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News

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Tom Fyans: The benefits of going brownfield

Tom Fyans: The benefits of going brownfield

The benefits of brownfield development were extolled by Tom Fyans, deputy chief executive of CPRE, during a flying visit to Ashford in Kent. Tom was giving the speech ‘Why town centre regeneration matters for CPRE, the countryside charity’ before the AGM of CPRE Kent’s Ashford committee on Wednesday last week (March 6). Sporting a swish […] Read more >

Decision day could be close for Dedham Vale AONB campaigners

Decision day could be close for Dedham Vale AONB campaigners

One of the most delightful areas of Essex lies on the northern fringe of the county on its boundary with Suffolk. Much of this landscape is incorporated within the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Beauty, a designation that a group of campaigners believe should be extended north-west towards Sudbury, strengthening the protection of a broader […] Read more >

May date set for reopening of appeal on 265-home scheme

May date set for reopening of appeal on 265-home scheme

Campaigners must wait until May before a resumption in the battle to save a stretch of farmland from housing development. The saga began with land agent Gladman Developments Ltd applying to Braintree District Council for planning permission for the building of 300 houses off Church Street, Bocking. The three fields targeted are still being farmed […] Read more >

Gladman plans for more than 200 new homes are turned down

Gladman plans for more than 200 new homes are turned down

Some good news to gladden your step as spring approaches! Plans by Gladman Developments Ltd for more than 200 new homes in Tiptree have been turned down. The land agent had been seeking planning permission for the development of 206 properties on greenfield land off Barbrook Lane. A Gladman planning report had said: “The proposals […] Read more >

A short hop over the bridge and you can be listening to CPRE deputy chief exec Tom Fyans

A short hop over the bridge and you can be listening to CPRE deputy chief exec Tom Fyans

Fancy making the short journey over to the Garden of England next week to hear Tom Fyans, CPRE deputy chief executive? Of course you do! Tom will be speaking at an open meeting in Ashford, Kent, and everyone is welcome. Tom, who is also national director of campaigns and policy, is giving his talk ‘Why […] Read more >

Southend project for 1,600 homes in town centre: this could be genuine regeneration

Southend project for 1,600 homes in town centre: this could be genuine regeneration

And now for something completely different: a large housing development that doesn’t entail the loss of swathes of Essex countryside. The Queensway area of Southend is being targeted in a project that can be genuinely labelled ‘regeneration’ as it seeks to build some 1,600 homes, of which 500 will be affordable. Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is […] Read more >

Airfield could be hosting almost 5,000 homes

Airfield could be hosting almost 5,000 homes

North Essex, already facing the threat of three proposed “garden communities”, has a new mass development to consider: almost 5,000 new homes on the former airfield at RAF Wethersfield. While the proposals for the garden communities – at West Hay (24,000 homes), West of Braintree (13,000) and East of Colchester (9,000) – are struggling to […] Read more >

Green Belt under the cosh…and it’s particularly bad news for one Essex district

Green Belt under the cosh…and it’s particularly bad news for one Essex district

The onslaught of development on the Metropolitan Green Belt is increasing – and an Essex district faces taking the biggest hit of all. Data collected by eight CPRE branches in and around the capital show that 56 of 66 local authorities are targeting Green Belt land for residential development. And the local authority planning the […] Read more >

Eyes to the skies, the Star Count starts tomorrow

Eyes to the skies, the Star Count starts tomorrow

This year’s Star Count (see here) goes live tomorrow (Saturday, February 2). Organised by CPRE, it gives you the chance to become ‘citizen scientists’ by taking part in a cosmic census helping to map our dark skies. The nationwide Star Count, supported by the British Astronomical Association, runs for the first three weeks of February […] Read more >

