Uttlesford Local Plan: Attention turns to housing requirement for the district

Members of Uttlesford District Council's Local Plan Leadership Group will this week consider a report which sets out the draft housing requirement for the district over the coming decades.

The council is required to produce a local plan, which will shape where new homes and businesses can be built and what infrastructure is needed to support development.

The leadership group is playing a key role in developing a new local plan for Uttlesford and is providing clear direction to enable officers to carry out the technical work. This started with an innovative six-month consultation, led by an independent community stakeholder forum, and allowed the public to influence the plan before a single line was written. This was then followed with the development and approval of a vision and objectives which sets the framework for the plan preparation work.

The next stage of the process is to identify the housing requirement - this is the number of homes that need to be planned for over the plan period (up to 2040), and will help inform the assessment of potential sites.

Officers are recommending a draft housing requirement of 706 homes a year - which, incorporating a buffer to provide for flexibility, means a supply of up to 16,944 homes over the plan period.

This requirement is based on a standard government calculation, but also takes into account comments received during the public consultation as well as the experiences of other local authorities.

Cllr John Evans, portfolio holder with responsibility for the local plan, said: "Agreeing the housing requirement is probably the most crucial early decision to take as it will shape how the plan moves forward and will enable officers to begin identifying the appropriate number and location of sites for consideration. The draft calculation builds in some flexibility which will help to avoid problems further down the line. The leadership group will need to carefully consider the officer advice before making a recommendation to Cabinet."

The leadership group will meet to discuss the plans on Thursday (24 June). The agenda and papers for the meeting are available to view on the council website, at www.uttlesford.gov.uk.

The next step in the plan-making process will be the publication of the sites that were put forward by land owners and promoters in the 'Call for Sites' exercise. This is expected to happen next month. Residents are reminded that this does not represent an allocation of sites and that no decisions have been taken, as sites will be assessed thereafter as to their suitability or otherwise.

Everyone with an interest in the local plan is encouraged to sign up for regular information and updates by subscribing to the council's e-newsletter service, via www.uttlesford.gov.uk/local-plan-news.

21 June 2021