U.D.C. ran three preliminary workshops for Town & Parish Councils and a
range of community groups, businesses and individuals.
was published in the summer edition of Uttlesford Life, which asked
people for their views on where and how new housing, industry/offices
and shops should be built.
Apparently 877 completed questionnaires were returned and
additionally some people sent in letters.
above consultation the Council produced an outline for their Core
Strategy which set out the vision for the District and suggested
objectives and policies to achieve this vision. The document, called
Policy Choices and Options for Growth Consultation January 2007also
suggested a number of options for locations where new housing could be
An organisation called White, Young, Green were commissioned by
Uttlesford to produce a ‘sustainability appraisal’ of the above
This document has 129 pages and you can view the 9 options starting
on page 58.
|22 January to 9
date the above two documents were apparently on 'formal consultation.'
In total, 200 different individuals, groups and developers
responded with a total of c.2000 comments
to view what was displayed on Uttlesford’s site when inviting comments
on the NINE options during this consultation period.
||A summary of
the representations and officer recommendations was published
of the growth options was published.
Apparently both these documents were part of the background documents
taken into account in deciding the Council's Preferred Options Document
Environmental Committee of U.D.C. met
at a regular meeting. Item 4 on the under ‘Local Development
‘Members are to decide the Council’s preferred option for growth
which will be the subject of further consultation.’
To assist the members in their decision they had been given a
background document called: -
Uttlesford Core Strategy - Policy Choices
and Options for Growth - Assessment of Growth Options.
minutes of the meeting
"The Director of Development summarised a comprehensive report on
the results of the consultation on the policy choices and options for
growth which had taken place in January 2007. He said that the
total development requirement for the district was 9,672 dwellings and
5,466 were either built or were existing commitments. Therefore, the
Council needed to provide an additional 4,206 dwellings for the period
up to 2024."
The report put forward three options. (As shown above, there had
originally been 9 options but these had been reduced to 3 prior to
this meeting). See
Local Development Framework – Core Strategy
Policy Choices and Options for Growth
by Roger Harborough, Head of Planning and Housing Strategy.
During discussions, Councillor Ketteridge the, leader of the majority
Conservative Group, (but not a member of the committee), introduced a
fourth option, viz.
"To approve the three growth options as outlined in the paper and
to add the fourth option of 3,000 dwellings in a new settlement to the
north east of Elsenham, 750 dwellings in larger towns and 250
dwellings in villages"
He proposed that this should be the council’s preferred option.
The committee decided to approve the original three options
and to identify his fourth option as the preferred option.
The apparent this fourth option was that it was put forward by the Chair of the Environment Committee, Councillor
Barker, at a closed Conservative Group Meeting on 27th August. It had not
been discussed with the cross-party Local Development Framework Task
Group set up to advise the Council on options at their meeting in the
previous week, nor was it shared with the Liberal Democrat Group until
half an hour before the Environment Meeting on 4th September.
It was not discussed at all with the Independent Group prior to this
meeting. At the meeting it had no supporting documentation.
|26th Sept 2007
Joint Meeting at OSCA between Henham and Elsenham Parish Councils to
discuss the way forward.
|28th Sept 2007
public meetings at Henham Village Hall and Elsenham Village Hall to
inform residents of the Uttlesford Options. and to rally support
for attendance at the SW Area Panel Meeting and the Scrutiny Committee
meetings on 2nd and 3rd October respectively. Both were very well
Extraordinary Meeting of The Uttlesford District Council South West area
Panel at Elsenham Village Hall. Although it was reported that
there were over 200 members of the public present it is to be noted that
many people could not gain access to the hall because of its limited
capacity. Unfortunately many of the questions put by the public went
unanswered. The Liberal Democrat Councillors requested a 'call in'
on the decision by the Environment Committee and the following was
"The South West Area Panel notes the public
disquiet surrounding the announcement of the Council’s Options for
Growth strategy and its own dissatisfaction with the extent of
information available during public engagement through the panel at
previous meetings. It therefore welcomes the decision to call
this in to the Scrutiny Committee and urges the Council to think
again. The Panel believes that no specific locations should be
named for the houses at this stage, until further research by the
Council’s officers is available, carefully evaluated and communicated
to members and the residents of Uttlesford."
|3rd Oct 2007
Scrutiny Committee of Uttlesford District Council.
