UDC’s Air Quality Action Plan for Saffron Walden branded “developers’ Trojan Horse”

Banner: Traffic and Saffron Walden AQMA

WeAreResidents.org has announced that it believes that the UDC Cabinet is trying to manipulate consultation evidence behind residents’ backs to allow up to 1,000 new homes on the east of Saffron Walden.

Uttlesford District Council is required to produce an “Air Quality Action Plan” (AQAP) for Saffron Walden because there are illegal levels of pollution in the town. They have written a new AQAP and it is currently in public consultation until 24 March 2016. Local group WeAreResidents.org has criticised the misleading wording of UDC’s consultation survey which they say is actually designed to allow UDC to approve more homes on the east of Saffron Walden.

Dan Starr, chair of residents’ group, WeAreResidents.org said:

“This consultation is not what it seems. It has very little to do with fixing illegal pollution; it is a developers’ Trojan Horse.  Pollution in Saffron Walden is caused by traffic, but the main aim of this Plan is the opposite of limiting new traffic; it is to try to find a way to accommodate even more traffic from new estates on the east of town.  The main concrete proposal dusts-off the giant one-way system that was widely ridiculed 2 years ago. UDC is supposed to be conducting a fair and honest process to decide where to put new housing, but they appear to have pre-decided the issue. Why doesn’t the survey ask the real questions in this debate?”

Dan Starr continued:

“In the survey itself the questions are one-sided and designed to create the result the UDC Cabinet wants; if people simply tick “yes” to reduce pollution, as everyone would want, it gives the UDC Cabinet a green light to implement their one-way system, remove parking from nearly 2km of the town’s roads, and pretend we are all in favour. Yet again they are trying to manufacture evidence to sneak through their own agenda behind our backs. Residents just don’t understand this obsession with building on the east of town, especially because multiple Planning Inspectors have rejected it and ECC Highways say it will actually make pollution worse. We have an analysis of these air quality proposals on our website that we recommend residents read before they respond to UDC consultation.”

Read the analysis of the consultation and how and where to respond.

About WeAreResidents.org

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.

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Posted in Consultation, Environment, News, Pollution and Air Quality, Press Releases, Roads and Transport, Traffic, Uttlesford District Council, Uttlesford Local Plan

Uttlesford District Council’s secret housing plan reveals 1,700 new homes in Saffron Walden claim residents’ group – Press Release

Banner: UDC digger in Saffron Walden

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?”

About WeAreResidents.org

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.

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Posted in Events, News, Parking, Press Releases, Residents Groups, Traffic, Uttlesford District Council, Uttlesford Local Plan

Parking quango unable to justify proposals to remove 1.7km of parking in Saffron Walden – Press Release

Banner: Parking Removal

An FOI request shows that there is no justification for UDC to remove 1.7km of parking from Saffron Walden streets according to WeAreResidents.org.

Uttlesford District Council asked for street parking to be removed from a number of roads in Saffron Walden as part of their draft Local Plan in 2013. The Plan would have seen large-scale building on the east of the town, but it and Kier’s 300-home development were rejected by the Planning Inspector and so the need to remove parking disappeared. Despite the rejection, 3 years later UDC is continuing to push forward the proposals using their cross-council quango, the North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP).

Dan Starr chair of WeAreResidents said:

“Saffron Walden is 2km wide and UDC wants to remove parking from 1.7km of our roads, including 50% of the residents’ parking on Ashdon Rd. They say they want to do it to improve traffic flow and safety, but they have failed to produce and evidence to support it.”

“The NEPP refused to provide the supporting evidence, so we were forced to use a Freedom-of-Information request to get to the facts. It transpires there isn’t any evidence and the NEPP say they only have a handful of documents that refer to any part of the scheme, including a report that says no changes are needed. We can also now see that the wholesale removal of parking from the north and south of the town wasn’t requested by anyone that represents the town; it was by UDC’s Head of Planning Head, but he provided no justification. It is no surprise they wouldn’t give us the documents.”

“Justification is required by law, so where is the evidence? Nothing says there is a long history of accidents, bad parking, or blocking of commercial or emergency vehicles. Trip times haven’t been measured. No one has looked at the impact to residents or nearby schools. The NEPP’s own process requires approval by Town Councillors and they haven’t even tried to get it. In fact the Saffron Walden Town Council opposes the scheme.”

“The whole process is a sham, but none the less UDC will try and sneak it through using an unaccountable quango. Clearly they are still trying to open up the east of town for developers via the backdoor, in spite of the refusal. UDC’s current actions also raise huge questions about their claims that the current Local Plan process is open and transparent.”

More Information

About WeAreResidents.org

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.

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Posted in Essex County Council, Live, News, Planning, Planning Consultation, Press Releases, Roads and Transport, Traffic, Uttlesford District Council, Uttlesford Local Plan

Concerns that UDC ‘acted wrongly’ over Kier appeal after FOI request shows UDC misrepresented legal advice to Planning Inspector – Press Release

Banner: UDC FOI request

WeAreResidents.org, the independent residents’ community group, has announced that documents obtained under a recent Freedom of Information (FOI) request have raised new concerns that Uttlesford District Council (UDC) acted wrongly in relation to the recent Kier appeal in Saffron Walden.

In 2014 after UDC’s planning committee had refused Kier planning permission, UDC decided not to defend the subsequent appeal by the developer. Kier was seeking to build 300 homes on the east of Saffron Walden on one of UDC’s preferred draft Local Plan sites. This left the Town Council and local residents group WeAreResidents.org alone to defend the appeal and foot the nearly £50,000 legal bill.

Dan Starr, chair of WeAreResidents said:

“When deciding if UDC should contest the Kier appeal, it obtained legal advice which it then blocked the public from seeing and scrutinising. During the appeal UDC wrote to the Planning Inspector to say that they hadn’t contested the appeal because, in their opinion ‘there are no legitimate planning grounds’ for Kier’s development to be refused. This was clearly not true because the Town Council and WeAreResidents.org subsequently won the case. Of even more concern is that it’s not what their legal advice said either.”

