The opportunity for further comments from local residents and stakeholders as part of the on-going North Weald Bassett masterplanning study has been welcomed by Councillor Richard Bassett, Planning Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council.
He said: “Following the Council’s commitment to protect aviation activities at the Airfield, this study offers a genuine opportunity for the local community to help shape the future of North Weald Bassett. I would encourage those with an interest in the future development of North Weald Bassett to have their say and contribute to the development of the study.”
Members of the public and other stakeholders with an interest in the future development of North Weald Bassett and the airfield who perhaps did not contribute to the original masterplanning workshop are encouraged to have their say
Submit your comments by Wednesday 9 April 2014
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Post to Forward Planning, Epping Forest District Council, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping, Essex CM16 4BZ
Councillor Bassett added: “Residents can find more information on the council website. We are basically looking for as much feedback as possible on how a limited amount of residential development focused on North Weald Airfield and North Weald Bassett could be accommodated without compromising aviation or the overall integrity and sustainability of the village. Most people agree some development is unavoidable. Our job is to find a way of doing it that protects the village, its existing residents and aviation at the airfield.”
In August 2013, following receipt of a development study into the future of the North Weald Airfield, Epping Forest District councillors agreed that a mixed use approach involving the development of parts of the airfield and the retention of aviation activities on site would be the most appropriate option for the airfield. Councillors also agreed that a high-level, comprehensive masterplanning study be prepared for the whole of North Weald Bassett including the village and airfield, focusing on the feasibility and deliverability of this approach and its incorporation as a development option for consideration in the Council’s new Local Plan.
The approach also fits in with general central government guidance for councils on ensuring the best use is made of publicly owned land and the significant area of land the airfield occupies in comparison to the nearby North Weald Bassett village.
In November 2013, Epping Forest District Council appointed a consultant team led by Allies and Morrison Urban Practitioners (AMUP) to undertake the masterplanning study. The aims of this study include the identification of the viable mix of land uses and associated infrastructure for the village, identifying long term Green Belt boundaries, potential phasing of development, the relationship between the airfield and the wider village area, and the potential mechanisms for delivering development.
It is envisaged that the findings of the study will form a key part of the Local Plan evidence base, and inform the development options process leading to the Local Plan Preferred Options consultation in 2014.
Study progress to date
Following a publicity campaign including leaflets to local households and press releases in local newspapers, 85 local residents and other people interested in North Weald attended a Community Masterplanning Workshop in January. The event format involved a presentation on the context and initial analysis undertaken for the study followed by an interactive workshop session during which members of the community were invited to identify priorities and discuss issues and the future of the village in relation to a number of themes including
- The role of the airfield
- Employment opportunities
- Community services and open space
- Transport and movement
- Shops and services
- Possible benefits of new homes
- Key issues involved in the provision of new homes
Feedback from the workshop has been reviewed by AMUP and will inform the preparation of spatial options in stage 2 of the masterplanning study.
Epping Forest District Council and AMUP also held an event with landowners in the study area, identified through previous Call for Sites submissions for the Local Plan. AMUP presented the context for the study and the key messages from the initial baseline analysis covering village character, urban form, physical and social infrastructure, transport and movement and the property context. This was followed by a Question and Answer session.
Additional stakeholder consultation
In addition, Epping Forest District Council and AMUP have also held discussions with a number of key stakeholders involved in the study which include
- Epping Forest District Council and Essex County Council councillors
- Essex County Council Officers
- Environment Agency
- English Heritage
- Epping Ongar Railway
- Essex Wildlife Trust
- Highways Agency
- Natural England
- North Weald Airfield
- North Weald Airfield Users Group
- North Weald Bassett Parish Council
The draft development options for North Weald Bassett and the airfield, informed through the findings of the study and the views of the local community and key stakeholders, will be available to view at a public exhibition to be held this summer with further information on its date and content to be confirmed. This event will also provide yet another opportunity for interested parties to comment on the initial findings of the study. Further information on this event will be posted on the Epping Forest District Council website.