‘Good quality and affordable housing is key’ - Uttlesford Youth Council

Uttlesford District Council.

Uttlesford District Council. - Credit: Archant

Uttlesford Youth Council has put forward its own ideas for what new housing developments should look like it and recommends that young people are included in the decision-making process.

The youth council held a seminar in December about local housing and voted on what it thinks are important points in the development of the housing process in Uttlesford.

A report put together by Saffron Walden County High pupil Tom Birkbeck summarises the opinions of the young people.

Concerning housing directly, ecological design, and using ecologically and sustainably-sourced materials, was the most important issue voted by the youth council and access to high quality primary and secondary schools ranked very highly.

Affordable housing was listed as something important and in order for young families to be able to move in, not only should houses be affordable, but should be in decent state of repair and include all necessary “white goods” - due to the financial challenges faced by young, first-time buyers.

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Walking, cycling and running routes through the countryside was the highest voted recommendation from young people for fitness opportunities.

A local sports centre, and sporting facilities were highlighted as another key requirement - not just the provision of these spaces, but provision of these spaces affordably.

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Good broadband was voted as the key issue in the role of technology and technologically-driven environmental control inside houses was also highlighted as a key issue.

A conclusion of the debate was the need for affordable, subsidised, and regular public transport and the forum agreed that all new streets should have bike lanes.

Millie Wolter, chairman of the youth council, and Mr Birkbeck, both students at Saffron Walden County High, are looking to push youth involvement in housing further and would like to meet anyone who has suggestions or ideas to discuss them.

The recommendations put forward include ongoing funding for a regular panel of young people to be consulted on housing, the addition of “seats for young people” at any debate or consultation on housing or development and permanent addition of young people to committee meetings where developments are given planning permission, even if without a vote but as a contributor to the discussion.

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