“WeAreResidents.org has now received copies of UDC’s legal advice via a Freedom of Information request. These documents directly contradict UDC’s public statement to the Planning Inspector, which seems to have been calculated to assist Kier as much as possible in winning their appeal, when they should have been opposing it.”

Dan Starr continued:

“Scrutiny of the just-released documents reveals more. At the time we wrote to UDC to request that inaccuracies and apparent bias be corrected in the officer’s report about the Kier development before it was sent to their lawyers. In reading the documents it has become obvious that these were not acted on by UDC when obtaining their legal advice. However, and in spite of that, UDC was still given a ‘30-40%’ chance of winning by their lawyers. This is clearly completely different from stating that there are ‘no’ grounds at all on which to oppose the appeal.

“It is impossible to reconcile the statements made by UDC and their now public legal advice – and they have refused to explain why they took the action they did. A new Chief Executive starts at UDC in February, and WeAreResidents.org will be requesting that she conducts a full review of UDC’s actions in relation to Kier.  It would seem that they were at best negligent, and their conduct raises serious issues as to the propriety of their actions.”

About WeAreResidents.org

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.

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Posted in Housing and Planning, News, Planning, Planning Application News, Press Releases, Rotten Boroughs, Uttlesford District Council, Uttlesford Local Plan

Press Release: Appeal victory for Saffron Walden residents against unsustainable development by Kier

Hot on the heels of a victory for Thaxted residents, Saffron Walden has achieved a solid victory of its own. After an appeal by developer Kier to build 300 homes, the Planning Inspectorate has upheld the refusal and so they will not be allowed to build. The decision also states useful precedents that should help protect the town in the future.

Impacts of building on the east of Saffron Walden were highlighted by
residents nationally on BBC Town with Nicholas Crane in 2012.

The primary reason for the dismissal of the Kier appeal was the unsustainable traffic impacts, which residents have been highlighting for several years.

 “The effect of the proposals on the efficient operation of the local highway network is a significant negative factor with adverse economic effects through congestion and delays. The loss of the best and most versatile agricultural land has not been justified.”

“The harm that I have identified in these respects in combination would be significant. On the basis of the detailed evidence before me, overall the proposals would not amount to sustainable development. I conclude that the appeal should be dismissed.” Kier Appeal Planning Inspector Mike Moore.

The Kier site was promoted by the UDC Cabinet in their 2014 failed Local Plan. When rejecting the draft Local Plan, the Planning Inspectorate was critical of the impacts to traffic from building on the east of Saffron Walden. This second decision reaffirms those concerns.

Kier’s application was originally refused by the UDC Planning Committee. The UDC Cabinet decided not to defend the refusal because they were unhappy with the Planning Committee going against their draft Local Plan. This left Saffron Walden Town Council and residents’ lobby group WeAreResidents.org to jointly fight the appeal and foot the £50,000 costs on their own.

WeAreResidents.org is one of the founding organisations of Residents for Uttlesford (R4U). R4U was set up to give residents a real voice in what happens locally. The local party won 9 Uttlesford District Council seats in the May 2015 elections and is now the second party in the district and largest party on the Saffron Walden Town Council.

in his appeal dismissal notice Inspector Mike Moore stated that:

  • Development not needed: The development was not needed because UDC was able to demonstrate that it had the required 5-year supply of new homes, even at the increased levels indicated by the Local Plan inspector in 2014.
  • Significant negative traffic impacts: He said “It is clear that the extent of congestion in the original assessments has been underestimated. The cumulative effect of the proposed development and other commitments would be significant at some key junctions in terms of additional delays and queuing at important times of the day. The conclusion on the effect of the proposals on the efficient operation of the local highway network is a significant negative factor with adverse economic effects through congestion and delays.”
  • Loss of productive farmland: He said “The loss of the best and most versatile agricultural land has not been justified. I have seen no comparative assessment of development locations in Uttlesford. As such, while the loss of the best and most versatile land would be modest in the context of the general quality of agricultural land in the District, this would be a disbenefit of the proposal to be weighed in the overall balance in my decision.”
  • Unsustainable development: He said “On the basis of the current evidence, the harm that I have identified in these respects in combination would be significant, outweighing the benefits that I have outlined…..overall the proposals would not amount to sustainable development…. I conclude that the appeal should be dismissed”

The full appeal dismissal notice can be downloaded and read here.

In his decision the Inspector made statements that should inform other planning applications in Saffron Walden and elsewhere in the district. These included:

  • Uttlesford has a 5-year supply of new homes: UDC is required to show it has a 5-year supply of new homes so that it can repel predatory development. The Inspector reconfirmed that this is the case and that UDC should be considered a only ‘five percent’ authority, i.e. one that needs to demonstrate a 105% supply of new homes because it has consistently met or nearly met this requirement.
  • Saffron Walden’s road network can’t cope: The lack of a proper highways strategy for the whole town, inadequate funding, and no certainly over delivery all prevent future large-scale development of the east of Saffron Walden.

 

About WeAreResidents.org

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.

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Posted in Housing and Planning, News, Planning, Planning Application News, Press Releases, Roads and Transport, Spotlight Articles, Traffic, Uttlesford District Council

Press Release: Refusal of Local Plan gives residents a boost on delayed Kier housing appeal

WeAreResidents.org Logo Stacked (WaR)

WeAreResidents.org Logo StackedFriday 5th December 2014, Saffron Walden: WeAreResidents.org, the independent residents’ community group, announced that the recent Planning Inspectors’ refusal of the draft Uttlesford Local Plan will add significant weight and authority in its upcoming fight with developer Kier.

Kier is proposing to build 300 new houses on the east of Saffron Walden. In April this year UDC’s Planning Committee refused permission for the development after they found that the application breached 5 local and 7 national planning policies, including increased illegal pollution inside the emergency air quality zone around the town centre.

Kier appealed the decision which UDC decided not to contest because the site was designated as one of its draft Local Plan sites. However the Saffron Walden Town Council and WeAreResidents.org have joined forces to fight the appeal.

