Make every voice count!

This is your opportunity to engage with the public consultation!

Summer time, and the consultation is live!

It’s the summer! Hurrah! If like me you have young children, then the summer means long days with lists of fun activities, endless meal preparation and tidying, and acting as an unofficial referee on a regular basis. Yes – the holidays are here – a time which should be foot-loose and fancy-free, except that this year, it also means something else…

The summer holiday period coincides with the Council’s public consultation on the North Uttlesford Garden Community, and that means that whilst we should be thinking about picnics in the park, and sandcastles on the beach, this year we’re also thinking about responding to the consultation, and making our voices heard.

Summer juggling.

I’ll be honest, the last couple of weeks have meant a lot of juggling.  Managing time between children, work, and the Stop NUGV campaign means things are rather manic at the moment! So, how can we reconcile all of these obligations?

I have a suggestion. Why not get the children involved? It was great to see so many of the younger members of our villages(s) at last week’s press call, but it doesn’t need to end there. I’ve been discussing the Local Plan with my eleven and six-year-old children, and last night they decided that would also like to make their voices heard. This morning, the youngest has been making notes about why she feels another (eventual) five thousand houses in the local proximity will be bad news for her village.

And why not? She is a resident, after all? Her future is as invested in protecting and preserving our way of life, as mine is. Maybe hers is even more invested, because she will have many more years to live and see what becomes of the so-called garden-village? So, over the next few weeks I’ll be helping her, and her brother, put their ideas together and on paper, so that they too can raise their personal objections to the planners at Uttlesford District Council.

Cynically timed…

The public consultation is incredibly cynically timed. It clashes with the weeks when many of us are away on holiday, and busier than ever, managing jobs and childcare. Some days it’s hard to remember whether there’s any clean washing in the house, let alone how to outline a logical argument in opposition to the Council’s proposed settlement… I totally understand how demanding family life can be! But let me say this, don’t let that be a reason that you don’t make your own voices heard.

Take action!

It only takes a few moments to stop by our How Can We Stop NUGV page, and pen a personal e-mail (or letter) to UDC. Use our How to make your words count guide, and write about whatever matters most to you – be it the process, the timing, the unsustainability of the proposals, or the worrying lack of infrastructure – it doesn’t matter, so long as you respond!

And if you have the time, why not engage the rest of your family, and get them to write too? At the end of the day, every single one of us will be affected by the decisions which are made over the coming weeks and months. We each have until September 4th to make our voice heard – make it count!


Maria Brookes-Staddon,

Great Chesterford resident.

2 Comments on "Make every voice count!"

  1. 1) The country has a housing crisis. Unless we get rid of the not-in-my-back-yard mentality that seems to prevail across this site, the housing crisis will continue.

    2) There doesn’t seem to be a discussion on this site about the clear benefits of increasing housing in the area. There’s a lot of focus on the Cons (perceived or otherwise) but no recognition of the clear economic Pros to the surrounding area, community and industry.

    3) If you’re looking to get young people involved, I suggest you speak to some young people who have been priced out of the housing market, and get their views on the matter.

    This is not about Chesterford, or Saffron Walden, or even Cambridge. It’s about the post-Brexit health of the UK economy, and I, for one, am all for it.

    • Thanks for engaging Max, all views are welcome here.

      Few seem to dispute that there’s a need for more housing – although UDC’s own consultants now say that need is substantially less than the 14,000 homes in the Local Plan.

      Personally speaking, my objection is that this need should be met in conjunction with the infrastructure needs that go with it in order to ensure a reasonable quality of life (usable transport networks, schools, jobs, clean water etc) for all inhabitants –
      whether old or new.

      For many reasons a town-sized cul-de-sac on the side of a hill is not a viable solution to what many acknowledge is a genuine national housing shortage.

      Given UDC’s incomprehensible, and to me frankly insulting, paucity of detail in the draft local plan it’s hard to see how anyone can make an informed decision that this meets anyone’s needs and should either be supported or otherwise.

      Certainly there is no description of the benefits you mention in the plan – are residents supposed to guess what these might be?

      The only need the plan currently seems to meet is that of UDC; to have a draft local plan.

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