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HANDLING THE HEAT

Next week’s predicted high temperatures pose a significant health risk for vulnerable members in communities across Essex. It’s time to pull together to save lives, says Essex County Cllr John Spence, chairman of the Essex Health & Wellbeing Board.

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NEWS FROM UTTLESFORD

Here is a roundup of news from the district council who are asking for your thoughts on the level of support offered to those struggling to pay their council tax, and who are launching of a new grant scheme aimed at projects encouraging people to get more physically active.

Have your say on Local Council Tax Support

Uttlesford residents are being invited to have their say on how much support the council should give to people who might struggle to pay their Council Tax bill.

Local Council Tax Support (LCTS) is designed to help the most vulnerable. The local scheme is set by Uttlesford District Council which has some discretion over how it is administered.

For 2023/24, the council is proposing to maintain the scheme on the same basis as this year, meaning the amount that LCTS claimants pay towards their Council Tax would be kept at 12.5% of their full bill. The council is also proposing to continue to protect vulnerable and disabled residents and carers who are on a low income. Pensioners who are on a low income are automatically protected from any changes.

► Get more details about the scheme and how to have your say

£150 energy bills payment – discretionary scheme

Uttlesford District Council is currently finalising the Discretionary Energy Scheme which will include a hardship element. This scheme covers Uttlesford residents living in a property in Council Tax bands E to H who haven’t received the £150 rebate from the government to help with the cost of energy bills.

Further details will be published shortly. Keep an eye on our website and social media channels.

Apply now for an Active Uttlesford Grant

We want to continue to support the health and wellbeing of residents and communities, and have launched a new grant scheme for projects or activities that help people get more physically active or recover from the effects of coronavirus.

The Active Uttlesford Grant scheme will be open until we have allocated all of the £10,000 annual grant fund.

Constituted groups and clubs, registered charities, voluntary or community organisations, and not-for-profit companies or community interest companies can apply for grants of up to £1,500.

► Find out more about the Active Uttlesford grant scheme criteria and how to apply*

*Please note the scheme and application form will be available from 12 July

Look out for a form checking who’s registered to vote at your address

Have you received a letter from the council asking who is eligible to vote at your address?

We’ve started writing to households which we do not hold a valid email address for. These letters are printed on yellow paper and are part of the annual canvass.

If you receive a letter please read through carefully and confirm the information we hold is correct.

 Get more information about the annual canvass

Discover Uttlesford this summer

Looking for ways to keep the kids entertained this summer? Visit the Discover Uttlesford website for ideas on where to stay, what to do and where to eat and drink.

You can also download Dscvr, the free app dedicated to enhancing your experience of the local area. Whether you’re planning a visit or rediscovering your home town, it’s a handy addition to your day out.

The app is totally free and easy to use.

Next stop for multi-agency event

The next stop for the multi-agency information event is on 26 July from 11am at Holloway Crescent, Leaden Roding.

The initiative visits different areas of the district and brings information on council housing services as well as advice from a range of public agencies – including Essex Police, Essex Fire & Rescue Service, Active Essex, the Council for Voluntary Services and Volunteer Uttlesford.

People will be on hand to talk about fire safety, security and support in the home.

 Get more information about multi-agency information events

Looking for a fresh start?

DevelopMe

Whether you have been made redundant, looking for your first job or simply feel like it’s time for a change, there’s help available.

The DevelopMe Hub is packed with tips and advice to guide your job search.

•Careers assessment and skills training

•CV Builder

•Interview simulator and practice questions

•Job Search

Go to the DevelopMe hub or download the mobile app on iOS and Android.

Essex Opportunities

Essex Opportunities is the go-to portal for skills training and apprenticeships information.

Students, employers and residents wishing to upskill can use the site to find out about career path development, apprenticeships and work experience, skills development and professional qualification programmes.

 Go to the website for more information

Essex ActivAte returns with summer clubs

Essex ActivAte returns this July and August, offering free activity sessions and holiday clubs for those who are eligible for free school meals, or those from low income working families.

The programme previously ran over the Easter holidays and saw children offered a safe space to have fun, make friends and learn new skills.

Activities will run again from 25 July to 29 August.

