New District Local Plan
21 January 2021
Charging to drive through an Epping Forest Clean Air Zone
Read more about the proposal to pay to drive through Epping Forest, which is directly related to the Local Plan.
18 December 2020
are still waiting to learn when the Inspector will reply to the Council
on the documents the Council have submitted earlier in the year. In the
meantime, the Council has published an Interim Air Pollution Mitigation
Strategy on its website. Once adopted, this would enable the Council to
lawfully grant planning permission for new development that would
result in a net increase in vehicle movements through the Epping Forest
Special Area of Conservation (EFSAC).
comment: we will be examining the Mitigation Strategy very carefully as
this could open the floodgates for further developments in Loughton.
21 November 2020
understand that the Council have submitted their last batch of
documents to the Planning Inspector and expect that they will now
produce a consolidated version for public comment.
29 August 2020
When the draft Local
Plan was submitted to the Planning Inspector last year, she asked the
Council to undertake further work, particularly on the Council’s
strategy for handling the effects of air pollution on the Epping Forest
Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The Council have to submit its
proposed changes to the draft Plan to the Inspector for her
consideration. The key changes are called Main Modifications (MMs). The
Council submitted its third tranche of MMs during the week of June 8th.
It expects to send in its final tranche of MMs in early September, and
to consult residents on the MMs in October.
At its July
Cabinet meeting, the Council’s Cabinet considered a draft document on
its proposed approach to managing and mitigating the effects of new
development on the SAC in relation to air quality.
meeting, LRA Cllr Chris Pond commented on this draft. He noted that the
strategy was a work in progress that seems to be rather aspirational
and said the Council should be working towards mitigation for better
human health and bio-diversity. The damaging effects of particulates on
the SAC did not seem to be particularly highlighted in the report and
should be comprehensively dealt with. He suggested that the Council
needed to shift development away from the SAC and the most popular
parts of the District. Intensification of development on the Epping St
John’s site would change Epping completely, which may be difficult to
justify due to its closeness to the SAC. In his view, development
should be shifted to somewhere in the north west of the district, a
long way from the SAC and this should be used to encourage tourism to
the Forest. He feared that the Inspector and Natural England would find
the Council’s report insufficient.
4 July 2020
You may recall that last
year the Planning Inspector referred the draft Plan
back to the Council for further work to be carried out. The Council is
desperately trying to find a way round the air quality issue (a
"mitigation strategy") in the Epping Forest Special Area of
Conservation (EFSAC). According to reports in the press, before the
Epping Forest District had the worst Air Quality (AQ) for particulates
district in Essex. Particulates come not only from exhausts, but tyre
emissions from motor vehicles too.
The Council needed to obtain new
traffic and habitat data in order to analyse
and forecast the likely future effect of new buildings on Air Quality,
data had been gathered before lockdown interrupted the fieldwork.
the analysis of the data has been delayed and the final assessment is
expected now until at least October.
Since 2018 the Council has been unable
to process any planning applications
that would involve an increase in vehicle movements on roads within
200m of the
EFSAC because of the potential impact on Air Quality levels. Loughton
Council has suggested that any new housing within a mile of the EFSAC
to increase car ownership and use, and thus exacerbate the Air Quality
they say it would therefore be unsound for the District Council to
LRA and Loughton Town Council will be
watching the next stage very closely.
Although the Council has been instructed by the Inspector to drop its
put housing on Jessel Green, its proposals for Loughton still involve
a large number of homes into the town, potentially to the severe
local air quality, the EFSAC and (last but not least) of the quality of
existing residents (for example, the proposals for huge developments on
Field and on the two station car parks are as yet unresolved).
6 June 2020
The District Council has issued
an updated position statement about
Local Plan, its potential effect on the SAC and the present position
respect to the granting of planning permission for new developments
adversely affect the SAC. The Council says that it is continuing to
actively to resolve the current situation which has restricted housing
economic development coming forward in the district since 2018. Working
Natural England the Council is striving to identify potential
address the backlog of undetermined applications and is seeking legal
to the extent to which permissions can be issued. A further
go to Cabinet at the December meeting.
Although the Council has
to take Jessel Green off the list of
proposed developments, LRA and Loughton Town Council are continuing to
progress closely and will challenge any attempt by the Council to push
any other developments or "mitigations" which would adversely
affect the SAC.
