In advance of public hearings scheduled for July, the Inspectors have sent Uttlesford District Council a long list of Stage 1 Matters, Issues and Questions running to 11 pages. These are in addition to the 19 questions raised when the plan was submitted in January 2019. It might be concluded from these latest questions that the Inspectors consider there to be a lot of evidence missing from the plan.
Of particular concern to StopNUtown are those concerning garden communities:-
1. How were the broad locations for the garden communities selected, and what evidence documents were produced to inform their selection?
2. Have landscape, agricultural land, flood-risk, natural heritage and heritage assessments been carried out to inform the locations of the proposed garden communities?
3. Is the Sustainability Appraisal of the garden community options robust, particularly with regard to its threshold of 5,000 dwellings?
4. Are the locations of the proposed garden communities adequately identified on the policies map? Should they be more clearly defined?
5. Have the infrastructure requirements of the proposed garden communities been adequately identified and costed? Including the requirements for:
a) road improvements;
b) rapid public transport systems and sustainable transport networks;
c) water supply and waste water treatment;
d) the provision of electricity/gas and other services;
e) primary healthcare;
f) schools and early years’ provision;
g) green infrastructure; and
h) leisure and sports facilities.
6. Is there evidence that the infrastructure requirements will be delivered within the necessary timescales?
7. Should policies SP5, SP6, SP7 and SP8 make more specific requirements as regards the provision and timing of the infrastructure needs for the proposed garden communities?
8. Has the economic viability of each of the proposed garden communities been adequately demonstrated in the Uttlesford Economic Viability Study 2018. In particular:
a) Has the viability assessment been carried out in accordance with the advice in the NPPG?
b) Are appropriate assumptions made about the level and timing of infrastructure costs and other costs associated with for example the sensitive nature of the sites in terms of historic heritage?
c) Is there a contingency allowance? If not, should one be included?
d) Are appropriate assumptions made about the rate of output?
e) Are appropriate assumptions made about the timing of land purchases?
f) Is the viability threshold set at an appropriate level?
g) Should an allowance have been made for inflation?
h) Is an appropriate allowance made for finance costs?
i) Is the residual value methodology appropriate?
j) Has income from commercial floorspace been factored into the calculations?
And in specific respect of North Uttlesford Garden Community (SP7), which are:
1. What evidence is there to demonstrate that the proposed North Uttlesford Garden Community is capable of delivering 5,000 homes (1,925 in the Plan period)?
2. The Heritage Impact Assessment says this site is situated within asensitive landscape with significant highly sensitive areas and contains extensive heritage assets. Has this been factored into the calculation of the likely developable area of the site and the provision of infrastructure and services?
3. Should the plan identify specific allocation/areas within the policy area for employment use?
4. Does the policy refer to the most up to date sports strategy?
5. Do local railway stations have the capacity to cope with the increased passenger demand likely to be created by this development?
6. Has the proposed Genome expansion within South Cambridgeshire considered the cumulative implications of the new community North of Uttlesford?
7. Has an assessment been made of the flood risk and if so what were the findings? Is flooding likely to affect the development of the site and if so how?
8. How have any impacts from flight paths to and from Stansted airport onthe North Uttlesford proposed garden community been considered?