Press Release: Local Plan lies in tatters as 99% reject dispersed housing strategy across Uttlesford

Uttlesford Cabinet humiliated as only 39 respondents support housing policy

The UDC Cabinet’s proposed Local Plan lies in tatters as the results from the public consultation process are finalised.  According to their website, UDC received 3,387 responses to their new proposals to disperse 1,000s of new homes into existing settlements, rather than their long held view to build a new town; 99% of respondents (3,348) rejected the new proposals, with only 39 respondents supporting them.

A number of groups across the district have been working together to oppose the proposals which residents believe are bad for the whole of Uttlesford.

Saffron Walden based WeAreResidents.org spokesman Dan Starr said.

“You can fit all the supporters of UDC’s proposals into a single bus; in fact there are fewer than the total number of councillors we have. The Local Plan lies in tatters. Residents of Uttlesford have spoken, and a 99% rejection is a complete humiliation for the UDC Cabinet and they have spectacularly failed the district. They need to return to their previous, and better supported, new-town strategy.”

Dan Starr continued,

“The UDC Cabinet released these proposals without broad consultation or approval from the full Council, whose members are the ones actually elected to represent the constituents’ wishes in each settlement.  This unprecedented rejection will form part of our evidence as we fight this pig of a plan all the way to the Planning Inspector if required.”

Sandra San Vicente of Listen to Dunmow Residents said:

“Town and parish councils have already publicly rejected these proposals, and now residents. But it’s critical we have a Local Plan to protect us from uncontrolled developments, which are already starting. The UDC Cabinet needs to go back to the drawing board and build a plan that the majority supports”.

Joanna Parry, chair of Save Newport Village said:

“UDC have made it clear that this policy was a political decision, and not that of council officers. The UDC Cabinet have squandered £100,000s of our taxes on a plan with no support, and the delay has left our communities wide open to speculative developers.  This brings into question the Cabinet’s ability to run our council. Their personal positions are now untenable, particularly that of the Leader of the Council and the Cabinet Members for Housing and Community Engagement. ”

Robert McKibbin of residents group Thaxted Voice said:

“The Local Plan is an epic fail. The UDC Cabinet completely misunderstands the concept of sustainability because they propose building houses in areas with no support infrastructure, no jobs and no major roads. Residents won’t support a UDC Cabinet that is hell bent on ignoring clear evidence or voters’ wishes.”

 ENDS

Notes to Editors:

This press release is a joint press release from 4 of the major residents’ groups across the district. The analysis of the public consultation responses is as follows:

  • The UDC Cabinet proposed a new housing policy in the first half of 2012 with the proposals going to public consultation in June 2012. The housing policy (historically “Option 2”) proposes dispersing new homes into new settlements, and is a U-turn over the previous (“Option4”) strategy of building a new settlement.
  • UDC has confirmed that all public consultation responses have now been collated and posted to the district council website.
  • Under the Local Plan, the new (“Option 2”) housing policy is called “Policy SP6” and was sent to the public for feedback via the draft Local Plan. Details of it, including housing allocations, can be found in the draft Local Plan, page 34 at this link (note: 21MB file from UDC site).
  • Analysis of the responses on the UDC website by WeAreResidents.org shows that across the district
    • 3387 specific responses were received to the SP6 (dispersed housing) policy.
    • 3348 opposed the proposals (“NO”) – 99%
    • 39 supported the proposals (“YES”) – 1%
  • Note: The counter on the UDC website indicates that the total number of responses submitted to SP6 is 3,288. Some of the documents submitted actually contain responses from several individuals. Full inspection of each document has shown the number of individual responders to be 3387, which is 99 more than the number of documents submitted (3,288). This larger number has been used in the analysis as it more accurately reflects the views of individuals.
  • Details of these public responses and analysis can be found at this link.

About WeAreResidents.org

Founded in 2011, WeAreResidents.org is the Uttlesford based group that provides a strong, independent voice for the views of local residents. The group campaigns for long range strategic and sustainable plans for their area. WeAreResidents.org works with other similar groups across Uttlesford and enjoys the strong support of professionals in key and relevant professions.

WeAreResidents.org is one of the residents’ groups that help start Residents for Uttlesford (R4U), the local political party of towns and a village that is seeking to give residents a stronger say in local matters.

WeAreResidents.org can we found on the web at www.WeAreResidents.org.

Update:
This press release generated a number of articles in the local papers, including the Walden Local, Walden Reporter and Weekly News.

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Posted in Consultation, Planning, Pollution and Air Quality, Press Releases, Spotlight Articles, Uttlesford District Council, Uttlesford Local Plan
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