Ridgeon’s proposals for 167 homes deferred until proper plans for traffic and education in Walden

Ridgeons Housing Development in Saffron Walden

In a sometimes heated meeting on Wednesday 12th March, the UDC Planning Committee clearly understood the issues created by home-building on the east of Walden without proper plans for education and traffic, and voted to defer the Ridgeon’s planning application for 167 new homes until those plans are delivered.

The council chambers were packed as the 16 speakers who opposed the development, including WeAreResidents.org, cited issues with school places, traffic mitigation, parking, air quality, sustainability, and loss of the football field as key issues.

During the meeting the traffic proposals were roundly criticised by the councillors on the committee, with them accusing the Highways Authority of being in “Cloud Cuckoo Land” over their Highways proposals that “will probably never work”, and “rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic” with respect to removing residents’’ street parking on Ashdon Rd.

With regard to a lack of any strategy for school places councillors said “It is insane that there is no plan for schools – and we’ve been given inadequate explanations” and “For education, our duty as a planning committee means that we need to see a plan – and there isn’t one – so we can’t approve this application.”

One of the speakers was a local mum who had just returned to Saffron Walden and moved into the first affordable house in the adjacent Persimmon Ashdon Rd development.  She spoke about the direct result of no plan for school places. She said “I was offered what I was told was the last primary school place in town and it is at Katherine Semar. It is a 6 km round trip from my new home; a 40 minute walk each way. So I had to buy a car instead of furniture for my house.”

There was no visible support for approving the application amongst planning committee councillors, and so they decided to defer a decision until a later date when proper, detailed and workable plans have been published for traffic and education.

With respect to Ridgeon themselves, they are good and well respected local employer who bring a lot of benefits to the town in terms of jobs, taxes and a great store – and we want them to stay in town. But the facts of the matter are that the impacts of building on the east of Walden have not been properly considered in the Uttlesford Local Plan, and Ridgeon’s have been caught up in the middle of it.

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Posted in Economy and Tourism, Employment, Essex County Council, News, Planning, Planning Application News, Pollution and Air Quality, Traffic, Uttlesford District Council, Uttlesford Local Plan
One comment on “Ridgeon’s proposals for 167 homes deferred until proper plans for traffic and education in Walden
  1. Matt Tofts says:

    Now do you think the other new developments in the town were subject to the same terms as Ridgeons? Ie: was the issue of air quality, schools, traffic etc even considered? Having lived in the town my whole life I have seen it grow and turn simply into a giant pot holed car park. At least a development at that end of town would not interfere with existing motorists like the other new sites have. Plus surely the new residents would bring the much needed extra trade our town centre needs? I think extra developments are inevitable as the population continues to grow and it is up to the councils to plan the new schools / general facilities that we require. After all, is this not why we pay them taxes?

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