.
More
 (page 46)