Dan Starr, chair of WeAreResidents.org said “On 3rd December the Planning Inspector ripped up the draft Uttlesford Local Plan, meaning that the Kier site is now no longer a Local Plan site. In fact now the previous policy holds sway, meaning the land is protected against house building. In his decision, the Local Plan Inspector agreed with us that many of the existing settlements, including Saffron Walden, were constrained and can’t grow easily. Our legal team believe that we now have an even stronger case against this type of unsustainable development which has little infrastructure.”

The appeal for the Kier development application was due to start on 9th December but has now been deferred by the Planning Inspectorate due to bereavement. A new date has not been set, but it is expected it will be in the New Year.

About WeAreResidents.org

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.

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Posted in News, Planning Application News, Press Releases, Spotlight Articles, Uttlesford District Council, Uttlesford Local Plan

Press Release: Uttlesford residents form political party and launch campaign to win 2015 district election

Wednesday 22nd October 2014, Saffron Walden: Uttlesford residents have announced that they have formed their own independent political party, Residents-for-Uttlesford (R4U), with the intention of taking control of their District Council in 2015. They have also announced their first 7 prospective district council election candidates and launched their new website at www.Residents4U.org. R4U says that the initial group of candidates demonstrate that the new party has support from across the district, political spectrum and backgrounds.

John Lodge, the Residents-for-Uttlesford chairman and existing Essex County Councillor stated:

“Residents don’t want national parties telling them what’s good for them locally – they want to decide for themselves. We’ll unveil our detailed policies nearer the election, but have no doubt about it, our plans are big, bold and are all about towns and villages getting their voices back and deciding for themselves.”

Along with Essex County Councillor John Lodge, the initial group of prospective candidates includes current Independent District Councillor Joanna Parry; former Liberal Democrat District and Saffron Walden Town Councillor, and former Mayor Dr Richard Freeman; plus former Labour MP candidate Dr Barbara Light. To cover the complete political spectrum, the residents’ party has also announced that current District Councillor for Dunmow, Keith Mackman, has left the Conservative Party to join Residents-for-Uttlesford.

The initial 7 prospective candidates are rounded off with families’ advocate, playground campaigner and mother of local school age children Sharon Morris, and WeAreResidents.org chair, Dan Starr.

R4U Cllr Keith Mackman added:

“It is critical that residents from all backgrounds have a voice. That means we want both fresh faces and seasoned political experience from every party to help drive a broad set of policies focussed on things that matter to people – the local economy, quality-of-life, fiscal responsibility, and proper long-range planning. We’ve got working mums, existing politicians, successful business leaders and everything in between. Today we’ve announced just our first group of prospective candidates to showcase the political diversity and backgrounds of those that want to give residents a true voice. You can find out about more about R4U, our candidates and read their blogs at http://www.Residents4U.org.”

Dan Starr, prospective candidate and chair of WeAreResidents.org said:

“In the last year the District Council has seen its approval rating slump from over 90% to 56% as residents have become increasingly fed up at being let down by the current Council on a whole range of issues. Since we announced in July that it was our intent to take control of UDC in 2015, we’ve seen a steady stream of people sticking their hands up to become candidates. But we’ve still got space for more. If you love where you live and want to make a difference for the residents of Uttlesford, drop us a line through our website – we want to hear from you.”

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Notes for Editors

Logos, and prospective candidate bios and photographs can we found in the Press and Media Centre.

About WeAreResidents.org

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.

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Posted in Election 2015, Elections, News, Press Releases, Residents Groups, Spotlight Articles, Uttlesford District Council

Press Release: Call for independent candidates to step forward to clean up Uttlesford in 2015 elections

Vote 2015 Feature

Vote Local Independent in 2015Tuesday, 15th July 2014: Uttlesford based WeAreResidents.org has moved forward its campaign for better local government by asking residents from across the district to step forward and join its team of independent candidates for its 2015 district election bid.

Residents won their first 2 independent council seats in 2013 – John Lodge for Essex County Council and Joanna Parry for Uttlesford District Council. The May 2015 district elections will see new councillors elected from every ward across Uttlesford.

Dan Starr, chair of WeAreResidents.org said “The current Tory controlled district council have failed the residents of Uttlesford. For 7 years they’ve incompetently forced national party policies on our district that have traded our long-term legacy and quality of life for short-term cash grabbing and self-serving politics. Residents from across the district have told us they want proper strategic planning, far higher standards and effective accountability from district leaders, and it’s time for a wholesale change. We desperately need a Council that will work competently and responsibly for the residents of Uttlesford.”

John Lodge, WeAreResidents.org’s Independent Essex County Councillor said “The national political party whip has been running roughshod over the wishes of residents for too long – and every community in Uttlesford is affected. The only way that locals can decide for themselves is to elect a majority of independent councillors in 2015. We’re working with other residents’ groups and calling on residents, parish councillors, and disaffected district councillors from across the district to join our growing team of residents’ independent candidates for Uttlesford 2015.”

Joanna Parry, Independent Uttlesford District Councillor added “As a resident, I stood for election in 2013 because it was clear that substantive change could only be achieved from the inside. Residents have already shown that they are a highly competent and credible local alternative who care about the future of the district, and so we encourage those who love where they live to step forward and join us.”

To find out more about becoming an independent candidate, volunteer or supporter please contact WeAreResidents.org.

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About WeAreResidents.org

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.

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Posted in Election 2015, Local Government, News, Press Releases, Spotlight Articles, Uttlesford District Council

Press Release: Sports Group established by WeAreResidents.org to lobby for leisure facilities in Saffron Walden

Sports: Tag RugbyMonday 9th June 2014: WeAreResidents.org has announced the formation of a group of Saffron Walden based sports and leisure organisations to review existing facilities and to lobby for increased provision in town. The sports group is chaired by John Lodge who is a WeAreResidents.org management team member and Essex County Councillor for the Saffron Walden Division

Cllr John Lodge said “Saffron Walden has only one third of the outdoor playing facilities and children’s play area facilities recommended by the National Playing Fields Association, making it difficult for residents to take necessary exercise and leading to the likelihood of greater health issues. As Saffron Walden grows, the lack of sports facilities is becoming ever more acute.  Earlier this year however, Uttlesford District Council adopted a new Planning Guide which removed the requirements for the developers of new housing to make any contribution towards sports facilities.  UDC’s draft new Local Plan would adopt the same policy for the next 17 years.”

