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Forest Place - Breach of Planning Permission
The Residents' Society and Buckhurst Hill Parish Council have both written again to EFDC to request enforcement action be taken against the Forest Place Care Home on Roebuck Lane to have part of the recent building extension demolished which was illegally built without planning permission.
In 2018 permission was approved to adjust the height of the building adjacent Roebuck Lane to accommodate a lift shaft. However, when scaffolding was removed in November 2019, a tower containing a second lift shaft was revealed, even higher, and in a different style, being a square box of orange brick. The photograph below shows how this tower dominates the skyline at the eastern end of the building.
The Residents' Society and the Parish Council immediately wrote to EFDC in December 2019, but no action was taken, pending submission of a further planning application. That application was submitted in May 2020, but withdrawn on 18th June, just before it was due to be discussed by the Parish Council, and before it could be decided by EFDC.
Several residents on Little Pluckett's Way have also written to EFDC expressing opposition both to the tower, and to a proposed roof garden which would overlook their properties.
It is hoped EFDC will take action against Forest Place, but this may be a long process involving a further planning application and potential appeal to a Planning Inspector if refused, before the tower is actually demolished.
We understand Forest Place plays an important role in Buckhurst Hill as a Care Home, but that does not excuse disregard for planning procedure, neighbours and architectural merit.
Coronavirus - Events Cancellation
In line with government guidance, we have regrettably decided to cancel our Events from April. These are April 14th (Talk), May 10th (Walk), May 13th (AGM & Talk), plus the monthly Memory Cafe at Roding Valley Hall. We will assess events beyond June in due course.
Proposed Closure of Buckhurst Hill Library
Following Public Consultation on its decision to close 25 smaller Libraries, Essex County Council has announced a revised Strategy, and now "envisages" that no Library will close in the next five years.
The new Strategy was published on Tuesday 16th July 2019 and was discussed at a meeting of the Council on 23rd July 2019. See Item 4 here for the text.
The new strategy focuses on two key element
The Council has announced an investment of £3m in Library Services, some of which will be spent to support community groups.
BHRS remains concerned that the detail of the strategy does not actually justify the headline that Buckhurst Hill Library "has been saved". The detail seems to imply smaller Libraries will be kept open only if community groups emerge to take over their running, albeit with improved support from Essex CC. This would have to include managing whichever building a Library was housed in. There is in fact no commitment in the revised Strategy to keep a Library open if community support is not forthcoming and no timetable for negotiations . There is no default commitment of five years where a Library would continue to be run as at present by Essex CC, despite the impression it gives in its Press Release. Furthermore t he Strategy makes clear the £3m grant would still be a significant reduction on the current expenditure on Libraries, so considerable funding would be required from elsewhere.
Nevertheless it appears the revised Strategy gives a more positive environment where Buckhurst Hill Library "could" be saved from closure, and we hope to work with the Parish Council and other interested parties to achieve that.
The Parish Council has said that it intends to gather a working party to develop a required business plan once a timeframe and information critical to the development of a plan is provided by the County, though a t the present time Essex County Council are unable to provide potential meeting dates.
As of November 2019, uncertainty remains, with no further anouncements from Essex CC.
Local Plan - Latest News
More information can be found at http://www.efdclocalplan.org/
In their latest comments in May 2020 EFDC indicated that consultation with Natural England concerning Air Quality Mitigation for developments around the Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation might not be concluded until July 2020. We understand EFDC will then publish Modifications to the Plan, and the public will then have a six-week period to submit comments on them. The Inspector's final report will then follow, and if found legal and sound, the Plan will go back to EFDC Councillors to be adopted. All this might take until Autumn 2020 at the earliest. (Actual planning applications will follow, but might be submitted anytime until 2033)
The Residents' Society strongly opposes the sites earmarked in the Plan for Buckhurst Hill and our original response to the draft version has been on this website for a year now (see Newsbox on right). Our response to this amended submitted version is
The Hearing Session into the sites proposed for Buckhurst Hill took place in the morning session of 15th May 2019. This can be viewed via the webcast on the EFDC website. (here). You can skip to 2hr 43 mins from the start, and the discussion lasts 50 mins. Representatives of BH Parish Council set out their arguments opposing each of the three sites proposed by EFDC, 1 Powell Road, the car park at the bottom of Queen's Road, and the Shops block at Lower Queen's Road. Their written statements can be read here. (Matter 15 P5 Buckhurst Hill). BHRS strongly supports their view that all three sites should be removed from the Plan.