A consultation will be held next month for the public to have their say on Uttlesford District Council's draft Local Plan.

The plan will set the blueprint for new housing, employment and infrastructure for the district over the next two decades.

Uttlesford has not had a new Local Plan since 2005, and councillors hope this will enable them to "take back control" of the district.

The policies set out in the plan will be the starting point for the consideration of planning applications, including identifying suitable locations for strategic development.

It will aim to protect the 'essential qualities' of the district, while providing the housing, employment, open space and other infrastructure required.

Cllr John Evans, portfolio holder for planning, said: "We haven’t had a Local Plan in Uttlesford for many years, the last being made in 2005, and we have suffered badly because opportunistic planning applications at scale have been made across the whole district as a result.

Saffron Walden Reporter: Cllr John Evans, portfolio holder for planning at Uttlesford District CouncilCllr John Evans, portfolio holder for planning at Uttlesford District Council (Image: Uttlesford District Council)

"Without a current Local Plan, the coordination of infrastructure, such as new schools and GP practices go unplanned.

"With a new Local Plan however, this infrastructure can be planned for, and developers can be required to pay upfront for more of these facilities that our communities need.

"Whilst we still have to make some tough choices about where the most suitable sites are for the 14,000 new homes that the government has told us we must find space for over the next 20 years, at least we as local people will be able to say 'no' to unsuitable applications made in our towns, villages and countryside.

"Developers will also have to plan better and live up to our new environmental policies – and they will have to follow the lead we set in delivering more affordable homes for local people."

The new plan will be published in the coming weeks for elected councillors to consider ahead of a detailed consultation.

At this point members of the public are encouraged to have their say on whether they feel the draft Local Plan takes the right approach in dealing with the key issues such as housing, jobs and infrastructure.


Cllr Evans added: "Having a Local Plan or continuing without one isn’t a choice whether we see these 14,000 new homes built or not – the government has made clear in setting the rules that they have to come.

"It is a choice instead between whether we continue at the mercy of speculative development or whether we take back control locally, putting the district’s needs first."

The consultation is due to start in late October and run for six weeks. There will also be a series of community engagement events - further details of which will be announced in due course.

Local Plans are expected to change as a result of the feedback received in the public consultation, and a revised version incorporating any changes will be brought back to councillors in 2024.

Uttlesford residents can sign up for updates on the Local Plan by going to https://www.uttlesford.gov.uk/Local-Plan-News.