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Deferred decision on 205 hospital homes

September 16, 2010 11:02 AM
By Paul Ainsworth in Brentwood Gazette
Highwood Hospital - where a development of 250 homes is planned

Highwood Hospital - where a development of 250 homes is planned

A DECISION to allow more than 200 homes to be built on the former Highwood Hospital site has again been deferred after a number of concerns were raised.

Brentwood councillors were due to decide whether to give Bellway Homes permission to build 205 homes on the 17-acre town centre site at the planning committee meeting last week.

However, a series of issues were raised at the committee, including traffic concerns and the development's proximity to residential property, in one case just a metre and a half from a home in Costead Manor Road, Brentwood.

Ward councillor Ross Carter motioned for the plans to be refused, so developers could address their concerns and come up with a fresh application.

Planning committee chairman Roger McCheyne, however, instead made an amendment for a deferral, which the planning committee voted in favour of in the chamber.

"Perhaps we should go for a deferral and ask for some of these conditions to be sorted out," said Cllr McCheyne.

Brentwood Borough Council's solicitor Brian Keane added: "My understanding, having had a quick word with the chairman, is that there seems to be general consensus the site is going to be developed, that there is a lot of good things on the site but there are certain issues all members are concerned about and I think a number of members have voiced those tonight.

"I think the chairman's view was that it would be better done with a deferral rather than an outright refusal, where maybe it would not be so easy to discuss the issues. Obviously it is a matter for the members."

Cllr Carter was among those concerned about "out-conditioning the conditions" imposed on the plans if the decision was deferred and the issues addressed between officers and the developer.

Other members of the committee were keen to see residents consulted on fresh plans to be drawn up by the developers, with Cllr Karen Chilvers stating: "We can take what has been said tonight, we can work with the applicant and they can come up with a fresh, numbered application that can then go out for our usual consultation."

Planning officers had recommended approval for the scheme after it had previously been deferred by the committee earlier this year.

The development of the Geary Drive site - which Bellway bought from South West Essex Primary Care Trust for around £12 million - has already been greeted with some concern from residents.

A decision on the plans will now be made later this year.