Press Release: Residents’ victory as 300-home planning appeal dismissed due to unsustainable traffic impacts to Saffron Walden

2 June 2015, Uttlesford: Residents for Uttlesford (R4U), the local advocacy group for towns and villages, has hailed the Planning Inspector’s decision to refuse the building of 300 new houses on the east of Saffron Walden by developer Kier as a ‘victory for common sense’.

Mike Moore Planning Inspector Mike Moore
In his Appeal Decision, Inspector Mike Moore said “The effect of the proposals on the efficient operation of the local highway network is a significant negative factor with adverse economic effects through congestion and delays. The loss of the best and most versatile agricultural land has not been justified.”

Inspector Moore continued “The harm that I have identified in these respects in combination would be significant. On the basis of the detailed evidence before me, overall the proposals would not amount to sustainable development. I conclude that the appeal should be dismissed.”

The Kier site was promoted by the UDC Cabinet in their 2014 failed Local Plan. When rejecting the draft Local Plan, the Planning Inspectorate was critical of the impacts to traffic from building on the east of Saffron Walden. This second decision reaffirms those concerns.

Dan Starr (R4U) Dan Starr (R4U)
Kier’s application was originally refused by the UDC Planning Committee. The UDC Cabinet decided not to defend the refusal because they were unhappy with the Planning Committee going against their draft Local Plan. This left Saffron Walden Town Council and residents’ groups to jointly fight the appeal and foot the £50,000 costs on their own.

Dan Starr, co-founder of R4U said “We are delighted with the Planning Inspector’s decision. New homes are needed, but it has been plain for all to see that the east of Saffron Walden is an appalling place to build. The Kier site has been rejected by residents, the Local Plan Inspector, and now the appeal Inspector. This is a victory for common sense.”

Heather Asker(R4U) Heather Asker (Saffron Walden Mayor – R4U)
Mayor and R4U Town Councillor Heather Asker said “This is a fantastic outcome for Saffron Walden. With this decision the Planning Inspectorate has sent a clear signal – ‘no unsustainable development in Saffron Walden’. We expect UDC to abide by that. As Mayor, I will be formally writing to UDC Leader Howard Rolfe to make it clear that we expect his UDC administration to now protect to the east of Saffron Walden from development, defend the Planning Committee’s decisions in the future, and make sure that the call for new sites across the District is conducted properly this time.”

About Residents for Uttlesford

Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) is the local independent party of north-west Essex towns and villages. Formed in 2014 by a number of residents’ groups, the party believes that on local issues residents should decide, not Westminster parties. R4U’s success has been based on the desire to give local people a voice and implement long range strategic and sustainable plans for their area.

R4U leads Uttlesford District Council (UDC). In its first election in 2015 it became the second party at UDC. In the May 2019 R4U gained majority control of UDC winning two-thirds of the seats. The result delivered the biggest loss of seats by any UK Conservative controlled council in the UK. In 2021 the party won half the Essex County Council seats in Uttlesford district.

R4U also leads Saffron Walden Town Council, where under its stewardship the council has rebuilt finances, invested in community assets, and won multiple awards, including the best run council in Essex. It is a minority party on Great Dunmow Town Council.

Residents for Uttlesford can be found on the web at