Hundreds of homes could be built in Walden over the next 15 years

SAFFRON Walden could expand by about 880 homes over the next 15 years if the district council’s latest development strategy is given the green light.

Broad figures released by Uttlesford District Council would also see Dunmow accommodating 1,150 homes, Elsenham 400, Newport 370 and Great Chesterford 100.

Stansted and Thaxted would each grow by 60 homes.

The numbers are all part of the ‘emergent option’ distribution strategy to be considered for approval by the cabinet on May 10 – the latest stage in the formation of the district’s Local Development Framework.

But the approach has not been received well by a number of district councillors in Saffron Walden.

Cllr David Watson disagreed with the strategy and said he favoured the council’s original development plan for a single settlement between Henham and Elsenham – the controversial Option 4.

He told the Reporter he planned to raise the objection when it is discussed by the scrutiny committee on Tuesday (May 8).

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Proposals to build around 3,300 homes in Uttlesford from 2013 to 2028 were announced by the district council last month – an average growth of 338 per year when taking into account planning permissions already granted.

The first of three public consultations was held from January to March to give residents a say about how and where new housing should be built in the coming years.

Views were sought on a dispersal strategy which would see the majority of growth focussed on the district’s two largest towns, Saffron Walden and Dunmow.

Seven key villages which already have facilities such as good road and public transport links, schools and shops were also identified for development, although Hatfield Heath’s location in the green belt meant planning officers did not consider it appropriate for growth.

The next step is for a second public consultation to be held next month from June 8 to July 3.

It will cover the core strategy for how the district will develop, locations and numbers of new homes and employment sites and development management policies on how planning applications should be decided.

Cllr Susan Barker, cabinet member for environmental services, said: “Public consultation in June will give the public the chance to consider the approach decided by the cabinet and look at sites for housing and new businesses.

“We will again be running public exhibitions and I would encourage everyone to have their say on this important consultation.”

Public exhibitions, open from 10am to 8pm, will be held on:

Tuesday, 19 June - Town Hall, Saffron Walden

Wednesday, 20 June - Church House, Newport

Friday, 22 June - Community Information Centre, Thaxted

Monday, 25 June - Memorial Hall, Elsenham

Wednesday, 27 June, Community Centre, Great Chesterford

Thursday, 28 June - Day Centre, Stansted

There will also be an exhibition from 7pm at the North Community Forum on June 14 at the district council offices in Saffron Walden.