It is never good news for residents when they hear that a new travellers site is to be built on their doorstep. Although some may say that this is just a typical “NIMBY” attitude, few people really wish to have travelling communities set up home next door. Why should they be able to? Most people work hard to live where they do, pay large mortgages over 30 years periods, work every hour that they can. So why should some people be allowed to purchase land and live on it for a fraction of the cost of local homes?
The latest travellers site that we are aware of is proposed for Molrams Lane in Great Baddow. The site is situated opposite Sandon School playing fields, not far from Baddow Hall Junior and Infant School. The land has been disused for many years, however, it is a relatively quiet, green area.
There is a Council meeting at 7.30pm on Monday 14th September at the Great Baddow Parish Hall on Maldon Road. Residents who object to this new gypsy site should attend and make their views known.
The proposals state that the site at Molrams Lane “is well screened and capable of providing adequate levels of privacy and residential amenity for occupiers. It should not be detrimental to amenities of existing residents located to the south and north of the site. On this basis it could be suitable for a permanent new site.” For further details of the proposal see the agenda / report (PDF) for the forthcoming council meeting.
Location Map of Proposed Travellers Site, Molrams Lane, Great Baddow
Statement made by Cllr Mrs Chris Shaw
This is the statement made by Cllr Mrs Chris Shaw,
Chairman of Great Baddow Parish Council on 15th September:
“I would like to begin by saying that GBPC understands the need to provide permanent Gypsy and Traveller sites and the pressure that is coming from the Government for this provision. However we wish to comment specifically on the proposal to include site 7, land adjacent to Church Street and Molrams Lane in Great Baddow, in the consultation document.
Firstly, we find the description of the land involved somewhat vague, particularly the map indication by a circle, which extends into green belt land on the village side of the A1114. If there was any intention of placing a site on green belt land, we feel that is inappropriate, given that expansion of permanent housing is not permitted in green belt areas.
Related to that issue is the continual erosion of green space within Great Baddow, which has seen several areas of green space lost to large new housing developments in the last few years. This site would further erode what little we have left, particularly in this part of the village, which saw the open area next to Newport Close lost to a housing estate. In compensation for the loss of that land, we managed to secure the Bringey Playing Field, previously known as the cabbage patch, although there have been considerable problems in achieving a similar quality of surface to the land which we lost. Part of the site suggested borders on that land, and we have great concern that the playing field land would be vulnerable to further expansion of any such site in the future, whether official or unofficial. Part of the site suggested also has many mature trees with very little grass area, which seems to make it unsuitable as it stands, and we would certainly object to any attempt to remove these trees.
It is also worth noting that planning applications in Molrams Lane itself have been turned down for potentially harming the character of the lane and the setting of the estate. Site access to any of the land being considered is proposed to be via Molrams Lane, which we consider to be unsuitable and potentially dangerous. The access would be almost immediately following a left turn from Church Street into Molrams Lane, with very poor visibility for drivers coming from Church Street or anyone turning into the site off Molrams Lane. Molrams Lane itself is a busy road, with school traffic for Baddow Hall schools and Sandon School and much traffic using it to reach Danbury, Maldon, Woodham Ferrers and the A12. It should be noted that access from Molrams Lane was considered unsuitable for Isaac Square, the new development I referred to before, hence the need to make the access from Newport Close, and nothing has changed since then.
Part of the site suggested includes land adjacent to the slip road on to the A1114 and we consider that any access from there would also be extremely hazardous. Our residents understandably have concerns about the ability of the existing infrastructure to cope with yet more expansion, particularly schools and GP services, which have already had to cope with a considerable number of new housing developments.
Fear of crime is another issue which has been strongly brought to our attention by residents, who attended a Parish Council meeting in force yesterday evening (nearly 200 of them), and concern for vulnerable residents living close to the site in Hargrave House.
Looking at the site from the point of view of potential occupants, we also have concerns. The site is very close to the A1114, the Baddow bypass, an extremely busy and frequently congested road between the A12 and the Army & Navy roundabout. There is concern that emissions from cars and heavy vehicles using that road and the busy junction of Molrams lane and Church Street could be a hazard to anyone living there. The site can clearly be overlooked from Church Street, which raises privacy issues. We expect the borough council to consult representatives from the gypsy and traveller community and support workers attached to an existing site, before pressing on with proposing a site which they themselves may not consider suitable.
We wanted mainly to comment about this proposed site, but I want to finish by briefly referring to sites you have already rejected as unsuitable. Site 8, west of the Park & Ride, has been very briefly dismissed. The only concrete reason for rejection given in Appendix 3 is the busy A414, but as we have said, the site in Molrams Lane has highway and air quality issues of its own. The comment that Site 7 is further away from the Park and Ride is a statement of fact, but reasons for this making it a better choice are not spelled out. We think the public deserve much better explanations than have been provided here. Similarly, you have said in the comment on Site 3, that it is suitable, but that expanding existing sites is not desirable. Because….?
We hope that you will take note of the issues we and residents have raised and reconsider your assessment of suitable sites. Plainly, if you proceed with including this site in your consultation document, we and residents will be expanding on our comments so far.
Thank you for giving us the time to present our views tonight.
Cllr Mrs Chris Shaw
Chairman, Great Baddow Parish Council
Great Baddow Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Update
Some news from Great Baddow Parish Council’s website:
“At the start of the Development Policy meeting we were informed by Borough Council planners that the only other site which had been recommended to be included as an option (in East Hanningfield) had been withdrawn, leaving the one in Great Baddow as the only recommended option for consultation. The decision to withdraw the East Hanningfield option related to ownership issues and led to much criticism on the grounds that this type of issue should have been resolved much earlier.
Following our presentation and many points made by residents during public question time, the committee discussed the consultation document. We are delighted to say that the whole committee eventually agreed that it would be completely unfair and inappropriate to present an options document with only a single option, especially as so many objections had been made about its suitability. The document will now be issued without any recommended sites, and will call for proposals to be made for suitable sites anywhere in the borough.
The consultation period is expected to begin on 27th October and last for a period of 8 weeks, and details will be published in Borough Life.
Although the Great Baddow option will no longer appear as a recommended one in the consultation document, this is only the beginning of the process and we still need to be vigilant.
We will be studying the document carefully and intend to hold a public meeting for residents once it is available.”
Source: Great Baddow Parish Council News
Land Now For Sale
The plot of land that the gypsies were thought to be wanting to purchase for their site is now on the market.
There is a large sign out side the plot stating “LAND FOR SALE” by Hughes Ellard, tel. 01329 222836. However, we cannot see anything on their website about the land.
It can only be assumed that the decision that the land was unsuitable for human habitation de to the proximity to the bypass stands and that this land is for pasture or other non-development use.