94 houses go ahead in Newport after planning appeal lost – and another 150 proposed, so reply to consultation while you can

We and the Newport Parish Council are disappointed to have lost the recent appeal against the refusal of 94 houses on land between London Rd and the Primary School in Newport.

The planning application was overwhelmingly refused by the UDC planning committee several months ago. The grounds for refusal included protection of the countryside, blocking the expansion of the primary school, dangerous vehicle access and flooding – there was serious flooding in Newport in 2014. However last week their decision was overturned at the developer’s appeal. The Planning Inspector cited the need to build more houses in the district as the main reason.

In 2011, at the ‘start’ of UDC’s Local Plan, Newport had 975 houses. Since then 689 properties have been given permission or are being applied for, an increase in the size of the village of 70%.
When Newport was successfully expanded in the 1970s we got a new primary school, doctors’ surgery, sewage works and the recreation ground. There were decent estate roads with broad pavements and then the M11opened relieving traffic on what became the B1383.

In contrast, none of the new developments will make any contribution to community facilities, and the total of all the road improvements is two passing places. And the planning approval at the appeal last week will just make things worse.

Just coming up on the back of that is another planning application for 150 more houses. In their traffic assessment the developer concedes that it will create traffic chaos but dismisses the fact, saying there is nothing which can be done to improve the roads.  Smaller developments contribute nothing at all to local infrastructure and facilities, but the larger ones must make cash contributions for education and health care, however these may or may not directly translate into school places and medical facilities in the village

Members of the Newport Quendon & Rickling Neighbourhood Plan steering group met with the Newport Surgery and were told they currently have no plan to expand. The same was heard from Anglian Water at a meeting with the parish council when questions were asked about the sewage works. How can there be a 70% increase in the village without these things being expanded? The sewage system is already at capacity and backs-up.

The last 2 national governments have tipped the planning system in favour of developers. It is so bad that authorities like UDC have no power to mandate any of the above infrastructure things to be done. Lack of school places, healthcare, water supplies or sewerage infrastructure are not allowed as objections to planning applications. That seems outrageous as developers make more profits with only minimal requirement to contribute to local society. And neither are the statutory providers permitted to say ‘No, we cannot provide’. It is no wonder nationally and locally there is such opposition to development.

Successive governments say they will build hundreds of thousands of houses. Governments of course do not build houses. But they do set the rules and they should fix all this rather than just wishing houses to be built.

However getting back to local things, residents should respond to the latest application for 150 houses on Wicken Rd (UTT/17/2868/OP) in Newport. It is by Countryside Properties, where the former UDC head of planning went after their 2014 Local Plan was rejected.   You can find out more about this planning application here on the UDC website, and your comments can be emailed to planning@uttlesford.gov.uk. It should be of great concern to all those driving from the Clavering direction into Newport as long queues are predicted even in Countryside’s assessment.  You have until 9th November to respond.

Cllr Neil Hargreaves, Newport.