Uttlesford District Council’s proposed Local Plan strategy based around 3 new garden-villages requires crucial infrastructure investment and residents’ concerns must be acted on to make the plan sustainable and deliverable, says Residents for Uttlesford, the local party of towns and villages.
The government requires local authorities to produce Local Plans, which are long-range roadmaps for where new housing will be built. Uttlesford District Council has released their latest draft and they have changed their housing strategy from last October when the previous draft Plan was pulled from local newspapers at the last minute.
The latest draft Local Plan proposes that the majority of additional homes are built in three new garden-villages located north-east of Great Chesterford, west of Great Dunmow and west of Braintree in Stebbing and Felsted, with the remainder dropped into existing towns and villages. UDC expects the Plan to be available for public consultation on July 12th.
R4U’s John Lodge, the Opposition Leader at UDC said “The evidence has always been clear that new settlement strategy was the most sustainable, so R4U has always supported that approach. Unfortunately it has taken UDC so long to produce a viable plan that they are now expected to allow 14,000 new homes – more than twice the number from when they started in 2011. That means that UDC are now recommending 3 new settlements to take the majority of the additional homes that they require.”
R4U Chair & Leader UDC
Last October (2016), as with the 2014 draft Local Plan that was rejected by the Planning Inspector, UDC proposed the majority of new homes for existing towns and villages, and their leadership was publicly discussing the idea of a ‘Greater Walden’ to take many more homes. However a recent new transport study says that many Saffron Walden roads are at capacity and the town can’t take more large housing estates.
John Lodge continued “This draft of the Local Plan recognises the traffic problems in Saffron Walden. UDC was considering a further 860 homes for the town last October but is now reduced to 240, but they are in addition to the 1,000 already approved. However the inclusion of the Kier site again is particularly troubling for residents. The resultant illegal air pollution from increased traffic will cause additional deaths. It was one of the reasons the Planning Inspector found the 2014 Local Plan unsound and Kier’s appeal was also rejected. Importantly for the town, a new primary school is needed. So it seems odd that UDC favour the Kier site over another location that could deliver the 2-form entry school that is required. R4U’s councillors in Saffron Walden will continue to push for the best deal for residents of the town.”
In the draft Local Plan, Great Dunmow would grow from 3,800 homes to 7,000 and would have 2 new settlements on either side that could grow to 10,000 homes each.
More than 2,000 new homes have already been built across Uttlesford since 2011. Under UDC’s draft Local Plan the towns and larger villages will see the following new homes built over and above what they have today:
- Saffron Walden 788 new homes built, of which 548 have already been approved
- Great Dunmow 3,001, of which 2,258 have been approved
- Elsenham 582 of which 542 are already approved
- Great Chesterford 83 of which 52 are already approved
- Newport 274, all of which have already been approved
- Stansted Mountfitchet 277 of which 215 are already approved
- Takeley 140 of which 98 are already approved
- Thaxted 101 of which 47 are already approved
Click on the image below to see more detail.
John Lodge concluded “Elsewhere we are happy that UDC has finally ruled out a new settlement joining Elsenham and Henham as local people, Residents for Uttlesford, the Planning Inspector and indeed Secretary of State all thought it was a poor location.”
“But UDC’s proposals will see an almost doubling of Great Dunmow, as well as a new settlement immediately to the west and another one 4 miles to the east. Combined that is bigger than Bishop’s Stortford. UDC needs to conclusively prove that these proposals won’t overwhelm local roads and the historic Domesday settlement. Similarly for their proposed new settlement immediately to the north-east of Great Chesterford, there are concerns about flood run-off into the village, damage to the Romano-British landscape and archaeology, and the knock-on effect to traffic in other settlements. R4U expects UDC to fully respond to and act on all the concerns that are raised by parish councils and residents during the public consultation.”
Residents will have a chance to have their say when UDC starts the public consultation in a few weeks. In the meantime the documents can be downloaded from their website at this link.
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 www.residents4u.org.