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Councillors to consider revised Draft Local Plan

A revised and improved Draft Uttlesford Local Plan that will bring high quality homes, employment and infrastructure to the district will be considered by councillors next week.

Papers for the 15 July meeting of the Local Plan Panel - the cross-party group set up to lead the project - have been published and are available to view on the Uttlesford District Council website.

This latest plan proposes a requirement for about 1,500 fewer homes than previously put forward, as well as significant improvements to the strategic site allocations and an updated affordable housing policy to better reflect some of the affordability issues in Uttlesford.

It has taken into account feedback received during the previous stage of the local plan consultation, which was held last year and generated about 5,000 comments from 1,700 respondents, and also further work that has been carried out to address the issues then raised. A wide-ranging and comprehensive period of evidence gathering and testing underpins the revised proposals.

Cllr John Evans, Portfolio Holder for Planning, said: "I'm pleased to see a number of positive improvements and changes to this plan which have taken into account the many representations that were raised during the last consultation, all of which - as promised - have been reviewed and considered.

"It is crucial that we get a new local plan in place as it establishes the policies that serve as the foundation for reviewing planning applications and prevents speculative development, the last local plan being more than 19 years old. Councils that have a current Local Plan have greater powers to approve or reject unsuitable individual planning applications compared to those that don't have one in place, and it is vital that Uttlesford's Local Plan is approved so that we can once again take back development control locally.

"This latest plan looks to respect the important qualities and features of the district whilst providing the housing and employment, open space and other infrastructure required over the next two decades."

The council continues to prepare for at least 14,741 homes that are required between 2021 and 2041. Around 8,700 of these have already been built or have planning permission. The level of housing allocations for 6,076 homes that was initially proposed has been reduced to 4,638 homes in the revised plan (3,738 on strategic sites and 900 on non-strategic sites). This is due to the number of planning permissions approved since April 2023 up until April 2024.

The 489 home strategic allocations at Thaxted have been removed altogether, partly due to difficulties to plan for strategic infrastructure, and the 400-home strategic allocation at Newport has been replaced with a requirement for 300 homes, to be planned through the Neighbourhood Plan on a collection of smaller sites.

Planning for the strategic allocations has progressed a great deal, with improved master plans extending areas of open space and providing greater protection for heritage assets. As an example, the western part of the previously-proposed allocation at Takeley will no longer include any development and will remain within the Countryside Protection Zone - this will provide a greatly expanded area of open space and more effective protection for heritage assets and ancient woodland.

Additionally, the Affordable Housing policy has also been enhanced. The target of 35% affordable housing remains but the policy has been amended to prioritise provision of social rented property which is more 'affordable' than other types of social housing and so would be more accessible to a greater number of people in the district.

The revised plan will be considered by the Local Plan Panel on 15 July and then Cabinet on 18 July. If approved by councillors at an Extraordinary Council meeting on 30 July, the plan will go out for a period of public consultation - known as the "Publication Version (Regulation 19) Local Plan" - before it is submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for assessment via public examination later this year.

Residents can stay up to date with what's happening with the local plan via the website ( and by signing up to receive the newsletter:



8 July 2024

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