Uttlesford District Council claims residents of three new garden communities will use sustainable transport
Uttlesford District Council claims up to 60% of journeys made by residents of three new 'garden communities' will be by public transport, walking or cycling.
The authority believes the scale of the three proposed settlements included in its Local Plan will enable the district to unlock new and improved infrastructure, from transport upgrades to the creation of green spaces.
As part of this new “holistically designed” approach, it claims medical and leisure facilities, transport links, schools and shops will be created alongside the construction of new homes as they are needed.
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 the council, said: “Uttlesford is a wonderful place to live. However, we are clear that current infrastructure will not be sufficient for future growth and to meet the needs of all our current and future residents.
"The Local Plan outlines how we will ensure that new facilities and transport upgrades are brought forward in tandem with new housing, which historically has not always been done in other places.
“Our vision for Uttlesford is that over the next 15 years we will see it continue to be a place that residents choose to live, where communities thrive, are healthy and safe, jobs and services are well connected, places have character and communities create and feel a ‘pride of place’.”
Cllr Rolfe said that accessibility to the new garden communities was at the forefront of the Local Plan, with all three to be provided with sustainable, efficient transport services to surrounding areas and, crucially, Stansted Airport.
New routes to major transport hubs have also been outlined in the plan, as part of a programme of infrastructure development and upgrades to support the district’s growth.
Bishop’s Stortford town councillors fear the settlements will have a knock-on effect, with commuters using the town’s railway station, causing congestion.
The Uttlesford Local Plan is set to be scrutinised during public hearing sessions due to begin in July.