Inspector raises questions about funding of Uttlesford local plan

PUBLISHED: 08:59 06 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:57 06 March 2019

Uttlesford District Council, Saffron Walden. Picture: SaffronPhoto

Uttlesford District Council, Saffron Walden. Picture: SaffronPhoto

SaffronPhoto 2016

A number of questions raised by the planning inspector over Uttlesford District Council’s (UDC) local plan point to funding gaps in the delivery of proposed infrastructure.

In a letter to the authority, planning inspectors Louise Crosby and Elaine Worthington asked 19 questions about the plan, which is currently being assessed.

With regards to infrastructure, the inspectors said the annex to the council’s infrastructure delivery plan “appears to contain lots of gaps in funding for some of the large critical infrastructure projects the plan is predicated on”.

The inspectors also said the central projects of the plan currently had no known funding source and no information about when the infrastructure would be delivered.

The inspectors also raised questions about air quality in Saffron Walden and alongside the M11.

They asked: “Have the council carried out an up-to-date baseline assessment of local air quality? If so can you please direct us to it?”

The council has been asked to point out where consideration has been given to the effect of development on air quality, along with any proposed mitigation.

‘Minor modifications’ to the green belt boundary are proposed as part of the local plan, but the planning inspectors asked to see analysis of this decision as national planning policy points to green belt boundaries only being altered in “exceptional circumstances”.

A spokesman for UDC said: “The council needs to continue to update the evidence that is available and prepare summaries of the material. The examination of the plan has actively started, which is positive news and the council now has the inspectors’ initial questions.

“This is a standard part of the local plan procedure and having this engagement with the inspectors early on hopefully means the process will be able to progress towards the formal hearing sessions and subsequent adoption of the plan.

“The initial questions seek further clarity around some procedural matters as well as a number of specific topics including infrastructure, air quality and the green belt. The council will be working to supply the information requested, and is confident these matters can be addressed.”

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