UDC is undertaking a public consultation on its new draft Uttlesford Local Plan. This consultation is about housing strategy, i.e. where to build new homes. It ends on 4th December at 4:30PM, so get your comments in.
This is our quick guide for residents. If you only have 10 mins to respond, we list the ‘Big Questions’ you may want to answer 1/2 way down the page. Skip the background information and go right there now to get started.
Looking to answer the most basic question
The council’s previous draft was completely rejected by the Planning Inspector last December, and so the council has to start again. That means that this round of public consultation has to ask the most basic question, in effect:
“What strategy should we adopt for the majority of new homes – put them in existing towns and villages, in a new settlement, or something else?”
UDC say that follow-up consultations will focus on the actual sites and details, but this one is about the wider approach.
How many new homes?
UDC believes that they now need to approve a minimum of 580 new homes a year from now until 2033, the end of the Plan. This is a few more than the 568 they calculated several months ago, way above the 338 from a few years ago, and for some reason a lot more per-capita that surrounding districts.
UDCare also looking at another model that would approve 750 a year. UDC think they may need the larger number as it provides ‘future proofing’ of the plan because the government is always pushing for more and they may force Uttlesford to take homes from other districts if those other councils can’t meet their own targets (even though those districts are building fewer per-capita).
Using the smaller number, UDC need 12,000 homes over their plan period, but can count existing development that have been approved but not yet built. That means that UDC will still need to find sites for between 4,600 and 7,600 new homes, depending on the rate per year. Note: the maths and resulting numbers in the UDC consultation document is wrong but they have refused to fix this or issue a correction.
To illustrate the scale of what’s needed, Saffron Walden is the biggest town in the district today with 6,700 homes, and Dunmow has 3,800. It’s obvious that wherever new homes go, new-settlement or not, it will require a *significant* investment in roads, schools and employment.
Telling UDC what you think
Below are the questions UDC would like people to think about. To help you, we’ve made them clearer to understand, combined duplicate questions and scrubbed bias from them. We’ve also put what we think are the most important at the top of the list. That means you should be able to respond in 10 minutes or less. For background you can also read our pre-filled response for residents here or even just edit it and send it in.
** Deadline: Friday 4th December at 4:30PM **
The simplest way is to pick the questions you want to answer below and email your answers in to UDC using the email link that is also in the section below.
Alternatively you can submit comments on the UDC website. They have produced lots of documentation and a form that you can use. You can also use their web-portal, but you’ll need to create an account on the UDC website first.
Simply write your answers in an email and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to include the question numbers you are answering. See the questions below. You can also cut and paste them into your email from our unformatted text file here.
If you have less than 10 minutes, we suggest you answer these key questions:
When responding provide your name and address.
Q3, Q10, and Q18 (combined): Settlement Hierarchy and New Settlements: Should UDC put the majority of the 3,000-12,000 new homes in existing larger towns and villages; or significantly expand an existing town/village; or in a new settlement; or another scenario?
Q11: Locations for a New Settlement/Areas of Search: If a new settlement option were selected, what things should UDC consider and where it should go?
Q4: Infrastructure: What infrastructure issues, such as roads, schools, healthcare, and water, are the most important for UDC to consider?
Q19: Other Points: Are there any other points that you wish UDC to consider?
You may want to consider answering one of these if you live near Saffron Walden, Dunmow or Bishops’ Stortford:
Q12: Saffron Walden Expansion: What specific issues should UDC consider when assessing a large extension/expansion to Saffron Walden?
Q14: Great Dunmow Expansion: What specific issues should UDC consider when assessing a large extension/expansion to Great Dunmow?
Q13: Bishop’s Stortford Expansion: What specific issues should UDC consider when assessing a large extension to the east of Bishop’s Stortford inside Uttlesford (Birchanger area)?
And if you live in one of the larger villages, you may want to answer this for your settlement:
Q15: Village Expansions: What specific issues should UDC consider when assessing development in a village?
If you have more time:
Q6: Housing Mix and Affordability: What size/type of houses do we need more of (starter, bungalow, 4 bedroom, etc)? What affordable models work best, e.g. shared/part ownership, or private landlord, or council housing?
Q5: Employment: Which locations are best for providing jobs and why?
Q16 & 17 (combined): Dwellings per year: How would you change your answers if instead of 580 new homes were required a year, 750 were required?
And if you want to give a complete response:
Q9: Locations for New Homes/Areas of Search: Are there specific locations that you think UDC should be looking at for the larger developments of new homes?
Q8: Environment: What do you think are the main issues that UDC should consider in relation to the sustainability, the natural environment, pollution and our historic heritage?
Q7: Open Spaces: What do you think are the main issues that UDC should consider in relation to leisure, recreation, allotments, parks and open space?
Q2: Cross-boundary Planning: Are there any specific cross-boundary planning issues that UDC should consider in its Local Plan?
Q1: Vision and Strategy: In the Local Plan, what do you think UDC’s vision for the future of the district should be?