Dunmow Neighbourhood Plan: Have your say

Dunmow High Street

Dunmow High Street - Credit: Archant

The Great Dunmow Neighbourhood Plan asks for the town to change and yet remain the same.

Taking account of comments by the community, it demands that the town’s High Street is “supported and not undermined by new development”.

Yet people want “local businesses to be able to expand” and the town to be “attractive for new business investment”.

There is a call for a rail link, a park and ride system and to make the High Street one way. Townspeople also lament the lack of national chains in the High Street.

When it comes to housing, people felt that “Great Dunmow has already taken more than its fair share of development.”

Yet observed: “There should be more housing that is affordable”.

At a community exhibition in 2013, people wanted “high-quality affordable starter housing and lower-cost family housing, mainly apartments and small houses.”

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People felt there were: “Too many large houses for Londoners.” They also wanted bungalows so elderly people could downsize.

The plan asks that all new dwellings should contribute toward the provision of open space, sport and recreation. For smaller developments where on-site provision is not achievable, it says developers should pay for something elsewhere. Financial contributions should relate to the size of each dwelling.

The plan acknowledges “a range of severe deficits within Great Dunmow for every sport”.

It says the cricket club needs another juniors’ pitch and there are just two tennis courts serving a population of nearly 9,000. The swimming pool is too small, over-booked and doesn’t have enough seating for competitions, so they have to be held elsewhere.

There is a similar lack of football facilities and the town needs a gym and somewhere to practice netball and hockey in winter.

On health, the plan notes that the voluntary sector has to bridge the gap between services and a retreating NHS. It says there is no connectivity between services. Provision is fragmented and transport between them is a major concern.

It says childcare services are currently operating well but are stretched to their limit. It would helpful for health services to know what type of new housing is planned so provision can be made.

The plan talks about the need to move Helena Romanes School, if it is to expand, providing for an estimated 2,000 extra secondary school places in future.

After consultation, 60 per cent of residents thought the new school site should be easily and safely accessible by foot and bicycle to minimise travelling by car, and be served by buses – yet have adequate car parking – as well as be designed in sympathy with a rural town and none of the existing playing fields should be lost.

There was also a call for another supermarket, a recycling centre, college courses and evening classes for adults.

The plan has been worked on since 2011, when the population was 8,800 living in 4,000 houses. There has been a succession of meetings and public consultations. In 2013, 6,000 questionnaires went to households in Great Dunmow and online. There were 655 hardcopy questionnaires returned and 110 residents completed the survey online. About 10 per cent of the adult population, took part.

In a survey of businesses, the main points raised were the need for faster broadband, better transport links, adult education, a health centre, more affordable rents for businesses, a new small business park and free parking.

Business feedback said businesses and schools should work together to provide apprenticeships and a new roundabout was needed at the junction by the new police station (A130/Chelmsford Road).

The feeling was that increasing employment at Stansted Airport would benefit the town and that housing development should be accompanied by more jobs.

The Mayor of Great Dunmow, Councillor Barrie Easter said it was vital that townspeople had their say. He said: “It’s very important that people comment on this because their views will be taken into consideration and without them it will carry less weight.”

INFORMATION: To see the Great Dunmow Neighbourhood Plan, go to www.greatdunmowneighbourhoodplan.co.uk Anyone who would like to borrow or see a paper copy can contact Great Dunmow Town Council on 01371 872406. Public comments are invited until Saturday, October 31. After that, Uttlesford District Council will carry out its own consultation. Finally a public referendum will be held and residents can decide whether to accept the plan.