The District Council have
a consultation for their Draft Green
Infrastructure Strategy. You can read the draft strategy and
complete the survey.
The consultation runs
until 16th July.
13 March 2020
have gone very quiet on this. The District Council are desperately
trying to find a way round the air quality issue (a "mitigation
strategy"). Meanwhile, according to reports in the press, Epping Forest
District has the worst Air Quality (AQ) for particulates of any
district in Essex. Particulates come not only from exhausts, but tyre
and brake emissions from motor vehicles too. This can be seen in
practice in the condition of roadside structures, signs, and vegetation
in the Special Area of Conservation (SAC) near the roads through the
Forest, many of which are covered in blackish slime.
Council has suggested that any new housing within a mile of the SAC is
bound to increase car ownership and use, and thus exacerbate the AQ
issue; they say it would therefore be unsound for the District Council
to grant planning permissions. Some 80% of bus mileage in Loughton near
the Forest is now run by hybrid electric vehicles, and the Town Council
has asked Essex to make a bid to the Government's Electric Bus Town
initiative to help reduce the emissions problem further.
District Council has also been reported as saying that since 2018 it
has been unable to process planning applications that involve an
increase in vehicle movements on roads within 200m of the SAC because
of the potential impact on air quality levels. News Article (registration
required, free trial)
18 January 2020
The District Council’s
progress report can be read here.
The report is Agenda Item 11 from page 55 onwards. A list of
is in Appendices B, C and D from page 71 onwards. We share the City of
London’s concerns about the way in which the District Council is taking
forward matters in relation to the Epping Forest Special Area of
Conservation – see here (item
14 December 2019
The District Council’s progress report can be seen here.
The report is Agenda Item 11 from page 55 onwards. A list of sites is
in Appendices B, C and D from page 71 onwards.
City of London is very unhappy with the way in which the District
Council is taking forward matters in relation to the Epping Forest
Special Area of Conservation – see here
15 November 2019
The District Council have
report on the current situation
(item 11). There is still a lot to be done before the question marks
over developments in Loughton near to the Epping Forest Special Area of
Conservation (EFSAC) can be resolved. The Town Council has submitted a
statement suggesting that a mile from the SAC edge be designated a
18 October 2019
Jessel Green Saved
Cllr Chris Pond reports that the District Council do not intend to
resist the Planning Inspector’s proposal that Jessel Green should be
removed from the list of sites allocated for development in the draft
The Council will not be seeking other allocations to replace this and
the other site deletions.
have been given to 31 October to reduce the amount of housing proposed
for Loughton and Debden station to that stated in the Plan or the sites
will be deleted altogether.
LRA is delighted that the
Council has finally given way of these points. However, the wider
question of the excessive amount of housing still allocated to Loughton
in the Plan remains unresolved.
So Jessel Green seems safe for now, but we must be vigilant and
safeguard it for the future too.
11 August 2019
Plans to build houses on Jessel Green should be scrapped, Local Plan
inspector tells the District Council
The Planning Inspector,
Louise Phillips, has recommended in her letter dated 2 August, and
published on the 7th, that
Jessel Green should not be developed for housing. This
does not mean Jessel Green is definitely
saved, but the District Council, if they do not accept her
recommendations, of which this is one of many, would possibly see their
whole local plan rejected. They are not making any comment or giving
any undertaking at present.
So many thanks are due to Save
Jessel Green, the Town Council, and indeed ourselves, Milo Boyd late of
the local paper, and all those individuals who protested. It is they
who so far as we can see at the moment have saved this wonderful open
space in the middle of Debden.
And shame on the District
Council, who put the community to such trouble by suggesting this
preposterous idea in the first place contrary to the clearly expressed
wish of residents.
The inspector has also recommended either no
“housing development” of the Debden and Loughton station car parks, or
at least, no very high rise tower blocks as proposed by Transport for
Limes Farm in Chigwell has also been recommended for removal from the
list of sites for development.
may be that other sites in Loughton would have to be removed from the
development list if measures to save the Forest from harm cannot be
agreed. Conversely, EFDC may start looking for other local sites,
including some that had previously been discounted.
You can read the whole advice and there is
also a news article from the Epping Forest Guardian.
