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Apologies for Absence and Declarations of Interest
To receive any apologies and declarations of interest.
There were no apologies for absence or declarations of interest.
To consider the minutes of the previous meeting.
RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 26 November 2020 be agreed as an accurate record.
To receive a presentation and report on the Housing Study.
Members received a presentation from Ark Consultancy regarding a Housing Study which was commissioned by Uttlesford District Council and Braintree District Council to inform future local plan policies and forthcoming reviews of the Councils’ Housing Strategies.
Members discussed the findings of the report and the following was noted:
· There is a need to gather further evidence around the housing needs of local residents and businesses. Members urged officers to speak to residents and businesses for their ideas for the Council’s housing offer and to commission a study similar to Addenbrookes and the Wellcome Trust.
· In producing the Local Plan, it was important to align the employment and housing strategy so that subsequent polices are able to work in unison. Members discussed the need for a clear employment strategy which is supported by the housing strategy as well as reflects local housing need.
· Co-operation with neighbouring authorities is key in creating cohesive communities along district boundaries.
· The majority of Uttlesford residents earn below the nation average income. To make an impact in meeting people’s housing needs, the committee considered ideas such as reviewing the Housing Register to look into the needs of those who are not classified as a priority and broadening the eligibility criteria, developing a local living rent and speaking to those interested in self and custom builds.
· There is an affordability perception that Uttlesford was “sucking in” capita from neighbouring districts, such as Chingford and Epping, where the market value is typically higher. Officers must consider what are the housing offers and pressures in surrounding areas and what does this mean for Uttlesford’s offer to residents.
· Officers currently hold no data on residents moving into new builds over the last 5 years. Members suggested collaborating with housebuilders on customer satisfaction surveys, adding questions onto the registration for council tax and using data from the upcoming census.
Members were requested to forward any further questions to the Local Plan Project Manager
Cllr Light left the meeting at 19:30
Cllr Evans left the meeting at 19:58 and returned at 20:30
To receive feedback on consultation on theme 1: where you live
The Local Plan and New Communities Manager presented a report on the comments received on the first consultation theme. The first theme was on the topic of “Where You Live” and was discussed by the Community Stakeholder Forum on 11 November. Following the Forum, the theme was open for public consultation and in the first four weeks, 33 responses had been received, including some from members of the public. People are invited to make comments up to the close of the whole consultation on all the themes on 21 April 2021.
During discussion, members highlighted their concerns regarding the lack of engagement in the consultation process from some parishes in the district where they may feel that a new Local Plan will not affect them or that completing the consultation is a lot of work for a low return. The Group agreed that it was important to engage with parishes and their communities at the early stages of the Local Plan process, as it is difficult to make representations once decisions are been made. To generate more engagement, members encouraged officers to look into sending a reminder out in the upcoming Council Tax mailing, which would explain what a Local Plan is and include some questions to gain further evidence.
Members also suggested officers conduct a sample survey of residents who recently moved into new builds, to gain insight into the profile of people moving into Uttlesford from other areas and their choices for choosing the district.
The meeting closed at 20:45