Over 24,000 Uttlesford houses could be built under new plans

PUBLISHED: 17:06 12 August 2020 | UPDATED: 09:33 13 August 2020

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Stansted North, Alan Dean. Photo: Supplied by Alan Dean.

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Stansted North, Alan Dean. Photo: Supplied by Alan Dean.

Supplied by Alan Dean

More than 24,000 new houses could be built across Uttlesford over the next 20 years, according to Lib Dem Councillor for Stansted North, Alan Dean.

R4U vice chair Dan Starr. Photo: Supplied by R4U.R4U vice chair Dan Starr. Photo: Supplied by R4U.

These estimations come as the UK’s Conservative government announced a consultation to change the current planning system.

Cllr Dean said: “This week, the Conservative Government has announcement proposals to reform the planning system. The new Uttlesford Local Plan will have to include at least 1,200 new homes per annum compared to 715 each year in the withdrawn plan.

“Over the years to 2040, there would be a 70 percent increase on the current number of houses in our towns and villages. This is neither environmentally nor socially sustainable.”

Meanwhile, Uttlesford’s Liberal Democrats criticised the R4U’s administration withdrawal of the previous Local Plan earlier this year - a decision which the Lib Dems opposed. The plan, put forward by the previous Uttlesford Conservatives, was found “unsound” by independent planning inspectors.

R4U Councillor  John Evans, UDC portfolio holder for planning and the Local Plan. Photo: Supplied by R4U.R4U Councillor John Evans, UDC portfolio holder for planning and the Local Plan. Photo: Supplied by R4U.

The Lib Dems have called for Conservative MP Kemi Badenoch to explain the government’s proposals.

Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) is strongly opposing the government’s proposals which would strip control of planning from local councils.

R4U vice chair Dan Starr said “We must be clear; this is a full-scale assault by the government on our nation’s towns, villages and countryside. Under their changes, many decisions over planning would be ripped away from local residents and their councils, and instead central government and property developers will decide what gets built and where.

“The government has shown once again that they are happy to hand over the reins to big business tycoons, such as the property owner of Bloor Homes who donated £1million to the Conservative Party. This is the most shocking and anti-democratic government move in decades. We believe that on local matters, residents should decide, not Westminster politicians and those that fund them.”

R4U’s Cllr John Evans, portfolio holder for planning, said “Most of Uttlesford is just outside the greenbelt and in easy commuting distance of London. As a result of the government’s catastrophic proposals, we could see tens-of-thousands of new London overspill houses dumped all over Uttlesford by developers with no say or control by residents.”

The consultation document, available on the government website, says that the new planning approach will focus on delivering 300,000 UK homes a year and will distribute them in a better way, with more houses in areas where they are “least affordable”.

Uttlesford District Council said they were aware of the Government’s proposals and are looking into it.

MP Kemi Badenoch could not be reached for comment before publication.

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