John Lodge continued “WeAreResidents.org has therefore established the Saffron Walden Sports Lobby Group to identify what future sports provision is most needed and to lobby UDC to change their planning policies, redress the lack of existing provision and ensure that all future housing developments contribute to the provision of new sports and other open space facilities.”

The Saffron Walden Sports Lobby Group will hold its inaugural meeting the week of June 9th, where 12 local sports organisations will be represented as well as Saffron Walden Town Council.

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About WeAreResidents.org

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.

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Posted in News, Planning, Press Releases, Sports, Spotlight Articles, Uttlesford District Council

Press Release: Call on UDC to use new homes’ proceeds to fund sports in Saffron Walden

SportsTuesday 6th May 2014: Saffron Walden based WeAreResidents.org has called on Uttlesford District Council to use the money for sports fields that it should have collected from new home builders to fund facilities for key sports clubs in the town.

Paul Gadd, legal and policy team lead at WeAreResidents.org said “UDC has approved 1,000 new homes in Saffron Walden over the last 5 years, most of which have not contributed any sports fields. UDC’s Open Space Sport and Playing Pitch Strategy dictates that it should have collected £3.5 million from these developers for sports and green-spaces. On top of that the Council has earned additional millions from the government for approving these new homes. That means there should be more than enough money to provide land and facilities for key sports clubs in the town.”

Paul Gadd continued “Instead of using the money from this sports fund, the District Council has been asking new developers to come forward to offer land for sports in exchange for building even more homes – even if the proposed sites are unsuitable, unsustainable and offer no general benefit to the town, as in the case of the recent refused Kier application on Thaxted Rd. It is ludicrous; we shouldn’t need to trade even more homes for sports; UDC’s sports strategy is clear on this and they should have the money. We have written to the District Council to request that this happens – after all it’s the residents’ Council and thus their money.”

Paul Gadd added “What is more concerning is that, as part of their draft Local Plan, UDC also has a new Developer Contribution Guide which, moving forward, would require zero contribution from developers for sports provision. This policy is at odds with their Open Spaces and Sports Strategy and seems to pander to developers’ profits. It is a scandalous short-changing of the residents of Uttlesford. We intend to work with the sports clubs of Uttlesford to oppose this new policy.”

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Editors Notes:

Supporting documents (ZIP file): analysis of required sports contribution by development; UDC Open Space Strategy; UDC Developer Contribution Guide

About WeAreResidents.org

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.

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Posted in News, Planning, Press Releases, Sports, Spotlight Articles, Uttlesford District Council, Uttlesford Local Plan

Residents’ claim UDC tries to use April 30th Planning Meeting to seal Saffron Walden’s fate ahead of Local Plan

Saffron Walden based WeAreResidents.org is claiming that UDC is trying to use a specially convened Planning Meeting on 30th April to push through all its housing development sites in Saffron Walden even though the Local Plan has yet to be approved by the Planning Inspectorate.

Dan Starr, chair of WeAreResidents.org said “Clearly it seems that the UDC Cabinet are fearful that the Planning Inspectorate will find their plan unsound, or why else would they be attempting to approve 15 years’ worth of housing for Saffron Walden all in one day, and before the Inspector has even seen their draft Local Plan?”
 
“We have been pressurising UDC to do the right thing for the last 2 years, so now at last they are asking developers for land for a primary school and sports facilities, but the evidence shows that these unpopular proposals are still unsustainable,” Dan Starr continued. “The 700 new homes on the east of town would dump 1,000 new cars on the wrong side of the only illegal air quality emergency zone in the district, remove large chunks of residents’ street parking, limit parental choice for the High School, and stretch the already at-capacity sewer system. They are playing a cynical game with the residents of Uttlesford and we urge residents to attend the Planning Committee meeting on 30th”.

The UDC Planning Committee Meeting is from 10:00 to 17:00 on Wednesday 30th April at the UDC London Rd Offices in Saffron Walden and open to the public.

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Posted in News, Planning, Planning Application News, Pollution and Air Quality, Press Releases, Traffic, Uttlesford District Council, Uttlesford Local Plan

Press Release: Uttlesford residents group serves formal complaint against UDC Cabinet Member for misleading full council over draft Local Plan

UUR thumb

UUR22nd April 2014: United Uttlesford Residents (UUR), the residents group whose aims are supported by residents and parish councils across the Uttlesford district, has served a Code of Conduct Complaint against UDC Cabinet member Susan Barker for misleading members of the District Council at the recent UDC Full Council meeting where the draft Uttlesford Local Plan was approved.

Cllr Susan Barker is the UDC Cabinet portfolio member responsible for the Uttlesford Local Plan. At the full council meeting she was asked why specific development sites, such as those in Henham, Elsenham and on the east of Saffron Walden had been chosen and other, more sustainable ones rejected, such as the proposed new settlement location in Great Chesterford.

In response and just before the crucial vote to approve the draft Local Plan, Cllr Barker guided councillors that the Great Chesterford location was not considered because no land was offered for development and the council had to “…stick to the sites that have been put forward”. After making the statement she urged the full council to approve the plan.

The Great Chesterford single settlement site that Cllr Barker referenced had been promoted by UDC as one of the preferred locations for a new single settlement. In 2010 the UDC Comparative Sustainability Analysis Report found it to be one of the most sustainable sites in the district due to its proximity to transport links and jobs. UDC’s Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) indicated that the land was available for “immediate development”.  As Cabinet Member responsible for the Local Plan, UUR believe that Cllr Barker must have been fully aware of all of these facts.

In their Complaint, UUR cited public documents from the UDC website that showed that even as late as November 2013, agents for the landowner of part of the Chesterford site were continuing to ask the UDC to consider the site.

