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13th July 2010 STOP PRESS Gypsies and Travellers Site Requirements Lifted:
The Government has finally agreed to drop the formal consultation over extra gypsy and traveller pitches in the district after two years of worry, concern, and confusion.
In the autumn of 2008 when two sites in Theydon Bois (20b & 20c) were identified for possible selection Theydon Bois Parish Council, Theydon Bois & District Rural Preservation Society (TB&DRPS),Theydon Bois Action Group (TBAG) South Theydon Bois Action Group and over 700 individual villagers objected.
Coalition Government minister Greg Clark MP has written to Di Collins Leader of Epping Forest District Council confirming the requirement to find an extra 34 pitches in the district, including the two in Theydon Bois, through formal consultation has now been withdrawn. In the letter Mr. Clark says "It is the view of Government that local councils are best placed to meet the requirements of their residents, be they from the settled or or travelling community. Despite the difficulties the Direction has placed on the authority you have shown that the Council has taken a responsible approach to meeting the accommodation requirements of travellers in the district. I do not hesitate, therefore, in agreeing to your request to withdraw the direction".
Councillor Di Collins said “This is fantastic news. I am absolutely delighted. The Direction has been a millstone around our necks for three years. It has been especially difficult for many of our residents and placed a tremendous strain on the council. It was not even supported by our local gypsy and traveller communities. After working so hard, it will be an immense relief to all of us that the new minister has acted so speedily. It has been a long struggle and finally a triumph for local democracy over big government. Residents and councillors alike will be celebrating”
Copy of Withdrawal Letter from Greg Clark
4th September 2009 STOP PRESS: Gypsies and Travellers Consultation Document Latest News.
Theydon Bois Parish Council, Theydon Bois & District Rural Preservation Society (TB&DRPS),Theydon Bois Action Group (TBAG) South Theydon Bois Action Group and over 700 individual villagers objected the possible selection of the sites in Theydon Bois in the first stage of the consultation. The next stage is the consideration of The Draft Sustainability Appraisals and Strategic Environmental Report (SA/SEA) of all the sites selected for the Consultation on Options by EFDC Local Development Framework Committee.
EFDC Local Development Framework Committee is due to meet on Thursday 10th September at 7.30pm at the Council Offices in Epping. This is a public meeting that villagers may want to attend, as there is a strong possibility that measured against 18 sustainability objectives in a supplementary agenda report, that at least one of the two identified sites in Theydon Bois will go forward. The Agenda for the Development Framework Committee Meeting is here. The Draft Sustainability Appraisals and Strategic Environmental Report (SA/SEA) of all the sites selected for the Consultation on Options: Development Plan Provision for Gypsies and Travellers in Epping Forest District, that has just been published by EFDC and will be debated at this meeting iis a detailed 92 page supplement to the meeting agenda. You can view it here. EFDC usually Webcast these meetings so if you can't attend you should be able to view it live or later on line from here.
It is a requirement for local planning authorities when producing these documents to consider the wider social,environmental and economic effects; and how implementation of proposals set out by the documents may impact on existing and future conditions. The purpose of undertaking the SA/SEA at this stage of the process is to identify potential significant sustainability effects arising from the content of the Consultation on Options document. The outcome of this stage of the Appraisal is designed to assist the plan preparation process and, with the responses to the consultation, to inform future stages of the Gypsies and Travellers Development Plan Document (DPD). The DPD will be subject to additional appraisal before adoption, to take account of proposals and amendments that may arise from the consultation and this SA/SEA.
As noted above it is very likely at this stage that at least one, but probably not both of the sites selected for Theydon Bois (20b or 20c) will go forward given the content of the report.
Page 84 of the appraisal: The impact of each site was also measured against each question in the consultation. Sites 20b and 20c scored a major positive on three criteria, positive on four, neutral on five, negative on four and only a major negative on one. Although difficult to quantify the relevance of comparing the sites to the consultation questions, our sites scored relatively highly on having a major positive / positive impact.
Page 40 of the appraisal: A focus on provision of sites in the south and west of Epping Forest District could generallysupport sustainability objectives by accommodating demand whilst promoting accessibility
to services, increasing employment opportunities and reducing the need for travel. Nevertheless, the merits of each individual site would need to be appraised to ensure that it could contribute to the supply of sites in a sustainable manner.
