Saffron Walden residents’ group urges public to show support during public inquiry into housing development

PUBLISHED: 11:27 26 July 2017 | UPDATED: 11:27 26 July 2017

Residents Against Unsustainable Development (RAUD) are calling for support during the inquiry. Picture: WILL LODGE

Residents Against Unsustainable Development (RAUD) are calling for support during the inquiry. Picture: WILL LODGE

Archant

A residents’ group against a Saffron Walden housing development is calling on people to join them during a six-day public inquiry into the plans.

The proposals, submitted by Gladman Developments, could see 85 houses built on a site outside the northern boundary of the town, off Little Walden Road.

The planning application has already been refused twice by Saffron Walden Town Council on the grounds that it would impact the environment and landscape, as well as local infrastructure.

Gladman Developments has appealed against one of the refusals, and an inquiry hearing started this week.

John McLaughlin, from Residents Against Unsustainable Development (RAUD), said: “This hearing hopefully sees the successful culmination of our year-long campaign against this proposed development.

“The site does not feature in the draft Local Plan for good reason – it is a greenfield site forming part of the picturesque countryside which we all enjoy around Saffron Walden, and this elevated site would be the first thing which visitors to Saffron Walden see when approaching from the north of the town.

“The proposed development is also clearly impractical and unsustainable. It is too far from local amenities, it will significantly add to traffic in town, and local services and infrastructure don’t have capacity to cope with it.

“We are very grateful to out fellow residents who turned out in great numbers at the last hearing in May. We would urge them to join us again at any time they can over the hearing.”

Saffron Walden town councillors have also been lending their support to the fight against the development.

Speaking at the meeting of the planning committee in May this year, Councillor Arthur Coote said: “We have had no infrastructure at all and we’ve lost five shops, three pubs, three churches, residents’ parking.

“We’ve lost a whole school. With 85 houses being proposed, where are those children going to go? We’ve lost a whole surgery of doctors. The infrastructure is not there to sustain this development.”

He added: “We’ve seen 700 houses built down there and there’s been very little opposition from us. There comes a point where you have to say ‘Hold on, we’ve done our bit’.”

According to council documents, Gladman Developments hoped its latest plans would bring district-wide benefits and contribute to the housing supply.

The inquiry begins at 10am every morning at the district council offices, in Saffron Walden.

It is open to all, but members of the public will be asked to sign a register.

It is schedule to run until August 2, but could close sooner.

It does not sit on Mondays.

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