The Saffron Walden Town Council chose its recent annual meeting to reaffirm its opposition to the Uttlesford District Council Cabinet’s proposals for unsustainable and widespread mass housing in the town. In the summer of 2012 the draft Uttlesford Local Plan was opposed by more than 2,000 residents, town and parish councils, including the Saffron Walden Town Council. The Local Plan strategy to dump the majority of new housing on Saffron Walden and Great Dunmow was also rejected by 99%. In spite of this, the Uttlesford District Council Cabinet has upped the stakes in its latest Local Plan update by increasing the housing allocations for both Walden and Dunmow.
At the annual meeting, the WeAreResidents.org independent candidate for the Essex County Council elections, John Lodge asked if the Saffron Walden Town Council would oppose the oppose Kier Homes’ plan for 300 off Thaxted Road .
The popular Mayor, Cllr David Watson, who has been a strong advocate for the town, replied on behalf of the Town Council. The Saffron Walden Weekly News covered his response:
Cllr Watson said “an overwhelming majority” of town councillors have voted against any development in south east Saffron Walden.” He said: “There is a recognition that the local plan will not be accepted – not by the local electors, not by the town councillors, but much more importantly not by the Planning Inspectorate.
“But that will be too late for these 300 [Kier] homes which are jumping the gun. The only means available then to stop the development would be via a judicial review. That is a very expensive process and would involve considerable outlays of public money. I have no doubt, however, the one group fully prepared to spend money would be the developer.”
“I cannot commit a future council’s spending plans but I feel this issue is so important to the future of the town that I would be prepared to consider how to minimise the spend of public money while still challenging the plan.” He added it may be possible to share legal costs with residents’ groups, but a full council debate would be needed.
Read the article in the Saffron Walden Weekly News (page 1).