Christmas has certainly come early this year for the good people of Clavering. Their strong and well justified opposition to the proposed Gladman development has been rewarded. The Inspector dismissed the planning appeal on the basis that the proposal was contrary to the policies in the old (2005) adopted local plan which still apply because UDC can demonstrate that the district has a 5 year housing land supply. That means Gladman’s planning permission is still refused.
I’d like to hope that I made a contribution towards that Clavering decision. I am a member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and have been for over 30 years. To help Clavering residents I wrote a detailed 15-page technical statement setting out what I saw as a few key points that might guide the Inspector in his decision making. It’s linked here for your information but be warned that it’s in planning-speak. But it is important that the Inspector and I both speak that language. I was unable to attend to read the statement myself but it was read out on my behalf.
When you look back to the earlier outcome in Thaxted, that’s twice this year that Gladman have been given a bloody nose. On both occasions local residents’ groups sprung up, fought the battle and won.
But that’s not to say that they won it on their own. They were successful with the aid of UDC – although that’s in marked contrast to the earlier Kier debacle in Saffron Walden where a partnership of residents and the Town Council did fight and win without the aid of UDC (quite the opposite, in fact). UDC also refused to back their Planning Committee’s decision in the similar Elsenham Fairfield appeal.
What all of it goes to show is that, irrespective of whether UDC is on your side or not, local residents can have a lot to gain – not the least of which is a very great deal of satisfaction – from getting involved in local matters which concern them, getting themselves organised, making a good case and fighting their corner. Of course there’s no guarantee that residents groups will always win the day, but the point is that they really can make a real difference to the outcome and hence to their quality of life.