UDC again fails to make developers pay as Saffron Walden misses out on £1millon in sports & leisure facilities

Uttlesford District Council has failed to ask a developer for any contribution towards community sports or other leisure facilities, and that as a direct result Saffron Walden residents have seen a ‘community loss’ of more than £1million in the last year alone says R4U.

Last week developer Kier asked to make a presentation to a Saffron Walden Town Council committee about their proposed development of 150 houses on Thaxted Rd in the town. Kier was asked why they were making no developer’s contribution to sports provision, amenity green space or other community and recreational facilities. In response Kier said that UDC hadn’t asked for a contribution.  They added that they would have been happy to have made one if asked by UDC, and that it was standard practice elsewhere.

Paul Gadd (R4U) Paul Gadd (R4U)

R4U Saffron Walden Town Cllr Paul Gadd said “UDC’s Open Spaces report found a significant deficit of sports and community facilities in the district, particularly in Saffron Walden, Stansted and Dunmow. The report calculated that developers should pay £4,600 per new house just to stop the deficit growing – but Kier told the Town Council that UDC had not asked them for any contribution. We are appalled. And this isn’t a single instance. Last year UDC also refused to ask Gladman for a similar contribution, and the same is true of almost every recent development in the town. Just these 2 recent developments equate to over £1millon of missed contribution to sports and leisure facilities in Saffron Walden.”

Cllr Paul Gadd continued “But this is the tip of the iceberg. In 2014 the Conservative UDC leadership approved a policy that removed the obligation for developers to contribute towards sports and leisure facilities at all, and they’ve now enshrined it in their draft Local Plan. These important sports and leisure contributions are nationally recommended and are standard practice in other planning authorities, so why not in our district? Last week the Royal Mail reported that Uttlesford is the third fastest growing ‘housing hotspot’ in the country. If less land is donated for sports, leisure and wildlife purposes, developers can cram in more homes to make more profit at the expense of residents. No wonder developers want to come here and build.”

Cllr Gadd concluded “Residents want to know why the UDC leadership would push through a policy that short-changes residents to increase developer profits. R4U will continue to fight for what is right. We oppose this policy and will continue to oppose the Local Plan until its many failings, including this, are resolved.”

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