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PRESS RELEASE: LOCAL RESIDENTS MOBILISE TO STOP NEW TOWN DEVELOPMENT

Issued 26/7/17 by StopNUGV

A massive housing development is being proposed in an area of unspoilt and environmentally sensitive countryside. StopNUGV has been formed by residents of the surrounding communities that will lie in the shadow of this new town half a mile to the northeast of Great Chesterford on the Essex/Cambridgeshire border.

The misleadingly named North Uttlesford Garden Village will create a new town of 5,000 dwellings and up to 20,000 residents — almost as large as nearby Saffron Walden, just 4 miles away and one of the finest preserved examples in England of a medieval market town.

When completed the development will put an estimated 10,000 additional cars on the area’s country roads with little improvement planned to the road infrastructure. The school population will grow by thousands but with no provision for additional schools for years, putting yet more pressure on already over-subscribed local schools, and a similar situation will arise for GP surgeries.

Residents of all the affected communities are being asked to make their views known to Uttlesford District Council by 4 September when the public consultation period ends. A web site StopNUGV.org.uk provides guidance on how to do this.

StopNUGV response to the proposed development:-

“We believe the proposal is being driven by Uttlesford District Council’s (UDC) inability so far to obtain a consensus on how to meet its government-dictated house-building target,” says a spokesperson for StopNUGV.

“The plan as it stands is riddled with questionable assumptions and misleading claims. Furthermore, just six weeks has been provided for consultation. It may be no coincidence that UDC has chosen the peak holiday period in which to do this, when people’s minds are on other things and many affected residents will be away.”

A primary justification given in the proposal is housing demand arising from biotech clusters in Cambridgeshire, yet StopNUGV points to the housing provisions already made by Cambridge City and South Cambs Council.

“A new settlement such as this at the northern edge of the District will do little to service employment in the district or meet the housing needs of Uttlesford residents. It will only encourage more people into the district, the majority of whom will be commuters to Cambridge and London.”

In 2008, Research*1 was conducted to assess the attractiveness of a development of 8,000 homes less than one mile to the north of the NUGV new town site. People working at research parks in south Cambs were asked if it was an attractive proposition and the majority said they would not want to live there. “It begs the question what has changed to make this new plan any more attractive to biotech workers in south Cambs?”

The spokesperson continued, “At least that previous proposal had a zero carbon objective including low energy use, water harvesting and a high provision of public transport, this new plan has none of that.”

“We are deeply concerned by the wholly inadequate infrastructure provisions of the NUGV proposal, which bear little relationship to reality or future pressure on roads, schools and GP surgeries in the area. Nor is there any joined-up thinking concerning rail usage or the likely pressure on station parking and the creation of rat runs through nearby villages.”

Essex County Council and National rail are both on record that they will not pay for infrastructure improvements related to this development. The only likely source of funding for infrastructure being S106 developer contributions*2 and that, according to StopNUGV, will be “too little and too late in the timeline of the development to avoid substantial harm to the existing communities of north Uttlesford.”

“We don’t see any developer committing to fund the necessary scale of infrastructure or fulfilling any obligations placed upon them to do so.”

Planning guidelines require new developments to meet sustainability criteria but StopNUGV points to misleading assumptions put forward by Bidwells in an attempt to Cloak the plan with green credentials.

“Bidwells claims that the science clusters in South Cambs could be accessible by walking, cycling, rail and bus services. For most people the distances for walking or cycling are too far and buses will take too long or lack sufficient frequency.

“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?”

StopNUGV believes the residents of Great Chesterford and surrounding villages are being misled by UDC and Bidwells’ use of the description Garden Village.

“In no way will this proposed development meet The Town and Country Planning Association guidance for a Garden settlement therefore it should not be described as such. This is a new town, plain and simple.

“Residents of the surrounding villages will fight this proposal vigorously. We also believe the people of Saffron Walden need to seriously consider the implications on their already over-stretched roads, parking and schools.”

 

These banners will soon be appearing around the local villages –

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