Page 84 of the appraisal: The site is accessible to a range of local services and facilities within nearby Theydon Bois, including Theydon Bois Station (London Underground) which, with a reasonable bus service close to the site, affords good public transport links to other centres. The availability of services and public transport links would positively assist the quality of life of residents. The site would encroach into the countryside although impacts on visual amenity could be mitigated with appropriate boundary treatment. Coopersale Lane is a Protected Lane and additional activity and vehicle movement could have an adverse impact on its setting and integrity. Also, the site is close to the M11, abutting the 300m buffer, and could be affected by noise and pollution from motorway traffic. Use of the site would need to be subject to provision of satisfactory safe access.
Page 15 of the appraisal identifies site 20e (Former Crowther Nursery, Ongar Road Abridge ) as performing the most negatively against sustainability objectives in the Roding Valley Area, but also considers the cumulative impact at sites 20b & 20c:
However the cumulative impacts of allocating sites should also be taken into account. Should sites 20b and 20c both be allocated the cumulative impacts of potentially 21 pitches being delivered in close proximity may negate elements which were shown as positives in the current appraisal. In this instance the adverse cumulative impacts on the sites proposed and the adverse secondary impacts on this rural area between Theydon Garnon and Theydon Bois would negate the positive scores the sites achieve individually. It would therefore be more appropriate to allocate sites which may not perform as well individually, but where the cumulative impact to achieve the number of pitches required would be less in a given area.
Page 90 of the appraisal concludes: Epping Forest District Council, in considering the responses to the consultation on the Document and preparing the preferred strategy option, is recommended to consider,
a strategy for the relocation of pitches to allocated sites from existing unauthorised, tolerated or temporary sites;
whether draft objectives 5 and 6 are sufficiently specific for the Gypsies and Travellers DPD or could duplicate the Core Strategy;
identifying sites in the range of 6 to 15 pitches augmented by suitable smaller sites;(the proposed pitch size for 20b and 20c are 11 and 10 respectively).
sites in urban extensions or close to the larger settlements;
clear definition of terms to be applied through the proposed policy in the Criteria for Windfall Sites (particularly criteria c) and k)) to aid understanding and interpretation;
whether a transit/emergency stop-over facility of 25-30 pitches should be provided in preference to options for smaller sites that could better assist good management;
how the effective delivery of allocated sites could be best assisted to minimise identified adverse impacts of available measures;
a Monitoring Framework;
an Implementation Framework.
It seems on balance therefore that one of the two sites in Theydon Bois has a high chance of selection. Please read the full report. This report will be the subject of public consultation and the Parish Council and other groups will provide further information on how best individuals can respond at that time.
Submissions for the First Stage Closed at:
5pm, 20th February 2009
6th February 2009: Original deadline 5pm TODAY.
Although the deadline for submission has been extended to 20th February (see below) , this has not yet been ratified by the whole council, so please we would urge residents to comply with the ortiginal deadline of 6th February. Please do not delay complete and return your response to the Civic Offices in Epping by 5pm FRIDAY 6TH FEBRUARY (Today).
OR COMPLETE ON LINE
2nd February 2009 PM: IMPORTANT UPDATE
Closing date for submissions Extended to 5pm, 20th February 2009
Please note that Cabinet Members have agreed to extend the consultation period on the Gypsy and Traveller accommodation DPD to 5pm on Friday 20th February 2009.
Please contact EFDC Forward Planning on 01992 564519 if you have any queries.
2nd February 2009: HANDOVER CANCELLED
Unfortunately because the bad weather prevented Eleanor Laing and Ann Gregg from attending, the 'Handover' scheduled for 10.30am this morning at the Civic Offices, where residents groups from across the district had intended to present their Responses to the Gypsies and Travellers Consultation Document, had to be cancelled. Apologies to all those in our village that made the effort to get there in spite of the weather. It is hoped to reschedule the 'Handover' to a day later this week.
This does mean that there is still time to sign up to the joint response. So far we are approaching 600 signatures, but could use more. Remember non completion of this Consultation could be construed as acceptance of the proposal for development of our Green Belt and set a precedent for further development, which could be significant. It is important that you make your views known. Some other villages have already achieved more than 75% of residents signing up.
Blank Sign-Up Form
You also still have till 5.00pm on 6th February to make your own individual response and you can do this was well as signing up to the group response. To help you the documentation made for the Joint Response is available for download below.:
Joint Response Completed Questionnaire (PDF)
Joint Response Completed Objections to 20b & 20c (PDF)
TBAG Joint Response Covering Letter (PDF)
Rural Preservation Society Joint Response Endorsement Letter (PDF)
30th January 2009:
It was announced at the Parish Council Meeting on Thursday 29th January that Theydon Bois and District Rural Preservation Society are now fully endorsing a joint response to the Gypsies and Travellers Consultation Document.
