Stansted Community Special Constable Steve Dale provides a report on patrols carried out in the village during the months of April and May involving problem parking, abandoned cars and support to SpeedWatch.
Ayub Khan has airport parking in his sights in his district councillor’s report for June
As the country now starts to recover from the pandemic and people start to travel, one of the consequences has been the return of airport fly parking to the area. Following concerns raised by residents on the Mountfitchet Estate, Cllr Caton and I met with the Community Team at Stansted Airport to take them on a tour of the area to view the problems caused by airport fly parking. I am pleased to announce that following our discussions, Stansted Airport has agreed to install “No Airport Parking” signs across the estate.
In addition to the above, we have also agreed that the “No Airport Parking” signage will be placed on the following roads on Foresthall Park:
- Walson Way
- Reeve Road
- Livings Way
- Palmer Close
- Forest Hall Road
This is a good outcome for both areas as a first measure to try and alleviate the problem of airport parking.
District Councillors have been working with the Parish Council and the North East Parking Partnership to discuss appropriate restrictions on the Mountfitchet Estate and Foresthall Park. This follows concerns related to parking, speeding and safety at junctions.
A consultation will be published in the next few months to inform residents on the process and timescales. It is likely that the Parking Partnership will implement any agreed restrictions in autumn 2023. Further information will be provided through the Parish Council Highways Committee.
Emerging Uttlesford Local Plan
The first draft of the latest attempt to create an Uttlesford Local Plan is due to go out to consultation with residents from June 20 to July 29. It is worth reminding residents that the R4U administration decided to withdraw the previous Local Plan and start the process again.
This decision has cost the District Council some £7m. All four Stansted District Councillors voted against this approach as we wanted the administration to retain and repair the previous plan. Thus, saving money and reducing duplication and avoiding something of a developer free-for-all.
The result of withdrawing the previous plan means that Uttlesford will be required to build 706 houses per annum until 2040 instead of 636 houses per annum, under the withdrawn plan. In total Uttlesford District Council now must find sites for around 16,000 houses. Stansted District Councillors are not against house building and have always been in favour of the creation of new well integrated communities rather than developer-led additions to the edges of existing communities.
We consider that any development in existing settlements must come with considerable benefits to the community in the form of additional infrastructure, services, and facilities, e.g. for sports and recreation, culture and open spaces that improve the wellbeing and quality of life of our residents. In addition, all new developments must be low carbon. Highways MUST be able to cope. Like the Parish Council we are opposed to the proposed new settlement at Bollington Hall in Ugley on the grounds of the negative impact on Stansted Mountfitchet, especially traffic on B1383, public services, and coalescence of a new settlement with our village.
It may take the District Council’s planning department two years to get back on track, says District Councillor Alan Dean in his April column.
The last time I wrote in The Link was in October, when we were still awaiting the result of the planning appeal about development west of Pennington Lane. It was a relief to many people when the planning inspector’s decision to dismiss the appeal came through later that month – though after The Link had gone to press.
I mention that because in early February planning appeals brought about what is probably the biggest issue currently to confront Uttlesford District Council; maybe even the biggest shock since UDC was created in the 1970s.
It all began on the 7th with a letter from the Minister of State for Housing saying: “The Secretary of State…considers that there are respects in which the local planning authority at Uttlesford District Council…is not adequately performing their function of determining planning applications for major applications [over 10 houses or over 1 hectare of land].”
This means that planning permission applicants now have the option of applying either to UDC in the normal way, or by bypassing the district council and apply- ing instead to the national Planning Inspectorate. Time will tell how this will pan out. I am aware that there are some new applicants who have decided to continue with the Council’s decision-making channels.
Uttlesford is now the only council in England that is currently in this so-called “designation” category. There has been no other council so designated for about eight years; it’s not common and it’s nothing to be proud of.
It has now come to light that the risk of this happening was first flagged up in 2018 and again in the past two years. However, few people within UDC knew. No-one did much or anything effective to tackle the underlying problems, which apparently are about the Council refusing too many planning applications that appeal inspectors think were in accordance with planning policy and rules, and so should have been approved by UDC.
There have been protests that the government’s deci- sion flouts local democracy. But quasi judicial deci- sions that planning officers and councillors make should conform with planning laws and regulations.
Two Years to Get Back to Normal
The planning set-up at Uttlesford is undergoing major changes of staff. Councillors involved in planning will also have to learn new skills. It may take around two years for UDC to get back its normal local planning responsibilities. In the meantime, I just hope that poor plans do not get through this unprecedented approval system that would have been avoided had the alarm bells been heard and acted on some years ago.
Geoffrey Sell’s first column for 2002 sees the district councillor update residents of efforts to rid the village of HGVs and brings news of the district council’s Local Plan
On behalf of Stansted’s District Councillors Melvin Caton, Alan Dean, Ayub Khan and myself I should like to wish you a Happy and Safe 2022.
