Fresh bid to turn Upminster’s Chapmans Farm buildings on green belt land into businesses
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Developers are hoping to turn Upminster farm buildings on green belt land into spaces for businesses.
Hunter UK Properties submitted an application on December 17 to change the use of Chapmans Farm in Hall Lane from a commercial livery yard to a business property.
The farm is within the green belt and it's currently made up of 10 wood and corrugated iron built barn and stable buildings, of around 1,665 sq m.
Due to the size of the buildings, the developers expect that they could be used for a range of businesses including an artist's studio, office space, workshops, light manufacturing operations or an architect's studio.
According to the planning documents, by changing the use of the property the farm buildings would not require further construction which would perserve the green belt.
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The documents state: "Some work of refurbishment or redecoration may take place as a result of any consent; however, this will be work that does not require planning permission and will maintain the character of the buildings in keeping with the location."
The one acre farm, used for horse riding and stabling, was put up for sale by Cambridge University for around £1million in March, 2017.
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Councillor Gillian Ford, from the Cranham ward, said: "Chapmans Farm over the years has attracted a number of applications from supermarkets, to sports centres and the most recent a housing development.
"Whatever application is submitted, the fundamental factor is that the site is green belt land that should be maintained and protected.
"Permitting any change of use opens the doors for future changes of use to residential, heavy industrial etc, setting a precedence for other green belt encroachment and development.
"The site is surrounded by agricultural land and should therefore be retained as such."
In December 2018, residents opposed a planning application to demolish the Farm buildings and replace them with nine houses.
The application was refused in September last year on the grounds that the development would lead to a "substantial incursion into the green belt."
Havering Council is due to make a decision regarding the application by February 11.