Campaigners claim 99 per cent of residents are opposed to ‘Hellsenham’ new town
OPPONENTS of plans for 3,000 homes on farmland between Henham and Elsenham – dubbed “Hellsenham” – are claiming district-wide support for their campaign.
The public exhibitions enabled the community to find out about The Fairfield Partnership’s emerging plans, to express their views and to provide feedback on how the proposals could be improved as The Fairfield Partnership prepares to submit a planning application in the New Year.
The roadshow started in Henham, before going to Stansted, Saffron Walden and Dunmow, and finishing in Elsenham on Saturday.
At each, members of the Save our Villages (SoV) group were on hand to canvass opinion. The group claims that of 750 visitors, just six supported the development.
One of the campaigners was Uttlesford district councillor Elizabeth Parr, who represents Elsenham and Henham. After attending all five exhibitions, she said: “I have spoken to hundreds of people over the past week about Fairfield’s ridiculous plans.
“Residents across Uttlesford have had the good sense to see through Fairfield’s misleading suggestion that if they get to build their ‘Hellsenham’ new town, other areas won’t get any housing development – the numbers simply don’t add up.
“Local people, whether in Elsenham, Henham, Stansted, Saffron Walden or Dunmow, are smart enough to see this development for what it is - an opportunistic money-spinner that will destroy local communities.
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“Fairfield should accept that their proposed development is simply not wanted by anyone and should abandon their plans.”
SoV and Henham Parish Council chairman, Nick Baker, said: “This expensive series of exhibitions attracted almost 750 Uttlesford residents, of whom just six were in favour of Fairfield’s new town – that’s under one per cent of those who attended.
“We await the submission of Fairfield’s planning application to Uttlesford District Council in January, and hope that councillors take on board the strong message sent this week by local people and refuse it, once and for all.
“With 99 per cent of residents opposed to it, this must be the single most unpopular development plan in the country!”
Steve Biart, on behalf of The Fairfield Partnership, said: “We would like to thank the community for coming to our exhibitions and for providing feedback on our proposals. We had some good conversations with residents and came away with many detailed comments to consider as we finalise our plans.
“The vast majority of attendees were from Elsenham and Henham which are the two nearest villages to our site and we fully accept that those residents who attended did not like the idea of having new development in their backyards.
“But the inconvenient truth is that the district needs more homes than it is currently planning for and the council’s strategy of adding more and more housing onto market towns is just not a sustainable approach to the level of growth required.
“We are not promoting our site as a standalone solution to this issue. However, our proposals provide an opportunity for the district to plan for the full level of growth required in a highly sustainable location, with housing supported by new infrastructure close to jobs.”
Many visitors took the opportunity to leave comments at the exhibitions. Feedback will continue to be accepted until December 3. The exhibition material and feedback questionnaire is available on the project website – elsenham-info.co.uk.