400 proposed jobs at risk in Saffron Walden due to new Ridgeons’ housing proposal

There are local concerns that 400 proposed new local Saffron Walden jobs will be lost if Ridgeons is allowed to renege on its agreement to deliver new employment land and instead build more houses.

Heather Asker (R4U) Heather Asker (R4U)

R4U ward councillor Heather Asker said “More than three years ago when UDC granted planning permission for Ridgeons to build houses on half of their Saffron Walden site, it was part of a combined development commitment that would bring more than 400 local jobs to the town on the rest of the site. By doing an about face and wanting to flip half of the remaining site to houses, they will make many £millions more in profit, but at the expense of 400 local people who won’t get work. These jobs are important as other employment sites have been turned to houses and Pulse/Printpack on Radwinter Rd recently folded.”

Cllr Asker continued “There is also the issue of traffic. Ridgeons’ planning consultants have said that they don’t need to do any new traffic and pollution studies because they don’t believe that new houses will generate more traffic than if the land was used for jobs. This isn’t true. Because there are fewer jobs in the town, new homeowners would need to commute through the town to get to work elsewhere, and anyway the traffic in the town has changed over the last 4 years due to many other new housing estates. In fact ECC has made it clear that Saffron Walden now can’t take any more houses on the east without a relief road, and none is proposed.”

Cllr Asker concluded “What this goes to show is that developers can’t be trusted to deliver what they said they would. And the current legal mechanism that UDC uses, called Section 106 agreements, can’t force them to either, as we’ve see all over Uttlesford in the past. UDC should be forcing all larger new developments to be delivered via community controlled Development Corporations, which put local people in the driving seat and stop developers trying to pull a fast one. Residents expect UDC to fully and properly scrutinise this proposal from Ridgeons and hold them to their original commitment to provide an employment site for 400 new local jobs.”

Respond to Public Consultation

UDC indicate that the Latest Advertisement Expiry Date for public consultation is 18th January 2018, so concerned residents should get their responses in quickly. The planning application number is UTT/17/3413/OP. Comments can be emailed to UDC at planning@uttlesford.gov.uk quoting the planning application number, or made directly on the UDC website here.

About Residents for Uttlesford