Matt North, speaking on behalf of UUR, said “Our Complaint is not about Great Chesterford or any specific site. It is about the on-going issues of transparency and trust at the council. Why were some sites selected and others not –and crucially why did Cllr Barker mislead the Council just before this vote on the Local Plan? Intentionally misleading the Council is a serious matter and we believe that she has conducted herself in a manner which could be reasonably regarded as bringing the UDC Cabinet, the legitimacy of the draft Local Plan, and her position into disrepute.”

Editor’s Notes

Evidence of land put forward by a developer at Great Chesterford can be found on the UDC website here and summarised in the UDC Officers Report here (document page 14).

About WeAreResidents.org

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.

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Posted in Local Government, News, Planning, Press Releases, Rotten Boroughs, Uttlesford District Council, Uttlesford Local Plan

Press Release: Residents show strong support for creation of a Saffron Walden Town Plan

Town Plan Consultation (Feature)

On Saturday 23rd of March WeAreResidents.org held a public consultation event in the Saffron Walden Town Hall to gauge local residents’ appetite for the creation of a Town Plan for Saffron Walden.


Information was organised into topic zones with more than 60 display boards

A Town Plan, which fits within the district Local Plan framework, describes a vision for a town and legally establishes planning policies for the development and use of land. It also provides the mechanism for a greater portion of financial benefits derived from developers to be given directly to the community.


Attendees left more than 500 comments in jars, on post-it walls and via ipad surveys

Dan Starr, chair of WeAreResidents.org, said “The response was outstanding, with more than 600 local residents and representatives from the media, clubs, churches and the various councils attending the event – at times you couldn’t move in the Town Hall. Thank you to all that attended and we are really grateful for the more than 500 contributions and suggestions received.”

The exhibition featured 6 different “topic zones”, including education, the environment, jobs and economic development, families and communities, housing development, and local government. Each zone included information boards to stimulate discussion, surveys, comment walls, and suggestion jars as well as volunteers who were knowledgeable in each subject. WeAreResidents.org has published all the exhibition content on their website as well as the ability for additional comments to be submitted.


WeAreResidents.org county councillor John Lodge talked to attendees about local government

John Lodge, the Essex County Councillor for Saffron Walden, spoke to residents at the event about localism and government. In commenting he said “Local people clearly love where they live. They are engaged with the issues and absolutely want to have a stake in deciding the town’s future. Localism is alive and well in Saffron Walden.”


Some of the more than 600 attendees even brought their own maps and plans

Summing up Dan Starr said “Our team of volunteers is now busy reviewing all the consultation responses we received. This event was just the start; once we’ve compiled all the feedback, we’ll be preparing a briefing for the Town Council to get the ball rolling on the preparation of a Town Plan. Stay tuned”.


UDC’s proposals for more than 1,000 homes of the east of town was a hot issue

## ENDS ##

About WeAreResidents.org

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.

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Posted in Consultation, Economy and Tourism, Education and Schools, Employment, Essex County Council, News, Planning, Press Releases, Spotlight Articles, Town Plan, Traffic, Uttlesford District Council, Uttlesford Local Plan

Press Release: Residents’ asked to participate in developing a Town Plan for the future of Saffron Walden at kick-off event on 22nd March

Saffron Walden Town Hall

Saffron Walden Town HallMonday 10th March 2014: Saffron Walden based WeAreResidents.org has announced it intends to build a strategic vision and plan for the town, working with other local residents and organisations. To start the process the group are holding a public consultation event at the Saffron Walden Town Hall on Saturday March 22nd between 10 AM and 1 PM.

John Lodge, Essex County Councillor for Saffron Walden said “Residents have told me that they believe that Uttlesford District Council are not concerned about the future of the town or its residents. It’s time that local people decided for themselves what we want our town to be. Join us, and help us help Saffron Walden.”

WeAreResidents.org says that the initial event is open to all and designed to capture the opinions and needs of local residents, groups and organisations on a range of issues, including new homes; roads, traffic and parking; schools and education; family services; leisure facilities; and retail, jobs and the local economy. The group says that opinions gathered will be used in the formation of a Town Plan for Saffron Walden, which will be consulted on later in the year.

Dan Starr, chair of WeAreResidents.org said “There is no strategic plan for Saffron Walden so it’s open season for anyone with an agenda. Without a plan there is no direct financial gain or proper forward investment in roads, schools, sports, jobs, health and families, and we are living with the consequences every day. If you love where you live, come to the Town Hall on 22nd and help us build a strategic plan for our future.”

National planning law specially calls for these types of plan to allow local people to decide the right type of growth in their communities. Once these plans are adopted the law allows 25% of all monies collected from new-home builders to be directly funnelled to the local community, provided that the district council has put in place the correct supporting policies.

In the lead up to the event 6,000 leaflets are being delivered to homes, local groups and organisations in Saffron Walden to promote the event. The leaflet can be downloaded from the WeAreResidents.org website.

## ENDS ##

 Notes for Editors:

  • The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) allows for the creation of Neighbourhood Plans that inform the creation of Local Plans. A Town Plan for Saffron Walden (built subject to the NPPF) would be considered a Neighbourhood Plan.
  • A Neighbourhood Plan establishes general planning policies for the development and use of land in a community and can be detailed or general, depending what local people want.
  • Communities with Neighbourhood Plans receive 25% of any Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) arising from developments in their area compared to those without a neighbourhood plan who will receive 15%. UDC has not yet adopted CIL, but WeAreResidents.org are pushing for its adoption as it allows communities affected by new home building to directly financially benefit from the development of their communities.
  • Saffron Walden currently has no (Town) Neighbourhood Plan and so doesn’t benefit from either the protection of an adopted plan or financially from new home building.

About WeAreResidents.org

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.

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Posted in Consultation, Economy and Tourism, Education and Schools, Employment, Events, Families and Youth, News, Planning, Press Releases, Town Plan, Traffic, Uttlesford District Council, Uttlesford Local Plan

Residents Groups and Councils unite to call on UDC to ditch its draft Local Plan and start again

Press Release: Residents groups, Parish Councils and individual residents from as far afield as Elsenham, Henham, Newport, Saffron Walden, Stansted, Dunmow and Takeley have come together to declare Uttlesford’s local plan process a dismal failure and call on the District Council to start afresh with a brand new process. The collective is also calling on other Parish and Town Councils, groups and individuals from across the district to sign its petition.

