BSCF's comments on Uttlesford District Council's Local Plan Consultation Form New!

This email was sent on 29 November 2015

The Planning Policy Team
Council Offices
London Road
Saffron Walden
Essex
CB11 4ER
29 November 2015

Dear Sir or Madam

LOCAL PLAN ISSUES AND OPTIONS

I am writing on behalf of the Bishop's Stortford Civic Federation with comments on a number of the issues raised in your Consultation Form.

Question 1 – Vision and Development Strategy

You quote from the vision in the previous draft Local Plan

‘The district’s high quality natural and historic environment will have been maintained and the settlements will continue to be separate entities with green space between them.’

We believe that this should remain as part of your vision and indeed that it should go further. It appears that the metropolitan Green Belt has been designated only in the most southern part of the district, in the areas bordering East Herts and Epping District Councils and reference to it does not feature greatly in your planning policies. Indeed the sustainability report, to which you refer consultees, does not identify it at all as a key issue. However, in the context of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), preservation of the Green Belt is one of the few policy considerations to which more weight should be attached than the general presumption in favour of so-called ‘sustainable’ development.

Four of the five purposes of the Green Belt listed in the NPPF are relevant to the land designated as Green Belt in the southern part of the district  Map . They are

We suggest that the vision and development strategy to be included in the next version of your draft local plan should make explicit reference to safeguarding the Green Belt from any threat of development in the future. While the open rural nature of Uttlesford gives pleasure to many, the need for protection is greatest where it is potentially most at risk, and this was the rationale for creating the Green Belt in the first place.

Questions 2 and 10 – Cross boundary Strategic Planning

Amongst the development options reviewed you have raised the possibility of a new free standing settlement to meet the housing needs of the district. Given the development pressures facing East Herts and Epping Councils in the south and South Cambridgeshire in the north we suggest that this is a strategic issue which goes beyond simply meeting the identified housing demand in Uttlesford over the next 20 years.

Questions 11 and 13 – Edge of Bishop's Stortford

We strongly object to the inclusion of sites 11a and b in the areas of search to provide 500 homes to meet Uttlesford’s housing target. Our reasons are as follows

Questions 16 and 17 – Development Scenarios

All scenarios should have 500 dwellings on the edge of Bishop's Stortford removed from them with the number being reallocated to other settlements.

Question 19 – Other Points

We came across this consultation document purely by chance. While not residents of Uttlesford, our members could clearly be severely adversely affected by the possible development to be included in your local plan. I should therefore be obliged if you would ensure that I am included in any further rounds of consultation or decision making so that we may have the chance to make representations about matters which may affect us.

I am copying this letter to Cllr Gary Jones (Deputy Leader of East Herts Council and a Bishop's Stortford councillor), Kevin Steptoe (Head of Planning and Building Control at East Herts Council), James Parker (Chief Executive of Bishop's Stortford Town council) and Kevin Fitzgerald (Honorary Director of CPREHerts).

Yours Faithfully
John Rhodes
President, Bishop's Stortford Civic Federation