This week on Thursday 16th, there is an important roadshow by housing developer Kier. They want to build a new 300 house estate on farmland outside of the town boundary off Thaxted Rd in Saffron Walden. They have submitted a screening (preliminary) development application to UDC and are gathering residents’ feedback as part of their full application submission.
We recommend that concerned residents attend: The consultation event is at the Lord Butler Leisure Centre, on Thursday 16th of May, between 3:00 PM and 8:00 PM.
The full development application and formal public consultation will come in a few months however developers use these preliminary roadshows as evidence gathering exercises; they present the results as part of their formal development application. In this case, the developer is even trying to engineer a positive result by co-opting the teenagers of the town to support the application by offering them a new skate park; a skate park has nothing to do with housing – it is a separate issue and should stand on its own merits. Shame on the developer for attempting to manipulate minors who don’t understand the broader issues.
In their screening application the developer believes that there will be no major impact to highways. Given that Thaxted Rd already regularly backs up to Shire Hill and occasionally past the Leisure Centre, residents don’t believe that there would only be minimal traffic impact from over 300 new homes. The map above shows areas of concern, including those roads that are likely to see significant traffic and air quality increases.
The developer says they are providing ‘benefits’ to the town, mainly in the provision of additional sports facilities, but almost no infrastructure investment. By offering sports facilities, they are trying to deflect people away from the big-picture issues; is the inaccessible east a suitable and sustainable location to build 300 houses? Instead they are trying to pander to niche interests and have residents fight over how any spoils should be spent. It is even doubtful over how much sports provision would be provided anyway. It’s not up to the developer, it is up to the District Council, and they have made it pretty clear that there would be other priorities (e.g. schools, medical facilities, community centres, highways improvements). The Saffron Walden Town Council opposes the developer’s proposals.
Additionally this new estate is on top of the proposal for 55 new houses on the Kilns site next-door and the adjacent out-of-town retail park that was just approved by UDC, both of which will also negatively impact quality-of-life and access to services for existing residents of the town.
If you didn’t have chance to send Kier feedback yet, you can still do so by filling out and sending them an email *before end of day Friday 24th* using this link.