Help our community save Jessel Green

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Petition: Regulation 19, Epping Forest District Local Plan 2017 response.

Epping Forest District Council have included Jessel Green (LOU.R5), at the heart of the Debden (Loughton) estate, in their new Local Plan, which means that they propose to build 154+ dwellings on this much loved community space .

The Plans 'Policy P 2 Loughton' section on page 122 details all proposed residential development in the town. 

Save Jessel Green” community action group wish to protect this precious site from any future development. There is a campaign Facebook page, which currently has 2,400+ supporters, please Like and Follow the page to stay in touch with the campaigns progress.

We believe that there are sound reasons as to why Jessel Green should be saved as a community asset (these are listed below).

Epping Forest Guardian Newspaper are supporting us, we ask you to do the same.

Please sign this petition to support Save Jessel Green community action group in their efforts to ensure the entire public open space is preserved for future generations.

Thank you.

 

Background

Following the Epping Forest District Council meeting on 14 December 2017, the Submission Version of the Epping Forest District Local Plan has now been published under Regulation 19 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations (2012) for six weeks from 18 December 2017 at midday until 5pm on 29thJanuary 2018.  

Representations should be related to whether or not the Plan has been prepared in accordance with the relevant legal requirements, and whether or not the Plan is sound – defined as:

  • positively prepared
  • justified
  • effective
  • consistent with national policy

We, the undersigned, petition the Local Plan Examiner to:

consider the Regulation 19 (Submission Version) Epping Forest District Local Plan defective and unsound because:

  • It incorporates a central and unsupported sequential test which leads to greenfield recreational land in towns being given a higher development priority than similar land elsewhere
  • It ignores the amenity and wellbeing value of public urban open space, and the great public affection of residents and others for Jessel Green (LOU.R5) 
  • It purports to support and enhance such land, but as a contradiction, proposes to allocate it for housing
  • It relies on a so called proportionate distribution of housing whereas in fact it allocates Loughton 196 dwellings per square mile where an even spread would be 67 dwellings per square mile
  • Site selection across Epping Forest District has not been consistently assessed
  • Alternative sites were offered by land owners within Loughton and neighbouring towns, which would remove the need for any housing allocation on Jessel Green, but have been removed from the Regulation 19 Submission version of the Epping Forest District Local Plan, without clear explanations why
  • Jessel Green (site LOU.R5) appears to meet the criteria for designation as a Local Green Space in accordance with National Planning Policy Framework sections 76 and 77.
  • Emergency services (the Essex & Hertfordshire Air Ambulance service) use Jessel Green as a landing location in extreme cases – 5 times in the last 18 months. 
  • City of London/Conservators of Epping Forest in their 2016 Draft Local Plan consultation response identified concerns over this site being included (page 8);
  • At Loughton The Conservators would disagree with the proposed loss of green space at Borders Lane and Jessel Green. The latter site in particular, if lost, would place considerable pressure on the nearby Forest and also would seem to be in contradiction to the green infrastructure policies in the draft Plan. Such a large green space is currently valuable and has considerable potential to be developed for both access and for wildlife.
  • All schools in the area (5 actually on the estate) oppose this volume of development due to overcapacity and health impact on its children and their families. The inclusion of large developments throughout Loughton will have a cumulative effect.
  • All local bus services have either been reduced to a limited service or are under review
  • According to Transport for London’s 2016 Draft Local Plan consultation response, they are relying on Crossrail opening in 2019 to reduce its capacity problems. This is on the basis that commuters will be willing to travel substantially further to board trains in The London Boroughs of Havering, Newham or Waltham Forest. Encouraging more car use, congestion, parking pressures and increased poor air quality does not support EFDC’s Air Quality or Sustainability Transport (Policy CP9) and Sustainable Travel Plans (Policy ST5) policies.
  • Roads throughout the Debden estate are underserved greatly by Essex County Council Highways

 

In respect to the allocation of Jessel Green, site LOU.R5 for a housing development, the plan is unsound, as non-compliant with NPFF National Guidance Paras 73, 74, 76 and 77 for the following reasons:


1. The evidence provided by the EFDC Open Space Strategy Nov 2017 by 4 Global identifies a significant shortfall in recreation space for young people. Furthermore, the Open space audit of March 2009 commissioned by EFDC for Loughton states that Jessel Green was well used by young people and its use has grown significantly since then. Building on this location will therefore create a further deficit in open recreational space, which is counter intuitive and contrary in the extreme to the healthy community objectives that EFDC aspire to, in its commitment to National Planning Policy.

2. Loughton residents through its Local Town Council have identified Jessel Green as having special importance as a Local Green Space, specifically as a highly utilised and valuable recreation space at the heart of Loughton. This request and requirement made by the Loughton community through its elected representatives, Loughton Town Council has not been taken into account by EFDC and its consultants ARUP, despite an overwhelming petition and response from local residents to the proposals for residential development on this open space. To confirm, this open space is enjoyed by all ages and abilities throughout the year, which culminates in an annual event, which brings together 1000s of residents across the district to a community fun day. This location therefore has a unique significance and provides an incredibly valuable service in connecting the community.

3. There is no provision in the plan for replacing this valuable recreation space, if built on, so again is not compliant with National Planning Policy.

 

Actions to be taken

We therefore ask the Epping Forest District Independent Local Plan Inspector to:

  1. Advise/recommend Epping Forest District Council support the request by Loughton Town Council, to register site LOU.R5 (Jessel Green) as a protected ‘Village Green’ as per the application to Essex County Council in December 2013.
  2. Request page 121 of the submission version Local Plan 2017 paragraph 5.33 should be replaced with, 'In its commitment to promote healthy communities, Jessel Green shall be designated as a ‘Local Open/Green Space’ as having unique importance to the local community as a vital recreation space and connection point for the local community'. This is consistent with National Policy in promoting healthy communities, specifically it is fully compliant and aligns with the requirements as set out in NPFF para 77, to provide this status to spaces that are particularly valued by the local community.
  3. Request on page 122 of the submission version Local Plan 2017 site LOU.R5 (Jessel Green) should be removed from the list of residential sites under section B, Policy P2 Loughton.

 



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