This again was very well attended by
residents of Henham and Elsenham especially to hear Item 4 on the
agenda, instigated by four councillors including David Morsen,
Local Development Framework – Core Strategy Policy Choices and
Options For Growth – Call in of decision
Prior to the meeting statements were made by the following members of
public. M Nicholson, Julia Smith, Martin Herbert, Mr Segar, S Pimblett,
P Johnson and R Woodcock. The minutes state that a Summary of Statements
made by these people was attached to the minutes although they do not
seem to appear on the Uttlesford website.
Following due debate the motion, i.e.
"that the decision of the Environment Committee on 4
September (minute E18) be referred to full Council"
was put to the vote and was lost by 4 votes to 3.
However, Councillor Ketteridge said he had listened to the views of
the public at both meetings and as a result would be prepared to put a
motion to Full Council that would ensure that all options were
considered equally. He had been advised by officers that the Council
must have a preferred option so he would propose that all 4 options
would be the Council’s preferred options for the purpose of
|9th Oct 2007
Full Council Meeting at Uttlesford Council Chambers
Prior to the meeting statements were made by eight members of the
public. The people are not named and a summary of the
statements is posted on the web site as promised in the minutes.
As the Scrutiny Committee had voted not to refer the Environment
Committee decision to the full council, Item 4 on the agenda was not
discussed. Also apparently Councillor Ketteridge was
constitutionally not allowed to pursue his offer of having all four
options as 'preferred options'. From the minutes however it
appears that the Members Question and Answer Session was interesting
'Councillor Morson passed copies of petitions to Councillor
Ketteridge concerning the option in the LDF for 3,000 houses to be
built at Elsenham. He said that the petitions contained 568 signatures
with a further 53 letters opposing the fourth option.'
|11th Oct 2007
Meeting of the Joint Parishes Steering Group
|30th Oct 2007
Environment Committee at Uttlesford Council Chamber.
Again well attended by Elsenham and Henham
The Committee had received a motion to rescind
the decision of the Environment Committee regarding the Local
Development Framework". Councillor C. Dean
proposed an amendment to the motion, but after due discussion both the
motion and the amendment were defeated by 6 votes to nine.
This meant that the four options for growth agreed at
the meeting of 4th September would now go forward for public
Statement to Minutes - This includes summaries of six
representations to the council prior to the meeting, including those of
Nick Baker and Don Sturgeon.
|1st Nov 2007
Meeting of the Joint Parishes Steering Group
Appointment of officers etc.
|26th Nov 2007
Meeting of the Joint Parishes Steering Group
Terms of Reference agreed
|30th Nov 2007
Meetings at both Henham and Elsenham
to discuss the commencement of the Consultation Period.
Minutes of Elsenham (unfortunately none from Henham)
|30th Nov 2007
|11th Dec 2007
Meeting of Uttlesford at the Council Chambers
Petrina Lees and her 12 year old daughter Tasmin
addressed the council prior to the meeting (and were subsequently
interviewed next day) on Radio Essex.
|18th Dec 2007
at Elsenham Village Hall
|19th Dec 2007
at Henham Village Hall
|11th Jan 2008
|1st Feb 2008
Planning Department state that they will not be able to report on
the results of the Consultation to the Environment Committee on 11th
March as planned. They estimate it will be September at the
earliest before they will be able to do so.
|7th Feb 2008
The Steering Group
of The Joint Parishes met and
voted to be included as an 'Interested Party' in the action taken by
Twigden Homes and Bellwinch Homes (two developers having plans for
development of small parcels of land in the U.D.C area) who have
instigated a joint action against U.D.C. over the manner/process in
which the decision to make Option 4 was arrived at.
