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Draft Local Plan moves to the next stage

Councillors are set to consider a draft version of the Uttlesford Local Plan before it is consulted upon this summer.

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The new local plan and the associated policies will define the ambitions for the growth, enhancement and protection of the district until 2033 and beyond. It will ensure development happens in the right place and meets the strategic priorities for housing, employment, transport, community facilities and other infrastructure needed to support it, whilst safeguarding the high quality of life and special character of the district.

The draft plan, published today (Friday 23 June), includes planning officer recommendations for strategic development sites which have been identified following a wide-ranging and comprehensive period of evidence gathering and testing.

Central to this are proposals for three new garden communities - North Uttlesford (north-east of Great Chesterford), Easton Park, and land referred to as west of Braintree (east of Stebbing). These will be key in accommodating the majority of the 5,900 new homes required to meet the district's growth needs up to 2033. The new communities will be based on Garden Community principles (*see notes).

Other proposed sites earmarked as suitable for development have been put forward at existing towns and villages. This approach is consistent with the 'hybrid' distribution strategy, as agreed by Full Council in July last year, which would see development spread across a combination of one or more new communities and existing towns and villages.

The cross-party Planning Policy Working Group (PPWG) will meet to discuss the draft plan on Thursday 29 June.

Cllr Howard Rolfe, Leader of the Council, said: "Officers have looked very carefully at all the options and alternatives, and have made their recommendations based on planning evidence. Whilst we recognise that there will be challenges and sensitivities, we have a duty to provide the homes and infrastructure that meets the district's requirements.

"This is not the final draft of the plan, but a set of recommendations that look to realise the long-term aspirations for Uttlesford. Getting the public's constructive feedback will be a key part of the process as we continue to shape the plan, and consultation will take place next month so that everyone can have their say on the proposals."

No decisions will be made by the PPWG; the group will make recommendations to Cabinet on 6 July. A meeting of Full Council on 11 July will be held to approve for public consultation the draft local plan. If this is agreed, the six-week consultation will start on 12 July.

To view the PPWG agenda, visit www.uttlesford.gov.uk/ppwg29june.

All related local plan material is available to view at www.uttlesford.gov.uk/new-local-plan.

23 June 2017