28 July 2019
Epping Forest District Council Local Plan has been under scrutiny by
the Planning Inspectorate in a series of hearings in Epping. LRA are
continuing the fight against planned over-development in Loughton and
Debden and for the preservation of Jessel Green.
Council disregarded local and national policies, submissions by
respected bodies and consultation responses that many of you completed.
Our forest, local services, transport and green spaces will all be
under pressure from congestion and increased pollution if the plan for
1000+ new dwellings so close to the Epping Forest Special Area of
Conservation is approved.
Seventeen days of the Examination in
Public ended on 11th June with a morning session in which Loughton
sites were considered in detail. Barrister David Altaras and LRA Cllr
Chris Pond argued for the Town Council against high-rise on the station
car parks, and for the retention in full of Jessel Green, as did David
Linnell and planning consultant Liz Alexander for LRA, and Michael
Benbow spoke about the proposed huge care complex in Alderton Hill.
Several other Loughton sites were also debated. The SaveJesselGreen
group also spoke at a hearing specifically for Loughton. Most of the
Loughton participants thought the day went reasonably well, and points
were put across succinctly and cogently.
The hearing can be found on the District Council's website.
is now in the hands of the inspector, Louise Phillips, whose report is
expected during the summer. If further argument is necessary, the Town
Council and LRA will be prepared to follow it through.
8 December 2018
Forest District Council has now submitted its
Plan for Examination. The Inspector has produced a timetable and document,
including a set of questions. for hearings in 2019.
SaveJesselGreen and others will be attending some of the hearings to
oppose various aspects of the Plan, including the idea of building on
It’s important to remember that the Inspector will
solely be looking at whether the Plan is “sound” (that is, it has been
prepared in accordance with the relevant legal requirements) and may
agree changes to make it “sound”. Other than this, she will not
consider making any other improvements to the Plan.
3 July 2018
High Court has dismissed a developer's legal challenge to the Epping
Forest District Council’s Local Plan, paving the way for the Council to
submit the Plan to the Secretary of State for Independent Examination
(the challenge could, if successful, have had a significant effect on
the progress of the Plan).
See the Council’s statement here –
we will be considering the implications of the judgement.
21 March 2018
Epping Forest District Local Plan halted
March 20th, a judge agreed that there should be a Judicial Review
hearing in May on a developer’s objections to the Local Plan. Until
then, the Council will have to defer submitting the Plan to the next
stage of the process.
LRA is contesting a number of points on
which we feel that the Plan is unsound. In particular, we object
strongly to the Council’s proposal to build housing on Jessel Green.
LRA Press Release
District Council Press Release
LRA attacks Local Plan
LRA has sent twelve
representations to the District
Council, setting out what it sees as the serious mistakes in the Local
Plan, including calling for Jessel Green to be dropped from the
development list. The next stage will be a hearing in front of a
Government Inspector, probably in Autumn 2018.
At this stage,
to get the Plan changed, we have to show that the Plan is not soundly
based and is not the most effective way to deliver the required results
in the Plan’s period. We know that the District Council won’t change
anything at this stage, so our representations are aimed at this
You can see our representations here:
11 January 2018
will be pointing
out to the District Council what’s wrong with the draft Local Plan, in
preparation for the formal hearing in the Autumn.
16 December 2017
What the latest position?
strong opposition to various aspects from LRA Cllrs, and Cllrs from
other parts of the District, at a Council meeting on December 14th the
Conservative majority pushed through their current draft Local Plan.
pressure from LRA, Traps Hill car-park had been dropped from the list
of developments, and Rochford Green had also been omitted. However,
some of Jessel Green, Luctons Field and the car-parks at Loughton
Debden stations, are still on the list, and the County Council wants to
redevelop the Traps Hill Library building to provide housing and a
library, which means the Library, Town Council, CAB and National Jazz
Archive will need relocating while work is carried out.
LRA Cllrs put forward a motion to exclude all public urban open space
from development under the Plan but this was defeated.
next stage in the process restricts representations to the District
Council on the legal compliance and soundness of the Plan. More on this
here and here.
LRA and Loughton Town Council will of course be responding, and this
should mean that next Autumn both bodies will be invited to speak at
the final stage of the process – a formal hearing on the Plan in front
of a Planning Inspector.