|11th Mar 2008
We were informed that because of the overwhelming volume of
responses to the recent Consultation it would not be possible to process
the data or report back findings until September 2008 at the very
earliest. There have also been a number of additional submissions by other
developers which have to be considered. As a result, the programme for the
adoption of a draft Core Strategy will not be available until early in
2009 with an adoption of the Strategy in 2010. There are no guarantees of
any outcomes at this stage. During the debate there were calls to totally
rethink the whole process and to make any future decisions Council led
father than developer led, based on sound research and evidence of
infrastructural capability. Cllr Barker ,Chair of the Environment
Committee, and author of Option 4 said that future decisions would be made
on the advice of Officers and that nothing had been ruled in or out at
Briefing Document to Members
|6th Mar 2008
Joint Parishes Steering Group Meeting
|11th Mar 2008
In recent weeks The
Herts and Essex Observer had been trying to discover how many councillors had actually
visited the proposed sites for the developments outlined in their options,
particularly their preferred Option Four. Their enquiries revealed
that many, particularly the Conservatives who had introduced the option, had
not done so. As a result a coach trip was organised to tour the
Henham, Elsenham and Stansted areas which would be affected. Of the 44
councillors individually invited, only 25 bothered to reply and 4 accepted.
These four were all Liberal Democrats. In spite of this the trip went
ahead with plenty of room for television crews from the BBC and ITV on the
The guide for the occasion
was Comedian Ed Byrne accompanied by Top Gear editor Jason Barlow, both
Henham Residents. The route took in not only a circular tour of the affected
villages and countryside but also of the totally unsuitable road
infrastructure connecting the proposed development to the M11 and included
the difficulties of Grove Hill and Chapel Hill in Stansted. The event
concluded at The Cock in Henham where the bus was met by actor John Savident
also a Henham resident.
Both TV companies featured
the tour in their evening programmes. It was a great shame that so few
Councillors thought fit to accept the invitation.
|13th Mar 2008
Right Hon Sir Alan Haselhurst
On Thursday 13th March, the Right Hon Sir
Alan Haselhurst, our MP, brokered a meeting between representatives of
Uttlesford Parish Councils, himself and senior members of the Uttlesford
Planning Department in an effort to reach an unofficial consensus on the
placement of additional housing with the District. No official minutes were
click here to see a summary from
Stewart Pimblett (Elsenham PC) and Martin Nicholson (Henham PC) who
represented their villages at the event.
|3rd April 2008
On Thursday 3rd April we were
devastated to hear that the land to the north-east of Elsenham (most of
which is in the Parish of Henham) had been put on a short list of 15
locations to be developed into Eco Towns (click
here to view). The scale of the proposed development is far
beyond what was envisaged by Option 4. Later on this year the list
will be reduced to a final list of ten.
The announcement was made by Caroline
Flint, the Minister for Housing and Planning. The Department of
Communities and Local Government have published a document called 'Eco-Towns, Living a Greener Future' which may be viewed by
clicking here. This document which
runs to nearly 60 pages sets out Government policy and how the process will
allegedly work. It envisages that 5000 homes and possibly more in the long term will be
built. It mentions in the introduction to the Elsenham plan that a new
settlement in this location is Uttlesford's preferred option for building 3000
|3rd April 2008
Parishes Steering Group Meeting -
|4th April 2008
On Friday 4th April at 10.00 am
Conservative U.D.C. Councillors organised a press call in the car park at
Elsenham Station which overlooks part of the 250 hectare site. Its purpose
was to state their opposition to having an Eco-Town in Uttlesford. Amongst a
number of Conservative Councillors present were Cllrs. Barker, Cheetham and
others who up till now had been staunch supporters of preferred Option 4.
Our MP, The Right Hon, Sir Alan
Haselhurst, addressed the fifty of sixty present and stated that as with the
plans for the second runway at Stansted the Conservative Party were totally
against Eco-Towns and the damage both would do to a beautiful part of the
country. He said that it was the start of a sustained and hard battle
and we would resist the proposals all the way. None of the Councillors
spoke publicly although they gave interviews to the press.
|9th April 2008
Scrutiny Committee Meeting U.D.C
Item 4 on the
receive a petition stating as follows:-
"We the undersigned residents hereby
petition Uttlesford District Council’s Scrutiny Committee to undertake a
review of the procedures and processes relating to the Local Development
Framework (LDF) and the Local Development Scheme on information and
evidence, consultation, and public involvement, and make recommendations
so that future work on the LDF by the Council is carried out in a more
thorough and effective manner."