Approval of Stansted passenger hike sparks independent probe

Approval of Stansted passenger hike sparks independent probe

The decision by Uttlesford District Council to approve an increase in passenger numbers at Stansted Airport has prompted an independent investigation. Two councillors, Mark Lemon and Barbara Light, had asked for the local authority’s scrutiny committee to review November’s handling of the application, which was passed on the chairman’s vote. And on Tuesday last week […] Read more >

Count the stars and see how lucky we are (or otherwise)

Count the stars and see how lucky we are (or otherwise)

Sometimes television or film shows us night skies that are quite simply jaw-dropping. They portray millions of stars, together forming a spectacle that in places turns an otherwise black sky white. Others might be more fortunate enough to take holidays in places that allow them to be dazzled directly in person. One thing is certain, […] Read more >

Draft Environment Bill contains ‘significant unanswered questions’

Draft Environment Bill contains ‘significant unanswered questions’

“The draft Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill sets out how we will maintain environmental standards as we leave the EU and build on the vision of the 25 Year Environment Plan.” These underwhelming words from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announcing last month’s (December 2018) publication of draft clauses for the first […] Read more >

Lower Thames Crossing: our response

Lower Thames Crossing: our response

One of the most exacting challenges of recent months has been the looming prospect of the Lower Thames Crossing, a project that has been billed as this country’s biggest new-road scheme since the building of the M25. Its environmental benefits are, of course, dubious at best. The new road would take up a large chunk […] Read more >

The clock is counting down! Have your say on the Lower Thames Crossing

The clock is counting down! Have your say on the Lower Thames Crossing

Remember, remember, the 20th of December… Yes, Thursday, December 20, is the last day you can submit your comments on Highways England’s plans for the new Lower Thames Crossing. We know that the pollution, congestion and delays at the existing Dartford-Thurrock crossings are intolerable, and agree that action needs to be taken to protect the […] Read more >

Green infrastructure? Be clear what it is and then get involved in your local consultation

Green infrastructure? Be clear what it is and then get involved in your local consultation

Do you know what green infrastructure is? The likelihood is that you know about much of what it comprises even if you’re not familiar with the term itself. And if you live in or around Maldon, you now have the chance to contribute to how green infrastructure evolves in your district as the local authority […] Read more >

You can have a say on plans for a revamped M25-A12 junction

You can have a say on plans for a revamped M25-A12 junction

You might, or might not, have spent precious minutes (hours?) of your life at the junction of the M25 with the A12 and be delighted to know that up to £100 million is to be spent on upgrading it. You might, or might not, be unhappy at both the amount of land the intended scheme […] Read more >

Stansted expansion approved but fight is not over yet

Stansted expansion approved but fight is not over yet

Plans to expand the number of passengers using Stansted Airport have been approved. However, the decision by Uttlesford District Council’s planning committee to back the planning application was a tight call and depended on the chairman’s casting vote. The Essex airport had applied to grow passenger numbers to 43 million a year (a 66 per […] Read more >

Advice day will focus on rural crime

Advice day will focus on rural crime

It has been described as one of the countryside’s biggest growth industries, but rural crime is no laughing matter for those afflicted by it. The issue is being brought into focus at an advice day being held this month near Braintree at which you can get crime-prevention advice and information from Essex Police and exhibitors. […] Read more >

Involved with your Neighbourhood Plan? Then we have some good news

Involved with your Neighbourhood Plan? Then we have some good news

They don’t always get the attention they should, but Neighbourhood Plans represent one way in which people can get involved in the planning process for their local area. Although you needn’t be a planning expert, the prospect of tackling such an important issue might at first seem a little daunting, so two training sessions have […] Read more >

Missed the AGM? Then you missed something special…

Missed the AGM? Then you missed something special…

The busy world of CPRE Essex was brought into focus at the weekend during the county branch’s AGM. Marks Tey village hall was the setting on Saturday afternoon (October 6) as the necessary details of the previous year’s business were gone through in the professional manner we have come to expect from the group. Vice-chairman […] Read more >

