Uttlesford's draft Local Plan has met with backlash from Liberal Democrats as the public is invited to have their say on the proposals.

The district council is currently consulting on the draft plan, and is encouraging comments up to and including December 18.

Cllr Geoffrey Sell, leader of Uttlesford's Liberal Democrat Group, urged residents to respond to the consultation, saying "it is a chance to have your say as to where development should take place".

Saffron Walden Reporter: Cllr Geoffrey Sell, leader of the Liberal Democrat Group at Uttlesford District CouncilCllr Geoffrey Sell, leader of the Liberal Democrat Group at Uttlesford District Council (Image: Uttlesford District Council)

The Liberal Democrat Group has raised some concerns about the plan - saying that the reduction in affordable housing from 45 per cent to 35 per cent means that 300 fewer low cost houses will be available.

They have also raised concerns about the capacity for local roads to take increased development, and the adjusting of boundaries for the countryside protection zone.

Cllr Susan Barker, leader of Uttlesford District Council's Conservative group, has previously expressed concerns about the impact of an increase in homes, particularly the impact on school capacity in villages.

She said: "The proposals will need many amendments to make them acceptable to the residents of Uttlesford."

Saffron Walden Reporter: Cllr Susan Barker, leader of Uttlesford District Council's Conservative GroupCllr Susan Barker, leader of Uttlesford District Council's Conservative Group (Image: Uttlesford District Council)

However the need for a Local Plan is undisputed, as Uttlesford had its previous two plans rejected in 2014 and 2019, and its current plan was adopted in 2005 - making it 18 years out of date.

A spokesperson for Uttlesford Liberal Democrats said: "Without a Local Plan we will not get the infrastructure the district badly needs. Instead, we will get even more speculative development."

Cllr John Evans, the Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) portfolio holder for planning and the Local Plan, has explained the increased infrastructure which will accompany the plan.

Saffron Walden Reporter: Cllr John Evans, Residents for UttlesfordCllr John Evans, Residents for Uttlesford (Image: Uttlesford District Council)

He said: "The new housing will be backed by strong environmental policies, and along with it comes a third district high school in the south, a new dedicated sixth-form campus in the north, and five additional primary schools – all of which will create more school places and choice.


"Also proposed are community facilities, new green spaces, and road upgrades – and allocations for local jobs, retail, and surgeries for new and existing residents."

A number of drop-in exhibitions have been organised so residents can find out more about the proposals.

  • Monday, November 13, 5pm to 8pm: Priors Green Community Hall, Bennet Canfield, Little Canfield, Dunmow.
  • Tuesday, November 14, 5pm to 8pm: Saffron Walden Town Hall, Market Street, Saffron Walden.
  • Wednesday, November 15, 5pm to 8pm: Manuden Village Community Centre, David Collins Drive, Manuden.
  • Thursday, November 16, 5pm to 8pm: The Dourdan Pavilion, The Causeway, Great Dunmow.

Further details, including how residents can have their say on the proposals, are available at www.uttlesford.gov.uk/2023-Draft-Plan-Consultation.

An information point providing a more general overview of the draft Local Plan can be viewed during normal opening hours at the district council offices in Saffron Walden.

For anyone unable to attend, the display panels will also be available on the council website, and a consultation information booklet will be delivered to households in the week following the exhibitions.