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District council to give community forums a say in garden communities for Uttlesford

Cllr Howard Rolfe (7749979)
Cllr Howard Rolfe (7749979)

Community forums are being set up to help Uttlesford District Council create new garden communities.

The authority is including parish and town councils, small businesses, youth groups and those from the arts and culture sectors.

The first role of the new forums – which will also look to involve representatives from the voluntary sector, faith groups, and walking and cycling groups – will be to assist with the creation of Development Plan Documents (DPDs) for the Great Chesterford and Easton Park garden communities.

Arrangements for community involvement in the development of the West of Braintree Garden Community will be agreed in partnership with Braintree District Council.

The district needs to meet a Government target of 14,000 new homes by 2033. Of these, about 8,000 have already been built or have planning permission in existing towns and villages.

Uttlesford wants to build along the A120 at Easton Park, to the north of the A120 and west of Great Dunmow, constructing 10,000 homes, of which 1,925 will be delivered by 2033.

The West of Braintree Garden Community would straddle the district boundary with Braintree, and the Uttlesford portion is located between Stebbing and Rayne and includes ancient Boxted Wood. The whole garden community in both districts will ultimately have capacity for 10,500 to 13,500 homes – of which 970 will be built by 2033 to meet Uttlesford’s housing need.

A 5,000-home North Uttlesford Garden Community, close to the border with Cambridgeshire, on land south-east of the A11 and north-east of the B184, is also planned, with 1,925 homes ready by 2033.

Cllr Howard Rolfe, leader of Uttlesford District Council, said: “It is our intention for the people of Uttlesford to be at the forefront of shaping the plans for the new garden communities and to work with us to ensure the district remains a wonderful place where people want to live, work and play. We are greatly looking forward to working with these forums and engaging with the local community on the plans.”

The community forums, each run by an independent facilitator, will work alongside proposed Local Delivery Boards as part of a joint approach to how new places are planned, designed and delivered for local people.

The boards will comprise of representatives from Uttlesford district and Essex county councils and the master developer for each site. Cambridgeshire councillors will also be invited to sit on the North Uttlesford Garden Community Board.

Cllr Kevin Bentley, deputy leader of Essex County Council and its cabinet member for infrastructure, said: “We must prioritise that the building of new homes are delivered alongside much-needed new infrastructure to support growing communities.”

Jon Levy, development director at Landsec and master developer for the Easton Park garden community, commented on the plans: “It’s important to us that local people get involved in the plans and work with us so, together, we can achieve the best possible future for the district and the new garden communities created.”

James Cochrane, project director at Grosvenor Britain and Ireland, master developer for the North Uttlesford garden community, added: “We’d like to hear first-hand what benefits residents, workers, businesses and community groups would like to see brought forward through the garden communities.

The work of the forums will not prejudice the local plan hearings due in the summer.

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