Developer unveils ‘vision’ for 5,000 houses in Great Chesterford

PUBLISHED: 09:22 03 May 2018 | UPDATED: 09:26 03 May 2018

The B184 adjacent to Great Chesterford and approaching Stumps Cross. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

The B184 adjacent to Great Chesterford and approaching Stumps Cross. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Archant

The ‘vision’ for the North Uttlesford Garden Community (NUGC) in Great Chesterford has been unveiled by the developer, but campaigners have labelled it a “blatant grab for the Cambridge housing market” to meet Uttlesford’s housing target.

The proposals from Grosvenor include new primary schools and a new secondary school, community parks and recreation space and new, sustainable transport links.

The 5,000 homes proposed on the site in Great Chesterford will be delivered “through connected 21st century villages” and the ‘vision’ will also deliver a new thriving local centre, offering retail, employment and community facilities, new allotments and orchards and a sports hub.

Grosvenor said the North Uttlesford Garden Community will look beyond its boundaries to “unite the growing economies of north Essex and south Cambridgeshire” and it will make the most of its “unique position at the core of the thriving life science campuses” that surround it, whilst establishing its own identity.

But campaigners from StopNUtown action group said it is “market-led opportunism”.

StopNUtown’s Richard Pavitt said: “It says a lot about the true motives for putting a new town in this location. Gone is any pretence of providing housing for the people of Uttlesford.

“Instead, NUGC is to ‘support the southern life science cluster’. This is a blatant grab for the Cambridge housing market to meet the district’s unrealistically high housing target and as a way top bolster Uttlesford District Council’s (UDC) coffers.

“When NUGC was added to the local plan we were told of the requirement for affordable housing, of UDC’s register for social housing and how this new town would serve Uttlesford’s housing need. Now what we see is market-led opportunism, which will result in market-led house pricing.

“The ‘vision’ says nothing about how the roads in the area are going to cope or where the money will come from to fix what will be horrendous problems. So it’s a case of build now, worry about the consequences later and hope that people will choose to walk or cycle to work.”

Grosvenor said its team has conducted an extensive engagement programme to help identify the local priorities that have informed the plans and will further discuss the ‘vision’ with local people over the coming months.

Alex Robinson, director at Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, said: “The emerging masterplan is the result of months of hard work and collaboration between our team and a wide range of stakeholders from across the region.

“We look forward to discussing this vision with local people further over the coming months. Our ongoing programme of community engagement will help to ensure the plans can respond to local needs throughout the planning process and beyond.”

A spokesman for UDC said: “The council will consider the Vision suggested by Grosvenor as part of the preparation of the Local Plan.

“The council is committed to preparing a local plan for the whole district that properly balances the need to provide housing and, especially affordable homes for local people, with a healthy local economy and protecting the special environment of the district. New garden communities in the district will need to support these objectives.”

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