New: Use our Template Letter to guide your response to UDC, or See other people’s letters for inspiration!
How to respond and object to the NUGV:
By e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
By letter to:
Planning Policy Team,
Uttlesford District Council,
Essex, CB11 4ER
You could also include your elected representatives in your reply:
Kemi Badenoch, MP – email@example.com | 3 Museum St, Saffron Walden CB10 1JN.
James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority – firstname.lastname@example.org.
UDC’s Online Consultation system is difficult to navigate, but allows you to comment on individual parts of the Local Plan. You can find it here, the relevant paragraphs are 3.60 onwards.
How to make your words count:
The public is invited to write to UDC before the consultation ends to raise concerns and objections about the NUGV development. It is essential that everyone who has concerns makes their voice heard by 4th September (when the consultation period ends), and does so in their own words. If we all copy and paste the same message, then the Council may only count this as one objection.
However, we are all busy people, and in order to help as many of us to do this as possible, we have come up with the following guidelines:
• Your letters don’t have to be long or detailed, and you don’t need to be an expert in planning proposals.
• Remember that your letter/e-mail, combined with the hundreds of others across the area will put pressure on UDC to listen to our concerns. Write about what is most important to you, and this will come over in your message.
• Bear in mind that in order to be most effective, our objections have to be made on planning grounds, and/or show how the settlement will not be sustainable.
• Please keep letters factual and polite.
• Write in a style that is natural to you, and conclude by asking for a response, (for example, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this matter).
Key points which can be included in your response:
Please do not just copy and paste. We all need to tailor personal responses to UDC – the points below are intended as a guide only!
- The proposed settlement is circa twice the size of Saffron Walden, and will dwarf Great Chesterford, severely impacting the surrounding villages of Little Chesterford, Hinxton, Ickleton, Littlebury, Linton and Sawston.
- The consultation period which expires on Monday 4th September is ridiculously short, and coincides with the summer holiday period.
- The detail of the draft Local Plan is sadly lacking, deliberately making constructive objection difficult, and the best information available to residents at present is a proposal presented by the commercial estate agents Bidwells. It is understood by the community that Bidwells was instructed by the local farmers on whose land the proposed community will be built, and therefore will necessarily have a bias in favour of development.
- Uttlesford’s housing needs– the new settlement is promoted by Bidwells as meeting housing needs resulting largely from growth of the biotech clusters which are mostly in Cambridge City and South Cambs. However, Cambridge City and South Cambs Councils have made provision for the necessary housing in their Plans. A settlement in this location right at the northern edge of the District will therefore do little to service employment in the district or to meet Uttlesford’s housing needs, but will only encourage commuting to Cambridge and London.
- Employment – when questioned at a recent Great Chesterford Parish Council meeting about where in Uttlesford the jobs are available for the residents of the proposed new settlement, the Bidwells representative responded at “Stansted Airport”. Access to Stansted from the new settlement is approx. 19 miles to the South and as explained below, the transport infrastructure is inadequate to cope with additional commuter traffic, if indeed residents of the proposed settlement are to work and commute to Stansted.
- Development Framework – the Local Plan requires development plans to be provided prior to planning applications, but these should be available now to inform the decision on where development should be sited. There is no developer in place yet for this settlement, and the financial and economic viability of the settlement has neither been explained, nor determined.
- Transport – the critical issues around transport mean that the settlement cannot be sustainable.
- Detailed transport assessment work has not been undertaken prior to deciding to include the settlement in the Plan. Many of the assertions about moves to non-car travel and traffic impacts are not based on factual evidence.
- Bidwells propose a network of foot and cycle paths and claim that the science clusters in South Cambs could be accessible by walking, cycling, and rail and bus services. For most people, the distances for walking or cycling are too far, and buses will take too long and be too infrequent. It cannot be assumed that the partners of these residents will also work in the science clusters. People are most likely to travel by car. Car ownership in this area is significantly above national average – why should it be any different in this settlement?
- There is no northbound access to the M11 at junction 9. The draft Local Plan states that the preferred route for northbound travel would be the A11. However, direct access to the A11 from the site is not planned. As traffic will exit on to the B184 and A1301, rat running through Hinxton, Ickleton and Duxford to M11/J10 (already a problem) will increase significantly. Direct access northbound to the A11 and at M11/J9, and southbound exits should be a condition to granting permission for any significant housing developments in this area.
