Uttlesford Local Plan Consultation

The draft Uttlesford Local Plan is in public consultation until Monday 5:00PM on 4th September 2017.  Residents should provide their feedback to UDC on their website at the link below (not this website)  before the consultation closes:

https://www.uttlesford.gov.uk/draftplan2017

Find out more about this draft of the Local Plan, local issues and how to respond below and read our press release from June.

What is a Local Plan?
The government requires a district council to allow ‘enough’ new homes to be built. In Uttlesford’s case this is Uttlesford District Council (UDC). To do this UDC is required to produce a Local Plan that says where it will, and will not, allow new building. As part of that Local Plan the council has to produce evidence to say how many are ‘enough’ new homes. In our case UDC has determined that number is currently 641 new homes every year until 2033 – 14,000 in total. UDC is also required to produce evidence to prove that the sites it wants to allocate for new building are the most sustainable, i.e. in effect the best locations that create the least impact to our environment and existing residents.

Do not confuse the Local Plan with a Neighbourhood Plan. The 2 fit together but are different. A Local Plan provides a ‘helicopter view’ of where the planning authority, i.e. district council, will allow building. A Neighbourhood Plan fits under that and covers more of the details.

Why Should You Care
The Local Plan will decide where all the new homes and jobs are provided round here for the next 15 years and so where the investment goes for infrastructure such as schools, roads, healthcare, shops and other things.

To put it bluntly, if you don’t get involved you may find 1,000 houses dumped on your doorstep or no school places for your family members.

During the process UDC are required by law to consult with local people a number of times. UDC is supposed to listen to and act on public responses. And importantly your responses form part of the evidence that the Planning Inspector will read when he or she decides if the Plan is fit for purpose. If they don’t like what they read, they’ll reject the Plan.

Please use the link below in the section Respond to the Public Consultation.

Summary of this Local Plan
UDC has calculated that they are required to find places for 14,000 new homes between the start of their plan and 2033. They have post-dated their plan to start in 2011 so they can count the 8,000+ new homes that they have already approved over the last few years. That means that in this consultation they are looking to find sites for the remaining 6,000.

UDC are proposing to put the majority of these additional new homes in 3 new settlements, one between Great Chesterford and Abington, a second one between Dunmow and Stansted Airport, and a third other between Dunmow and Braintree. Over time UDC is proposing that these three new settlements will take many thousands of additional new homes each, creating 3 new towns in the district.

In terms of the existing towns and villages, in this draft of the Plan UDC is proposing:

    • Great Dunmow gets 743 new homes in addition to the 2,500 already approved since 2011
    • Saffron Walden gets 240 in addition to the 1,000 already approved
    • Elsenham gets 40 in addition to the 600 already approved
    • Great Chesterford gets 31 in addition to the 100 already approved
    • Stansted Mountfitchet gets 62 in addition to the 530 already approved
    • Takeley gets 42 in addition to the 610 already approved
    • Thaxted gets 54 in addition to the 170 already approved
    • Debden will get 25, and Quendon & Rickling 19
    • UDC is not targeting any other settlements for additional new homes over those that they have already approved

District Map

New homes will go in 3 new settlements and in existing towns and villages (source: UDC)

Key Issues
There are specific issues for the different towns and villages in Uttlesford. Read below for things to think about when you are forming your responses to UDC’s consultation (see consultation link below).
1. Issues for Saffron Walden
Of the 1,000 new homes that UDC has already approved, 550 are yet to be built. So the additional 240 that they want to add means that actually 790 new homes are yet come to the town. To put that into perspective, that is 240 primary school places, 160 secondary places and 1,300 additional cars. And nearly all of those are on the inaccessible east.

Of the 240 additional homes, 90 are in small infill sites, and 150 are proposed for the Kier site that was already rejected by two Planning Inspectors.

  • Some families that live in the east of already cannot get their children into the SWCHS – what should be done about schooling?
  • Instead of the Kier site, should UDC consider the land next to the Linden development behind Tesco so that there is enough land to add a second form entry to the new primary school at the top of Shire Hill?
  • What are the key issues with the actual sites that UDC is proposing? Are the sites that UDC is proposing the best locations or are their others inside or outside of Saffron Walden?
  • What needs to be done about the roads, schools and other infrastructure to limit the impact for existing residents (i.e. make the new developments sustainable)?
  • Saffron Walden is the only place in Uttlesford that has illegal air quality, yet UDC is proposing more building on the east. How do you feel about that?
2. Issues for Great Dunmow
Of the 2,500 new homes that UDC has already approved, 2,260 are yet to be built. So the additional 743 that they want to add means that actually 3,000 new homes are yet come to the town. To put that into perspective, that is 900 primary school places, 600 secondary places and 4,800 additional cars.

In additional UDC Is proposing a new settlement on either side of Dunmow. Easton Park is a few km to the west and this Local Plan proposes the first 1,800 of 10,000 new homes. To put this into context, Dunmow itself has 3,800 homes.

Further along the A120 at Stebbing, UDC is proposing another new settlement at Andrewsfield/West of Braintree. During this Local Plan (up to 2033) UDC is proposing 970 houses on that site growing to 5,000 over time.

Of the 743 additional homes in Great Dunmow itself, over and above the completion of Woodlands Park, the majority are on farmland which will extend Dunmow to the west all the way to the western Stortford Rd roundabout by the old gatehouse for Easton Park.

