At a special meeting on 18th October 2016, the TDC Planning Committee rejected the latest proposals to build 72 houses in Westfield, behind Mill Street and 17 houses in the ancient registered parkland because they would fund only partial repair to the Priory and the harm caused to the setting and significance of the Priory, the parkland and wider conservation area would not outweigh the benefit.
Over 200 members of the public attended the meeting held in the Princes Theatre. Bev Lynn of Save Our St Osyth, Sonia Grantham from St Osyth Parish Council, John White and Michael Talbot, both ward councillors all spoke against the proposals. No one spoke in favour on behalf of the applicants.
The applicants had already taken the case to appeal by a government inspector because of ‘non-determination’ by TDC within the statutory time limit. Tendring planners claimed this was due to the late submission of necessary documentation by the applicants. Since it had been taken out of their hands the committee was therefore asked what decision they would have made. They were told that their decision would help form the Council’s defence at the forthcoming appeal.
The issue is due to go before a Government Inspector at a public inquiry starting on November 15, along with other proposals for the site.
During the course of the three hour meeting there was much debate about the financing of the applications with councillors questioning why only 47% of the profits would go to the repair work. The officers’ report to the committee stated that,
“a large proportion of the value generated by the enabling development would be withdrawn from the site by the owners rather than invested in the asset.”
Bev Lynn pointed out the millions of pounds that was identified for the land acquisition in addition to the 20% of the profits from the scheme that was allowed to the owners in contrast to the amount that would go to the actual repair work.
Members of the public can submit written comments to the Planning Inspector with a deadline of 4th November. Further details will be posted here shortly.