After the government granted planning permission for 1,200 homes between Little Easton and Great Dunmow, a further two major applications have been approved.

The Minister of State for housing and planning, Rachael Maclean, granted permission on appeal for the construction of up to 1,200 homes in Essex in a letter dated September 11 after the proposal was initally rejected by a local council more than two years ago.

The development of land east of Highwood Quarry, near Great Dunmow and Stansted Airport, was first refused by Uttlesford councillors in October 2021.

The reasons for refusal listed included concerns over increased noise, traffic and lightspill, as well as having an “irreversible and detrimental” impact on the Little Easton conservation area.

However, after the appeal was recovered and determined for approval by the secretary of state, the proposal for real estate company Landsec to build up to 1,200 houses, a care home, school, GP surgery and office units has finally been given the green light.

A meeting of the council’s planning committee on Wednesday (September 13) saw a further two major applications in reserved matters approved; up to 160 houses with 84 hectares of communal green space including allotments in Moors Field, Little Dunmow, and 111 homes on land east of London Road, Great Chesterford.

Both proposals meet the minimum 40 per cent affordable housing requirement.

Councillor Judy Emanuel (Residents for Uttlesford, Newport) commented that plans for the Moors Field application appeared "a bit premature".

She added: "Developments of this scale and low-density (in terms of number of houses)… are not okay."


Uttlesford District Council was placed in ‘special measures’ by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) in February 2022 following what was found to be a failure for the administration to “adequately perform its function” with regards to approving planning applications within the district.

This has resulted in applicants of major planning proposals being able to bypass the council and instead approach the planning inspectorate with their case directly.

This then generates ‘reserved matters’ applications which have already been approved prior to their presentation before the local authority.

Due to a failure of the council to prove it will meet its five-year housing supply, and delays in adopting an updated local plan, it was not recommended that the planning committee refuse the 1,200 homes application as it otherwise complies with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which was updated on September 5.

Uttlesford Council’s five-year housing and land supply is up to date as of April 1 2022. The official statement published online notes: "Uttlesford District Council is able to demonstrate a housing supply of 4.89 years, this is below the minimum threshold of five years as set out in the NPPF.

"The local housing need figure, as derived from the Government’s standard method, is 693 dwellings per annum, or 3,465 dwellings over a five-year period.

"The 2021 Housing Delivery Test result requires a five per cent buffer to be added to this figure, resulting in a total five-year housing requirement of 3,638 dwellings.

"The council’s calculated five-year housing land supply demonstrates an actual
supply of 3,560 dwellings, equating to a shortfall of 78 dwellings over the five-year period."