  • Are the sites that UDC is proposing the best locations or are their others inside or outside of Dunmow? What are the key issues with the actual sites that UDC is proposing?
  • What needs to be done about the roads, schools and other infrastructure to limit the impact for existing residents (i.e. make the new developments sustainable)?
  • Are there any historic elements to your settlement that will be impacted by the proposed developments
  • The HRS won’t be able to take all these new pupils? Where should a new secondary school be built?
  • Do you agree or disagree with the scale of development proposed for Dunmow?
  • What impacts will the proposed new towns on either side of Dunmow create for the town?
  • What buffer or other protections are need for Dunmow from these new towns?
  • How will these new towns impact your roads, schools and other infrastructure?
  • Are there any historic elements to your settlement that will be impacted by the proposed developments

Find out more from local residents’ action groups either side of Dunmow:

3. Issues for villages being targeted for new homes
  • Are the sites that UDC is proposing the best locations or are their others inside or outside of your settlement?
  • What are the key issues with the actual sites that UDC is proposing?
  • What needs to be done about the roads, schools and other infrastructure to limit the impact for existing residents (i.e. make the new developments sustainable)?
  • Is flooding, sewage or pollution an issue and if so how will the proposed new sites affect those things?
  • How close are employment sites to your settlement and how easy is it for new home owners to get to work – i.e. are the locations sustainable?
  • Are there any historic elements to your settlement that will be impacted by the proposed developments
4. Issues for those likely to be directly impacted by new settlements
  • Do you agree or disagree with the scale of development proposed near you?
  • What impacts will it create on your settlement?
  • How will UDC create a buffer or other protections for your settlement from these new towns?
  • What needs to be done about the roads, schools and other infrastructure?
  • Is flooding, sewage or pollution an issue and if so how will the proposed new sites affect those things?
  • How close are employment sites to your settlement and how easy is it for new home owners to get to work and how will their commutes effect your settlement?
  • Are there any historic elements to your settlement that will be impacted by the proposed developments

Find out more from local residents’ action groups:

How to Respond to the Public Consultation
Responding is easy. It can all be done from the UDC website at this link:

https://www.uttlesford.gov.uk/draftplan2017

Then click on the ‘Online Consultation Portal’ link and then ‘Read and Comment on Document’. You will to register and login to add comments.  The draft Local Plan document is split into sections with each paragraph numbered. There are tabs on the pages to view the comments that other have left.

The sections listed below are likely to be the most interesting to people, with the new settlement sections starting at 3.58 and the individual housing sites at section 12.

Section: Title/Subject
————————-
2.18 – Vision
2.19 – Objectives
3.11 – Map (for reference)
3.15 – New ‘Garden Communities’ Intro/Summary
3.24 – Spatial Strategy – i.e. the split of development between towns, villages and new settlements
3.42 – The identified housing need i.e. 14,100 new homes
3.47 – Remaining new homes required, e.g. ~6,000
3.48, 3.49 – Distribution of new homes across existing towns and villages
3.54 – Provision of jobs
3.58 – New Garden Settlement Principles
3.59 – New settlement at Easton Park
3.61 – New settlement north-east of Great Chesterford (NUGV)
3.62 – New settlement west of Braintree/Stebbing/Andrewsfield
3.63 – Development within existing settlements
3.74 – Protection of the countryside
3.88 – Stansted Airport and expansion
3.94 – Sustainable development principles
4.8 – Housing Density – note: South Cambs and East Herts have an average density of 30 units/ha. UDC is proposing up to 60 for Saffron Walden and Dunmow and up to 50/ha in the villages.
4.10 – Housing Mix
4.23 – Affordable Homes
4.39 – Gypsies and Travellers
4.41 – Homes for Older People
5.45, 5.46 – Employment Strategy and Areas
7.19 – Sustainable Transport (cycling, buses, trains)
7.22 – Electric Vehicles
7.24 – New Transport Infrastructure
8.5 – Infrastructure Delivery, e.g. roads, schools,
8.13 – Opens Spaces and Sports Provision
8.24 – Healthcare
8.28 – Broadband
9.8 – Car Parking in new developments
10.5 – Protecting the Historic Environment
10.8 – Conservation Areas
10.31 – Protecting the Natural Environment
10.33 – Open Spaces and Trees
10.53 – Air Quality/Pollution
11.6 – Landscape
12 – Individual Development Sites – Scroll down to find those in your town or use browser ‘find on page’ (CTRL-F) and type in your settlement name
19 – Garden Community Principles

R4U’s Role in the Local Plan
This UDC administration has been working on a new Local Plan since their last draft Plan was rejected by the Planning Inspector in 2014. According to the Inspector it was rejected because UDC wanted to build in poor locations without the proper evidence, and they’d failed to properly consult. That failure cost local taxpayers over £2m, which is more than £60 per council tax bill.

After that plan was rejected, in 2015 local people elected their first R4U district councillors to hold UDC to account over the Local Plan fiasco. As we are the second party at UDC we can’t make the decisions, but we can apply pressure for it to be done right and expose issues where we see them.

We are relatively happy with what we’ve achieved so far. A cross-party group was established to scrutinise the new Plan process after we pushed for it – and we have 2 seats on that team. We’ve written to the Planning Inspector when things have been going off track and so now the UDC administration has a process which appears to be more evidence-led and driving to a much more sustainable solution. And now UDC has a new chief executive, head of planning and head of legal. They have now reinstated the current ‘regulation 18’ public consultation UDC had refused to do last year.

However constant delays in the delivery of a Local Plan by UDC mean that there is now a ‘presumption in favour of development’, i.e. it is harder to prevent poor or unsustainable planning applications.