"Romford style" cinema gets planning renewal in William Hunter Way

September 13, 2013 9:21 AM
Protesting against the William Hunter Way development in 2008

Protesting against the William Hunter Way development in 2008

A Romford-style cinema was approved by Tory councillors for a second time on Wednesday, despite opposition councillors pointing out that times had changed and that this development was too big, too ugly and completely out of step with our historic TOWN..

The Liberal Democrats support a cinema in Brentwood but only one that is right for the town and complements our heritage.

Material changes since this was initially approved are:

- an extension to Sainsburys

- the Highwood Hospital development

- the National Planning framework saying, quite clearly, that developments in or next to a conservation area (as this is) should enhance the conservation area.

- that the Baytree Centre is not fully let and, therefore, another development is not sustainable.

Issues raised by Liberal Democrat councillors included:

- Too high, too big, too imposing inappropriate blot on the landscape

- No business case supports this particular development

- Pollution and overshadowing to local residents

- Will affect residential amentiy

- Does not reflect character of the town

- Needs re-negotiation to get a good deal for Brentwood that will work

- Development was out-of-date when approved in 2009, now the development is ten years out of date

- Baytree Centre not fully let and this should have happened before another development was entertained

- Local Development Plan supports development on the south side of the High Street, not the North side

- Only one development was ever presented to the public

- Issues over the sale of the disabled car park

- Lack of planning merit or benefits

- Should have been rejected in 2009

- New developments around the site should be considered, in context of today's Brentwood

- Proper Environmental Assessment has not been conducted

- Ongar Road traffic is now over capacity and traffic movements throught Brentwood have not been considered

- Is a six screen cinema appropriate or should it be a wider entertainment centre?

- Why are we agreeing a two year extension when the agreement with the developer runs out in six weeks?

Cllr Barry Aspinell

Cllr Barry Aspinell

Cllr Barry Aspinell, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Brentwood Borough Council, said:

"Disappointing, but not surprising. Brentwood's Tories continually fail to understand the needs of our town and its future. They have again approved an outdated development that offers very little to its residents. The Tories failed once again to listen to ward members (who all happen to be Liberal Democrat) and other town centre councillors (although the Tory town centre councillors did not speak or were not present for the meeting).

"This Tory administration seems hell bent on ruining our town and we need to put a top to it before it gets any worse."

The vote for approval was won 8-7 with all Tories voting FOR this monstrous development.

How the Planning Committee voted:


Cllr Alan Braid^ (Conservative - Hutton Central)

Cllr Ann Coe^ (Conservative - South Weald)

Cllr Claire Cornell*^ (Conservative - Hutton East)

Cllr Linda Golding^ (Conservative - Ingrave, Herongate and West Horndon)

Cllr Noelle Hones* (Conservative - Ingatestone, Fryerning and Mountnessing)

Cllr Keith Parker^ (Conservative - Brizes & Doddinghurst)

Cllr Mark Reed (Conservative - Hutton South)

Cllr David Tee (Conservative - Warley)


* DID NOT speak during the debate

^ Up for re-election in 2014

Cllr Phil Baker (Brentwood First - Shenfield)

Cllr Ross Carter (Liberal Democrat - Brentwood North)

Cllr Karen Chilvers~ (Liberal Democrat - Brentwood West)

Cllr Vicky Davies (Liberal Democrat - Pilgrims Hatch)

Cllr William Lloyd (Brentwood First - Warley)

Cllr Julie Morrissey (Labour - Brentwood South)

Cllr James Sapwell (Liberal Democrat - Brentwood North)


~ Brentwood North's Cllr Philip Mynott^ was not legally allowed to vote on the application due to his home being so near to the site and the fact that he has campaigned against the development for many years. He was, however, present and spoke under his ward member rights. Cllr Karen Chilvers was his substitute for the meeting and voted in his place. However, you can see Cllr Mynott's statement here.