UDC votes for public consultation on draft Local Plan to start to bring an end to years of developer free-for-all

At an Extraordinary Council meeting on Monday 30th October, Uttlesford District councillors voted to approve a draft of the district’s new Local Plan for public consultation. A Local Plan sets out where new homes, employment locations and infrastructure should be built in a district; and legal protections to limit development elsewhere.

John Evans (R4U)John Evans (R4U)

R4U’s Cllr John Evans, UDC portfolio holder for Planning and the Local Plan, said “Producing a Local Plan, where the Government forces new housing numbers on local residents, is an unpalatable requirement, particularly in Uttlesford where the Government requires so many. While we may not all like it, nevertheless, UDC is legally bound to produce a Plan. UDC is committed to deliver one which will act as a ‘place-maker’ for our communities and curb the current uncontrolled and unsustainable piecemeal over-development of our towns and villages.”

“This draft Local Plan proposes that. Excluding existing housing approvals and commitments, to meet the Government requirement the new Plan has to allocate 6,000 additional homes between now and 2041. In preparing this draft, UDC planning officers have used evidence, which shows that concentrations of new homes in existing communities makes best use of existing transport links and maximises developer funding to deliver much needed new infrastructure. The new housing will be backed by strong environmental policies, and along with it comes a third district high school in the south, a new dedicated sixth-form campus in the north, and five additional primary schools – all of which will create more school places and choice. Also proposed are community facilities, new green spaces, and road upgrades – and allocations for local jobs, retail, and surgeries for new and existing residents.”

“The last Local Plan was made in 2005 and successive failures of previous Conservative administrations to deliver a new one since then has led to Uttlesford becoming the UK’s biggest rural building site over the last decade. This speculative developer free-for-all has hugely benefitted their large property-developer donors, whilst robbing residents of so much needed access to facilities. R4U committed to put an end to this. Since our residents-led party took control of UDC 4 years ago, we have completely re-shaped the strategic planning function and have brought in a highly skilled and experienced team of officers. I would like to thank all the officers involved in producing this draft Plan.”

Cllr Evans concluded “Now that the draft Plan has been approved, it is time for residents to have their say. The Plan moves into a six-week public consultation. UDC will write to every Uttlesford household to ask for feedback, which our administration at UDC will then act on to produce an update for the next formal draft Plan stage next year.”

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