Uttlesford District Council ignores residents in a shambolic update to their Local Plan that increases housing numbers, fails to deliver the required strategic plans, and removes developer infrastructure provisions for schools and medical centres
On 22 March 2013 Uttlesford District Council issued a Position Statement as a progress update on their draft Local Plan. The update was issued in lieu of a full new draft to the Local Plan because none of the required underlying studies for Education, Healthcare and Highways had been completed in over 10 months and the next draft was already more than 4 months late.
Dan Starr, chair of WeAreResidents.org said:
“The whole Uttlesford Local Plan is a shambles and so now UDC is trying to pull a fast one on residents with their plan update. Because it says ‘reductions’ all over it, you might think that they’d listened to the 99% rejection of their strategy last year – in fact the opposite is true. Actually the number of new homes for both Saffron Walden and Great Dunmow go up by 5% each, even though UDC have moved the site boundaries around to try and disguise it. For example in Saffron Walden, our assessment shows that a minimum of 1,383 new houses are now targeted for the town, 63 more than before; of that, 449 have already been approved and building is underway in some cases, including nearly 100 on Ashdon Road. Our whitepaper available on WeAreResidents.org shows all the analysis”.
John Lodge, the Independent for Residents candidate for county council said:
“The developers’ school and healthcare infrastructure provisions have been removed from the previous draft of the Local Plan. Additionally UDC still hasn’t delivered a plan with Essex County Council for highways, traffic and bringing pollution levels back below legal limits. Failing to plan is planning to fail, and the party-politically driven UDC Cabinet system is clearly failing both the hard working staff at UDC and the council taxpayers of Uttlesford”.
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Notes to Editors
In response, the Saffron Walden based residents’ group WeAreResidents.org has published a detailed whitepaper analysing the updated proposals across Uttlesford. In summary, over the previous draft Uttlesford District Council has:
- Adopted the latest demographic information, which has increased the number of new houses required per year to 415 from 338, above the historic 2007 threshold that triggered a new settlement strategy;
- Significantly increased the likelihood of the Local Plan being rejected by the HM Planning Inspectorate because UDC have backdated the start of the plan so that it is now shorter than the required 15 years;
- Made development site changes in Saffron Walden and Great Dunmow which, along with other changes since the 2012 draft, increases housing numbers by 5% for each town;
- Reduced initial new housing numbers for Newport, but have still identified housing land for 200-340 new homes;
- Made other non-material movements to site boundaries in a number of settlements, such as subdividing the large site on the east of Saffron Walden into separate housing, employment and green space sub-sites;
- Removed Education and Health infrastructure provision by developers;
- Failed to produce the required Highways and Traffic Plans or the plan to bring Air Quality back below safe legal limits for Saffron Walden;
- Acknowledged that even after 10 months, feedback from residents, town and parish councils has not been considered with regard to strategic housing policies or site allocations.
The whitepaper can be downloaded from the WeAreResidents.org website.
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.