Last year was another challenging one. It was the year of the jabs, in which Stansted surgery has placed an invaluable part in the roll out of the vaccines. It’s hard to imagine that at this time last year, barely anyone had received their first dose of a Covid vaccine.
I thought it might be helpful to give a review of some issues affecting Stansted.
Removing HGVs from the centre of Stansted
The entry points of Grove Hill, Church Road, High Lane and Chapel Hill will become no-go zones for HGVs, to be monitored using the latest camera technology, under proposals agreed between highways authority Essex County Council and residents.
The scheme will go out to consultation this year and is a solution to years of negotiations. It makes Stansted one of the first areas in the county to seek a blanket ban. As Chair of the Highways Committee of the Parish Council and Vice Chair of Uttlesford Highways Panel I have been working closely with our county councillor Ray Gooding. We have been greatly assisted by Cllr Lee Scott ECC portfolio holder for Highways. Local residents have shown great patience.
Welcome to new community organisations
Stansted’s response to dealing with the pandemic included the setting up of new community organisations. These included Let’s Talk, the Stansted Community Mental Health Initiative and Touchpoint. The latter has taken over the running of the Day Centre. We have supported these organisations through grants from the new homes bonus scheme which each district councillor has. Alan and myself have worked with residents to fund a defibrillator at Walpole Meadows
Last year your councillors and residents celebrated the dismissal by the Planning Inspectorate of the Bloor Homes planning application. This was for 168 houses west of Pennington Lane.
Despite this victory, development pressures will loom large this year. As the planning authority the Council has the responsibility for preparing the local plan. The council has conducted the call for sites and had nearly 300 responses. The local plan is for the period 2020-2040.
The local plan has had a chequered history. We are now on version 3 the previous one having been withdrawn by the Residents for Uttlesford administration. Stansted councillors voted against withdrawal and for amendment. We were in the minority. It is a crucial document as it determines the scale of development and where it should be located. It is Central Government that sets the numbers of houses required. The numbers are approximately 11,600 over the 20 year period. Some including myself argue that this is far too high a figure. It constitutes a significant risk of making Uttlesford a less pleasant place to live in. The link details the sites that have been submitted by landowners. Call for Sites April 2021 (arcgis.com)
My colleague Cllr Melvin Caton is a member of the Local Plan Leadership Group. They have the responsibility of bringing an acceptable local plan to fruition. The timetable has been slipping, but these are some of the significant timelines.
- By summer 2022 UDC will presents its preferred options for public consultation
- Mid 2023 the local plan will be submitted to Central Government for examination and hopefully approval.
- Mid 2024 Adoption of the local plan by UDC
The shape of the plan which I am assured by officers will be evidence led is currently unknown. What is known is that its decisions will not be universally welcomed. As one of the districts principal settlements Stansted is in a vulnerable position. We will all need to do our best to ensure that the essential character of the community we are fortunate to call home is preserved and indeed enhanced. If there is to be development then Stansted must receive significant community benefits.
It’s not all cakes, teas, eats and tipples at the Community Picnic on Saturday 4th June, though there’s plenty of all that good stuff of course.
Next Saturday there’s also loads of stuff for kids to enjoy too.
Alongside face-painting and crown decorating, one of the village Fire Engines and Police cars will be on-site for children to clamber on; they can enjoy a bouncy castle and a steam-driven traction engine.
And the Pop-Up Play Village will be making an appearance at the Rec too.
The Village is free to explore and offers a host of role play settings for youngsters aged 0-8yrs old. They can don a hard hat and act out life on a construction site, or play running a cafe, hospital or veterinary centre; or try life as an outdoor explorer or artist.
TIPPLES & TREATS
At the community picnic being held to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee you are invited to – drum roll, please! – a picnic. But if you’d prefer, there are tea and cakes from the W.I, and eats served up by Bear & Eden and the award-winning Brohmon. There are ice-creams to cool sun-parched palates (if the Met office forecast are to be believed we are predicted a scorcher!), and a bar run by the folk of the Cork House will be on site.
The Queen may have Brian May and Diana Ross to help celebrate her Platinum Jubilee, but we have bagged an array of local talent for our Community Picnic. We have a live jazz band, Jay Williams, Shakila K and Delusions of Grandeur all set to take to the stage to entertain you.
Community Picnic: June 4 – 2-7pm. Recreation Ground (Chapel Hill). Kids’ activities and entertainment, live Music, eats, cakes, ice-creams & beverages (or bring your own picnic)
Uttlesford District Council want your views on parking issues in our local area!
Residents, visitors, and businesses are invited to have their say on parking issues across the district.
Parking is an important part of supporting the vitality of our towns and villages but can be a source of frustration. Building on work already carried out by the District and by our Town and Parish Councils, the UDC are bringing this together, along with your views, in a district-wide Parking Review to identify where issues are and how to deal with them more strategically.
As part of this we want to hear your opinions on specific parking issues. We want to focus on specific locations, such as car parks and streets to build a picture of where parking is working well, and where there may be problems.