The District Council aims to deliver
the development of 11,400 new homes in the remaining 15 year plan
period. The Inspector will want to see a rolling 5-year land supply
capable of meeting the identified housing need. Furthermore, in order
to meet the housing targets required by national policy, the Council
will have to demonstrate that it can achieve a dramatic improvement in
the number of new homes brought forward annually. The annualised
average requirement for new housing in the district is approximately
518. However, over the past years only 150 – 220 dwellings per annum
have been delivered, leaving the Council with a significant shortfall
of approximately 1,500 dwellings for the years 2011 – 2017. This
shortfall must also be delivered in the Plan period.
We will keep residents posted on progress.
[Photo courtesy of Mark
10 December 2017
Loughton’s open spaces threatened
Government recently proposed that the number of housing units to be
built in Epping Forest District should go up from 514 a year to 921 a
year – an impossible target!
To avoid this increase, the
District Council needs to submit its new draft Local Plan for
examination before March 31st 2018 - the key Council meeting to approve
the draft will be on December 14th. More here
Council say that even 514 units a year would mean building on
Loughton’s open spaces – we know the vast majority local residents are
against this, as is LRA. They are proposing to build on some of Jessel
Green, a much-loved green that Loughton people have enjoyed for
decades. The car parks at Debden and Loughton stations are also
The County Council wants to redevelop the Traps
Hill Library building to provide housing and a library, so the Library,
Town Council, CAB and National Jazz Archive will need relocating –
temporarily or permanently - before work starts.
Following pressure from LRA, Traps Hill car-park has been dropped from
the list – at least for the time being.
will now be a public consultation on the soundness and legal compliance
of the draft Plan. LRA will question the soundness of the Plan, and
particularly the deeply-flawed site selection process; we are prepared
to take the fight forward to the full-scale hearing before a Government
Inspector (probably in Autumn 2018). Follow us on Facebook or Twitter,
or look out for updates on our website.
14 October 2017
Local Plan. LRA is considering our options should the District Council
persist with what we see as extremely harmful proposals, such as
including the Debden green spaces and the Traps Hill car-park in the
list of development sites. Here’s a summary of the work the Council
is currently undertaking on the Plan.
Government is currently consulting on greatly increasing the number of
housing units that would have to be built in the District, from 514 a
year to 921 a year. The District Council can avoid this increase if it
can submit its Plan for examination before 31 March 2018. It’s
therefore trying to speed up the process to make sure this happens –
the key Council meeting will be on December 14th
then be a 6-week public consultation on the latest draft, before it
goes to a formal hearing in front of an Inspector. At this stage, if
the Debden green spaces are still on the list for development, and if
we think there are other serious things wrong with it, we will let
residents know and ask them to give their views.
If this doesn’t make the Council put things right, then we will
challenge the plan at the formal hearing.
13 December 2016
The Consultation is now
closed. Over 600 residents copied us in on their responses – thank you!
LRA response here
& Loughton Town
Council response here.
To keep abreast of what’s happening, join LRA and
get our regular news bulletins
4 December 2016
Help Save Loughton's Open Spaces
Local Plan Public Consultation
Tell the Epping Forest District Council
which sites you value – and why!
to know more?
you might say?
up a window poster
District Council is threatening to build over Loughton’s open
||You can find out more,and how to make your
in our latest Townwide
Loughton Life newsletter.
Please tell the Council which
sites you value – and why.
Public open space provision is
only just adequate now and must not be
reduced. Give reasons for your views - see
our suggestions. (if
possible, put these in your own words)
don’t need to be an expert! Just think what you’d say to a friend who
asked you what you thought – and write down your answers.
the areas affected
to fight District
Council threat to build over Loughton’s green spaces!
The new District Local Plan will
District develops. A Public Consultation starts October 31st. You can
more, and how to make your voices heard, in the latest Townwide edition
Life newsletter and email
news bulletin. We’ll add a
suggested replies here in the next few days. Copies of
printed and will be delivered to Loughton households in a week or
28 September 2016
to fight District Council threat to build over Loughton’s green spaces!
new District Local Plan will affect how the District develops. This
Autumn there will be a Public Consultation. We’ll bring residents the
details, and how to make your voices heard, in the end-October Townwide
edition of our Loughton Life newsletter and here on our
The Rape of Loughton's Open Spaces
of Debden’s green areas – and open areas elsewhere in Loughton – will
be built over if the Conservative-dominated District Council (“EFDC”)
have their way, according to their draft Local Plan.
stage of the development of the Plan, LRA Cllrs have made it clear that
they oppose these proposals, and that they expect the vast majority of
Loughton residents will do so too.
