Waltham Abbey Town Council to oppose Royal Gunpowder Mills plans

I’m just back from observing a meeting of Waltham Abbey Town Council’s (WATC) Development and Environment Committee, which discussed the Royal Gunpowder Mills/PGL Holidays planning application (EPF/3028/15.)

I’m very pleased to be able to say that the committee voted to object to the plans and call on the Royal Gunpowder Mills to do a lot more work to look for alternative sources of funding, both from grants and additional uses for the site.

Issues discussed included:

  • The amount of contamination on the site
  • The potential loss of an internationally renowned heritage site
  • Apparent financial mismanagement of the site
  • Flooding – Essex County Council’s Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) team have objected
  • Archeological impact

The committee allowed me to raise some of the many points covered in objections from the public, along with some of my own, including:

  • The site will provide little local employment, as demonstrated by the size of the staff accommodation block
  • The plans will do little, if anything, to support Waltham Abbey’s local businesses – catering will mainly be on-site and the current cafe would be turned into a staff bar, despite the six pubs within a five minute walk and the bar at the Lee Valley White Water Centre
  • There are still concerns around traffic and congestion

It should be noted that our town council can object to a planning application but the decision itself is made at district level.

I have my political differences with the dominant party on Waltham Abbey Town Council but the committee members are well informed on this issue and cited residents’ communications by letter and at surgeries during their discussion.

Credit where it’s due!