New Local Plan: 'Housing and transport should be planned together'

Uttlesford District Council

Uttlesford District Council. - Credit: Uttlesford District Council

Housing and transport need to be planned together to ensure the success of Uttlesford's new Local Plan.

The guidance from Andrew Summers, Strategic Director at Transport East, was the latest in a series of meetings to help shape Uttlesford for decades to come.

He warned the East of England will grow by approximately 300,000 homes in the next 15 years, with a significant transport impact. 

Mr Summer said if homes were built closely together it would help shift people from private cars to public transport. If they were built further away from each other, a move could be made towards electric vehicles. He also recommended an overall reduction in the need to travel. 

Mr Summer said Transport East, which focuses on transport development across the east of England, is developing a strategy to 2050 highlighting what investments are needed from the government.

Objectives inclide better connectivity across towns and cities, focusing on the “particularly poor connectivity” east-west in the region. In support of improvements, Transport East highlighted the region’s economic contribution to the UK economy -   £73.5 billion. 

Mr Summer said tensions may arise between the government’s priorities and local issues, with residents caring more about housing, local jobs and local development.  

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Addressing the causes and impacts of climate change has been agreed as a high priority for this region by local, regional and national representatives.

Mr Summer said: “In the east of England, we published a study in November that shows transport is the largest contributor of carbon dioxide in the [region]: 41 percent of all emissions.  

“We are one of those regions that stand to be most impacted by things such as sea level rise - with risks to public, businesses, tourism and fresh water availability.” 

He said active travel would have a positive impact on both reducing health costs, and reducing the risks of heart disease and early death by approximately a third.  

“The key barrier to cycling is the perception of safety.  

“How do we start to invest more in walking and cycling and how do we interact with the government policy of doubling walking and cycling, and the funding pot?” 

The next meeting is at 7pm on Wednesday, January 27 and will discuss leisure, culture and healthy lifestyles.