A PROPOSAL to expand a Maldon site currently used by travellers has been rejected.

The plans by Hollington Properties Management Limited have now been rejected by Woodham Mortimer Parish Council due to the “absence of an up-to-date preliminary ecological survey”.

This meant it was “not possible to establish” whether the proposals would result in unacceptable harm to features of ecological importance including protected species” for the site south of the A414 Maldon Road.

Essex County Council (ECC) Ecology further said the ecology report provided was out of date because the field visit on April 7 2022 field visit,  “approximately 23 months” ago, meant there was a risk that “mobile protected species could now be present since the initial assessment.”

ECC Ecology added: “If additional impacts to protected species are identified as a result of the additional ecological assessment, then any necessary further surveys for protected species should also be provided prior to determination.”

The proposal wanted to demolish the existing buildings while creating two additional mobile homes with parking and facilities for traveller use – making it an expansion of the existing mobile homes used by travellers.

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Equality - Under the Equality Act 2010, the 'Gyspy, Roma and Traveller' community is a protected groupEquality - Under the Equality Act 2010, the 'Gyspy, Roma and Traveller' community is a protected group (Image: PA Owen Humphreys)

Planning permission was last granted on appeal in August 2023 for the site, south of the A414 Maldon Road, but a timetable for the works was not submitted meaning legally work could not commence until the timetable was approved.

The latest proposal, however, did not raise “any overriding” concerns regarding “character, amenity, and highway safety issues”.

Regarding the Equality Act 2010, though requested, “satisfactory information” on the status of the intended occupiers was not provided.

This means there was no conflict with the duty under section 149 of the Equality Act and Section 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998 “to eliminate discrimination and advance equality of opportunity for persons with a protected characteristic.

In 2018 a proposal to turn the site into two “chalet bungalow dwellings was refused.

In 2019 the removal of all buildings, hardstanding, construction, two detached dwellings, and cart lodges was dismissed on appeal.