Council leader reiterates need for housing in Uttlesford amid renewed campaign from anti-development group

PUBLISHED: 09:00 27 September 2017 | UPDATED: 09:41 27 September 2017

One of the new banners put up by the campaign group. Picture: StopNUtown

One of the new banners put up by the campaign group. Picture: StopNUtown

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The leader of Uttlesford District Council has reiterated the need for more housing amid fresh calls from a campaign group to continue fighting development.

Comments from Councillor Howard Rolfe come as the Stop North Uttlesford Garden Village (StopNUGV) group decided to change its name to StopNUtown.

The group was created in response to a proposed housing development, which could see 5,000 properties built near Great Chesterford as part of the Local Plan.

In recent days, however, it has rebranded itself as fighting a town, arguing that council language describing the site as a ‘village’ or ‘community’ is misleading.

Richard Pavitt, from the group, said: “We started out as StopNUGV, North Uttlesford Garden Village, which was the name used by Bidwells when the development was first proposed.

“Then Uttlesford District Council (UDC) adopted the name NUGC - North Uttlesford Garden Community - and now that developers are involved the name may change again. Village, garden community, idyllic Shangri-la, its all misleading window dressing. This is a new town, plain and simple, and everything that infers.”

In response, Mr Rolfe said: “As always it is more productive to stay with the facts rather than the fantasy.

“UDC must produce a Local Plan and two weeks ago the government launched a consultation on the methodology of how to calculate the numbers for future housing.

“In Uttlesford’s case the number derived from their proposed methodology rose to 16,200 or 740 homes per annum, however, if we submit our Plan by the end of March 2018 our number does not change. This is not a situation that will magically go away, it has to be addressed.”

He also said that although he understands local concern, three new settlements are needed.

He added: “Nationally there is cross party agreement that more houses are required, there is a housing shortage crisis and young people simply cannot get on the housing ladder particularly in the south east. Uttlesford is obliged by law to play its part in contributing to the solution. There is a contradiction by those who recognise the overall need for more housing but do not want it near them.”

The campaign group is also planning a fundraising concert to boost support on November 4.

For tickets, visit StopNUtown.org.uk.

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