UTTLESFORD: Group opposes plan for 3000 new homes

PUBLISHED: 08:39 19 February 2010 | UPDATED: 07:33 30 May 2010

A NEW 3000-home settlement on the outskirts of Elsenham is the district council s preferred way of meeting housing tar-gets, despite a wave of criticism over the idea. In order to meet a government quota, some 10,000 new homes must be provided in Uttlesfo

A NEW 3000-home settlement on the outskirts of Elsenham is the district council's preferred way of meeting housing tar-gets, despite a wave of criticism over the idea.

In order to meet a government quota, some 10,000 new homes must be provided in Uttlesford between 2001 and 2026. More than half currently have planning permission, but sites still need to be found for 4000 homes.

A major consultation about where the extra homes will be built was launched on Monday, but the controversial settlement to the north-east of Elsenham remains the council's first-choice location.

The council is recommending that the bulk of the housing be located near Elsenham with the remainder being built in Saffron Walden, Great Dunmow and the surrounding villages.

A campaign group fighting the plan has said that the people living in the parishes of Elsenham and Henham are not being listened to.

Chairman of the Save Our Village campaign, Nick Baker, said: "During the first consultation in 2007 and 2008 there was massive opposition to the council's preferred choice, but it doesn't seem to have been heard.

"The site at Elsenham is completely inadequate for a new settlement because it does not have the transport infrastructure or drainage capacity - the idea is completely floored.

"We ask again that the council look at a better solution such as distributing the housing fairly and evenly over the district."

Every household is now being sent a leaflet and response form to enable as many people as possible to have their say on how these homes should be provided.

A district council spokesman said: "Option 4 attracted a good deal of adverse comment, but the council also received adverse comment about other proposals for major development being promoted by developers and landowners as alternatives, such as Chelmer Mead, a new settlement at Little Dunmow, and a new settlement east of Stebbing.

"One of the themes of the objections to development at Elsenham was that more technical work was required to demonstrate why it was the most appropriate of all the reasonable alternatives.

"Part of the reason for the current consultation is to seek views on the robustness of that additional technical work, which is now being presented. That technical work still confirms that focusing most of the new development at Elsenham is the most appropriate way forward."

Two public meetings are taking place to discuss the issue, at 7.30pm, at Helena Romanes School in Great Dunmow on March 2 and at the UDC offices in Saffron Walden on March 4.

The Save Our Village campaign will be holding public meetings at 7.30pm in Elsenham Village Hall on March 11 and in Henham Village Hall on March 12.

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