Councillors give green light to 250 new houses in Saffron Walden
PUBLISHED: 10:00 25 December 2018
Councillors have approved two planning applications for 250 new houses in the east of Saffron Walden.
Previous development of one of the sites, on farmland in Thaxted Road, was opposed by residents and the town council, rejected by Uttlesford District Council’s (UDC) planning committee, found ‘unsound’ by the local plan inspector in 2014 and then refused by a planning inspector at appeal in 2015.
The reasons for the refusal to allow 300 houses to be built by Kier on the land were the impact to already congested roads, associated increases to pollution levels from traffic and loss of agricultural land.
The new application, approved by UDC on December 19, halved the number of houses planned for the site.
The second site approved for development is west of Shire Hill Industrial Estate, an extension to a development which is currently under construction.
Residents for Uttlesford’s Paul Gadd, council leader at Saffron Walden Town Council, said: “This decision is disappointing for the town residents who won an appeal against Kier in 2015. The smaller Shire Hill Farm application has some community merit because it provides a sports field and an expansion for the proposed new primary school. The Kier development has no merit; it is just 150 houses in a field, and yet again UDC has failed to ask for any proper community benefit.
“One of the worst aspects is the continued effect of more traffic across Saffron Walden. A road is planned through the new estate to link Thaxted and Radwinter Roads which Essex Highways has repeatedly said is too small and breaches their rules by going right through a residential area. Nothing can be done though to help traffic in the town centre because of the road network. Most junctions are already way over capacity, and yet UDC keeps forcing more cars onto the roads.
“Our goal is now to push UDC to require Kier to provide the right mix of affordable house, proper community benefits, and make sure that the estate road is actually designed and built to do the job it needs to do.”
Both planning applications were approved subject to Section 106 agreements, which includes financial contributions to highways and education.