To consider the report on the Local Plan evidence base.
In response to statements made by members of the public, the Chairman made the following points:
The Council had engaged Dentons, a law firm with specialist experience in the field. Dentons had advised that development plan documents have the same legal status as the Regulation 19 Local Plan. Advantages of these documents were that they would provide the depth of detail about the planned communities that public speakers were asking for, they would have the same period of consultation and would also be examined by an inspector.
The government had announced it would create its own methodology for calculating figures for housing need. The government’s methodology would calculate Uttlesford’s housing need figure as 16200 houses, as opposed to Uttlesford District Council’s (UDC) current figure which was 14000. It was important not to slip from the Council’s timetable for approving the Local Plan because otherwise the government would impose the higher figure of housing need on UDC.
The Council was not including any additional land in the West of Braintree site. The site might be developed through a development corporation and if so, UDC would work with Braintree District Council on that. It was possible the other two sites could be developed through development corporations too.
Access to all proposed garden communities was fundamental, both on arterial routes and more rural roads. There was a possibility to create a rapid transport system running from Stansted Airport to Easton Park. This could also be expanded further.
Highways England were considering the possibility of creating a smart motorway at Junction 8 North on the M11.
The potential for use of the Community Infrastructure Levy was being considered by UDC.
The Planning Policy Team Leader introduced the report. He said a lot of the detail regarding the proposed communities would be included in the development plan documents.
In response to questions from public speakers, the Planning Policy Team Leader said the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) took the latest government household projections, translated those households into dwellings and then applied an adjustment to take into account market signals in order to achieve a figure for housing need. The calculations for these adjustments could be found on page 9 of the 2016 SHMA and page 5 of the 2017 SHMA.