Plan for 150 new homes gets council backing

PUBLISHED: 10:32 14 May 2009 | UPDATED: 21:45 31 May 2010

A CONTROVERSIAL plan to build more than 150 new homes in Saffron Walden has received council backing. At a special meeting of Saffron Walden Town Council, Cllr Sandra Eden said she hoped that the development would breathe new life into a dying town. T

A CONTROVERSIAL plan to build more than 150 new homes in Saffron Walden has received council backing.

At a special meeting of Saffron Walden Town Council, Cllr Sandra Eden said she hoped that the development would breathe new life into a "dying" town.

The proposals would see 150 houses built on Ashdon Road and a further 15 built on Little Walden Road.

More than 20 members of the public attended the meeting and the majority of them were disappointed at the council's decision to support the development.

Cllr Richard Freeman said: "The application is irresistible - it can't be stopped. What we can do is negotiate the best possible payback from landowner Audley End Estate.

"If we persuade the district council to throw the application out then it will just be overturned on appeal and all the offerings will be off the table."

Town Clerk Malcolm White told the meeting that the plans were in accordance with the council's own District Plan which already earmarked both sites for potential development.

The application includes space set aside for the provision of two football pitches, community facilities and flood-risk measures.

"The fact is we no longer have the money in the bank to buy playing fields even if we wanted to," said Cllr Freeman who urged the council to support the development in return for the provision of community facilities.

Cllr Bob Eastham agreed, adding: "If we miss this opportunity our dreams of better facilities are gone."

Cllr Eden said the development could boost the town's economic prosperity by increasing footfall. "I hope that it will invigorate Saffron Walden and bring more wealth into the town," she said.

Not all the councillors supported the proposals and Cllr Heather Mason said if houses were built on Little Walden Road then "one of the last remaining areas of local natural beauty would be obliterated".

She also said that 150 extra houses on Ashdon Road could mean "300 extra cars" in the town.

The town council supported the proposal subject to three restrictions at the Little Walden Road site: that no more than l5 houses are permitted on the land; that the land at the bottom of Catons Lane be gifted to the town; and that access to the site is via Catons Lane.

Latest from the Saffron Walden Reporter