Plans for new homes in Saffron Walden denied


Kier - Credit: Archant

Two appeals for major planning developments in Saffron Walden and Thaxted have been denied by inspectors in as many days.

An appeal by Kier Homes to overturn Uttlesford District Council’s refusal to build 300 homes off Thaxted Road, Saffron Walden, was rejected on Tuesday (June 2).

The proposal had previously been turned down by the council in May 2014.

Councillor John Lodge, a member of independent party Residents for Uttlesford, said: “The main thing in our mind is that the mistake doesn’t get repeated and that the next plan is properly constructed.

“The Conservatives have a relatively small majority this time so we should be able to restrain their more extreme political decisions.

“What we are absolutely determined to do is decide where the housing goes based on solid evidence and we’d like to see more affordable houses.”

Kier Homes had proposed plans for 300 homes, a pavilion building, land for recreational use and an option for a primary school to be built on the site.

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A planning inspector turned down the appeal over fears the town’s roads may not cope with increased congestion and be unable to operate effectively.

The report dismissed claims the development would result in poorer air quality or adversely affect local services and, in fact, suggested it would provide some benefits to existing residents.

However, it stated the impact on highways and agricultural land “would be significant” and that, overall, “the proposals would not amount to sustainable development”.

An appeal by Gladman Developments to build 120 homes off Walden Road in Thaxted was denied on Monday (June 1), following a previous refusal by Uttlesford District Council in June last year.

Tom Wilson, a member of campaign group Hands Off Thaxted, said: “Obviously we are very pleased. This was a particularly big development that many people think would change the face of the town completely.”

The appeal was denied on the grounds the development would do substantial harm to the town’s rural setting, effecting the character and appearance of the surrounding area.

The district council was also able to demonstrate it had a required five year supply of homes. However, the inspector’s report acknowledged there may be a small shortfall when more detailed information regarding housing need is made available.

Mr Wilson added: “Housing has to be sustainable. As far as I’m concerned the big problem is that it was proposed to be built on farm land.

“We are very happy with the result of the appeal.”

The possibility of a second appeal by Gladman was removed as the report also ruled out a smaller scheme to build a hundred homes on the same site.

It stated: “The benefits from the schemes for up to 120 dwellings or up to 100 dwellings would not outweigh the harm.”

Uttlesford District Council is now preparing a revised Local Plan for the whole of the district which will incorporate the findings into its deliberations over the coming months.

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