At the end of October, EFDC
will launch a Public Consultation on the Plan. In the week commencing
October 24th they will deliver a leaflet about the Plan to every
household in the District.
At the same time, LRA will provide
every Loughton household, explaining what’s involved and how residents
can make their views known. At this stage we hope – and expect – that
residents will give these aspects a resounding “thumbs- down”!
The details of the draft Plan can be found at the Epping Forest District Council website (item 7).
want to build 195 houses on Jessel Green, which they own, pocketing the
sale or rental proceeds. This is the big open hillside between
Colebrook Lane and Jessel Drive.
(There is already a campaign group objecting to this – see the
They want 53 houses on Rochford Green (which they also own) near the Princess of Wales
pub (previously the Clydesdale).
Forest College sites (Borders Lane)
have designated Luctons Field, opposite the College, to take no fewer
than 304 dwellings - this field is owned by Epping Forest College.
Despite strong LRA protests, last year EFDC just threw away a
protective covenant that restricted it to educational or NHS use; at
the time the College said the field was primarily intended as the site
for a sports centre. EFDC also want 158 houses on the College Middle
Site, which was also subject to a protective covenant which the
Conservative majority threw away.
Elsewhere in Loughton
sites they have put forward include Traps Hill car park (44 houses),
Debden Station car park (193 houses) and Loughton Station car park (114
houses) - the car park sites doubtless involve massive buildings over
underground parking to replace the lost ground-level parking spaces.
the draft Local Plan wants 1,190 more houses across Loughton. However,
it fails to include any specific requirements for extra schools, roads,
GP surgeries, etc
proposals will be discussed at an EFDC Cabinet meeting on October 6th
and then at a full Council meeting on October 18th. Assuming that the
draft Plan is approved, there will be a Public Consultation, which will
run from October 31st to December 12th; EFDC may then revise the Plan.
There are then further stages to go through before the Plan is finally
EFDC are already well behind their original time-table
for producing the new Plan, and we would not want to further delay its
introduction unnecessarily. However, should EFDC not take the expected
public outrage into effect by amending the draft Plan, the LRA will
continue to the fight these proposals at every stage.
1. About the Local Plan
Local Plan governs many aspects of life in the district, including
planning for housing and employment. In preparing the new plan, EFDC is
required to consider all potential sites for housing.
2. About developments in
Conservative majority on EFDC have already forced through a wholly
out-of-character seven-storey building at the end of Debden Broadway,
now under construction. They are also developing a “retail park” on
Langston Road where it appears that – despite their promises at the
outset - the retailers they are bringing into Loughton will create
extra direct competition for retailers in The Broadway and Loughton
3. About Loughton
Residents Association is a very active group of local residents who
care for Loughton and its environment. Our membership is around 1,000
households, and we have been in existence for over 30 years. We are
independent of any political party.
We seek, and listen to, the
views and concerns of Loughton residents and take action in support. We
have a majority of the councillors on the Loughton Town Council, and
councillors on Epping Forest District Council & Essex County
We have our own regular printed and email newsletters to residents and
this website. This statement is also available online.
25 September 2016
new Plan will affect how the District develops. This Autumn there will
be a Public Consultation. We’ll bring residents the details, and how to
make your voices heard, in the end-October Townwide edition of our
Loughton Life newsletter and here on our website.
What’s in the plan?
GREEN BELT & CONSERVATION
Heritage Conservation, Nature Conservation
Recycling and Pollution
LAND USE AND DEVELOPMENT
Housing, Employment, Shopping and Town Centres
Recreation, Sport and Tourism, Community Facilities
DESIGN AND LANDSCAPE
Design and the Built Environment
Landscape and Landscaping
new Plan will affect how the District develops, in terms of housing and
other building, the level of local employment and in many other ways.
LRA and Loughton Town Council will be
playing our full part in the formal consultation – and then in the
legal processes needed for the Plan to be approved.
- and some residents - are concerned that the draft Plan may list some
of our green spaces for possible development.
No decisions have been taken yet.
will be asking residents to make their views known in the consultation
process - we will do our best to protect Loughton’s green areas!
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