Campaign to oppose district council's housing plans launched

PUBLISHED: 15:06 05 July 2012

A NEW campaign has been launched to oppose Uttlesford District Council's proposals on how the district should be developed over the next 15 years - and residents have been urged to join the fight.

WeAreResidents.org, a Saffron Walden-based action group, announced its intention to back the town council’s “strongly expressed opposition” to the plans – which would see Great Dunmow and Saffron Walden take the brunt of housing requirements in the district with 1,150 and 880 homes apiece.

The group also fought Sainsbury’s appeal for a supermarket in the town and is working in tandem with Save Newport Village. Residents set up that group to oppose major development in the village following the Reporter’s exclusive revelation that Newport Free Grammar School was being considered as a potential site for up to 300 homes.

Speaking on behalf of WeAreResidents.org, Saffron Walden resident Dan Starr said: “There is a need for housing in the district, but UDC’s new plan is flawed, completely unsuitable for Uttlesford, and is contradicted by all the evidence they have produced over the last five years.”

He went on to voice the group’s support for a single settlement approach, rather than the newly-favoured dispersal strategy announced at the beginning of the year – and raised concerns that the council had adopted this policy following a series of meetings with developers behind closed doors.

“Something changed during the last three months of 2011 because the council altered its stance from a major settlement – of which a proposal for a new town to the north of Great Chesterford was found to be the most sustainable in a UDC document – to this alternative plan of dispersal.

“But since 2007 UDC has consistently shown a new town is the best option.

“It also found in the past that any new large scale developments in existing towns and villages would be unsustainable with too much impact,” he added.

“The WeAreResidents.org campaign calls on UDC to drop these damaging new proposals and recognise that all of their evidence shows that the best solution is a new settlement, with appropriate, smaller scale, development in the other towns and villages.”

The action group is also calling on all residents of the district to act and tell UDC what they think of its plan before the second consultation finishes on July 23.

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