Newport and Stansted housing threat could be reduced as Uttlesford publishes Local Plan statement

UDC's London Road base.

UDC's London Road base. - Credit: Archant

UTTLESFORD District Council has moved to clarify its current status regarding the controversial Local Plan – and its goods news for Newport and Stansted.

The council needs to find locations for 3,300 new homes over the next 14 years and the statement – published today (March 22) – sets out the latest position regarding the allocation of housing and employment sites

The cabinet will receive a report next week that sets out a number of key amendments to the draft plan, including:

• Reducing the number of new dwellings proposed in Newport by two thirds from 300 to 100, and the size of the allocation site from 15.2 to 4.5 hectares

• Reducing the size of the housing allocation site off Thaxted Road in Saffron Walden from 79 to 40 hectares

• Removing two proposed housing allocation sites and 11 proposed homes in Stansted Mountfitchet

A UDC spokesman said: “We are committed to adopting a very robust Local Plan which appropriately reflects housing, employment and recreation provision and needs across the whole district.

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“The draft plan which was consulted upon last year took into account the views of the residents and businesses who responded to the two separate consultations which took place earlier in the year.

“Since then it has been necessary to carry out a further series of evidence-based studies to test the potential impact of the development outlined in the draft plan.

“A major part of this work has been the Highway Assessment carried out by Essex County Council which has identified that further detailed analysis of traffic levels needs to be carried out.

“In order to provide guidance to residents and businesses as to how the comments received have impacted on the draft plan the Council has today issued a Position Statement.

“More than half the local authorities across England and Wales are in the same position as Uttlesford in not having an up to date Local Plan following the change in national planning guidance.

“Like us they are working to ensure they produce a robust plan based on sound evidence so that when they do formally adopt their plan it is as appropriate to their local area as possible.”

The statement is based on the latest data from highways experts. Studies carried out so far indicate that more work needs to be done to assess the potential impact of the increased traffic created by the proposed new development sites highlighted in the Draft Local Plan on major road junctions, particularly Junction 8 of the M11.

This additional work will be carried out by Essex County Council, which was commissioned to carry out a highway assessment work by Uttlesford.

The Position Statement is available on the council’s website which the cabinet will be asked to endorse, subject to the outcome of the additional work by the county council, when it meets on Tuesday (March 26).

The revised proposals will then be the subject of further consultation before the council submits them for independent examination.