On 3rd December the Uttlesford Local Plan hearings were suspended part way through after the Planning Inspector rejected the District Council’s draft Plan and found it unsound on a number of serious matters.
Inspector Roy Foster had the option to suspend the Plan for 6 months. However he fully rejected it.
“The scale of work which the Council would need to undertake to propose and consult upon changes to deal with these matters would be greater than could be completed within the normal maximum 6-month period of a suspended examination.” Roy Foster, Planning Inspector.
In his summary conclusions he made it clear that he believes that not only were UDC’s proposals seriously misguided, but the process by which they consulted and evidenced their decisions was found to be lacking.
Read the Inspector’s Summary Conclusions.
This is something that WeAreResidents.org and other residents groups across Uttlesford have been saying for some time. The draft Plan was also twice significantly rejected by residents during public consultation after the Council ditched its proposals to build a new settlement and instead build in many existing towns and villages.
The Planning Inspector heavily criticised the Plan and cited the following reasons for his complete refusal of the plan:
- He doubted that the existing towns and villages, including Saffron Walden and Dunmow, could take many more houses;
- UDC’s should revert to their previous new settlement approach, which would cater for the majority of new homes well into the future;
- UDC had not calculated the housing numbers properly and so 10% more may be needed;
- Elsenham was an unsuitable location for a new settlement;
- The selection process for new settlement locations should be restarted and be more transparent.
UDC now needs to build a new plan. This decision leaves a lot of questions unanswered. To find out more read the Press Release on the Residents-for-Uttlesford website and the answers to Frequently Asked Questions to find out more.