Saffron Walden residents held an event in the town last Saturday to highlight the large-scale negative impacts of unprecedented house-building proposed for their town and surrounding villages. The cabinet of Uttlesford District Council proposes huge and unprecedented house building on the inaccessible east of Saffron Walden through their draft Local Plan.
The exhibition featured an update to the 3D map that was shown in October 2013 and filmed for the TV show BBC Town with Nicholas Crane. The new 6×3 metre map of the town was designed to make it easy for residents to understand what is proposed by UDC. It featured over 1,000 3D houses and large ‘Dad’s Army’ style arrows to show the major traffic and air quality problem areas. The proposed new housing in Saffron Walden will also bring increased commuter traffic through the nearby villages of Great Chesterford, Newport and Quendon.
John Lodge was on hand to discuss his manifesto and county portfolio issues such as traffic, highways and education. WeAreResidents.org Chair Dan Starr and a number of other residents were there to discuss the housing and development implications of the Local Plan.
Labour and Lib Dem election canvassers were also nearby in the market square answering questions about their manifestos.
The updates to the map included:
- Colour-coding of each development site to indicate which locations had already been approved by UDC and which additional ones they were promoting for development;
- Housing numbers added for each location. In March 2013 Uttlesford District Council withdrew their widely disbelieved minimum numbers, so the updated map features UDC’s own planners’ appraisals of the total housing numbers each site would take, as well as approved planning application and developers’ own numbers where applicable.
- The addition of the recently announced Ridgeons brownfield on Ashdon Road site that they wish to partially develop for housing;
The UDC Cabinet has been criticised for taking a political decision to centre development on Saffron Walden and Dunmow, ignoring their own planners’ evidence on the most sustainable strategy. Even though the Local Plan was rejected by 99%, the UDC Cabinet has bulldozed ahead with their proposals, even recently increasing development targeted for Saffron Walden and trying to hide the real numbers from residents. Additionally the UDC Cabinet have still failed to publish a strategy for how they propose to deal with the education, air quality and traffic impacts of their Local Plan.