As noted below it was agreed from the outset that all groups making a response to the consultation would work together and share information. Theydon Bois and District Rural Preservation Society has decided that the best way forward is to fully endorse the document already prepared by TBAG that takes into account all this pooled information from the various groups in the village that are opposing nominated sites 20b & 20c. This was intended as a joint Theydon Bois Parish Council/ Theydon Bois Action Group Response and will now also represent the views of the Preservation Society. The 'Joint Response' will include a covering letters from the Society, TBAG and the Parish Council outlining their status, aims and objectives and summarising their endorsement. All of the main groupings in the village are of the view that a Unified Response is the best way to respond to EFDC. It also avoids needless duplication of effort. The smaller, but important, South Theydon Bois Residents Association will be making their own representation that has been prepared by consultants, but have also generously shared the evidence contained in the consultants reports and this has formed part of the 'joint submission. The Preservation Society has expressed their thanks to TBAG for their hard work in preparing the 'joint response.
If you have not already done so will you please try to sign up to the Theydon Bois Parish Council/ Theydon Bois Action Group/Theydon Bois & District Rural Preservation Society Response before Monday. Encourage your family and friends to do likewise. Copies of the 'Sign-Up' Form are available in the Parish Office.
Epping Forest District Council expect to receive submissions from literally "thousands" of residents this coming Monday. Many are using the right to submit proxy votes under the consultation process. Residents groups have organised to hand in their responses to Elected Officers at 10.30 on Monday 2nd February at the District Council offices in Epping High St on behalf of all the residents in the area that have ‘signed-up’ to a group submission compiled by their resident or action group. Our MP Eleanor Laing will be present at the 'hand over'. If you can find the time please try to join us on Monday morning to help show that Theydon Bois is well represented. This is not being promoted as any kind of rally or protest.
28th January 2009:
Villagers Please Note:
We need more support and more signatures to the joint group response, so please come along on Thursday evening and sign up. You can both sign up to a group response and complete an individual questionnaire. Non completion of the questionnaire will be seen as an acceptance of the proposals to locate 21 Gypsy and Traveller pitches on the Green Belt in our village.
Remember the closing date for submissions is
5pm, 6th February 2009
Eleanor Laing MP will be joining all the action and residents groups in the District on MONDAY 2nd February at 10.30am when we will all be delivering our responses to Epping Forest District Council, Civic Offices, Epping.
Time is short please act now - YOUR VILLAGE NEEDS YOU!
Document, Resource & Help Links
Contact Address for the Parish Council about the Consultation: email@example.com
4th September The Draft Sustainability Appraisals and Strategic Environmental Report (SA/SEA) of all the sites selected for the Consultation on Options
Consultation Document (pdf 7.5mb)
Errata Document (pdf) correcting Errors in above Document
Proposed Sites 20A & 20B in Theydon Bois (Aerial View)
EFDC Web Pages about the Consultation Document
Questionnaire form for completion and return
EFDC Online Questionnaire
Joint Response Completed Questionnaire (PDF)
Joint Response Completed Objections to 20b & 20c (PDF)
TBAG Joint Response Covering Letter (PDF)
Rural Preservation Society Joint Response Endorsement Letter (PDF)
Theydon Bois Action Group
Petition on the Number10.goverment website
Other Local Action Groups with information websites on the Consultation:
Epping , Thorwood , Northweald and Waltham Abbey.
Other Useful Contacts:
Eleanor Laing MP
Theydon Bois District Councillor Roland Frankel
Theydon Bois District Councillor John Phillip
The Parish Council intends to make a detailed submission to the consultation document and it encourages as many residents as possible to view the document and reply to the questionnaire. Submissions to EFDC should try to identify in planning terms why these provisional sites are unsuitable as this will carry the most weight. It is also possible to add your name to a Group Response to the Document. So far Theydon Bois Action Group, Theydon Bois & District Rural Preservation Society and South Theydon Bois Action Group have all committed to making Group submissions.
The Parish Council has confirmed that its aim is to work with and share information with all like minded groups within the village that are working to produce a meaningful detailed response to the EFDC consultation. It intends to give further guidance on the completion of the questionnaire before the deadline. In the meantime TBAG have provided some useful guidance on their web site: Help with answers to the Questionnaire
EFDC have now extended the closing date for submissions to
6th February 2009
Theydon Bois Parish Council is trying to get this date further extended as not all villagers who have requested one have received their consultation document yet. The Parish Council believes that the consultation period should run for the original full length after everyone has received their document pack, but it now seems unlikely that it will be extended further. You can request a paper copy of the document from EFDC here. We do now have a pdf of the consultation document
for you to download and view. It is 7.5mb so we suggest you right click this link select Save As
and save it to your PC.
