Saffron Walden planning application for 12 homes on De Vigier Avenue

PUBLISHED: 10:00 24 October 2020

Uttlesford District Council has government funding for business grants. Picture: ARCHANT

Uttlesford District Council has government funding for business grants. Picture: ARCHANT


Residents are urging developers to put “people before profit” and halt plans to build housing on a patch of land in Saffron Walden containing trees, nests and wildlife.

Developer Turnstone St Neots has submitted a fresh application to Uttlesford District Council (UDC) for 12 properties on land to the north of De Vigier Avenue, a site which also features shrubs and plants, and which provides a haven and nesting area for birds, bats, muntjac deer and foxes.

Residents say UDC acquired the land more than 30 years ago as part of a planning obligation to provide public open space under an enforceable covenant.

In 2014 they presented a petition to UDC objecting to the proposed disposal of the site, offering to collectively buy and maintain it, for use as an open space.

Saffron Walden Town Council also said it was ready to maintain the land but the idea was rejected by UDC who in 2017 voted in favour of selling it for development, subject to planning permission approval.

A previous application was turned down by Uttlesford councillors in October 2019 over concerns about the impact on protected species, priority species, wildlife, habitat, and biodiversity.

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Although an appeal by the developer against the decision was rejected on a technicality, the planning inspector concluded that the proposed development was acceptable.

In its planning statement, the developer said the latest application is in line with national and local planning policies and that the principle of the residential development of the site is acceptable.

It stated: “The proposals have been designed to respect the surrounding area and safeguard neighbouring residential amenity. Furthermore, the proposals offer biodiversity enhancement, specifically through additional tree and hedgerow planting.”

However, Jane Sharp, who lives in Mapletoft Avenue, said residents are “strongly opposed” to the new plans.

She added: ”We would urge the developers to put people before profit.

“The proposed housing will not be affordable for the majority of residents and in our view is about lining pockets rather than benefiting the community.

“Housing is badly needed but not at the expense of destroying wildlife habitats and the wellbeing of communities.”

Uttlesford District Council has set a determination deadline of December 10.

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