Uttlesford campaigners highlight threat of housing onslaught
Campaigners are stepping up their efforts to block proposals for new settlements in Uttlesford.
Consultation on the draft Uttlesford District Local Plan closed on Monday, August 13, but the StopNUtown group still hopes that plans for 5,000 houses on some 1,100 acres of chalk hills north-east of Great Chesterford on the Essex-Cambridgeshire boundary can be stopped.
The group has released a video of the attractive countryside that would be lost should the so-called North Uttlesford Garden Community be built.
StopNUtown points to the high cost of tackling problems with the site, while the impact on surrounding communities and roads make it an unworkable plan that will “deliver little more than an expensive housing estate”.
Richard Pavitt, of StopNUtown, said: “Local communities and independent planning consultants are struggling to understand why this site has been included in the Local Plan.
“There is little prospect of making any impact on the need for affordable homes as claimed by Uttlesford District Council.
“When agents Bidwells, on behalf of a group of four landowners, first put the land forward the council turned it down due landscape issues.
“Since then, problems have been identified with watershed, flood risk, damage to important aquifers supplying south Cambridgeshire, and a significant risk of damage to heritage assets dating back to Roman and pre-Roman times.
“Add to this list the prospect of road gridlock around the A505/A1301 and everyone is asking the question ‘Why?’.
“The council have yet to provide plausible reasons for overriding the advice of their own landscape consultant and other specialists.
“Nor have they costed the work needed to remedy all the problems. It seems we have to wait for the planning inspector to inject some sense into the process, probably mid-next year.”
To learn more about the campaign against the garden community and watch the video, visit www.stopnutown.org.uk
Elsewhere in the district, Stop Easton Park has made a rallying call to local people: “Wake up, Dunmow. We need to mobilise!”
Easton Park, at 10,000 homes, is the largest of the three substantial developments proposed for Uttlesford, lying between Stansted airport and Great Dunmow, but campaigners with Stop Easton Park stress: “This is NOT a done deal.”
They point out: “Residents should take comfort from the independent inspector’s letter of 8 June in respect of the North Essex Garden Communities proposal for developments at West of Braintree, West Tey and East of Colchester for up to 43,000 houses.
“The letter is highly critical and demonstrates the important role played by the inspector.”
As the website (www.stopeastonpark.co.uk) highlights, Great Dunmow is set to almost double in size by 2033, from 3,800 to 7,000 homes, before the proposed Easton Park new town is even considered.
Add to this the proposed West of Braintree garden city – 13,000 homes straddling the Uttlesford and Braintree district boundary – and you begin to comprehend the eye-watering levels of housing development put forward for the area.
Should it all come to pass, life here will be very different.
You can visit https://sercle.org.uk for more on the West of Braintree plans.
Wednesday, August 22, 2018