Lower Thames Crossing: you can have your say on it from today

Lower Thames Crossing: you can have your say on it from today

In the week that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report telling us we need to take immediate action to curb catastrophic climate change, we learn of the opening of the next stage of consultation on plans for the new Lower Thames Crossing (LTC). The consultation website bills it as the solution to […] Read more >

Two top speakers will grace CPRE Essex’s AGM

Two top speakers will grace CPRE Essex’s AGM

Just a little reminder: the Essex branch of CPRE is holding its AGM this weekend – and there are two very special speakers to inform and entertain you after the formal business has been completed. Sam Harding, director of CPRE’s national litter programme, will be giving a talk entitled, perhaps unsurprisingly, Litter Picking Programme. Then […] Read more >

How Essex councils feature in Green Belt-building table

How Essex councils feature in Green Belt-building table

Our recent story (here) showing almost half a million new homes are targeted for land to be released from the Green Belt is particularly poignant in Essex, which hosts three of the top 10 Green Belt-building councils in the country. A Local Government Chronicle article presents data from the Ministry of Communities, Housing & Local […] Read more >

The sorry tale of one of our favourite animals… what future for the hedgehog?

The sorry tale of one of our favourite animals… what future for the hedgehog?

When was the last time you saw a hedgehog? Such a question usually draws the response, with either an air of resignation or a smirk as though the whole thing’s a bit of joke: “One that isn’t squashed on the road, you mean?” However, even that doesn’t ring true any more and we could just […] Read more >

Book soon for the CPRE Essex AGM!

Book soon for the CPRE Essex AGM!

The Essex branch of CPRE is in great shape and wants to share with members recent successes and its plans for the future. Hence you are all invited to next month’s AGM. It is being held at Marks Tey village hall on Saturday, October 6 (2.45pm for 3pm). A busy afternoon will comprise the formal […] Read more >

If you thought the Green Belt was safe, you might want to think again

If you thought the Green Belt was safe, you might want to think again

Anyone who believed Green Belt designation might mean land was safe from development would appear to be sadly misguided if CPRE analysis is anything to go by. This organisation’s figures reveal that almost half a million new homes are targeted for land to be released from the Green Belt – and very few of those […] Read more >

Talk puts the focus on Epping Forest Green Belt

Talk puts the focus on Epping Forest Green Belt

The future of the Green Belt in Epping Forest is very far from secure if proposals in the district council’s Local Plan come to fruition. Tricia Moxey, CPRE Essex vice-chairman, will be tackling the thorny issue of the Plan and what it might mean for the district when she gives a talk in Loughton next […] Read more >

South Essex in the firing line for colossal housing growth

South Essex in the firing line for colossal housing growth

If you thought development pressure on Essex could not get any worse, there is some sobering reading from the Thames Estuary Growth Commission. This advisory body to the government is urging “joint spatial plans” to be created in both Essex and Kent to support the building of more than a million homes. The two counties […] Read more >

Uttlesford campaigners highlight threat of housing onslaught

Uttlesford campaigners highlight threat of housing onslaught

Campaigners are stepping up their efforts to block proposals for new settlements in Uttlesford. Consultation on the draft Uttlesford District Local Plan closed on Monday, August 13, but the StopNUtown group still hopes that plans for 5,000 houses on some 1,100 acres of chalk hills north-east of Great Chesterford on the Essex-Cambridgeshire boundary can be […] Read more >

Government’s new planning rule book: ‘it’s a developers’ charter’

Government’s new planning rule book: ‘it’s a developers’ charter’

CPRE has slammed the government’s revised planning rulebook, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), as a “speculative developers’ charter”. In a damning early critique, the organisation says the government has not fulfilled its promise to “build attractive and better-designed homes in areas where they are needed”. Indeed, the document, published on Tuesday, July 24, continues […] Read more >