Andrea Barlow, a Henham Resident presented
the petition signed by over 200 people and spoke to the committee very
here for a copy of her speech.) Members kept referring to their
U.D.C. Solicitor on points of order, conflict of interest, procedure, etc.
They seemed unsure of what their terms of reference were as a committee and
at one point a councillor, on the advice of the solicitor asked a question
and then had to leave the meeting so that she did not hear the answer.
The net result of the whole thing was apparently they felt that they could
not scrutinise the processes until they were completed maybe some date in
2009, (by which time all the damage would have been irrevocably done).
|16th April 2008
meetings held in Henham (6.00pm) and Elsenham (8.00pm).
Click here for agenda.
Both meetings were very well attended.
They were both chaired by Nick Baker, the chairman of the Joint Parishes
Steering Group. Although the
agendas were the same at both, owing to overlapping engagements the
speakers in some instances differed. At the Henham meeting,
Cllr. Morson spoke about the Government proposal for Eco-towns and stated
that we were currently in yet another consultation period which would end on
30th June. This would be followed by a 'Sustainability Appraisal' from
July to October and a decision on the final 10 proposals somewhere between
November and February. As yet it is still unclear whether Uttlesford
would still have to build 4,200 houses in addition to the 5000 proposed in
the Eco-town. He stated that of the 5000, 1800 would be 'affordable'
homes and that 60% on people living in the town would supposedly be employed
locally. David's speech contained
many point included in his latest newsletter which can be seen by
Cllr. Alan Dean spoke at the Elsenham meeting whilst covering many of the
points made by David, he stated the Lib Dems were going to move an amendment
at the full U.D.C. Council Meeting on 22nd April (see above) to Susan
Barker's motion which related to the dropping of option 4. Ray Gooding, our Essex
County Councillor stated that E.C.C. were totally opposed to Eco-towns
as well as a second runway at Stansted. He believed that whilst BAA
were denying it, the two proposals were inextricably linked, particularly in
relation to the alleged additional 13,000 jobs the new runway would support.
He questioned the Government logic of supporting a highly polluting airport
expansion whilst next door also supporting a supposed zero carbon
building project. Don Sturgeon (Henham) and
Petrina Lees (Elsenham) spoke about the work of the J.P.S.G. and that we
were still fighting on two fronts, option 4 and the Eco-town proposal.
In relation to the Eco-town and how we can best fight our corner the
were working hard to seek the best planning and legal advice and on our own
research to see how we can best fight this new campaign. Until we know
more both Don and Petrina asked that residents initially do nothing.
This was much the same advice given in the early days of fighting option 4.
At the earliest possible moment we would call another meeting to advise
residents on how best they can help. At both meetings Don urged
residents to donate as much money as they could to the fighting fund.
He stressed that to get the best planning and legal advice for the Eco-town
campaign we would have to find a lot more money. At both meetings Nick
took questions from the floor. Many good suggestions were made and he
promised that they would be followed up
|22nd Apr 2008
Full Uttlesford District Council
There was a good turnout
of Elsenham and Henham residents who filled the public seating in the main
chamber, the gallery and an over-spill into the annex. The reason was
to hear items 13 and 14 on the
However, prior to the meeting starting, John Savident, a resident of Henham
gave an impassioned speech surrounding the paradox that the Conservatives
were tabling a motion that the council was totally against the concept of an
Eco-town in Elsenham and Henham yet still supported Option 4 in the same
location. He urged that the council consider that as a result of the
consultation there was ample evidence to now abandon Option 4 and work with
their electorate to prevent the Eco-town development. He stated that
if they did so, the allegations of hypocrisy and duplicity would 'magically
disappear'. He received a rousing ovation from attending residents which
apparently is not 'good form' for a council meeting. A copy of John's
speech can be viewed by
Also read what the Herts and Essex Observer has to say by
clicking here and
going to page 9. (click once on the page to zoom in)
here then followed a
number of questions and observations from Councillors and in particular from
Councillor Morson who wished to know when Uttlesford were first aware of a
bid by Fairfield to build an Eco-town in Elsenham/Henham, especially in the
light of a document called
Land North-East of Elsenham - Eco-town and
Expression of Interest, dated
October 2007. It had apparently been lodged with the council in
October/November 2007. He particularly asked Councillor Barker when
she had first become aware of it and she replied that she was not aware of
it until 'this evening'.
