Saffron Walden councillor makes ‘people will die’ jibe over 300-home scheme

Saffron Walden’s county councillor John Lodge made the claim “people will die” had a controversial planning application for 300 homes been given the go-ahead.

As it was, Uttlesford District Council’s planning committee voted to defer the scheme – citing that more information was needed about the impact on schools and roads.

The Kier Group submitted the proposal for the homes to be built on farmland off Thaxted Road, close to the Lord Butler Leisure Centre.

Along with the homes, the developer proposed a new pavilion building, associated parking and an extension to the skate park.

Kier also plan to create a new signalised junction along Thaxted Road and introduce a bus route to travel through the site.

The developer is prepared to contribute funding towards school places but a spokesman said it was “unreasonable” to build a school on the site.

Cllr Christina Cant said she could not find many reasons to object to the plan, but added: “Children need to be educated near their homes. What we are building here is a large housing estate with a few swings and that is all.”

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Cllr Lodge’s comments came as a warning to the planning committee ahead of their deliberations.

He claimed the 300 homes would bring an increase in traffic and thus have an adverse impact on already worrying levels of air pollution on that side of town.

In a heated meeting, in which Cllr Lodge and subsequently members of the public were asked to leave because of the former’s outbursts, it was eventually decided to defer the application.

Councillors agreed to re-evaluate the scheme in the New Year by six votes to five.