Not only does Uttlesford District Council’s own evidence show that dispersing new housing around existing settlements to be the worst and lease sustainable option, but it doesn’t even meet their own plan objectives.
The Uttlesford Local Plan contains 10 clear and simple objectives (see Uttlesford Local Plan page 11). Here are abstracts of the 5 of them that the proposed plan actually breaks:
- Objective 1 – District Character: To preserve, conserve and where possible enhance the locally distinctive and historic character of the market towns and rural settlements.
Swamping existing villages with hundreds and towns with thousands of new houses will do exactly the opposite of preserving, conserving and enhancing distinctive and historic character. It will turn both Saffron Walden and Great Dunmow into “Bishops Storford Lite”.
- Objective 3 – Function of the Market Towns: To preserve and enhance the historic nature of the town centres of Saffron Walden and Great Dunmow.
Again, dumping 1,000s of houses on the market towns will do the opposite of preserving and enhancing the historic nature of these locations. Listed buildings are already suffering foundation and environmental damage from traffic. Knowingly building many homes on the east of Saffron Walden and forcing cars to cross-through the town centre will directly damage the fabric of the conservation area.
- Objective 4 – Housing Need: To make sure that the housing being provided creates balanced communities by delivering sustainable, safe, attractive and healthy places to live.
UDC’s own evidence is clear. Dispersing 3,300 new homes into existing settlements is the worst and least sustainable option, and the proposed locations create huge environmental impacts.
- Objective 6 – Sustainable transport: To reduce the need to travel by locating new development so that journeys can be reduced.
Building on the east of Saffron Walden is the wrong side for jobs and the transport network. This will create many more car journeys than are necessary if the council sought a different and more sustainable location near to jobs, A-roads and motorways.
- Objective 10 – Air Noise, Ground Noise and Air Quality: The Council will seek to minimise the impact of air noise, ground noise and air quality on the health and amenity of local communities and the historic environment.
In many places in the district, air quality already breaches legal EU limits. This is mainly due to vehicle pollution. It is exactly these same areas that will be impacted by the 1,000 of new vehicle journeys necessitated by the proposed plan.
A plan what doesn’t even meet a large number of its own objectives will not survive planning inspector scrutiny and will be susceptible to legal challenge. This is not a robust or well thought out plan. Tell UDC what you think of their plan.