Uttlesford has the ‘highest housing need’ in Cambridge and Oxford arc

PUBLISHED: 15:28 19 August 2020 | UPDATED: 09:52 20 August 2020

Uttlesford District Council.

Uttlesford District Council.

Archant

Uttlesford has a higher housing need than every district in the Oxford and Cambridge arc, a Local Plan officer revealed.

R4U Cllr Alan Storah.R4U Cllr Alan Storah.

Stephen Miles, Local Plan and new communities manager for Uttlesford said the UK Government has identified the Oxford and Cambridge arc as an area for growth, with Uttlesford’s needs higher than the other 21 districts.

During an online Local Plan leadership group meeting last night (Tuesday, August 18), Mr Miles said that according to Government proposals, there is a need for 1,230 houses per year in Uttlesford, with a view to build affordable houses for young people.

He said: “The need for 1,230 houses is a much higher number than the current number, which is just over seven hundred dwellings per annum. The reason for these differences is that they are using average wages and house prices in the district to judge affordability.

“We have the 99th highest housing need identified in the government’s consultation. The housing need in Uttlesford is also the eighth highest as a proportion of existing homes in the district.”

Lib Dem Cllr Melvin Caton.Lib Dem Cllr Melvin Caton.

The Government announced a consultation to change the current planning system - which Lib Dems called unsustainable and R4U labelled a “full-scale assault” , while local councillors were preparing to discuss a new Local Plan, having rejected the old one after feedback from independent inspectors.

Not knowing if or when changes will come into force has led to documents being set aside from the usual process.

Meeting chairman, R4U Cllr Alan Storah asked the group: “Are we of the view that we should that we should progress as much as we can, with a view that we might need to change, or are we just going to stop and think about it?”

Lib Dem Cllr Melvin Caton said: “I don’t think we should go straight in and talk about housing, we should have a strategy of tackling climate change and carbon emissions and then housing issues further down the plan.”

Green Party Cllr Barbara Light.Green Party Cllr Barbara Light.

Green Cllr Barbara Light said: “The vision is more critical than the strategy, identifying the green spaces and biodiversity sites.”

“There are parts of the district that should be protected such as the green belt,” Conservative Cllr Mark Lemon added.

Councillors decided to discuss the remaining matters at a future meeting.


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