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Epping Forest College Middle Site

Support LRA10 September 2021

We are sorry to see that building work has begun on the site, which has now been enclosed by hoardings. LRA Plans Group (LRAPG) has opposed these developments root and branch. Planning permission was granted by an unelected government inspector after the District Council hadn’t the courage to do the right thing by refusing the plans.

2 July 2021

Much to LRA’s displeasure, a Planning Inspector has allowed the two appeals by Fairview Homes against the District Council’s failure to make decisions on their proposals to develop Lucton’s Field and the Middle Site on Borders Lane for housing.

We think the key issue is the potential adverse effect of these developments on the Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation (EFSAC), and we think the Inspector’s decisions are wrong. We are considering what further steps, if any, we can take.

There is some work activity on the sites, which we're told is to do with temporary relocation of a telecomms mast. The old building on the Middle Site is now being demolished. The developers applied for prior approval for removal of the old building, and this wasn’t objected to. Therefore, what is being done is lawful.

11 June 2021

The old building is now being demolished. The developers applied for prior approval for removal of the old building and this wasn’t objected to. Therefore what is being done is lawful and doesn’t predicate the Inspector’s decision, which is still awaited.

21 May 2021

While we await the Planning Inspector’s decisions on Fairview Homes’ appeals against the non-determination of their proposals for Lucton’s Field and the Middle Site (Borders Lane), we have been encouraged by a press report on another of their developments in Garston (Hertfordshire), which had been turned down by the local council. A Planning Inspector, in turning down Fairview’s Homes appeal against the council’s decision, said “In terms of the characteristics of context, identity, built form and homes and buildings the proposal would fail to be a well-designed place” and “this proposal would be poor design that harms the character and appearance of the area”. View the full document here under 'Appeal Dismissed'.

These are comments which the LRA Plans Group (LRAPG) thinks apply equally to Fairview’s Borders Lane development proposals.

30 April 2021

LRA Cllr Chris Pond, David Linnell and Michael Benbow attended the online appeal hearing against the District Council’s failure to make a decision on Fairview Homes proposals for developments on Lucton’s Field (opposite the College) and on the Middle Site. LRA committee member Michael Benbow spoke on behalf of a group of 217 residents.

The Council argued that Fairview Homes were trying to put too many dwellings on the site, and that the design was unsatisfactory. Much of the discussion was on technical planning points. Chris gave cogent arguments against any development on Lucton’s Field, and David spoke on what we see as a fundamental legal flaw in the Council’s approach which means that building shouldn’t be allowed on either of the two sites until a complete and detailed Air Pollution Mitigation Strategy is put in place. Michael stressed the excessive density of the proposed development.

We now await the Planning Inspector’s decision, which may not appear for many weeks.

11 April 2021

The District Council failed to take any decisions on Fairview Homes’ proposals for developments on Lucton’s Field (opposite the College) and on the Middle Site and so they asked for the decisions to be made by a Planning Inspector. A hearing on both proposals starts online on Microsoft Teams on Tuesday April 13th at 10am and will last for eight days (we haven’t yet seen the timetable for the hearing).

LRA will be in attendance and we'll keep you updated.

Thank you to all the LRA members and local residents who sent in hundreds of objections and demonstrated clear local feeling towards the proposals.

13 February 2021

There is a major change for the two College Site planning applications off Borders Lane for the Middle Site and Lucton's Field.  The College sold the land to Fairview Homes and both sites are in the District Local Plan for building new homes.  Fairview Homes have appealed because the District Council has not made a decision.  A Public Inquiry will start on April 13th and the decision for both planning applications will be taken by Mr Robins, a Government appointed Planning Inspector.

Lots of new homes have been built in Loughton in the last 30-40 years but our lovely town has reached saturation for road traffic, congestion, air pollution, parking spaces, Central Line capacity, school places, open spaces for exercise, recreation facilities, police enforcement and it's hard to get a doctor's appointment.  The District Council has encouraged over-development of both sites and proposed is an increased number of flats - 25% and 30% more than is prescribed for each site in the District Local Plan.