On October 9 2013 Uttlesford’s cabinet finally admitted that neither the total number of houses nor the duration of its local plan would stand up to scrutiny by the Planning Inspectorate, and yet vowed to continue with the same plan. This was the final straw for residents groups and Parish Councils who have long been complaining about the lack of meaningful consultation and lack of transparency in the long Local Plan Development process.

Uttlesford United Residents is a coalition of residents groups, Town and Parish Councils, and individuals from across the District, including WeAreResidents.org, Save Newport Village, the Joint Parish Councils Steering Group (Save Our Villages) Save Stansted Village and Takeley Parish Council.

Uttlesford United Residents is a coalition of residents groups, Town and Parish Councils, and individuals from across the District, including WeAreResidents.org, Save Newport Village, the Joint Parish Councils Steering Group (Save Our Villages) Save Stansted Village and Takeley Parish Council.

The new umbrella action-group has chosen the name “Uttlesford United Residents Group” to reflect is significant support across the district which is thought to run into the tens of thousands of individuals. The group is united in its aims which are:

1. The local plan development process be stopped and the current draft plan
discarded.

2. A brand new local plan development process to be put in place, that meets the following standards:

2.1. It is strategic: it works to an agreed set of objectives and reviews options against these objectives. It takes account of existing infrastructure capacity and needs as well as the infrastructure requirements that accompany new households
before deciding where to put houses.

2.2 It is evidence-based: up-to-date evidence is gathered first before decisions are taken.

2.3. It is open and transparent: information is provided in a timely and accessible manner to stakeholders. That all decisions and discussions related to the local plan are open to public scrutiny.

2.4. It includes early and meaningful engagement with local organisations and parish/town councils and that concerns and ideas of individuals and organisations in Uttlesford are properly considered.

2.5. It is timely: that a robust time-frame for development of the plan is put in place and accountability for meeting the time-frame established. We also believe a new plan can be done in less time than the current 2015 timescale.

Spokesman Matt North said:

“It is evident to all that whilst Uttlesford needs to plan for significant housing growth the process to date has been dismal. The whole focus seems to be on where to dump houses with little or no thought to the infrastructure needs of current or future residents. Decisions are made which don’t appear to be supported by evidence; and most shameful of all is the complete absence of meaningful engagement with town and parish councils or individual residents. It is this latter point which has united groups from across the district who are demanding that Uttlesford begins a new local plan development process.”

###

NOTE TO EDITORS:

Uttlesford United Residents is a new pressure group with the aim of reforming the planning process in Uttlesford including the development of a new Local Plan undertaken under a new more transparent and consultative process. The group’s aims are supported by WeAreResidents.org, Save Newport Village, the Joint Parish Councils Steering Group (Save Our Villages) Save Stansted Village and Takeley Parish Council.

The combined group delivered this letter outlining their position to the UDC Cabinet on 1st November 2013.

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Posted in Consultation, News, Planning, Press Releases, Spotlight Articles, Uttlesford District Council, Uttlesford Local Plan

New homes and business park at Ridgeons seems the right type of development for Saffron Walden, but issues need to be addressed before residents can support it

WeAreResidents.org

WeAreResidents.orgUttlesford based WeAreResidents.org has submitted its formal response to the District Council for Ridgeons’ proposed development of 167 new homes, a business park, hotel and convenience store on its site in Saffron Walden. In the response the group have supported the application in principle but stipulated that residents wish to see the application amended to reduce the direct impacts of the development to the town.

Dan Starr chair of WeAreResidents.org said “Other applications in town are poor: the Willis & Gambier housing proposals have zero affordable homes; Kilns trades jobs for houses; and Kier on Thaxted Rd delivers almost nothing in tangible benefits to the town – just more houses and cars. Ridgeons application isn’t the full package because it is on the wrong side of town, but is the best of the current crop because it offers housing and jobs. However before it is approved residents would like to see the application amended specifically to protect employment land, manage cross-town traffic, reduce air pollution, provide classroom places, retain the current sports field and protect residents’ street parking on Ashdon Rd.”

Jen Beaton, the WeAreResidents.org spokeswoman for Families added “Housing affordability in Saffron Walden is a huge issue and the proposals will allow nearly 70 families to get on the first rung of the property ladder, but there does need to be a stronger commitment to providing actual classroom places, not just the cash. Because of the current overcrowding we know that ECC are already approaching local villages to plan for places for town kids. It’s not good enough as Saffron Walden families want their children educated where they live.

UDC’s public consultation for the Ridgeons application is open until Friday 11th October 2013 and residents can submit their comments directly on the UDC website.

## ENDS ##

Notes for Editors:

For more information on the Ridgeons application:

About WeAreResidents.org:

Formed in 2011, WeAreResidents.org is the Saffron Walden, Essex based independent residents’ community group. The group provides a strong, independent voice for the views of the residents of the local area and in May 2013 it won the Essex County Council divisional seat for its own residents’ candidate John Lodge. The election outcome was based on the group’s localism advocacy platform and the desire to create and implement long range strategic and sustainable plans for their area. The group works with other similar groups across Uttlesford and enjoys the strong support of professionals in key and relevant professions.

WeAreResidents.org can we found on the web at www.WeAreResidents.org, on Twitter at www.twitter.com/WeAreResidents and Facebook at www.facebook.com/WeAreResidents.

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Posted in Consultation, Economy and Tourism, Employment, News, Planning, Planning Application News, Pollution and Air Quality, Press Releases, Traffic, Uttlesford District Council, Uttlesford Local Plan

Press Release: Planning Inspectorate ranks Uttlesford in lowest 25% for Local Plan delivery

UDC Local Plan Planning Inspectorate Fail (feature)

Monday 9th September 2013, Saffron Walden: In the Planning Inspectorate’s most recent Local Plan league table, Uttlesford District Council has been ranked in the bottom 25% of councils, with 75% of councils in the country ahead of UDC in the delivery of their plans, including 48% of councils that have already adopted their plans.

