WeAreResidents.org believes that the UDC Cabinet is still acting undemocratically in an attempt to dump nearly 1,000 new homes on Saffron Walden behind residents’ backs.
As part of its new draft Local Plan, UDC just published its report of possible development sites in Saffron Walden. The report recommends locations it considers suitable for 100 homes across a handful of smaller sites throughout the town, but controversially another 800 new homes on 3 sites on the East of town. UDC claims these sites would be suitable if there were “appropriate highway mitigation measures.” These new homes would be in addition to the over 800 homes that already have planning permission, making a total of 1,700 if all were approved.
A few weeks ago a Freedom-of-Information request by WeAreResidents.org showed that UDC was working on just such a highways scheme. Conflict escalated as UDC tried to force it through without the required approval from the Town Council.
Dan Starr, chair of residents’ group, WeAreResidents.org said:
“The UDC Cabinet was sent the clear message by voters at the last election that they didn’t want any more development to the East of Saffron Walden. But the fact is the UDC Cabinet has been ruthless in its obsession to build there none the less. A few weeks ago we found out they were trying to silently sneak through an east-west express-way by removing residents’ street parking from 1.7km of roads. Next they stopped the public from complaining by banning them from their latest consultation on the list of development sites. And now their secret plan has been laid bare as they’ve published the actual list of those sites. With their secret road changes, it would dump 800 more homes on the East of Saffron Walden, making 1,700 new homes in total in the town. We also know UDC has threatened to use taxpayer money to compulsory purchase land to make the scheme happen if landowners don’t want it. It’s a shocking betrayal of residents’ wishes.”
Dan Starr continued:
“UDC even seems to be picking and choosing evidence to suit its own ends. Planning Inspectors refused 2 sites in Thaxted and Clavering, and so UDC isn’t recommending those as suitable. But Planning Inspectors also refused the East of Saffron Walden twice, yet UDC says those sites are OK. The truth is UDC doesn’t need to build on the East of Walden at all as there are many more sites than are needed across the district. So why are they doing it? I’m sure UDC will come back with some slippery political speak about the sites ‘not being decided yet’ but the fact is that building on the east was rejected by thousands of residents and 2 Planning Inspectors. Why would they continue to risk wasting another £2 million of taxpayers’ money on another Local Plan failure?”
Founded in 2011, WeAreResidents.org is the Uttlesford based group that provides a strong, independent voice for the views of local residents. The group campaigns for long range strategic and sustainable plans for their area. WeAreResidents.org works with other similar groups across Uttlesford and enjoys the strong support of professionals in key and relevant professions.
WeAreResidents.org is one of the residents’ groups that help start Residents for Uttlesford (R4U), the local political party of towns and a village that is seeking to give residents a stronger say in local matters.
WeAreResidents.org can we found on the web at www.WeAreResidents.org.