There have been rumours circulating about Ridgeons downsizing their 13 hectare site for some time since their land was considered by UDC for a development of up to 352 new homes. UDC indicated that the issues with the site were contamination, highways capacity and secondary school capacity and they rejected it from their draft Local Plan. Highways and schools are huge problems and ones that the UDC Cabinet has failed to plan for across their whole draft Local Plan.
Now Ridgeons’ development pre-application (UTT/13/1044 screening application) has finally come forward. This development is in addition to the other massive new estates that UDC is already proposing for the gridlocked east of Saffron Walden. The initial application is for 170 new houses, offices, a hotel and more out of town retail. The full application for public consultation is expected for the autumn.
It seems an odd location for a hotel, so far from the town centre and railway station; and of course businesses have traditionally shunned that part of town because poor road access means they can’t get goods in and out. However if plans for a hotel and industrial space were later found to be unviable, the land could be flipped to a further housing application; UDC estimate the site could take an additional 182 homes on top of the 170 identified in the screening application.
This third proposed development comes within weeks of the 300 proposed by Kier for Thaxted Road and 55 at the Kilns on Thaxted Road; that’s over 500 new homes in a few weeks. They are also on top of the 100 already being built opposite Ridgeons. All these sites are to the least accessible east of Saffron Walden.
Sam Tonkin of the Saffron Walden Reporter landed the scoop this week’s front page: Saffron Walden Reporter (page 1).