Putting power in the people’s hands: Residents to draw up their own housing plan for Saffron Walden

John Lodge John Lodge

Monday, March 17, 2014
9:01 AM

David Cameron would be proud of the latest development in Uttlesford’s house-building saga.

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Localism is alive and kicking with the announcement that residents are to take matters into their own hands by putting together a Local Plan to rival that of Tory-run Uttlesford District Council.

Saffron Walden-based campaign group WeAreResidents.org has announced it intends to build a strategic vision and plan for the town, working with other local residents and organisations.

To start the process the group is holding a public consultation event at the Saffron Walden Town Hall on Saturday, March 22 between 10am and 1pm.

Cllr John Lodge, Saffron Walden’s Essex County Council representative, issued a rallying call to those unsatisfied with Uttlesford’s housing plan.

He said: “Residents have told me that they believe that Uttlesford District Council is not concerned about the future of the town or its residents.

“It’s time that local people decided for themselves what we want our town to be. Join us, and help us help Saffron Walden.”

WeAreResidents.org said the aim of the event was to capture the opinions and needs of local residents, groups and organisations on a range of issues, including new homes; roads, traffic and parking; schools and education; family services; leisure facilities; and retail, jobs and the local economy.

Opinions gathered will be used in the formation of a Town Plan for Saffron Walden, which will be consulted on later in the year.

Dan Starr, chair of WeAreResidents.org said “There is no strategic plan for Saffron Walden so it’s open season for anyone with an agenda. Without a plan there is no direct financial gain or proper forward investment in roads, schools, sports, jobs, health and families, and we are living with the consequences every day. If you love where you live, come to the Town Hall on the 22nd and help us build a strategic plan for our future.”

An Uttlesford District Council spokesman said: “The council supports local councils which want to prepare a neighbourhood plan. These need to address the strategic development needs set out in the Local Plan and plan positively to support local development to be consistent with the National Planning Policy Framework.

“The council has been in discussion with the town council about such a neighbourhood plan for Saffron Walden. In parished areas likt Uttlesford the neighbourhood plan has to be prepared by the town or parish council.”

In the lead-up to the event, 6,000 leaflets are being delivered to homes, local groups and organisations in Saffron Walden to help promote it. The leaflet can be downloaded from the website WeAreResidents.org

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