Proposed details:  Five of the eight blocks of flats are four and five storeys high.  This is a total of 402 flats and 19 houses but the District Council's Local Plan specifies 328 homes.  This is a total of 769 bedrooms but only 327 car parking spaces - less than half a space per bedroom.  A one bed flat will have 1-2 people and 1-2 cars but many flats are intended for families and would result in 800-1000 extra cars using our roads several times a day.  They would add to the congestion we already suffer for much of most days.

The District Council must now submit evidence to the Public Inquiry including what their recommendation would have been had the applications not been appealed. This evidence will be considered by the Inspector along with any further views from local residents.

It's now vital that as many residents as possible submit their views directly to the Inspector, so please send a 5-6 bullet point email to  leanne.palmer@planninginspectorate.gov.uk by February 19th midnight:
If you raised objections to the District Council last year, you can use the same objections this time. 

12 October 2020

Thank you to all the residents who objected to this proposal. There were 485 objections made, which is a strong response.

What happens next will be dependent on how the District Council addresses concerns with the impact on the Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation (SAC). For further updates read our Loughton News emails.

If you also want to object to the Lucton's Field proposal, that is a different development so you will need to make an additional objection.

15 February 2020Epping Forest College Middle Site Proposal
Epping Forest College Middle Site, Borders Lane (map)

Application Number EPF/2905/19
Fairview Homes wish to build three blocks of flats:

If permission is granted on this site, it may set a precedent for development on Lucton's Field opposite the College and future building densities around our town. 

Objections are needed from 300-400 households in order to influence the District Council planning committee of 15 Cllrs - 12 of them representing other towns.  This is the committee which granted permission for Landmark House. Although the District Council's first consultation's expiry date has passed, if you email soon your views will be considered. You can see how our Town Council objected here, how LRA objected here and more background info here.

To object, please e-mail: appcomment@eppingforestdc.gov.uk with your views expressed in 5 or 6 Bullet Points.  Residents should use their own words, send only one e-mail per household, include their names and address.  It helps if the email subject states "EPF/2905/19: Objection". and and please copy your comments to us at applications@loughtonresidents.co.uk
[Picture source: Fairview Homes and Formation Architects]

18 January 2020
Epping Forest College Middle Site, Borders Lane
Fairview Homes is proposing to provide 139 residential units in 3 buildings ranging from 3 to 5 storeys. The LRA Plans Group (LRAPG) wrote to residents near the site to let them know what is proposed and to invite them to comment to the District and Town Councils, and LRAPG. Among the concerns raised are the effect on neighbouring residents, the inadequate level of car-parking proposed, and the potential harm to the trees onsite and to the Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation.

LRAPG and the Town Council have put in objections to the proposal and many residents have also objected.
(Application Number EPF/2905/19, comments closed)

We await proposals for buildings on Lucton’s Field (opposite the College).

15 November 2019

We now await formal planning applications. In the meantime, residents have launched a petition against the proposals, and a Facebook page.

18 October 2019

LRA is very disappointed by the proposals for the college sites, which is on the Fairview Homes website with details on the Epping Forest College Middle Site and Lucton's Field.

Indeed, we were horrified by the removal by the Conservative majority at the District Council of the protective covenants on these sites, which we fought long and hard in 2015.
Developing the proposed sites would adversely affect air quality in the Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation (SAC) by pollution from residents' cars, and would adversely add to the recreational pressure on the SAC.

Luctons Field is an area of valuable open grassland that has never been developed. It was a green meadow till 1950, then a playing field. It contributes greatly to Loughton's biodiversity.

The quality of life in St Mary's and Alderton Wards would be impaired because there is insufficient infrastructure for such a development:

Acting as an Association, LRA opposes all over-intensive development proposals in Loughton. However, LRA councillors have to act separately from the Association in relation to planning proposals because they have to take planning decisions solely on the basis of the evidence presented at planning committee meetings. However, when these proposals become a formal planning application to the District Council, your councillors will ask searching questions, and the LRA Plans Group will ask residents for their views.