 Find out what’s on in Uttlesford

Alan Dean

AUGUST UPDATE

 

July and August traditionally are the quiet months for councils, writes District Councillor Alan Dean in his latest column, but this is not so in 2022. Read more

LOCAL PLAN UPDATE

The District Council in its latest update on the progress of developing a local plan says it hopes to submit its final draft of the plan to the Planning Inspectorate in May 2024 with a full adoption date pencilled in for March 2025.

New timetable set for Local Plan

Uttlesford District Council is in the process of drafting a new Local Plan that will be the blueprint for the way the district evolves over the coming decades. It will set our strategic priorities for future development, including sites for new housing, provision of infrastructure, and policies to protect our historic buildings and places.

Producing a local plan is a very complex process that requires a substantial amount of evidence and extensive consultations with the public and stakeholders. It is therefore not unusual for local planning authorities to need to change a local plan timetable as additional evidence emerges.

The council has chosen to take some additional time to explore as many options as possible to create a robust local plan that best meets the needs of the district. The most recent change to the timetable, approved by the Cabinet (7 July), allows for the evaluation and consideration of an additional emerging option which is considered worthy of further exploration to be included in the first draft of the plan.

The council is committed to inclusive engagement with residents throughout the process. The timetable, which is closely monitored by our Scrutiny Committee, includes three stages of public consultation.

The first “Issues & Options” stage was conducted in 2020/21 as a series of extensive consultations with the community and other stakeholders. This work was recognised by the Royal Town Planning Institute for its innovative, virtual approach during the pandemic, and it generated over 2,600 views and more than 850 comments.

The second stage – the Regulation 18 “Preferred Options” Local Plan – will be published for public consultation later this year. The comments received at this stage will then be fully considered before submitting the plan to the government’s Planning Inspectorate for examination.

Key activity for the local plan:

  • Regulation 18 “Preferred Options” Local Plan will go to public consultation from 2 November to 12 December
  • Officers will then carry out further preparatory work before holding further meetings with governance groups ahead of publishing the Regulation 19 “Submission Draft” Local Plan for consultation in November and December 2023
  • Final preparatory work on the submission plan will happen in January and February 2024
  • The final draft of the plan, alongside the comments received from the Regulation 19 consultation, will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for examination in May 2024
  • The council plans for adoption of the plan in March 2025

Documents related to the local plan can be found at: www.uttlesford.gov.uk/new-local-plan.

CHURCH ROAD CLOSES FOR 3 DAYS

CHURCH ROAD 3-DAY CLOSURE

Church Road is to be closed for 3 days from Monday, July 25 while Affinity Water carries out connection works in the area. A diversion will be in operation during the closure.

ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATION ACT 1984 – SECTION 14(1)

Temporary Traffic Regulation Order of Church Road, Stansted

Please click on the following link https://one.network/?tm=128601805 to find details of the intended closure of Church Road, due to commence on 25th July 2022 for 3 days.

The route of the diversion in operation during the closure passes along parts of Church Road, Chapel Hill, Silver Street, Pines Hill, Stansted Road, Forest Hall Road, Walson Way, and vice versa.

 

ROUTE OF DIVERSION

 

Access for emergency service vehicles and pedestrians will be maintained at all times during the closure. 

The closure is required for the safety of the public and workforce while Affinity Water undertakes new connection work.

Please note the scheduled dates may vary.

FURTHER INFORMATION

You are advised to contact Affinity Water, who will able to assist with the scope of these works. — Essex Streetworks Team, www.essex.gov.uk/highways

Consultation Outcome

PERMIT CONSULTATION OUTCOME

Below is news of the outcome of our recent consultation on the proposed Residents’s Parking Scheme on the Mountfitchet Estate

First, we would like to thank the residents who took the time to respond to the consultation. We distributed letters to 225 households and received 89 replies. Eighty-five households objected to the introduction of the permit scheme (37.8%). The scheme, therefore, will not be going ahead as it could not achieve 75% support – the level required for the North Essex Parking Partnership to proceed with a scheme. The Parish Council’s Highways Sub-Committee is expected to ratify the outcome at its meeting later this month. Below is a summary of residents on the estate’s reasons for their objection:

