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

Up for grabs? The fate of land at Church Street, Bocking, could be decided in May (pic Google Earth)

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 and had been identified by the council in its draft Local Plan as part of a green buffer between Bocking and High Garrett. Further, the site had not been nominated in the sites-nomination process carried out in the drafting of the Local Plan.
In a bid to overcome the issue of the planned green buffer, Gladman submitted a second application, this time for 265 houses, which would allow the retention of a small area as a community orchard.
CPRE Essex objected to both applications, while Bocking and High Garrett Residents Action Group has conducted a vigorous campaign of opposition.
The applications were rejected by the local authority, but Gladman appealed those decisions.
The appeal hearing was held in June 2018, with the inspector expected to report within about eight weeks.
No report has been published, but it has been announced that the appeal will be reopened in May, apparently to consider “housing land supply and associated policy implications”.
This presumably reflects the government’s changes to the National Planning Policy Framework, which it is feared will make it easier for Gladman and similar land agents to show that councils have not approved enough developments to demonstrate a five-year housing supply.