Writing in the most recent council newsletter Uttlesford Life, UDC Leader Cllr Jim Ketteridge claimed that “half the councils in the country are in exactly the same position as ourselves.” However the evidence produced by the Planning Inspectorate shows that, like UDC, only 88 out of the 348 councils have failed to publish their Local Plans, not 50%.

The Uttlesford Local Plan, which was supposed to have been adopted in 2011, is still in draft form having been overwhelmingly rejected by residents in 2012 after the incoming UDC Cabinet abandoned the existing single-settlement strategy and started all over again. In the meantime government imposed new housing numbers have significantly increased. That means that a major new draft and public consultation will be required, pushing out the Planning Inspectorate review close to the next district elections, likely making it the biggest election issue once more.

Dan Starr, chair of Saffron Walden based WeAreResidents.org stated “Because the UDC Cabinet has shown itself incapable of delivering a Local Plan, a blitzkrieg of piecemeal and unsustainable developments are raining down on our towns and villages, and so they are trying to mislead residents again.”

Dan Starr continued “The UDC Cabinet leadership has failed the district and so they are now trying to put lipstick on the pig by blaming everyone else and pretending that they are performing much better than the Planning Inspectorate reports that they are. Uttlesford can’t wait and so Council Leader Jim Ketteridge should resign now.”

## ENDS ##

Detailed Notes for Editors:

Supporting information can be found here:

About WeAreResidents.org

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.

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Posted in News, Planning, Press Releases, Spotlight Articles, Uttlesford District Council, Uttlesford Local Plan

Press Release: “Many unhappy returns” to Local Plan as consultation responses ignored by UDC for a year

Cake (feature bar)

Furious Uttlesford residents, whose views on local development have been ignored by their District Council for exactly one year, have resorted to an unusual form of protest; they have baked a birthday cake, signed a card in the Saffron Walden market square, and redelivered more than 2,000 public responses to Uttlesford District Council. The public responses were first submitted as part of last year’s public consultation, but none has been considered by UDC in twelve months. In the meantime the district has been left open to speculative development and there are growing calls for council resignations.

Dan Starr, chair of Saffron Walden based WeAreResidents.org stated:

“The Local Plan is a mess, residents are furious, and they have lost their trust in the council leadership. UDC Cabinet councillors Ketteridge, Barker and Rolfe are responsible, directly culpable, and have catastrophically and publicly failed. Right now Uttlesford residents need new leaders that are accountable and can get the job done rather than let this fiasco go on unchecked until they are voted out in the 2015 local elections.”

Great Dunmow resident Tony Clarke added:

“In its pursuit of political aims, UDC has released the genie from the bottle in the form of uncontrolled and unsustainable development. We are witnessing the results of classic management failure at both political and executive levels. Now residents face a stark choice; continued unplanned overdevelopment with underfunded, dysfunctional infrastructure, or we can get rid of them through the ballot box before it is too late.”

A Local Plan is required to follow sustainability evidence and is designed to allow residents to decide, through their district council, where they want new housing to go. In July 2012 an overwhelming 99% rejected UDC’s draft Local Plan that sought to overbuild existing towns and villages rather than focus future housing in a new settlement as previously proposed. Since losing the support of the public, UDC has made almost no visible progress with the Local Plan, and so has left many settlements open to speculative development; there have been applications submitted for more than 4,000 new homes so far in 2013 alone.

Neil Hargreaves of Save Newport Village stated:

“Many unhappy returns to the Local Plan. UDC has betrayed democracy by ignoring public consultation responses for over a year. As a direct consequence of UDC’s failure, Dunmow, Walden, Stansted, and my own village Newport are facing unprecedented growth that is unsustainable and will cause major upheaval and irrevocably damage them; sewage plants will overflow, roads will be jammed and rural farmland destroyed. The UDC Cabinet should to revert to the more sustainable and widely supported new-settlement option, or resign.”

## ENDS ##

Detailed Notes for Editors:

Consideration of Public Consultation Responses

UDC’s draft Local Plan consultation ended on 23rd July 2012. UDC public stated in their March 2013 Local Plan position statement that they have not yet considered the public consultation representation about the strategic housing policies (single settlement vs. dispersed) or specific site proposals.

From “UTTLESFORD DRAFT LOCAL PLAN POSITION STATEMENT March 2013”:

2. The LDF Working Group still has to consider the representations received regarding the Strategic Housing Policies and the Site Allocations.

This position has not changed as of 22 July 2013; public consultation feedback from residents has still yet to be considered 12 months later.

UDC Planning Applications since 1 January 2013 – breakdown

(note figures for multiple applications rounded up or down to nearest round numbers)

Major applications submitted – 1875

1.         Fairfield Developments, Elsenham 800
2.         Land Securities,  Little Easton 700
3.         Great Dunmow, Crest Nicholson 375

Miscellaneous applications – 1120

4.         Elsenham, several applications – 160
5.         Elsenham, Stansted Road – 165
6.         Great Dunmow – 68
7.         Newport – 84
8.         Saffron Walden – 55
9.         Stansted, several applications (including applications for 160, 140 and 58) – 380
10.       Takeley – 100
11.       Thaxted, several applications – 115

Screening applications–  1050

12.       Great Dunmow, Barratt Homes – 850
13.       Newport (100 homes; 100 care home apartments plus care home) – 200

Total – 4,000

About WeAreResidents.org

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.

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Posted in Consultation, News, Planning, Press Releases, Spotlight Articles, Uttlesford District Council, Uttlesford Local Plan, Water and Sewage

Press Release: Single settlement now only viable Local Plan option for UDC as Planning Inspectorate provides clear guidance

WeAreResidents.org

WeAreResidents.orgThursday 11 July 2013, Saffron Walden: The Government Planning Inspectorate has written to both WeAreResidents.org and Saffron Walden MP Alan Haselhurst to unequivocally clarify what they expect to see from the Local Plan. Specifically the Planning Inspectorate has confirmed that the Uttlesford Local Plan must last for 15 years from the proposed 2014 date of adoption unless there are “compelling reasons” otherwise. There are no compelling reasons.

