Vision of how Saffron Walden should grow over next 15 years is “flawed”, say town councillors

UTTLESFORD District Council’s vision of how Saffron Walden should grow over the next 15 years has been labelled a “flawed plan being pushed through by the votes of people who do not live in the town”.

That was the view of Mayor David Watson at a special town council meeting on Tuesday, where members agreed to present a united front on the draft Local Development Framework (LDF).

Town councillors voted to put forward a joint response to the latest LDF consultation and expressed their wish to have constructive dialogue with the district council.

However, a number of members reiterated the views voiced at previous town council meetings that the plan, which would see Saffron Walden take an additional 880 houses by 2025, was “flawed”.

Cllr Keith Eden said there was no point in talking to Uttlesford if it submitted the proposal to the planning inspectorate in its current format.

He said: “We want a plan that meets all the requirements set out in the new National Planning Policy Framework.

“There is no evidence of sustainability in the Local Development Framework and it is likely the inspectorate will reject the plan because it does not meet one or more of the requirements.

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“We do not want to be part of a planning process that does not get accepted.”

He said traffic management had not been properly addressed in the draft proposal, a matter to which Cllr Watson also took exception.

“There is nothing in here about what is going to be done about the increase in traffic,” he said.

“It says that after planning permission is granted for the houses then Essex County Council will come in and talk about traffic – that is nonsense. It will be too late by then.

“This is a flawed plan which is being pushed through by the votes of people who do not live in Saffron Walden.

“It is a bad proposal and an example of lazy planning by people who cannot be bothered to sit down and come up with something that is sustainable.”

Cllr Watson also branded the district council’s expectation that the public would comment on its 180-page draft as “laughable”, and said the town council wanted to be involved in the discussion and implementation of the plan rather than being dictated to.