There is broad consensus that our District needs a Local Plan to deliver much-needed homes and well-thought-out communities across Uttlesford.
Uttlesford District Council is a planning authority and carries a duty by law to produce a Plan. Without one, the District cannot demonstrate a good (5-year) pipeline of housing supply and is therefore open to unwanted and speculative development.
This has already started to happen, to the detriment of communities across the District, and developers are waiting in the wings to pounce should the plan stall or be delayed. These speculative (and commonly inappropriate) applications could be rejected by UDC’s planning committee but on appeal the District would be vulnerable to losing if there is no Plan in place.
UDC’s Plan was submitted to the Government in January and included the proposal for three new settlements built on Garden Community principles. The whole point of creating new settlements was a recognition that existing communities like Saffron Walden, Great Dunmow, Newport, Stansted and Elsenham had already taken their share of new homes and did not have the necessary infrastructure to cope with the further number of homes and community facilities that the Government requires of the District.
Hearings are due to commence in early July and the inspectors will pass judgement on the Plan soon after. This could include recommended modifications and it is appreciated that communities adjacent to the proposed new Garden Settlements are uncomfortable with the proposed sites. It is important that their concerns are listened and responded to at the Development Plan and application stages.
In summary, the need for a Plan is paramount in securing the future of our District in the right way. There will never be a perfect plan that suits every resident, but it is important that our District has the protection it deserves and control over its own development.