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Home > Planning > Local Plan > Written Statement - Chapter 2 Where will development take place?

2. Where will development take place?

2.1. This section sets out where development is, in principle, proposed, and where there will be strict control on new building. This spatial strategy for achieving the Plan’s objectives needs to have regard to the likely level of resources available in the private and public sectors.

2.2. Key elements are:

2.2.1. Urban areas of Great Dunmow, Saffron Walden and Stansted Mountfitchet. These are service centres and hubs for surrounding rural areas. They are attractive places to live, work and for recreation. Best use will be made of previously developed, unused and underused land and existing buildings, subject to constraints of traffic congestion and maintaining air quality and the need to safeguard key employment areas. Urban extensions are also included within development limits, for housing or business parks. These locations are well related to the principal bus and rail corridors, which will benefit from investment in the new A120, the West Anglia Route Modernisation (WARM) rail scheme and public transport services. Development in urban areas where there is a wide range of facilities would encourage journeys to be made on foot, particularly to and from work and school. Community facility and affordable housing needs may exceptionally be met outside development limits.

2.2.2. A120 corridor. In addition to the major urban extension at Great Dunmow, sites at Takeley/Little Canfield (Priors Green) and Felsted/ Little Dunmow (Oakwood Park) are identified for new housing and associated facilities on a significant scale within the A120 transport corridor, which will benefit from planned/ anticipated public and private investment. An extension to the Stansted Distribution Centre is proposed. These sites have good access to Stansted Airport. Takeley is a key rural settlement (see below). Oakwood Park recycles a significant previously developed site. Locations are sufficiently far apart for the A120 corridor to retain its character as a transport axis across countryside, and avoid it becoming one linear development.

2.2.3. Selected Key Rural Settlements. Elsenham, Great Chesterford, Newport, Takeley and Thaxted are identified as Key Rural Settlements. These key settlements are located on main transport networks as well as there being local employment opportunities. In most of the Key Settlements either of the following apply

I. Some further limited employment or residential development is proposed;
II. Key existing employment sites will be safeguarded.

The intention is to protect or strengthen the role of these communities where there is potential to encourage people to live and work locally. Local affordable housing and community facility needs may be met on “exception sites” outside development limits.

2.2.4. Other Villages. Where these have development limits, those boundaries will be tightly drawn. There is some limited potential within these boundaries on small previously developed sites, including gardens of existing houses. Local affordable housing and community facility needs may be met on “exception sites” outside development limits.

2.2.5. Stansted Airport. The Plan sets out limits on the physical extent of the airport. It is to be seen as an airport in the countryside.

2.2.6. Chesterford Park. This is an existing research and development complex in the countryside between Saffron Walden and Cambridge with potential for renewal of some existing buildings. However, the Plan identifies limits on its physical extent.

2.2.7. Metropolitan Green Belt. A belt of countryside needs to be retained between Harlow, Bishop’s Stortford, Stansted Mountfitchet and Stansted Airport as part of the regional concept of containing the urban sprawl of London. Within the Green Belt development will only be permitted if it accords with national planning policy on green belts (PPG2) and Structure Plan Policy C2. Development permitted should preserve the openness of the Green Belt and its scale, design and siting should be such that the character of the countryside is not harmed.

2.2.8. Rural restraint area. Most of the district including its smaller settlements lies outside defined development limits. The character of the countryside changes from one area of the District to another. The particular character comes from the relationship between historic settlements and groups of buildings, ancient woodlands, historic lanes, field boundaries, historic parks, geology, indigenous tree and hedge species, river systems and so on. Different character areas have a greater or lesser capacity to accommodate development. Open elevated areas with long views to ancient woodland, typical of parts of Uttlesford, are particularly sensitive. Any development beyond development limits must be consistent with national policy on the countryside and the appropriate Structure Plan Policy C5. The countryside needs to be protected for its own sake, but not in such a way that the plan prevents evolution of economic activity that is part of life in rural areas and is in sympathy with its character. Examples of development that may be permitted in principle include appropriate re-use of rural buildings, suitable farm diversification, outdoor sport and recreation uses, and affordable housing and other facilities to meet local community needs.

2.2.9. Airport in the countryside. The Plan identifies a Countryside Protection Zone. The priority within this zone is to maintain a local belt of countryside around the airport that will not be eroded by coalescing developments. Development consistent with national planning policy for the countryside will only be permitted if it also accords with this over riding objective.

