UTTLESFORD DISTRICT COUNCIL
LOCAL PLAN UPDATE
January 2020: - The Joint Inspectors' report on Uttlesford's draft Local Plan has criticised its formulation, especially with regard to the proposed establishment of three 'Garden Villages'. The result of UDC's inactivity on its housing supply is that, instead of meeting the Government's 5-year housing supply it is now only at 2.6 years. This means that it is "Open Season" for developers to apply to increase Stansted Mountfitchet's allocated housing target of 45, because of the insufficient housing supply figure caused by the paralysis of UDC governance.
In March 2015 Uttlesford issued a "Call for Sites" to be received between 1st April and 1st June 2015.
The 'Call for Sites' was an opportunity for developers, landowners, individuals and other interested parties, to suggest sites, within Uttlesford District, for development. The suggested sites will be used to help assess development within the Local Plan.
(But, this call for sites exercise will not in itself determine whether a site should be allocated for development).
The results of this exercise were published 8th December 2015 and it shows us , within the Parish of Stansted Mountfitchet, what we are faced with and that, in the old planning system, we would be extremely vulnerable to indiscriminate and speculative planning applications which would, in a developer led environment, see us swamped by new housing developments.
The latest estimate for the number of extra homes, potentially in our village, has risen to 5,513.
A Neighbourhood Plan , with the added backing of the UDC's Local Plan, will provide a shift of the balance of power over to our community.
Local Plan Delayed
Late 2016 the Local Plan process was halted as it became apparent that certain procedures were not being adhered to.
The main issues involved how to accommodate the new Government Housing Target of over 14,000 homes to be provided within the Uttlesford district.
It became clear that possibly 2, or even 3, new settlements would need to be considered. This process has been further complicated by the insistence of some senior District Councillors to keep the "Elshenham" project on the agenda, despite being refused by the Inspector in 2015 owing to the lack of adequate road infrastructure. This had brought about a revision of the deadline date for submission of the Local Plan to the Government which was set for April 2018 and since further revised to Summer 2019. The situation has been further complicated by the resounding defeat of the former Tory party's overwhelming majority, in the recent Local Government elections, by an independent 'Residents 4 Uttlesford' party with a 'NIMBY' mandate.
This has given our Neighbourhood Planning Group relief, (by virtue of the delay to the Local Plan), but also a wariness as to the intentions of the now new political landscape of UDC and the uncertainty that that brings with it.
The first consultation process for the Local Plan took place 12th July - 31st August 2017.
NEW LIBRARY TO OPEN 13TH JANUARY 2020
After delays, the new "Mountfitchet Exchange", Library and Parish Council offices, will be open to our village community and residents of neighbouring Parishes. It is with great relief to know that Essex County Council has agreed to honour its 10-year commitment of supporting the Library service to this new venture. It will also mean that all our residents will have direct access to Parish Council staff which will promote greater understanding and speedier resolution to issues raised.
Castle Maltings Building
With the planning issues behind us the new Health Centre opened its doors in October 2016. The new Dental Practice opened at the same time and already has acquired a large client base.
The new Co-op store opened for business that November followed by an Estate Agency and Pharmacy.
The new Mini-roundabout at the bottom of Chapel Hill is coping with the demands of traffic very well. However, the positioning of the its core has caused some dangerous incidents.
The construction of a Pedestrian crossing in Lower Street has yet to be started.
Stansted Airport Expansion
The MAG Group, who own Stansted Airport has been granted licence to increase its passenger numbers from the existing 35 million passengers per annum, (Mppa), to 43.5Mppa. It is also believed, it will be seeking planning permission to develop 37 hectares land on the North side of the Airport for industrial purposes.
It has, in association with Harlow College of Further Education, established a College which will focus on developing skills associated with the airport operations, retail and aircraft engineering.
Stansted Airport will be an important component of the new London, Harlow, Stansted and Cambridge Enterprise Corridor where scientific excellence is the aspiration which will bring a great boost to the area. This initiative is in the early stages of formation but, with the planned move of the NHS England HQ to Harlow and the Genome Research establishment in Cambridge already up and running, the future looks exciting.
However, such expansion of airport activity will no doubt bring with it, not only added pressure on our local infrastructure but, also create pressure on our Parish community where such development makes our location a prime target for more homes.