Saffron Walden Town Council reach deal with developers to provide community facilities

A “NEGLECTED” piece of land in Saffron Walden is to be transformed into an area with sporting facilities and affordable housing.

Saffron Walden Town Council has negotiated a deal with landowners Audley End Estate and its partners to take forward the development of the Ashdon Road and Little Walden Road sites.

Both developments were given outline planning approval by Uttlesford District Council in June last year – 130 homes and business units with playing fields and open spaces on Ashdon Road, and 15 affordable houses in Little Walden Road. Both were subject to a S106 legal agreement.

However, that looks to have been ironed out after the developers offered to provide two football pitches, a club house and car parking as part of the deal.

Up to 30 affordable houses are also planned, together with works to address the flood plains whilst preserving the natural habitat and landscape of the area for the local community.

Town mayor Cliff Treadwell described the deal as a “good result”.

“It is about the right kind of development and we strongly feel that this is it,” he told the Reporter. “The town council has been thinking about what we can do to make the best use of the area.

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“We have also had this long-standing issue to provide amenities in the way of recreational areas. This seems the ideal incentive to many people in our community.”

He added: “The only one thing we couldn’t resolve was the access. We would have liked it to have come from Catons Lane but it appears that is not a viable option.”

As part of the deal the council will also get a grant of �100,000 to build a new facility including changing rooms to serve the amenities – or even a new community centre at Catons Lane.

There is also a chance for future provision on the table to build another 25 affordable houses in the area.

“Overall it is a really good deal for us,” added Cllr Treadwell. “We wanted a commitment and we will keep the pressure up to get this delivered.”

It is anticipated that building work on the new community facilities could start next year, once the 60th house on the Ashdon Road site is up for sale.