2.3. The following general policies implement this strategy. They need to be read with other policies in the subsequent chapters.

Policy S1- Development limits for the Main Urban Areas

The development limits of the existing main urban areas and proposed urban extensions for Great Dunmow, Saffron Walden and Stansted Mountfitchet are defined on the Proposals Map. The following development will be permitted within these boundaries:

• Major urban extensions, if in accordance with this Plan;
• Development within the existing built up areas, if compatible with the character of the settlement and, in addition, for sites on the edge of the built up area, its countryside setting.

Policy S2 – Development limits/Policy Areas for Oakwood Park, Little Dunmow and Priors Green, Takeley/ Little Canfield

The development limits/policy areas of:

• the proposed Priors Green development in Takeley and Little Canfield; and
• the proposed Oakwood Park development in Little Dunmow

are defined on the Proposals Map. Development will be permitted within these boundaries if it is in accordance with this Plan.

Policy S3 – Other Development limits

Elsenham, Great Chesterford, Newport, Takeley and Thaxted are identified as Key Rural Settlements. Their boundaries, including village extensions at Takeley and Thaxted, and the boundaries of other settlements are defined on the Proposals Map. Development compatible with the settlement’s character and countryside setting will be permitted within these boundaries.

Policy S4- Stansted Airport Boundary

The boundary of Stansted Airport is defined on the Proposals Map. Provision is made for development directly related to or associated with Stansted Airport to be located within the boundaries of the airport. Industrial and commercial development unrelated to the airport will not be permitted on the site.

Policy S5 – Chesterford Park Boundary

The boundary of the Chesterford Park Research and Development Site is defined on the Proposals Map as a developed site in the countryside. Facilities for research and development will be permitted within these boundaries if they are in accordance with this Plan.

Policy S6 – Metropolitan Green Belt

The area and boundaries of the Metropolitan Green Belt within Uttlesford are defined on the Proposals Map.
Infilling, limited development or redevelopment compatible with the character of the settlement and its setting will be permitted within the following villages, which are excluded from the Green Belt:

• Birchanger
• Hatfield Heath
• Leaden Roding
• Little Hallingbury and
• White Roding.

The boundaries of the Green Belt around these villages are defined on the Proposals Map.

Four sites are identified as major developed sites within the Green Belt. A site at Mountfitchet School, Stansted Mountfitchet is defined on the Proposals Map as an area in which infilling development for educational or community uses will be permitted. A site at Parsonage Farm, Stansted Mountfitchet is defined on the Proposals Map as an area in which redevelopment for business uses will be permitted. Sewage Treatment works at Bishops Stortford and Stansted are defined on the Proposal Map as areas in which operational development will be permitted. Development compatible with the countryside setting and purposes of the Green Belt will be permitted within these boundaries.

Policy S7 – The Countryside

The countryside to which this policy applies is defined as all those parts of the Plan area beyond the Green Belt that are not within the settlement or other site boundaries. In the countryside, which will be protected for its own sake, planning permission will only be given for development that needs to take place there, or is appropriate to a rural area. This will include infilling in accordance with paragraph 6.13 of the Housing Chapter of the Plan. There will be strict control on new building. Development will only be permitted if its appearance protects or enhances the particular character of the part of the countryside within which it is set or there are special reasons why the development in the form proposed needs to be there.

Policy S8 – The Countryside Protection Zone

The area and boundaries of the Countryside Protection Zone around Stansted Airport are defined on the Proposals Map. In the Countryside Protection Zone planning permission will only be granted for development that is required to be there, or is appropriate to a rural area. There will be strict control on new development. In particular development will not be permitted if either of the following apply:

a) New buildings or uses would promote coalescence between the airport and existing development in the surrounding countryside;
b) It would adversely affect the open characteristics of the zone.

Implementation

2.4. Development will be largely implemented with private sector resources. Investment is anticipated by the house building industry, commercial developers and BAA. This is realistic in the context of the area’s relative prosperity. The new A120 was a significant public sector investment scheme. Completion of the new road from Stansted to Dunmow west was achieved by the end of 2003 and from Dunmow west to Braintree bypass in mid 2004. Private sector investment in new bus and coach services is anticipated.

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