Councillor Alan Dean asked
about the selection of Option 4 being the subject of Judicial Revue and
Councillor Ketteridge, the leader of the Conservative majority, responded
that an application had been made to a judge and that at this time there was
no Judicial Revue.
Following the formal
opening of the meeting Councillor Catherine Dean, the Chairman of the
meeting moved quickly to Item 13 on the agenda. which was in the
hands of Mr. John Mitchell, the Acting Ch. Exec. and Chief Planning Officer,
'To receive the attached report on the
Department for Communities and Local Government consultation document ‘Eco-towns
– Living a greener future’.
Mr Mitchell talked to a circulated
document. This can be viewed by
clicking here. Whilst I cannot attempt to
summarise Mr. Mitchell's presentation, on the first page of the his document
was a reference to the alleged fact in the Eco-towns - Living a greener
future report, Uttlesford had 3,954 on the waiting list, whereas
Mr. Mitchell stated it was in fact about 1200. (Interesting to note
that later in the following debate Councillor R. Chamberlain gave a further
informed breakdown of of the 1200 figure which indicated that Uttlesford's
real housing need was considerably less than this).
Item 14 on the agenda then followed. It was:-
(i) To consider the following Notice of Motion proposed by Councillor Susan.
‘This Council is totally opposed to the development
of an Eco Town north east of Elsenham as proposed in the Department of
Communities and Local Government’s consultative paper, "Eco-Towns – Living a
greener future" published on Thursday 3 April and will campaign to have this
proposal removed from the short list.'
This was amended by Councillor Barker, (the exact wording
will appear in the minutes when published, but see below) to include any
other such new town in the U.D.C. area. The Liberal Democrats
submitted a further amendment which sought to re-start the L.D.F process.
Full discussion then followed.
In support of her motion Councillor
Barker said the following, (
The Conservatives stated that they could not abandon Option 4 until the
due process was completed. They were afraid of Judicial Revue on
their decision (in spite of the fact that if they removed Option 4 from
the scene, one Judicial Revue in the pipeline would probably disappear.
Who is going to complain, apart from Fairfield of course?) It is
quite possible that due to their prevarication, their decision on Option
4 would be delivered after the government had made up their minds about
the final short list. Bizarre!
In the event, the Lib. Dems. amendment
was defeated and the motion carried as far as I could see unanimously.
|2nd June 08
Public Meetings at Henham and Elsenham (Click
|17th June 08
See and hear the speeches through Herts
and Essex Video -
A good representation from Henham and
Elsenham attended a meeting of the Environment Committee at the U.D.C Council
Chambers, Saffron Walden where two items on the
were of considerable interest to our villages. Prior to the meeting, two
speakers, Tasmin Lees, a schoolgirl from Elsenham and Jason Barlow, a
journalist from Henham addressed the committee members.
Tasmin speech, (click
here to view) concentrated on two main points. Firstly, the
Overview of Representations Received, (introduced in item 7
of the agenda see below) failed to produce 'real figures' and seemed to
imply that only residents of Henham and Elsenham had objected to option 4.
Secondly, she was critical of U.D.C. in that whilst they had stated their
opposition to Eco-towns they had left it until two weeks before the
consultation closed before circulating a leaflet asking people to respond
but giving no guidance as to "why the proposal is nonsense." She finished by
pleading to U.D.C. to support their objection to an eco-town by removing
Jason was far more direct
and critical about the U.D.C. and likened the situation they had created as
worthy of a 'Tom Sharpe' novel. He concluded by saying,
a District Council which is genuinely committed to stopping an eco-town
being built on its own territory would declare Option 4 as unworkable and
withdraw it.' (click
here to read a draft of his speech).
then commenced and it was some time before Item 6 was reached, viz.
To decide U.D.C's 'Response to D.C.L.G's Eco-town Consultation'.
To this end, Roger Harborough, Head of Planning, had produced a
to which he spoke at length.
A prolonged discussion ensued about what
should be included in the response. Pleas to remove option 4,
(including an excellent representation from Councillor David Morson), were rejected on the
grounds that the full process of evaluating the LDF had not been completed.
