16 December 2017
On Thursday 14th December 2017 Epping Forest District Councillors from the Green Party were among the 18 who voted to save Jessel Green and the 11 who voted to oppose the Local Plan as it stands.
The amendment to save Jessel Green was voted down by the Conservative majority on the District Council; the Local Plan itself was voted through with 31 votes.
Speaking at the meeting on behalf of Buckhurst Hill East, Green Party Councillor Steven Neville said,
"I deeply resent the Secretary of State's ultimatum; I deeply resent that we can't move our items out of the Local Plan at this stage. All development must be supported by current and future infrastructure needs. I don't think we're going to achieve this.
"One of the aims of the Local Plan is to see a change in our transport use habits, from the car to more sustainable modes of transport such as walking, cycling and public transport. For all three sites listed in Buckhurst Hill there's no mention of improving public transport or improving cycling."
Speaking after the meeting Dave Plummer, Epping Forest Green Party's Coordinator, based in Waltham Abbey, said,
"It's shocking that the District Council have left this to the last minute and have used the threat of government intervention - a government which the majority of the District Councillors support and encourage people to vote for - as the main plank of their argument for supporting the Local Plan as it stands."
"Even more shocking is the revelation that the City of London Conservators' objections to a plot in Theydon Bois being included in the plan, a plot which has been removed as a result, were mirrored in their objections to Jessel Green, objections which in that case were ignored."
"There is still a chance that we can save Jessel Green and add alternative sites to the Local Plan, and planning applications will still have to go through Area Planning Committees and, in some cases, the District Development Planning Committee. Also, where the District Council is the landowner, as is the case with Jessel Green, they can remove their site from the plan themselves."
"The chances of that happening will be greatly increased if other councillors who are more predisposed to protecting our green spaces are elected in May 2018 and 2019."
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