The UDC Cabinet had reduced the Uttlesford Local Plan period from 15 to 12 years but this has now been ruled to be inadmissible. Uttlesford District Council had claimed that by reducing the timescale, they only needed to allow 3,300 houses, and so had no choice but to abandon their long promoted single settlement strategy. The latest guidance from the Planning Inspectorate says clearly that UDC must include the full 4,500 homes that the Government requires them to plan for over 15 years.

Focusing the majority of development on a single settlement had been the preferred strategy of UDC since 2007 with evidence produced to show consistently that it was the most sustainable option by far. A number of locations in the district had been recommended by the council and planning applications prepared. National planning rules require that a district council adopt the most sustainable option, and with this clarification, UDC now has no choice but to revert back to the single settlement strategy.

Additionally, public support for the single settlement option has grown across the district as residents have become more aware of local development issues; in the 2010 Local Plan Public Consultation attitudes were split, but in 2012 an overwhelming 99% rejected UDC’s plans to abandon the single settlement strategy.

Dan Starr, chair of WeAreResidents.org said:

“The Planning Inspectorate has confirmed that the Uttlesford Local Plan has to run to at least 2029 and so the government requires UDC to plan for a minimum of 4,500 new homes. This is well above UDC’s tipping-point for a new settlement, meaning that UDC now has no choice but to revert back to the most sustainable and overwhelmingly supported single-settlement strategy. This guidance provided by the Planning Inspectorate comes at a critical time as the district has been subject to many speculative developments in most communities. UDC should now be able to quickly issue a revised single settlement based Local Plan update and protect our communities that are under threat.”

John Lodge, Essex County Councillor for the Saffron Walden division said:

“UDC’s emerging dispersed house strategy sought to focus housing on many settlements each with roads, schools and water treatment facilities that were ill-equipped to cope with their proposed expansions. With a single-settlement approach, all of the infrastructure required is funded by the developer and transparent for all to see. Technically the single-settlement strategy is still UDC’s adopted strategy, so it should be straightforward for them to revert to it as their basis of their next draft Local Plan. I look forward to reviewing it”.

## ENDS ##

 Notes for Editors:

UDC uses a model based on economic growth to predict housing need. Using this model, UDC is required to plan for a minimum of 415 new homes a year. UDC had previously announced that they intended their Local Plan to run from 2011 to 2026 and that it would be adopted in 2014, making it in effect a 12 year plan under planning guidelines. Because UDC has already approved a number of significant housing developments, they had claimed that they needed to plan for a remaining 3,300 new homes over their shortened Local Plan period (to 2026).

The letter from the Planning Inspectorate makes it quite clear that even though a council may backdate a plan, the 15 year timing starts on the day the plan is adopted. Because the Uttlesford Local Plan will be adopted in 2014, this means that UDC is required to plan for a further 3 years, to 2029. At 415 new homes a year, this represents just over 1,200 homes, bringing the required number of homes that the government expects UDC to plan for to be in excess 4,500.

UDC had previously claimed that a plan shorter than 15 years was allowed and had referenced the Haringey Local Plan. The Haringey Local Plan is not an appropriate reference. The Planning Inspectorate had reviewed that plan before the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) came in to effect and so it was not subject to the 15-year planning timeframe. The Planning Inspector commented to this effect during his formal approval of the plan. There is no evidence of any other Local Plan being approved for less than 15 years.

Enclosures: Copy of Planning Inspectorate letter: http://wp.me/p2dglp-1KP

About WeAreResidents.org

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.

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Posted in News, Planning, Press Releases, Spotlight Articles, Uttlesford District Council, Uttlesford Local Plan

Press Release: Cllr John Lodge asserts election result referendum on UDC Cabinet’s Local Plan

John Lodge (smile)

John Lodge (smile)Tuesday 7th May 2013: Newly elected Essex County Councillor John Lodge issued the follow statement following his local election win on May 2nd.

Cllr John Lodge said,

“Last Thursday the voters of the Saffron Walden division of Essex County Council sent an important message to local councillors who ignore their constituency.  Thank you to those voters who dismissed a long serving Conservative councillor who 4 years ago had a majority of over 1,700 votes; this was a very serious and powerful message.”

“Last year, sitting councillors ignored a 99% vote against their development plans for Uttlesford and, whilst Essex County Council is not the primary planning authority, the residents of Saffron Walden used the vote as a referendum on Uttlesford’s Local Development Framework Plan.”

He continued,

“The message to the cabinet of Uttlesford District Council is that if you continue to ignore the wishes of the people who put you in power, you will be voted out in 2015. With the election of Joanna Parry in the District by-election in Newport, it is obvious that the residents’ movement is growing in Uttlesford, and residents’ candidates will stand for all of the UDC seats in Saffron Walden and likely much more broadly across the District.”

John Lodge also thanked the residents of the Saffron Walden county division and his election team.

“I would like to thank the voters of the Saffron Walden division who gave me a vote of confidence and also for the remarkable interest and politeness which you have shown to me as I made my unsolicited approaches on your doorstep, in the market square, or in one of the many local traffic jams.”

“From a standing start in January, I have had amazing support from my committee, my canvassers, my leaflet distributors, donors and so many people who enthusiastically spread the word.  My heartfelt thanks go out to all of these people for mounting a superb and professional campaign which was admired by so many people.”

He concluded:

“I want to continue listening to the views of people who love where they live, so I will run summer surgeries initially in the market square where I have met so many of you on most of the market days this year.  I will be there to talk to you from 10:00 to 11:00 and longer if you need me on the first Tuesday of each month from June through to September, starting Tuesday 4th June.”

“If you need to contact me at other times, I am available on 07758 240332. I look forward to meeting even more Saffron Walden Residents in the coming months.”

## ENDS ##

About WeAreResidents.org

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.

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Posted in Election 2013, Essex County Council, News, Press Releases, Spotlight Articles, Traffic, Uttlesford District Council, Uttlesford Local Plan
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