Housing plans cause anger

HOUSING planners appear to be on a collision course after it was revealed that a council wants to meet its housing targets by placing homes inside Uttlesford.

Despite having no discussions with Uttlesford District Council, East Herts District Council has indentified land within the boundaries of Birchanger, Stansted and Great Hallingbury as prime land to build on.

However this has been met with a furious reaction from UDC members who have vowed to refuse permission should a planning application arise.

Stansted County Council representative Ray Gooding who is also a Birchanger resident said: “Developers have ruined Bishop Stortford since 1985 and we don’t want the same thing happening in our villages.

“The preferred option for East Herts could mean the joining up of our villages and towns along the B1383 – we must not let this happen.”

East Herts is in the process of planning its local development framework – a growth plan which leads up to the year 2031 – and is asking for views on its plans.

Despite asking for opinions at this late stage it was given short shrift by UDC’s environment committee.

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Cllr Elizabeth Godwin was particularly animated when she said: “We shouldn’t even begin to entertain the idea of that council building homes on what is our land.

“The sheer nerve of dumping houses here is incredible. It is green belt land and totally unsuitable for development. We were not even consulted and it came as a complete shock, we only found out by seeing it on the internet.”

Environment chairman Susan Barker summed up the opinion of the committee and asked director of public services Roger Harborough to write back announcing that should any planning applications come in UDC would “vigorously appeal them because East Herts has plenty of locations that are suitable within its own boundaries.”

East Herts are only at a consultation stage thus far, but UDC wanted to put out a strong message because so many parts of the plans involved building homes right on the edge of villages in the south of the district.

Cllr Godwin added: “It is against all our principles of protecting rural villages and rural areas”.

WHAT do you think? E-mail nick.thompson@archant.co.uk.