Uttlesford Local Plan: what will the inspector decide?

Great Dunmow, great change?

Friday, September 20, 2019

More than two months has passed since examination of Uttlesford District Council’s new Local Plan began, so it is timely to serve a reminder of what might lie in store for residents.
Examination started on Tuesday, July 2, after the council’s decision to write to planning inspectors saying they saw no reason the process should not get under way.
The fresh draft of the Plan includes an Objectively Assessed Need for some 14,000 homes to be built from 2011-33, much the same figure as that proposed in the previous draft. Of those, the council says more than 8,000 have already been built, have planning permission or are anticipated to come forward in small infill sites.
It believes that three new ‘garden communities’ proposed within the draft Plan – at North Uttlesford, Easton Park and West of Braintree – “would be central to accommodating much of the outstanding growth needs”. Some 5,000 homes could be delivered on the three garden community sites during the Plan period, with them taking a further 20,000 within the period of the next Local Plan.
The anticipated rate of buildings is 568 per year from 2011-2022 and 705 per year from 2022-2033.
The district council is controlled by Residents for Uttlesford (R4U), whose extraordinary sweep to power in May’s local elections is described here
R4U chairman John Lodge is the leader of the council and has explained why the new administration chose not to rip up the previous draft Plan and start all over again: “I’ve been asked a number of times why we haven’t withdrawn the Local Plan because it was submitted by the previous Conservative administration.
“The truth is we must stop the Tories’ decade-long developer-free-for-all that has overrun our historic towns and villages. The quickest way is for this Plan to pass inspection and be adopted.
“Withdrawing it would mean four more years of speculative development, a further £3 million cost for the council taxpayer and thousands more houses.
“Council officers have assured us that the Plan was ready for inspection. We have committed that if this is found not to be the case by the inspectors, then we will positively work with them to resolve any issues.
“It is imperative to create the best outcome for Uttlesford residents.”