POLL: Should taxpayers’ money be spent on fighting new housing in Saffron Walden?
10:02 22 May 2014
Should YOUR money be spent fighting new housing in Saffron Walden?
That is the question being asked by the Reporter following Saffron Walden Town Council’s decision to set up a working group to look into the possibility of doing so.
Taxpayers’ money could be used to challenge planning applications already approved – such as Manor Oak’s 200-home development off Thaxted Road and the Ridgeons revamp on Ashdon Road.
It could also be used to defend the town against further prospective schemes.
That would include the Kier Homes application to build 300 homes off Thaxted Road, rejected by Uttlesford District Council’s planning committee last month, which could yet see the developer appeal or revise its proposal.
Speaking at a full town council meeting last Thursday, Councillor David Watson said the time had come to decide whether or not to fight new housing. He said: “We need to decide whether we should defend or fight applications or appeals which affect this town.
“But what are we here for? We are here to protect this town.
“I know our money is public money, so the question is what would people want? My gut reaction is that the people of Saffron Walden would like to fight.”
Cllr Watson called for a council working group to be set up to look into the pros and cons of challenging applications and how much financial risk was associated with it.
He added: “It’s going to cost money and there is a risk. But I’m not sure whether there is an alternative.
“If it means a judicial review or fighting an appeal then there would be legal costs.”
Mayor Councillor Sandra Eden also cautioned about the use of taxpayers’ money.
She said: “We have to realise that this will cost money and it could be an open-ended cost. It’s a big risk if we should lose [a court case].”
Councillors unanimously agreed to set up a working group.
In response, the Reporter is launching a poll as a way of gauging public support for the use of taxpayers’ money to challenge new housing schemes.
Register your vote now. We’d also like to hear your views on the topic. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also write to: Saffron Walden Reporter, 54 High Street, Saffron Walden CB10 1EE.