ECC objects to UDC’s large-scale home-building proposals on east of Saffron Walden due to poor road network

R4U believes that a recently published highways study by Essex County Council  derails Uttlesford District Council’s proposals to build 1350 new homes on the east of Saffron Walden.

Heather Asker (R4U) Heather Asker (R4U)

Heather Asker, one of the R4U councillors for Saffron Walden said “Residents have waited a long time for a study of Saffron Walden’s roads and we can now see why UDC is hiding it. It says that congestion in Saffron Walden is already worse than was predicted 3 years ago and that our roads will not be able to cope with UDC’s plans for mass-homebuilding on the east. ECC says that unless there is major new roadbuilding they ‘would not recommend further development in the east of Saffron Walden as it would not be possible to improve the existing road network within the town to accommodate the additional traffic’. Of course this is blindingly obvious to anyone who actually lives in the town, but the UDC Cabinet don’t, and seem to believe they know what’s best for us. To make things worse, ECC’s report is actually based on UDC’s previous proposal for 800 new homes on the east and not the 1350 that Cllr Susan Barker, the UDC Cabinet owner of the Local Plan, released to the press a few weeks ago.

John Lodge (R4U)John Lodge (R4U)

R4U’s Essex County Councillor for Saffron Walden, John Lodge said “The UDC Cabinet has mooted only one new road. It has been dubbed ‘the-road-to-nowhere’ because it doesn’t go anywhere useful – it is only from the east to the east itself, and not to the west where it is actually needed! However even this road cannot be delivered as ECC requires because UDC has already approved new homes on the route. But even if we got the road-to-nowhere, ECC’s study shows that the existing traffic bottlenecks would just move around elsewhere in the town, and quickly push more junctions over capacity and create long queues, including at those inside the current illegal pollution zone. After reading the report we can now see why UDC supressed its release. In fact they still don’t seem to want to publish it on their website, so we have it on ours so that residents can see the real facts as they are. Cllr Heather Asker and I will continue to push for proper solutions for the town.”

The ECC Saffron Walden Traffic Study Update, November 2016 was produced by ECC for UDC under a commercial contract with ECC to provide evidence to support UDC’s draft Local Plan. It is an update to October 2013 and March 2014 studies produced to support UDC’s 2014 draft Local Plan proposals to build 800 homes on the east of Saffron Walden. That 2014 draft Plan was rejected by the Planning Inspector for a number of reasons including the town’s road network and a question-mark over the deliverability of any new roads. Just after the rejection of the draft Plan, one of UDC’s flagship sites for new homes on the east of Saffron Walden was also rejected by the Planning Inspector, who again cited issues with the road network.

In the summer of 2016 and again in November, UDC stated that they wanted to build 1350 new homes in Saffron Walden as part of their new Local Plan. UDC has already approved 600, even though their Local Plan is still a draft; and the UDC Cabinet is currently proposing a further 750 new homes on the east of the town, making 1350 in total.

The 2016 traffic/highways update was published by UDC in November, but is unavailable on the UDC website. It can be downloaded from the R4U website.

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