Saffron Walden Town Council forms working group ahead of September deadline for draft Local Plan consultation

PUBLISHED: 18:10 15 August 2017 | UPDATED: 18:10 15 August 2017

Saffron Walden Town Hall, home to the town council

Saffron Walden Town Hall, home to the town council

Archant

Saffron Walden Town Council has decided to form a cross-party working group to deal with the issues surrounding the district’s Local Plan.

The idea was suggested on August 10 in response to Uttlesford District Council opening a public consultation on the draft Plan – a feedback period which closes on September 4.

Councillor Dr Richard Freeman, mayor of Saffron Walden, told the chamber: “In many respects, this is possibly the most important thing we are ever going to do in this administration because the Local Plan will inform the planning applications for the next 15 years.

“It’s very important to get this emerging Local Plan as right as we possibly can.”

The Local Plan defines ambitions for growth in the district until 2033, including new housing targets.

To help achieve these, the document is focused around three new garden communities - one to the north-east of Great Chesterford, the second at Easton Park, and another to the west of Braintree and east of Stebbing.

Charles Reese, a resident from Great Chesterford, also spoke at the meeting and raised concerns about the North Uttlesford plans.

He said: “As we understand it, although we know the garden principles involve infrastructure building, we see no evidence of any infrastructure spend by Uttlesford District Council for this new town that’s proposed.

“Therefore, we see the roads into Saffron Walden, particularly Bridge Street where there is an enormous amount of pollution, will get worse and very quickly there will be 1,000 new cars in the district wanting to come in on a Saturday morning.

“Eventually if the plans comes to fruition, there could be 10,000 new cars that will be coming in and people won’t be going to Cambridge as some people think.”

Mr Reese also raised fears about the pressure on schools in the area and railway services.

He added: “We all know Great Chesterford can’t really cope with more cars at it [its railway station] and we know the rail station at Audley End is at capacity. Where are these people going to put their cars when they commute to London?”

As a result of the meeting, the town council decided to begin forming the group and hopes to arrange its first meeting soon.

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