New draft Uttlesford Local Plan presented to councillors ahead of consultation
Councillors are set to consider a draft version of the Uttlesford Local Plan before it is consulted upon next month.
A local plan is essential as it sets the policies which are the starting point for the consideration of planning applications, including the identification of suitable locations for strategic development.
Uttlesford's new plan will look to respect the important qualities and features of the district whilst at the same time provide the housing and employment, open space and other infrastructure required over the next two decades.
The draft plan - published on Tuesday (26 September) - includes recommendations for development sites which have been identified following a wide-ranging and comprehensive period of evidence gathering and testing. The distribution of housing is based on settlement classification, with development focused in locations that are most suitable and where it is needed. The council needs to prepare for almost 14,000 homes over the next 20 years - a figure imposed by government - although about 8,000 of these have already been built or have planning permission. With a built-in buffer (which is common practice and provides flexibility), the draft plan currently proposes allocations for 6,076 additional homes over the period 2021 to 2041.
Allocations for education, healthcare, employment, infrastructure for improved transport links, and community use are also included, whilst the environment and maximising opportunities for active travel feature heavily.
Cllr John Evans, Portfolio Holder for Planning, said: "We are getting closer to taking back control and being able to stem the tide of speculative development - each step taken towards adopting a new local plan is a step in the right direction for the district.
"This is not the final version of the plan but is a set of recommendations that look to realise the long-term aspirations for Uttlesford.
"There are some tough decisions that need to be made, but getting the public's constructive feedback upon this draft will be a key part of the process as we continue to refine and shape the plan. Consultation is scheduled to start next month and I would encourage as many people as possible to have their say on the proposals and let us know their views. There will also be a series of local community engagement events which will also give the public an opportunity to ask questions."
The new draft plan will be discussed by the cross-party Local Plan Leadership Group on Wednesday 4 October. The group is not a decision-making body but it will make recommendations to the Cabinet which will meet later in the month to consider it.
A Full Council meeting will then be held to decide whether or not to publish the draft local plan for public consultation. If agreed, a six-week public consultation will start from the end of October.
To view the Local Plan Leadership Group agenda, visit: https://tinyurl.com/UDCLPLG04102023
More information about the local plan is available at: www.uttlesford.gov.uk/new-local-plan
28 September 2023