Saffron Walden secondary students to go to Newport thanks to Tory UDC Cabinet Local Plan

The UDC Cabinet’s failing Local Plan will force new Saffron Walden students to Newport due to the lack of planned spaces.

In its Local Plan UDC must find space for more than 4,600 new homes in addition to the 7,000 that it has already approved. In their draft Local Plan, UDC is targeting more than 1,300 of those homes for Saffron Walden.  Following the publication of a key ‘viability report‘ commissioned UDC, R4U has expressed concerns over school places.

John Lodge (R4U)John Lodge (R4U)

R4U’s Chair Cllr John Lodge said “A few weeks ago UDC were forced to halt their draft Local Plan after it was found that a series of key evidential reports were missing. This week they have published the first batch of the missing reports. Key to our future is the Viability Study that shows the impact of new homes in different Uttlesford towns and villages. It is produced by a consultancy that is independent from UDC. The education section doesn’t make happy reading for those in Saffron Walden. The town’s High School is full and so the report says that secondary school places will be shifted to Joyce Frankland Academy instead. This lays bare the folly of bolting on a major town extension over new sustainable settlements. A new settlement requires developers to deliver all the infrastructure required, including new schools and roads. Developers have no such obligations in sprawling towns. This short-changes taxpayers and robs us of our quality of life. The report was quietly published in October so UDC clearly knew this fact last week, yet failed to disclose it at the public meeting on the Local Plan, even when Plan Czar Cllr Susan Barker was asked directly. We can now see why they’ve been hiding these documents.”

Heather Asker (R4U) Heather Asker (R4U)

Cllr Heather Asker, who is R4U’s Saffron Walden candidate for the 2017 Essex County Council elections, said “Local families will be shocked. Those living in the town expect to get their kids into the secondary school in the town, and many pay more than the average for their houses based on that fact. Joyce Frankland Academy is a great school, but it is completely unacceptable to bus town students to Newport and back every day. R4U has been highlighting the poor choice of mass building on the east of Saffron Walden without infrastructure for a few years now, yet the UDC Cabinet have their heads stuck firmly in the sand.

Furthermore estate agents are marketing new homes on the basis of quality town schooling, which has now become extreme misrepresentation.  Cllr John Lodge has pledged to devote all his efforts on the Local Plan Process, and I am R4U’s ECC candidate for the elections in May 2017. If elected, a key part of my role will be pushing for a realistic and deliverable long-term education strategy, representing locals with their education and school bus issues.

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