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Petition launched to fight developer’s appeal over Bures homes

PUBLISHED: 18:00 06 September 2018

This shows the countryside off Colchester Road, Bures,  that many residents do not want to built on. Gladman Developments are appealing against planning refusal for up to 98 homes.

This shows the countryside off Colchester Road, Bures, that many residents do not want to built on. Gladman Developments are appealing against planning refusal for up to 98 homes.

Mariam Ghaemi

Countryside described as being of “national importance” is at risk, campaigners say, as a developer launches a second bid to build a large housing estate there.

The land in red is where Gladman Developments want to build up to 98 homes. It's off Colchester Road on the edge of Bures.The land in red is where Gladman Developments want to build up to 98 homes. It's off Colchester Road on the edge of Bures.

Residents in Bures are rallying round for support against Gladman Developments’ plans for up to 98 homes off Colchester Road on the edge of the village in land that “unites the areas made famous by the artists John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough”.

There are ambitions for the land, on the Suffolk/Essex border, to be included in the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), but Gladman has appealed against Braintree District Council’s planning refusal and says it is looking at submitting a second application this autumn.

Bures resident Kenn Butcher has recently launched a petition to the planning inspectorate “to protect Bures Hamlet from over-development”, which has nearly 200 signatures online.

It says: “The application site, currently productive arable land, is outside the village envelope and it is considered sensitive by the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (Essex), the Dedham Vale Society, and the Colne-Stour Countryside Association who believe that a successful application will seriously damage the chances of extending the Dedham Vale AONB along the Stour Valley to include Bures, Lamarsh and onward to Sudbury.”

The Dedham Vale and Stour Valley Partnership is hoping the AONB boundary will be extended westwards towards Sudbury, but it is understood a boundary review by Natural England - the designating authority - has not yet started.

Beverley McClean, planning officer with the project, said: “Our concerns remain. It’s an incremental creep into the countryside.”

Last month Gladman distributed leaflets to nearly 500 households and businesses in Bures on the latest proposals, which include a new road layout for the development and the potential for a new recreational area on Braintree District Council land.

Gill Jackson, chairman of Bures St Mary Parish Council, said: “I think the thing is whatever they say about changing road layout or adding facilities like that the fact is we don’t want a development of 98 dwellings in Bures. We have terrific pressure of traffic already through the village. We cannot manage a development of that size. It’s not that we are opposed to developments.”

Gladman Developments said in its community leaflet: “Gladman have recently submitted an appeal against the refusal of planning permission to the Secretary of State.

“It is Gladman’s intention to submit a second planning application on this site to the council in autumn 2018. The second application will seek to respond to the reasons for refusal and the third party representations received during the determination of the application.”

In its refusal for the development Braintree District Council said: “The proposal would have a significantly adverse impact upon the landscape and character of the area.

“The proposal would introduce a sizeable new development to an area of open countryside and of landscape quality which positively contributes to the rural setting and amenity of the neighbouring settlements.

“The location of the site and topography of the land are such that any development on this site would have a harmful impact upon the distinctive rural character and appearance of the area.”

To sign the petition click here. There are also hard copies in the village.

To view the developer’s plans see here.

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