The latest move on the Uttlesford Local Plan is inevitable given the failure of their ruse to start a 15 year plan three years in the past, to avoid a new settlement at Elsenham, was ruled out of in a letter from PINS.
UTTLESFORD residents have united to fight the district council’s latest proposals to build 10,460 new homes.
The Conservative administration’s latest U-turn is the final straw for protest groups across the authority’s area, who have now banded together and branded the blueprint ” a dismal failure”.
They want the politicians to start afresh and will make a show of strength this afternoon (Friday, November 1) when the Tory cabinet meets in Walden to discuss recommendations that: 2,100 homes should be built north of Elsenham; 400 properties on land west of Great Dunmow and south of Stortford Road; 100 dwellings on a site of the Helena Romanes School, also in Dunmow; and 167 houses at the Ashdon Road Commercial Centre.
The new sites have been earmarked because the Conservatives have finally admitted the Government will never ratify their figures unless they add an extra 2,600 properties to previous estimates and they have ditched their previous view that growth should be dispersed across the main towns and key villages, rather than concentrated in a single new settlement.
Spokesman for the new Uttlesford United Residents Group, 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.”
The pressure group has already won the support of Walden’s WeAreResidents.org, Save Newport Village, the Joint Parish Councils Steering Group (Save Our Villages) Save Stansted Village and Takeley Parish Council and members are calling on other parish and town councils, groups and individuals from across the district to sign its petition at uttlesfordunitedresidents.org.
Uttlesford United’s main aim is that the local plan development process be stopped and the current draft plan discarded. It then wants a brand new local plan development process to be put in place which meets the following standards:
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;
It is evidence-based: up-to-date evidence is gathered first before decisions are taken;
It is open and transparent – information is provided in a timely and accessible manner to stakeholders and that all decisions and discussions related to the local plan are open to public scrutiny;
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;
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. The group also believes a new plan can be done in less time than the current 2015 timescale.