'Ghetto' claim for new homes in Uttlesford

PUBLISHED: 08:19 12 March 2010 | UPDATED: 22:10 31 May 2010

FEARS that new housing plans could create a ghetto in Uttlesford have been raised at a public meeting. Uttlesford District Council (UDC) has to find sites for about 4000 new homes in the district and is currently seeking the views of residents as to whe

FEARS that new housing plans could create a "ghetto" in Uttlesford have been raised at a public meeting.

Uttlesford District Council (UDC) has to find sites for about 4000 new homes in the district and is currently seeking the views of residents as to where they should be built.

The council think the best idea is to build the bulk of the homes at a single site to the north-east of Elsenham - a plan which has met with considerable opposition.

At a public meeting held at the council offices in Saffron Walden last Thursday, Henham resident Michael Hughes told planning officers he was concerned that the 3000-home settlement "would be like a ghetto".

UDC's director of development, Roger Harborough, rejected this idea saying that many of the new homes would be filled by people choosing to move from within the area to the new settlement.

"People will be able to make an informed choice about moving and weigh up their quality of life," he said. "They will invest money into the area."

Under the council's preferred option, 500 of the remaining homes would be built on the edge of Great Dunmow, 250 homes in Saffron Walden, 30 in Great Chesterford, 50 in Newport, 20 in Stansted Mountfitchet, 30 in Takeley, 30 in Thaxted and about 90 homes spread around the villages.

Senior contracts manager at NHS West Essex, Alice Reynolds, said that any single settlement would have to have a minimum of 3000 homes to attract new health facilities.

"The Primary Care Trust has met with planners in this first stage," she said. "A development the size of 3000 homes would warrant a new health centre.

"For any smaller developments then the existing health services would be expected to absorb the demand."

Concern was also raised at the meeting that the consultation gave equal value to different issues such as water supplies, infrastructure and character of the area. Mr Harborough said that members of the council would have to look at the objectives and decide which were more important to the community.

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