'Local Economy' - tell us how the Local Plan can support sustainable business growth

The local economy is the next theme to be considered as part of the series of 'mini consultations' being used to inform a new draft Local Plan for Uttlesford.

With the busy science and biotech cluster to its north, the travel and logistics hub around Stansted Airport, and a wide array of small businesses operating within its boundary, Uttlesford is a diverse and attractive area for business and commerce.

At its meeting on Wednesday 24 February, the Uttlesford Local Plan Community Stakeholder Forum will look at how a new local plan can be shaped to support sustainable business growth and a thriving local economy for the future. The Forum will explore the role that rural innovation, smart technology and community energy has in this, as well as the impacts of Covid-19 and EU Exit on the rural economy.

The debate will be introduced by Dr Paul Cowie, Research Fellow at the Centre for Rural Economy at Newcastle University. The Forum is chaired by Angela Dixon of Saffron Hall.

Cllr Neil Reeve, Portfolio Holder for the Economy, Investment and Corporate Strategy, said: "Uttlesford is a unique district, largely rural in nature with thriving market towns and an International airport. Much of our economy takes place outside the town centres and we are perfectly positioned to be a key part of the innovation corridor running between London and Cambridge. 

"Despite the significant rise in ecommerce, the pandemic has seen a marked movement towards supporting local businesses and with increasing numbers of people working from home there are opportunities for our towns and villages to thrive. Many businesses have had to innovate to survive and we need to ensure that we support both sustainable and green business growth.

"The economy of the district is of direct benefit to the community, and we need to ensure that the Local Plan is one of the tools used to provide the infrastructure for growth.

"I would urge everyone to get involved in the consultation process and have their say on this and any other themes that have so far been discussed at the forum meetings."

The meeting will be live-streamed from 7pm so that anyone can listen in. Pre-registration will be available via the Local Plan webpage.

Following the meeting, the consultation will open for people to make comments. The comments received will then be summarised and discussed by the Forum.

The Local economy is the seventh of nine themes being considered by the Forum and is part of a six-month conversation on the things that matter to people in Uttlesford. The feedback will contribute to the way in which the District is shaped over the next 15 years or more. This phase of the plan-making process runs until the spring.

Information on all nine themes, the key dates and how to comment is available on the Local Plan website and the council's social media channels (Facebook and Twitter).

Everyone who has an interest in this work is encouraged to sign up to receive regular local plan e-newsletters via the Keep me posted service.

12 February 2021