PLANS to build 132 homes on the St Margaret’s Hospital site are being opposed by the town council, which claims it could be ten years before Epping is ready for a development of this size.

Bellway Homes has dramatically scaled down its plans in a bid to win over objectors.

But members of the planning and general purposes committee have again dismissed the revised plans because of a lack of infrastructure.

Originally, Bellway Homes proposed 351 homes on the site but the application was thrown out following concerns from campaigners, who had fears about the height of the buildings, limited site access and traffic congestion.

But town councillors said they believed more improvements needed to be made.

Councillor Ken Avey said: “This site should not be developed until the necessary infrastructure is in place such as the railway line between Epping and Ongar extended, all-day parking, the doctors surgery’s extended, dentists extended, the road system modified and schools expanded.

“When all of these are in place then the second part of the land could be developed and in my opinion it could be up to ten years before all this happens.”

The site, off The Plain, already has outline planning consent for residential development.

Town councillor Olive Dunseath said: “I feel it’s a vast improvement but there will still be lots of traffic going in and out. They propose to put traffic lights in but I don’t think that’s a good idea when there are days when the traffic can stretch all the way back to North Weald.”

Another concern raised was the one access road leading into the site, which could create a build-up of traffic.

Mayor Ben Murphy said: “Unfortunately, the highways issues have already been approved. Even though the report was done eight years ago Bellway still don’t need to have it done again. The architects have said it’s not the perfect solution but they can’t extend the road.”

He added: “Some of the three-bedroom houses have only got one parking space which I still think is not enough and there’s still no visitor parking.”

However, Bellway Homes designer Gavin Ellis said: “In terms of parking the affordable housing has one per unit and the others have two or three per unit. There is more parking in this plan than in the original one.”

The application will now be considered by the district council.