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Update: 20th June 2017

 

Since this website has gone live there have been many public comments on Facebook and in other media. The points below are to answer some of the questions that have been raised and to clear up some of the misunderstandings that may exist about Peer Group’s land ownership, our history and our intentions.

  • Peer Group has owned the Ongar Park Estate since the early 1990’s. We gave land to the Council to create the North Weald Common, Nature Reserve, flood alleviation and we gave land to the Bowls Club.
  • Peer Group is only promoting 38 acres of its land on the Ongar Park Estate to provide 300 new homes. This would form part of the total of 1,500 homes that are to be provided in North Weald Bassett.  Peer Group’s 38 acres will take the place of some of the other allocated sites which are situated on high quality agricultural land to the west of the village and close to the airfield.
  • There has been reference in some of the public forums about building houses on brownfield sites.  Part of Peer Group’s site was previously used for the masts associated with the old Radio Station. The other part of the site is on non agricultural land. This contrasts with the Council’s selection of sites away from the village centre and situated on high quality agricultural land.
  • Peer Group is not suggesting more homes are built than have been already identified in the Objectively Assessed Housing Need. We are suggesting that the Council builds on the best and most suitable sites.
  • It is clear that local people feel strongly about the airfield heritage of North Weald. The allocation of residential sites either on or close to the airfield will jeopardise the future flying activity at North Weald. Allocating the Peer Group 38 acres will keep residential development close to the heart of the village and will help to retain the airfield use and flying activity at North Weald.
  • Councillor David Stallan has said on Facebook (North Weald Village Life) that the Peer Group site was rejected “by officers and therefore did not go out for consultation by efdc for the local plan late last year.” The Council favoured development on its own sites at the airfield and high quality agricultural land adjacent and near to the airfield on the west of the existing village. The Council did not have any regard to its own consultants report (Allies and Morrison 2014) which identified the Peer Group 38 acre site as one of the most suitable and available sites for residential allocation.
  • In recent months, Peer Group has pushed the Council to provide the evidence that it says it relied upon from a public consultation undertaken in June 2014. The Council has told Peer Group that the evidence it relied upon has been destroyed. It is for that reason that Peer Group has undertaken its own public consultation and survey.
  • There have been several references to Blakes Golf Club containing contaminated soil following the landfill that was placed on the site during the Golf Course construction in 2001. Peer Group’s ownership extends to the freehold of Blakes Golf Club. It is let on a lease to the operator. The landfill that was brought onto the site was supervised and certified by Epping Forest District Council. Peer Group shared concerns of local residents throughout the build period of the Golf Course and were assured by the Council that only inert waste was used for the landfill. Peer Group did not benefit commercially from any of the landfill that was brought onto the site.
  • Some recent environmental checks have been undertaken on the Blakes Golf Course site and they have shown that there is no contamination present. Further tests will be undertaken before any development commences.
  • Peer Group are able to allocate additional land to the Golf Club use which will allow the use to continue
  • Supporting development on the Peer Group site will not restrict any of the public access to the Ongar Park Estate which is preserved in a Deed entered into in 2007 which sets out the footpaths and Bridleways on our land to which the public have access.
  • One of the reasons that Epping Forest District Council did not include Peer Group’s 38 acre site in the Draft Local Plan was because the Council gave information to their own consultants, ARUP, that Peer Group were promoting the entirety of its estate (over 500 acres) for development of 6,080 new homes. This appears to have been a deliberate attempt to mislead and did not become apparent until after the Draft Local Plan was put out to public consultation at the end of October 2016.
  • Peer Group has never promoted its entire estate for residential development. The notion of developing the estate for over 6,000 homes is both bizarre and completely unfounded. Since 2014, Peer Group has promoted the exact same 38 acres that Allies and Morrison identified on behalf of the Council as being the most suitable land for residential allocation.
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