Posted: 11.02.21 at 07:00 by The Editor
Plans to build a multi-million pound holiday park with 70 lodges in a small village have been turned down by Maldon District Council.
A meeting of Maldon District Council's North West Area Planning Committee decided last night (Wednesday, 10 February) that while the proposals would bring some benefits to the district in terms of potential employment and revenue, the impact on the rural village location would outweigh them.
Prior to the unanimous vote, council officers presented a report which outlined all the details of the application and advised refusal.
The application to build the new complex at The Warren Estate in Woodham Walter included plans for 50 holiday lodges for family activity holidays and another 20 for adults only, offering short breaks. There were also plans for redevelopment of the Bunsay clubhouse and the construction of a new golfing academy.
Speaking on behalf of the application, John Moran, Manager of the Warren Estate, told the meeting: "Maldon has nothing of this nature and there would be strong demand."
Mr Moran also said that the Warren Estate would keep the lodges in the company's ownership and that occupancy conditions could be put in place to safeguard any concerns about that.
However, speaking on behalf of Woodham Walter Parish Council, Councillor James Rushton made a plea for the plans to be rejected, telling how the numbers of people occupying the new lodges at any time could possibly equal the number of existing villagers and cause traffic problems by causing a huge increase in the number of cars using village roads.
Speaking directly to councillors, he added: "We strongly urge you to support officers' recommendation to reject this application on environmental and sustainability grounds."
Conservative Councillor Karl Jarvis told fellow Maldon district members that he had taken the trouble to look in-depth at the application from all sides and that while he had no particular objection to the proposals for the redevelopment of the clubhouse or the new golf academy, his focus had fallen upon the new lodges and associated car parking.
He added: "This would have huge impact on Woodham Walter, a village that's very much a rural village.
"Whether they've got the 'Centre Parcs' facilities is really questionable. Where are the occupants of the lodges then going to go?"
There are already 102 lodges at the Warren Estate and the parish councils of Woodham Walter, Woodham Mortimer with Hazeleigh, Langford and Ulting, Danbury, Little Baddow and Chelmsford City Council all objected to and raised concerns over the plans with regard to potential overdevelopment of the rural spot.
Prior to the meeting, 182 letters of objection to the development were received by Maldon District Council and 19 letters of support.