UDC approves 367 homes and refuses 300 in Saffron Walden

There were 3 major planning applications in front of the UDC Planning Committee at the specially convened meeting on 30th April 2014. The 3 sites were the major draft Local Plan sites for Saffron Walden that UDC have been hurrying through even before their draft Local Plan finishes public consultation. They were:

367 of the new homes were approved. All the sites are on the inaccessible east of Saffron Walden.

WeAreResidents.org has been lobbying for sustainable development in Saffron Walden, and the 10 hour marathon session featured over 50 speakers and lively debate. The major concerns raised by residents related to traffic, illegal air quality, schools and sports provision.

BBC News coverage of the Planning Meeting:

Residents protested about the air quality impacts of the proposed development outside the UDC offices ahead of the meeting for a BBC News team.

Here is how the UDC Planning Committee voted:

The outcome was:

  • Kier refused for 300 homes on the basis of traffic and environmental issues
  • Manor Oak approved for 200 homes with a new primary school and relief road for the congested Thaxted Rd traffic lights
  • Ridgeon approved for 167 homes with a redevelopment of their site and request for the retention of a community football field
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Posted in Education and Schools, News, Planning, Planning Application News, Pollution and Air Quality, Spotlight Articles, Traffic, Uttlesford District Council, Uttlesford Local Plan
9 comments on “UDC approves 367 homes and refuses 300 in Saffron Walden
  1. Mrs Joanne Rowell says:

    My husband and I were at the meeting yesterday and although bitterly disappointed with the mindless approvals.. we were amazed that 4 of the planning committee were not present for one of the most important votes in Saffron Waldens history…. we are disgusted with the councillors that voted for approval most of whom do not even live in our beautiful town !!

    • Hi Joanne, a few had legitimate excuses. Saffron Walden councillor Bob Eastham was on holiday abroad. It was booked well in advance of the planning meeting getting scheduled and apparently he tried to move the planning meeting but his request was refused. Cllr Loughlin had a close family bereavement and is on an understandable council leave. I believe Cllr Hicks has been ill. I don’t know about the others.

  2. Colin Davies says:

    As Bob Eastham could not be bothered to turn up for the meeting there should be a strong call for him to resign as a councillor although from his past record I suspect he would have voted for the developments so as not to be seen to be opposing the party line. Keith Eden is frankly a disgrace as he shows total disregard for the town he is supposed to represent. I know what the Dunmow councillors would have voted if it had been in their patch.

    • Hi Colin, Bob Eastham was on holiday abroad. It was booked well in advance of the planning meeting getting scheduled and apparently he tried to move the planning meeting but his request was refused. I understand he was very annoyed and disappointed to miss the meeting. We were surprised at Keith Eden’s vote, particularly for the Ridgeon’s application.

      Keith Mackman was the only Dunmow councillor present and he actually voted to refuse 2 of the Saffron Walden applications. They are not in his backyard, so he clearly listened to the debate and made up his mind independently – hats off to him. I think more worrying is the clear intentional leading of the committee by the chair and her continual deferral to UDC Cabinet deputy Cllr Vic Ranger.

      • Colin Davies says:

        Is Vic Ranger not a Dunmow representative who voted for approval of all three sites.

    • Colin – you are correct, sorry! Vic Ranger is a Dunmow Councillor. He has a track record of proposing and voting for any new housing.

  3. Marion gillman says:

    Why couldn’t those councillors who were absent be permitted to submit a sealed vote – to be opened when votes were caste –
    on matters as important as these development plans?

    • Would be nice, but members of the Planning Committee are NOT allowed to make up their mind before they have heard the evidence on the day, questioned officers, and discussed it. If they decide before it is called pre-determination and they will be excluded from the vote. The UDC legal team have used this excuse before to exclude certain councillors from planning meetings, including cynically with Cllrs Keith Mackman and Keith Eden who had previously publicly disagreed with what officers were recommending to be approved….

      • Colin Davies says:

        It was very obvious at the so called local plan meeting that most councillors had made their minds up before getting there and it was widely thought that the central and local conservative party had instructed their members to vote it through. Is this not in contravention of all the rules.

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