Essex village anger at new homes building plan

PUBLISHED: 09:07 05 February 2010 | UPDATED: 07:32 30 May 2010

OPTIONS for a vacant housing block in Leaden Roding are being investigated by Uttlesford District Council following angry representations from villagers. Council houses situated in and around Holloway Crescent have long been the primary discussion within

OPTIONS for a vacant housing block in Leaden Roding are being investigated by Uttlesford District Council following angry representations from villagers.

Council houses situated in and around Holloway Crescent have long been the primary discussion within the village mainly because some lie empty whilst new ones are scheduled to be built.

A number of angry residents have been in touch with The Broadcast since the council announced two weeks ago that it had received a government grant of £225,000 towards building five bungalows with parking spaces in the village.

Their concerns varied between parking issues and space - but the main gripe is that locals cannot understand why money is being spent on building new houses when old ones lie empty.

Resident Karen Rifat, who lives nearby, said: "I must say residents here are very unhappy. Why is the council building brand new housing instead of just spending the money on revamping the old stock - that is what people in the village want to see. But the council does not seem to be listening to us.

"This is a small rural village and parking will be horrendous if the scheme goes ahead it is already quite bad now."

However, a council spokesman has moved to calm residents over the plans and insisted that options for the vacant housing block are now being investigated.

He added: "The new bungalows will provide sheltered accommodation for residents already living close to the scheme's location and both the residents of the sheltered housing and the district's tenant forum have expressed strong support for the council's efforts.

"The parking currently is solely for the use of the nearby sheltered housing block. The residents of the new properties will be provided with parking spaces.

"Individuals who are to move into the new homes have been intrinsically involved in the design process to ensure the properties will meet their needs."

A planning application for the scheme was submitted in December 2009 allowing for comments to be made. That did spur residents go to the Saffron Walden offices and make representations for and against the plans in front of the housing committee.

- In addition, the council is also considering changing the way it provides social housing in the future.

Currently each prospective tenant is assigned a number of points dependent on their circumstances. Because of the various complexities and difficulties this has thrown up, the council is inviting comments on changes to its allocations policy from the public.

To take part in the consultation, visit www.uttlesford.gov.uk/allocations.

If you do not have internet access, contact tenant participation officer Nicole Shephard-Lewis on 01799 510571.

The council hopes to have a new policy in place by May.

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