Using the Council’s map based ‘Let’s Talk’ platform, it couldn’t be easier to let UDC know your views, simply drop a pin on the map and let them know what you want to say about it.
This information will be used to inform the review which will be taking place over the summer, and report on its findings in the autumn. Have your say at letstalk.uttlesford.gov.uk/parking-review which is open until Sunday, June 12.
Throughout the month of June, Essex County Council will be hosting thirteen author events for the Essex Book Festival at their libraries. They’re very excited to welcome a mixture of new and familiar authors, such as Lindsey Davis, Julia Jones and Samuel Fisher.
They are also bringing back our ever-popular Essex Authors Day. This is a great opportunity for aspiring and established writers to learn, improve their skills, share knowledge and experiences – and discover something new! Pick up writing tips and inspiration from a wide range of workshops led by experienced authors, editors and publishers; join in with or listen to our popular Writers’ Slam or wander the Book Fair for networking opportunities.
Entry to the event, Book Fair and Writers’ Slam is free. Microphone slots at the Writers’ Slam and workshop places must be booked in advance. There’s no charge to participate in the Writers’ Slam but tickets for the workshops cost £6 per person.
As well as events for adults, this year they have an amazing programme of events for their Family Fun Day on Saturday 18 June.
Contrary to correspondence from National Highways sent to residents earlier this month, the agency now say the planned partial closure of the Birchanger Green Roundabout bridge (southbound) will no longer be going ahead this weekend:
“Due to unforeseen circumstances we are unable to start work as originally planned. We will now start work on Friday 10 June.”
Upcoming M11/A120 Closures
National Highways plan to complete this work over 6 weekends from Friday 10 June into July, working between 9pm and 5am on weekends only, weather conditions permitting. No work will be carried out on Friday 3 June (Platinum Jubilee bank holiday).
Closures and diversions
To carry out the work safely, they will need to close the M11 junction 8 bridges. Only one of the bridges will be shut at a time to reduce the impact on local road users and those needing access to Stansted Airport and Birchanger Green Services.
South bridge closure (Full weekend closures)
- Friday 1 July, 9pm to Monday July, 5am
M11 southbound traffic wishing to travel west towards Bishop’s Stortford will continue on the M11 to junction 7 before re-joining the M11 northbound to exit at junction 8, Birchanger Green Roundabout. (Diagram 1)
A120 westbound traffic will be diverted southbound on the M11 towards junction 7 before re-joining the M11 northbound to exit at junction 8, Birchanger Green Roundabout and continue west.
Non-motorway users only
Westbound traffic will be diverted from Priory Wood Roundabout, along Round Coppice Road, onto Bury Lodge Lane, turn left to follow Church Road and Forest Hall Road to join the B1383 south to the A120 at Bishops Stortford. (Diagram 3)
North Bridge Closure
- Friday 10 June, 9pm to Monday 13 June, 5am
- Friday 17 June, 9pm to Monday 20 June, 5am
- Friday 24 June, 9pm to Monday 27 June, 5am
M11 northbound traffic wishing to travel east will continue on the M11 to junction 9a before re-joining the M11 southbound to exit at junction 8, Birchanger Green Roundabout. (Diagram 2)
A120 eastbound traffic will be diverted northbound on the M11 towards junction 9a before re-joining the M11 southbound to exit at junction 8, Birchanger Green Roundabout and continue east.
Non-motorway users Only
Eastbound traffic will be diverted from the A120 along the B1383, then turn right to follow Forest Hall Road and Church Road, before travelling south along Bury Lodge Lane and Round Coppice Road to join the A120 at Priory Wood Roundabout (Diagram 3)
FOR FUTHER INFORMATION HEAD TO THE NATIONAL HIGHWAYS WEBSITE
We are extending the deadline for you to put people’s names forward to light the village’s Platinum Jubilee Beacon.
If you, or someone you know, celebrates their birthday between Thursday, June 2 and Sunday, June 5, then get your/their name over us so they can be considered for the honour of lighting our beacon.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or message us via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Alternatively pop into our offices at the Mountfitchet Exchange, 72 Chapel Hill with the name and details of the person you wish to be considered.
The names of those in our community whose birthday falls over the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Central Weekend that are submitted to us before Friday, May 20 will be put into a hat.
We have asked Touchpoint’s Paul Chambers then to pick the name of the individual to be given the honour of lighting the Jubilee beacon.
We will announce the person chosen here on our website and on our social media channels. Please note that if the person chosen is under the age of 16 they will need to be accompanied by an adult to light the beacon.
Our Platinum Jubilee beacon will be lit at the Recreation Ground on Thursday, June 4 at 9.45pm. However we would ask people to gather at the Rec at 9.30m to ensure the beacon ceremony begins on time.
The U3A choir will sing Jerusalem and the National Anthem to make the event even more memorable.
Our beacon is one of over 2000 planned to be lit across the British Isles and the Commonwealth to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s 70th year as our Monarch and Head of the Commonwealth – her Platinum Jubilee.