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Saturday, 27 August 2016

St Osyth: President of ESAH sends Planning Objection

The Essex Society for Archaeology & History

The Chief Planning Officer,
Planning Department,
Tendring District Council,
Town Hail,
Station Road,
CO15 1SE

24th August 2016.

Dear Sir,

Planning Applications: 16/00656/FUL and 16/00671/FUL

I am writing on behalf of the Essex Society for Archaeology and History (formerly Essex Archaeological Society), established in 1852 with around 450 personal and institutional members. The Society has a long record of interest in the preservation of historic sites in the county of Essex, and our members have studied and visited St Osyth Priory many times in the last century and a half.

On this occasion, we write to formally object to planning application 16/00656/FUL for the revised plans for a building estate of 72 houses in West Field (behind Mill Street, St Osyth) and planning application 16/00671/FUL for the revised plans for 17 properties to be built in the ancient parkland (off Colchester Road, St Osyth).

The Society's objections to the proposed schemes are as follows:
1) That both the proposed developments only provide a relatively small net sum towards the total conservation deficit for the preservation of St Osyth  Priory, do not approach the minimum required, and therefore do not secure the long-term future of the Priory as an enabling development should.
2) Furthermore, the proposed developments will materially harm the heritage value of the site by building upon the priory's highly significant listed parkland (16/00671/FUL) and part of the priory's ancient demesne (home) farm behind Mill Lane (16/00656/FUL).
3) Overall, the developments to do not satisfy most, if not all, of the criteria stated in Historic England's (formerly English Heritage) policy document Enabling Development and the Conservation of Significant Places.

In particular, the proposed developments are unacceptable because they would materially harm the heritage value of the place, that they would not secure the long-term future of the place, and the amount of development does not represent the minimum necessary to secure the future and also does not minimise harm to other public interests.

In the Society's considered opinion, therefore, these development plans are neither a responsible way to conserve St Osyth's historic environment nor a viable solution to secure the future of priory. There is the very real fear that if these applications are passed then other, as yet undefined, developments will follow and the historic landscape context and value of the priory as a historic monument would be seriously harmed.

Will you please acknowledge safe receipt of this letter and confirm that it will be placed before members of your Planning Committee.

Thank you.
Yours faithfully,
Adrian Corder-Birch,
President — Essex Society for Archaeology and History

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