Consultation

PUBLISHED: 17:15 31 October 2007 | UPDATED: 21:50 29 May 2010

I FULLY appreciate the close interest many readers have regarding the option of creating a new settlement north east of Elsenham. Every household in Uttlesford will be encouraged to take part in the consultation. However, there have been several misunder

I FULLY appreciate the close interest many readers have regarding the option of creating a new settlement north east of Elsenham.

Every household in Uttlesford will be encouraged to take part in the consultation. However, there have been several misunderstandings about the process and it may be helpful to clarify.

Firstly, Uttlesford like other councils, is instructed to provide a certain number of houses. In our case 9672 between 2001 and 2024.

The Conservatives object to such a number and we are actively seeking, through Sir Alan Haselhurst, to meet with the minister to object, but it is unlikely under the current Government that this will change.

Since 2001 some 5500 houses have either been built, planned or have planning permission with many concentrated across the district; the council has, therefore, to find sites for a further 4200 homes.

There are four options for placement, three of them include development north east of Elsenham and the fourth option recommends a settlement of about 3000 homes.

The council is obliged to have a preferred option. Option four provides a new settlement with the chance of an eco-friendly development with provision for infrastructure, schools, shops, and amenities.

The council also took into account the other 6700 homes that had been and would be placed around the district since 2001.

Consultation will be full and no decision will be made on whether to progress with any particular approach until 2008, in the meantime, as part of their research, the planning department will review other alternatives that arise so that any proposal is transparent and fully justified.

It is unfortunate the debate has been converted into a process of protest by local LibDems who are offering no alternative options. It is more important than that and requires leadership, constructive thinking, consultation and judgement.

We are as concerned as everybody to protect the charm and character of our area and ensure you that we will endeavour to reconcile that objective with the obligations placed on us by the Government.

Jackie Cheetham

Deputy Leader

Uttlesford District Council

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