Policy Statement: Planning, Housing & the Local Plan

You said:

We feel under constant threat from developers. Sort out the costly ongoing Local Plan mess; listen to us, act for us, and make sure our communities are better as a result of building.

We will work to fix the expensive Local Plan fiasco so as to protect our communities from predatory development. We will make sure that scale of development in Uttlesford closely relates to the identified housing need, and also that the Local Plan satisfies the Planning Inspectorate.

Under the Local Plan new housing will be built in the locations that the evidence shows is the most sustainable. We will obtain the right mix of social and market housing built to high environmental and energy efficiency standards with designs in keeping with the local area, and ensure that houses are built which are truly affordable for local residents.

We will adopt the Community Infrastructure Levy, the government mechanism for maximising developer contributions toward infrastructure. We will hold to account both developers and the agencies responsible for the delivery of that key infrastructure, ensuring that this is in place as new housing is built.

We will encourage parishes and towns to develop Neighbourhood Plans so as to  give those communities a stronger voice and more control over their future. We will consult with residents about all planning applications in an open and transparent manner. We will actively involve town and parish councils in arriving at decisions based on evidence, not on political influence.

We have four key principles that we will apply to any new settlements that may be developed in Uttlesford and major Local Plan sites. Their locations must be evidence-led, infrastructure must be put in first, they should be under local control, and they must provide homes that are really affordable for local people:

  1. Evidence-led: Proper empirical evidence should be produced, used and published to determine the number of new houses Uttlesford needs to provide and the best locations, including that for housing need, sustainability, air quality, water, green spaces, roads, schools and other infrastructure.
  2. Infrastructure First: Building of new homes in any new settlements must happen after or with the delivery of key primary supporting infrastructure, such as roads and schools, and alongside secondary items such as retail facilities, employment land, medical centres, sports/green spaces, high-speed broadband and utilities.
  3. Local Control over Future: Any new settlement creation that happens will be steered by local Development Corporations that will hold developers in check, ensure infrastructure delivery, protect existing communities, and get the best deal for local people. They should be majority owned by UDC, and include board members from adjacent town and parish councils.
  4. True Affordability: A portion of the affordable housing provided any new settlement must be retained and prioritised for local people, and include schemes for local key service-workers that are index-linked to wages, making them truly affordable.