The main fear was that the Council felt that they might be liable to legal
challenge should they do so at this stage. However, apart from this, for the
first time there were signs that the represented political parties were
beginning to work together. The original wording of the response had been
centred about U.D.C.'s opposition to eco-towns per se rather than
concentrating on the Elsenham proposal, it being a Planning Department
opinion that this was an early stage in the proceedings and that a more
'site specific' responses could be introduced later. Councillor Catherine
Dean proposed a number of amendments however, which included stressing that
considerable local opposition had already been received to building on the
site, that it was a green-field site and not a brown-field one and that
there were serious doubts about the public and private transport
infrastructure. There was a unanimous vote on the item, the full
wording of which we may see in due course.
Item 7 was on
the 'Core Strategy Preferred Options Consultation', and was to
provided councillors with an overview
of representations received.
(Please see a 35 page
Overview of Representations Received).
Roger Harborough defended its content and lack of detail. He stated
that a fuller report would be available for the Autumn meeting.
Thanks to all those who
attended. A senior Councillor said that a good public turnout had made
a lot of difference to the quality of the debate and its outcome. We left
the meeting at 10.10pm. - BB
|26th June 08
Caroline Flint comes to Uttlesford (see front page)
|30th June 08
End of Consultation and a Rally outside Parliament (see
|c.28th Aug 08
from Hanley Grange
|1st Sept 08
Shadow Housing Minister visits Elsenham and Henham
|3rd Oct 08
replaces Caroline Flint as Housing Minister and Fairfield announce their
dates for public presentations.
|8th Oct 08
Nick Baker's weekly news letter
Thought it about time I updated you on
the present position with the proposed housing development. We had the
first meeting organised by Shelter on 30th September at Elsenham Village
Hall. The meeting had smacked of disorganisation from the beginning with a
confusion on who was invited, it seems that the Shelter target audience was
a perceived underclass of residents who would support the Eco-town concept,
particularly the affordable housing. If I can say the attendance was 14
people including 4 District Councillors it gives you some idea of the
atmosphere. It was pointed out that the residents of Elsenham and Henham
were not against affordable housing, what they were against was the concept
of putting all the affordable housing in one place. In all the meeting was a
complete waste of time and shows the Government waste of tax payers money in
giving Shelter £100,000 to support the eco-town initiative.
Before the Shelter meeting the Parish
Councils had met with the Dept of Community and Local Government, U.D.C and
Fairfield at the Council Offices in Great Dunmow. We had hoped for some
meaningful discussions but were severely disappointed. We considered it a
box ticking exercise for the ongoing process and a complete waste of time,
especially for those councillors who had taken time off from work.
We had a useful meeting with Sir Alan
Haselhurst yesterday. It enabled us to understand the Conservative position
and discuss the best way of defeating these proposed
housing developments. The Conservative party policy is opposed to Eco-towns
and we urged Sir Alan to write, in no uncertain terms, to the developers
clarifying this position if they take office. The announcement that the
Conservative party does not support the second runway development is very
helpful and dismisses the links between the Eco-town and employment.
Fairfield hold public exhibitions at Henham Village Hall on Tuesday 14th October between
11am and 4.00pm and at
Elsenham Village Hall between
6.00pm and 9.00pm. Additionally, they
were at Saffron Walden Town Hall on Thursday 9th October 12.00pm
- 7..pm, Great Dunmow,
ET Foakes Memorial Hall on Friday 10th October 12.00pm - 5.30pm and The Hilton Hotel at
Stansted Airport on Saturday 11th October 11.00pm - 4.00pm.
|4th Nov 08
that Elsenham is on the shortlist
D.C.L.G publish Summary of Consultation responses
The DCLG launch their latest consultation on their 'The Draft Planning Policy Statement - Eco-towns
Click here to view.
|17th July 09
not to include Elsenham in the shortlist of four sites for eco-towns -
See the DCLG Decision Statement -
Monday 15th February
Consultation by U.D.C
to run until 9th April
Tuesday, 2 March, 7.30pm - South Community Forum, Helena
Romanes School, Great Dunmow
Thursday, 4 March, 7.30pm - North Community Forum,
Uttlesford District Council, Saffron Walden.
|11th & 12th March 2010
at Elsenham and Henham respectively.