Group would like to see a new Uttlesford country park, and replanted avenues of trees

An artists impression of the new country park for Uttlesford created by John Harrison of Birch Galle

An artists impression of the new country park for Uttlesford created by John Harrison of Birch Gallery, Birch, Colchester. Image: Stop Easton Park - Credit: Stop Easton Park

Restoring an ancient park to its former glory could create a new country park for Uttlesford, with four avenues of replanted trees, and a perimeter exercise track for running, cycling and horse riding among the ideas.

Residents’ action group Stop Easton Park (SEP) wants to protect the land from development. The group was originally set up to resist proposals to build houses on the site.

The draft Local Plan was then withdrawn and Uttlesford District Council has now called for suitable sites for homes for a new Plan.

SEP has released a vision document which has been sent out to groups and organisations seeking feedback on their idea.

They have a vision of four avenues of trees being restored to the “patte d’oie” style, a 6km track around the edge, and new woodlands planted.

Existing businesses would continue, while former World War Two huts could be transformed into a museum.

Vincent Thompson, a spokesman for Stop Easton Park, said they believe a new country park is a better idea.

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“Putting a track around the outside – a 6km route – would be wonderful.

“It’s so much in line with endless health benefits, with physical exercise and mental health.”

Mr Thompson said an agreement made in 1939 with what is now Uttlesford District Council is able to limit development to 10 homes.

The land originally formed part of the Easton Lodge estate and is referenced in records dating back to 1302.

The site was designated as a nature reserve in 1937. In 1942, 10,000 trees were removed to build an airfield for the USAAF 386th Bomber Squadron, The Crusaders.

SEP thinks a partial restoration could be achieved at a modest cost, most of which could be recouped by grants.

Members of Great Dunmow Town Council’s planning committee last week noted the vision document.

The land is owned by property management company LandSec. They said they will wait to see the proposal before commenting.

An Uttlesford District Council spokesman said: “Uttlesford District Council is starting work on a new Local Plan and will consider all proposals put forward. The council has been made aware of the proposal from Stop Easton Park.”