I agree with much of Simon Trimnell's letter of last week and would be pleased to discuss it with him. Planning should not be political, the Planning Committee at Uttlesford is a semi judicial body that bases its decisions on planning law and this also applies to the formation of the Local Plan. Most of us agree that we must produce a plan otherwise, as Mr Trimnell suggests, it will be done for us by central government.
The starting point of the Plan is determining the number of new homes to be built, Uttlesford District Council (UDC) will ensure that residents are aware of government guidelines and how and why UDC and its advisers have calculated the particular number. The next question is where the new homes will be placed, a cross party decision has already been taken that it is likely that one or more new settlements will be necessary and that the majority of the new homes will be sited in new settlements.
To determine where the new settlement(s) are placed a series of studies must be undertaken to ensure that any recommendation is based on planning evidence and long term sustainability. This work is well underway and the final recommendations will be put to residents for consultation in July.
The concluding piece of the process is to ensure that new developments have the appropriate infrastructure, facilities and benefits for their communities and this will be done in partnership with the developer, UDC and the respective town/parish council.
There is understandably much discussion about the Plan but hopefully a growing sense that the process is transparent, evidence based and necessary.
As I believe Mr Trimnell suggested, our collective aspiration should be to create "a great place to live and a great place to bring up a family" for this and future generations.
Cllr Howard Rolfe, District Councillor for Ashdon, Hadstock, Sewards End and Little Walden