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Introduction to the new parish of Flitch Green
In 2001 the development of Oakwood Park was the site located 3.5 miles to the south-east of Great Dunmow where planning permission was granted in 1997 of a former sugar beet refinery works to be developed for up to 810 houses. The Felsted Sugar Beet Works was built in 1926, and operated until bulk sugar production ceased in 1981. Two bulk storage silos were added for the storage of bulk sugar and molasses and the storage of bagged and packaged products continued in the warehouses until 1991.
The development principles of the site were established in Master Plans, which were approved following public consultation. The original Master Plan defined sites with a total net area of 20 hectares for 650 dwellings, taking into account the character of the site, its setting and the need for a 350m cordon sanitaire from the Felsted Sewage Treatment Works. A revised Master Plan was subsequently approved increasing the number of dwellings from 650 to 810 on the same site area. The site also included a number of settlement lagoons, which contained a mixture of topsoil, washed from the incoming sugar beet when the factory was in production, rubble from earlier demolition works and a large volume of unlicensed tipping. These uses led to the need to remediate the site for a mixture of contaminant materials including Asbestos, Hydrocarbons, Arsenic, Spent Lime and many others. Methane and Carbon Dioxide levels within the soil were monitored throughout the works. In the course of the remediation works almost one million cubic metres of soil was excavated and placed and approximately 50 acres of land for housing development was provided. Enodis Property Developments ran the Development team.
Over the years Felstedians and those in Oakwood Park, Little Dunmow had various disagreements with the developers and amongst the parishes, as they were planning to develop further properties and a pavilion behind some of the existing houses at Felsted along Station Road heading to Felsted. There were differing views on which area related to Little Dunmow and which to Felsted.
At the time of development Oakwood Park, both parishes of Felsted and Little Dunmow supported Little Dunmow. By April 2009 Flitch Green had elected councillors and with their own Parish. The order provided that existing parish councillors living in the new parish area will represent the new parish between 1st April and the first election. Further elections took place in 2011 and every four years thereafter. From that day, Little Dunmow was reduced from eleven to seven parish councillors and the number for Flitch Green was set at nine.
The name of ‘Flitch Green’ was chosen by the majority of people who expressed a view during the review. It commemorates the association of the area with the famous Flitch Trials which can be traced back for several hundred years, and are still celebrated today. In addition, the parish is bounded by the Flitch Way long distance path.
Notes by Jules Wallis, Felsted Recorder