Youngsters to fight village expansion

PUBLISHED: 16:23 10 January 2008 | UPDATED: 18:00 31 May 2010

Robert Fox, 16, and Alice Brooks, 15, with other protesters fighting the erection of 3000 homes between Elsenham and Henham Picture: MICHAEL BOYTON

Robert Fox, 16, and Alice Brooks, 15, with other protesters fighting the erection of 3000 homes between Elsenham and Henham Picture: MICHAEL BOYTON

YOUNG people in Uttlesford have voiced their fears about the effect of building a huge new housing settlement on their doorstep. Nearly 60 children - carrying placards and chanting save our village - gathered at district council offices in Saffron Walde

YOUNG people in Uttlesford have voiced their fears about the effect of building a huge new housing settlement on their doorstep.

Nearly 60 children - carrying placards and chanting 'save our village' - gathered at district council offices in Saffron Walden to present a petition to council chairman Cllr Catherine Dean.

Signed by almost 500 children from schools in Henham, Elsenham, Stansted and Ugley Green, the petition urged Uttlesford District Council (UDC) to drop options three and four of their housing strategy that would see a new town built to the north east of Elsenham.

Cllr Dean said she was quite "taken aback" by the number of children who had turned up to the council offices last Thursday ­and who had signed the petition.

"I don't think I was aware of the depth of feeling among young people over this issue. I was very impressed," she said.

"I have handed the petition over to the planning officers and I hope their views will be listened to."

Fifteen-year-old Alice Brooks from Henham made a speech to

Cllr Dean. She said: "Many of the children who signed this petition have lived here all their lives.

"The decision the council

now has to make will impact our generations the hardest, because

we are the ones who are going to have to live with it, so please do listen to our comments."

Parent Ruth Bonino, who helped to organise the petition, said that it had been instigated by the parents, but once the children got involved it had taken on a life of its own.

"Alice Brooks put in an awful lot of effort organising this," she said. "We would not have got 500 signatures without her work."

The other youngsters who helped organise the petition by setting up stalls outside schools were Robert Fox, 16, Rosie Brooks, 13, Ralph Bonino, 13 and Elena Bonino, 11.

Head planning officer Roger Harborough said: "We welcome responses to our consultation from all sections of the community. It was pleasing to see young people taking an interest in this important issue.

"The issues raised in the

petition they presented will be considered, along with all other responses we receive from right across the district, and the results of the consultation will be reported to the council's environment committee in March."

The consultation period, which started on November 30 and gave people the opportunity to have their say over the building of 4200 new homes in the area, will end tomorrow (Friday).

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