- It is suggested the settlement will not significantly add to congestion on roads south of Cambridge, particularly the A505 and junctions with the A1301 and M11. This assumes mitigation measures would be in place at the M11/A505 and A505/A1301 junctions. While funding is being sought for a study of the A505, improvements are likely at best many years away. This stretch of the A505 is already beyond capacity at peak times, and simply will not cope with the extra traffic generated. Growth taking place or being proposed in South Cambs is also ignored and the assumed numbers of non-car based journeys are unrealistic. Adding lanes to the M11 has been in discussion for many years (to take account of Stansted Airport expansion) but with no apparent plan to revive this proposal significant additional traffic is to be added.
- Essex County Council has made it clear it will not pay for infrastructure. This was reiterated at a recent Great Chesterford Parish Council meeting by the ECC Councillor, who was in attendance. S106 developer contributions are unlikely to be enough. Traffic outflow from the settlement onto the B184 will put already inadequate infrastructure under enormous strain.
- Rail stations are too far away for most people to cycle. Bus services between the settlement and the stations cannot be so frequent and reliable as to make them preferable to car journeys. Commuters who choose to park their cars will be adding to the traffic on local roads and parking is already problematic at all local train stations, especially Audley End and Great Chesterford, which are already at full capacity with no consideration of any expansion.
- The Draft Plan requires the settlement to meet Garden City Principles. The Town and Country Planning Association’s guidance states “A Garden City’s design must enable at least 50% of trips originating in the Garden City to be made by non-car means, with a goal to increase this over time to at least 60%” and “Garden Cities should be located only where there are existing rapid public transport links to major cities, or where plans are already in place for their provision.” These conditions cannot be met. Bidwells has not committed to meeting Garden City Principles. The landowners and UDC referring to the proposed settlement as a “Garden Village” are seriously misleading the residents of Great Chesterford and surrounding villages.
- Landscape impact
- The settlement is apparently being designed to mitigate the impact on Great Chesterford, but it will be highly visible from South Cambridgeshire and from the opposite side of the environmentally sensitive Cam Valley (looking from Strethall/Catmere End), even if building is mainly on the plateau. It will permanently destroy the uplands, the sky-line, good quality agricultural land and add to urbanisation of what is currently essentially a rural landscape which is acknowledged to have high sensitivity to change.
- The proposed settlement will destroy any of the current rural land between the suburbs of southern Cambridge and the rural villages of South Cambs/Uttlesford, and will create a huge area of ribbon development stretching from Great Chesterford to Cambridge.
- Water supply, sewage disposal and flooding concerns
- Bidwells’ responses and reassurances to concerns raised about these matters lack any detail and do not seem to be based on sound evidence. They state that some 55% of the site is expected to be hard impermeable surfaces. There will be a considerable reduction in the amount of water reaching the aquifer on which we depend for our water supply.
- -It should be noted that run off would naturally flow into the Cam Valley, where the River Cam is prone to flooding – houses and the new Community Centre in Great Chesterford have had incidences of serious flooding in the recent past.
- Schools, GPs and other services–the new settlement is planned to grow at a slow rate (about 150 a year). It will be years before the population is such that additional essential services will be provided within the settlement. Since existing schools and GP practices are already at capacity the new settlement cannot be viewed as sustainable.
- Conflict of interest– Uttlesford District Council has recently bought a substantial holding in the Chesterford Research Park. The draft Local Plan states that the North Uttlesford Garden Community should maximise economic links with Chesterford Research Park. There appears to be a conflict here as UDC is both the part owner and the planning authority for the new settlement and the Research Park. This raises the question of whether the new settlement’s location or the rationale for its existence is based on objective evidence, particularly given the inclusion of this proposed settlement in the Local Plan has only been made at the last minute and immediately following UDC’s investment.
- In conclusion, the development has been poorly thought through and there has been a flagrant disregard by UDC for proper consideration of the above issues and the overall impact of this settlement on the sensitive environment and infrastructure of North Uttlesford and neighbouring South Cambridgeshire.
We need funds to help disprove UDC’s evidence base, highlight the impact on local communities and show that NUGV is neither deliverable or sustainable.
You can donate to the campaign here:
Sign our Petition
While this is not as important as commenting directly to the council it does help to know how many people feel strongly about this new town. Sign below: