On 19th March 2019, Bellway Homes were told they would be allowed to build 78 new properties on a plot of land adjacent to the Helen Court retirement home at River View, known locally as 'Gimsons'. They were also also told they would be allowed to build a new, wider road at River View, in order to access the site more easily.
Braintree District Council have decided that the site is suitable for residential development, despite it having poor access, poor drainage, being the site of a Heritage Asset house, and being a well known refuge for a wide range of protected species such as bats, newts, otters, kingfishers and water voles.
Bellway Homes offered to pay Braintree District Council £1.8m (million) for the little strip of land they need for the new, wider road. ... IF they were granted planning permission. (But they DIDN'T want to pay Witham Town Council the £10,000 they will be owed for the new drainage pipes, so Braintree District Council have agreed to pay that for them.)
Braintree District Council claim their decision was an impartial one, but the people of Witham aren't convinced and still believe that this development will RUIN our town!
The Heart of Witham campaign team, along with the Rt Hon Priti Patel MP and many others, have therefore asked the Secretary of State to 'call-in' this application for review.
WHY do so many people feel so strongly that this development MUST be stopped? Read on to learn more.
The new proposal by Bellway Homes involves a 2 phase construction project that includes :-
Widening of the access road at River View to accomodate multiple vehicles;
Extending the road across the established footpath that runs from the bridge, along the sports field to the town;
Demolition of the Gimsons House, which is a Heritage Asset connected to author Dorothy L Sayers;
The removal of the wrought iron railings that have bordered the town park since 1901;
The removal of multiple mature trees, some of which currently have Tree Preservation Orders on them;
2 years of continuous noise, disruption and increased traffic, as many of the construction vehicles will have to pass through the town centre due to the weight restriction on Saul's Bridge in Maldon Road.
Once completed, having 78 new homes in the very centre of town, with only one access road, will surely mean :-
An increase in the already severe traffic congestion around Maldon Road, especially at peak times;
Dramatically reduced levels of wildlife in the surrounding area, including several protected species;
Permanent disruption and increased pollution for residents of Helen Court who currently enjoy their balconies;
A more dangerous journey to school, work and town for regular users of the footpath between the park and Laurence Avenue, as they will now have to cross a road;
A reduction in the number of families able to use either the town park or the sports field behind Helen Court, due to there being no barrier between them and the new roads;
The ruination of one of the most peaceful and best loved green spaces in town, which provides essential respite and recreation for residents of all ages, many of whom have no garden of their own.
Do you feel that this development would be of benefit to the people of Witham? If not then please click the button below and help us to fight this!