The errata document (correcting some errors, not all) is here. The questionnaire form is here. Further information related to the consultation document can be found on this EFDC page.
Consultation on Options: Development Plan Provision for Gypsies and Travellers
in Epping Forest District:
Epping Forest District Council is being forced by The Government to provide a number of Gypsy sites in this District, if they do not provide and name these sites then The Government will appoint a site. EFDC have drawn up a list of potential sites with the help of an agency.
In November Epping Forest District Council launched its consultation about the provision of sites for Gypsies and Travellers. Theydon Bois Parish Council was very concerned to see that two of the potential sites are within our Parish.
The policy of Theydon Bois Parish Council with regard to the Consultation on Options: Development Plan Provision for Gypsies and Travellers in Epping Forest District, is that the location of the proposed sites, 20b and 20c are unacceptable. Both locations are Green Field sites in the Metropolitan Green Belt; we would resist any relaxation of Green Belt policy that would allow any inappropriate development. Both sites border a Protected Lane, would be accessed via a dangerous unlit road and are too close to the motorway.
We are very aware of the concern shared by our residents about the impact this development could have on the Green Belt and our community. For this reason we have set up a dedicated email address firstname.lastname@example.org for any resident to contact us directly.
Please use this to contact the Parish Council about any aspect of the consultation. Do e-mail us with any questions you may have and share your concerns and opinions about the potential sites. Please also let us know about any expertise you may be able to offer to help us in our efforts to protect the Green Belt from this latest threat.
Previous Parish Council Meeting on Gypsies & Travellers Consultation:
On Thursday 4th December the Parish Council held its second meeting to keep villagers informed about progress with the EFDC Gypsies and Travellers Consultation
A packed, standing room only, village hall saw a presentation by Parish Council Chairman Sue Jones up-dating villagers on the all information that the Parish Council has at present and detailing the Parish Council's position regarding the consultation document based on this knowledge. Sue and John Phillip (both a Parish & EFDC councillor) then did their best to provide answers to villagers questions in a long question and answer session that followed the presentation.
Sue confirmed that the stated Parish Council position with regard to the Consultation on Options is: Development Plan Provision for Gypsies and Travellers in Epping Forest District; the location of the proposed sites, 20b and 20c are unacceptable. Both locations are Green Field sites in the Metropolitan Green Belt; we would resist any relaxation of Green Belt policy that would allow any inappropriate development. Both sites border a Protected Lane, would be accessed via a dangerous unlit road and are too close to the motorway.
Sue and John urged villagers wait before completing the EFDC questionnaire that accompanies the G & T consultation document as the Parish Council will be running some 'workshops' and giving advice on how to make the best response as soon as it can confirm dates with the village hall manager. Submissions to EFDC should try to identify in planning terms why these provisional sites are unsuitable as this will carry the most weight. The closing date for the consultation has now been extended to the 6th February 2009 and the Parish Council is urging EFDC to extend this further as many people have still not been able to obtain a copy of the consultation document.
The Parish Council has confirmed that its aim is to work with and share information with all like minded groups within the village that are working to produce a meaningful detailed response to the EFDC consultation. It is encouraging villagers to e-mail them at the address provided by this website: email@example.com with their concerns and ideas on how best to respond to the consultation. It is particularly interested in getting assistance from villagers with expertise in Planning, Legal and related matters, but all information is useful and will be shared with the groups unless indicated otherwise.
The Parish Council aims to keep villagers regularly informed by Village News, Village Notice boards and this website. We hope to produce some specific information pages here soon. TBAG have also are aiming to keep villagers informed with news on their website.
Other Local Action Groups with information websites on the consultation document are: Epping , Thorwood , Northweald and Waltham Abbey.
You can contact your EFDC Theydon Bois District Ward Councillors for information and help via these email links: Roland Frankel & John Phillip .
Our MP Eleanor Laing has opposed the consultation proposals in parliament and the Parish Council encourages you to e-mail or write to her; Eleanor Laing, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.
There is also a petition on the Number10.goverment website calling for a review of National and Regional Policy Requirements on Development Plan Provision for Gypsies and Travellers.