High Court dismisses attempt to halt Colchester development

High Court dismisses attempt to halt Colchester development

A bid by a rival developer to block development of the Northern Gateway scheme in Colchester has failed. Tollgate Partnership, which is promoting the Tollgate Village development in Stanway, had applied for a judicial review of Colchester Borough Council’s approval of the Northern Gateway project. Tollgate argued that the council’s backing of the scheme, put […] Read more >

As Essex prepares for a vast increase in population, new protocol aims to streamline planning

As Essex prepares for a vast increase in population, new protocol aims to streamline planning

Essex has a new planning protocol. The document, put together by local authorities and developers in the county, is intended to create “a more efficient and effective application process”, while it should also help resource planning departments”. The development of the Essex Planning Protocol was driven by “a significant predicted growth in the Greater Essex […] Read more >

Castle Point agrees to step up the pace on Local Plan

Castle Point agrees to step up the pace on Local Plan

Castle Point Borough Council is to speed up its Local Plan timetable in a bid to stop central government taking over the process. The local authority has also agreed to produce a joint spatial plan with five other local planning authorities in south Essex – Basildon, Brentwood, Rochford, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock – and the county […] Read more >

Garden communities plan hits the rocks

Garden communities plan hits the rocks

Plans to build three garden communities in north Essex have been savaged by a planning inspector, who found them “unsound” and needing “significant” further work. The proposals  for West Hay (24,000 homes), West of Braintree (13,000) and East of Colchester (9,000) were contained in a Section 1 Local Plan put together by Braintree District Council, […] Read more >

CPRE Essex: we have a new chairman

CPRE Essex: we have a new chairman

Essex has a new chairman – and he is ready and raring to go as we step up our efforts to keep the county the very special place it still is. It will not be easy. The pressures of development are arguably greater than ever before. The clamour to build houses to help fire the […] Read more >

Meet David Knight, the new man at the helm

Meet David Knight, the new man at the helm

Taking on the chairmanship of CPRE Essex is no light task, but in David Knight we believe we have just the man for the job. Of course there is no one better placed to tell you a little about himself than David, so over to the new chairman: “I have lived in Essex all my […] Read more >

The battle to save the countryside around Harlow

The battle to save the countryside around Harlow

The concept of Harlow and Gilston Garden Town has been around for a long time. Originally tagged Harlow North, the proposal for some 10,000 new homes on greenfield land on the Essex-Hertfordshire border has preyed on local residents’ peace of mind and quality of life for years. Now, it seems, the planned ‘garden town’ could […] Read more >

We can use brownfield sites for a million homes… and save our countryside

We can use brownfield sites for a million homes… and save our countryside

It might seem obvious to many of us, but if we focus attention on building on brownfield (previously developed) land rather than greenfield sites, we will be both making better use of derelict urban and post-industrial land and safeguarding our countryside from development. However, not everyone would appear to agree and CPRE’s contention that we […] Read more >

Stansted: north Essex escapes the worst but threat of expansion still hovers

Stansted: north Essex escapes the worst but threat of expansion still hovers

The announcement in June that the government was backing a third runway at Heathrow Airport made front-page news – and campaigners against Stansted expansion were of course relieved that the Essex airport didn’t feature in a story that has something of a never-ending feel to it. Stansted had already failed to make the final round […] Read more >

Hatfield Peverel in the spotlight as BBC camera crews visit

Hatfield Peverel in the spotlight as BBC camera crews visit

Essex took centre stage when BBC’s Countryfile visited Hatfield Peverel. The TV cameras were in the village, close to the A12 between Chelmsford and Witham, for a feature on land agents that look to exploit planning loopholes and force through housing developments outside adopted Local Plans and against residents’ wishes. National attention focused on the […] Read more >

What are we to make of the 25 Year Environment Plan?

What are we to make of the 25 Year Environment Plan?

The publication earlier this year of the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan met – as perhaps is the case with most things emanating from our political leaders – a mixed response. It was difficult to argue against the principles it embraced and most commentators have broadly welcomed the plan, although it has been criticised for […] Read more >