TABLE: Consultation Summary

REASONS GIVEN FOR OBJECTION NUMBER OF HOUSEHOLDS OBJECTING DUE TO THIS REASON 
Financial – Do not agree with the high charges and cannot afford them  34 
Principle – Do not agree should pay to park where they live  20 
Scheme will not have a positive outcome to parking issues  2 
Not enough space for all cars  1 
Too many cars in household  4 
Manchester Airport should pay as its their high charges causing the issues  6 
No parking issues on the Mountfitchet Estate  5 
The new signage is already working  1 
Would like to see if the new signs work before implementing another scheme  2 

A SNAPSHOT OF RESIDENTS’ COMMENTS

Many of your comments were detailed and gave a clear insight into why you felt this was not appropriate. Below is a snapshot of some of those comments:

  • We have lived on the estate for around six and a half years and have not noticed any discernible issue with commuter and airport parking (the occasional case, but nothing of significant note). 
  • We would support the scheme if not for the ridiculously high cost of residents permits
  • In practice due to the airport/railway parkers we often have to park on the verge, taking care not to block the pavement, in order to unload equipment such as lawnmowers and gardening equipment and weekly shopping. 
  •  I do agree that there should be the installation of red lines where parking is often dangerous 
  • We appreciate the airport signs that have gone up around the estate and surely first we should be seeing if this is deterrent enough before adding lines and permits. Priority should be cutting the hedges as we are in a blind corner and already had one car written off there, closing the gap on our corner ot the park so children aren’t using a dangerous ‘run out’ from the green 
  • I am all for the red lines being introduced. I think it is needed as a matter of urgency. People leaving vehicles on grass verges or two wheels up on the kerb restricts the motorists view of oncoming traffic. 
  • I do not support this scheme at all as I would be unable to afford the fees for such permit. I need to park my car as close to my home as possible as a foster carer to babies and young children but my income is not enough to cover permit fees. 
  • Due to the amount of cars that we need to have, we’re strongly of the opinion that the residents’ parking permits should be scrapped. While we understand that airport parking has become a big issue on the surrounding street, Manor Road is generally so full of cars that we do not see many people use the road who do not already live here, or who are not visiting residents. 
  • As a pensioner I would not be able to afford the cost of permits. Since introduction of the No Parking Airport Parking Signs, there seem to be an improvement in the situation. 
  • In this road we are not bothered by commuter parking, and I feel permit parking would cause undue stress. 
  • I would be concerned that residents who could not afford the on-road permits would end up parking in the cul-de-sacs along Manor Road, potentially clogging up those zones for cul-de-sac residents. 
  • We are against introducing Residents’ Parking. We currently don’t have a problem with commuters or airport parking outside our house. In other areas of the estate, they have had notices put up saying no commuter parking.  
  • Many residents already take parking into their own hands – leaving bins and other items in the road to stop other people from parking there. If they have to pay to park, I worry this will increase the sense of entitlement to park directly outside your own house, causing issues for others. This is already a problem with certain houses on the estate and I can only see this getting worse if people have to start paying. 

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED

We also received a number of questions to put to the North Essex Parking Partnership and below is their response to these which we publish for your information:

1 Is there a discount for senior citizens?

No 

2 Can the first permit to each household be given for free and they pay for any additional vehicles?

There are no free permits in circulation 

3 Why are the charges so high compared to Harlow for instance?

When NEPP assumed responsibility for permits across the North of Essex there were various levels of charges which have been adjusted over time to be more comparable. 

4 Why will no other options be available until 2026 if the residents don’t support this scheme?

We have limited resources, and our Board/partners will not keep entertaining requests for schemes/restrictions to be considered. It is worth noting that we have no legal responsibility to make changes on the Highway and we receive no independent funding. 

5 Is there any discount or allowance for those registered disabled especially if more than one member of the household is disabled?

A national exemption exists enabling any disabled badge holder to park in any permit zone or bay in England & Wales. 

6 Will car owners get a ticket if they park on the grass verge where there are red lines?

Already responded to in a previous reply arranged separately. Whilst this scenario does appear to suggest that the verge could be enforced, the footway would need to run parallel with the road edge, so in this case a separate restriction may be needed. 

7 If a household owns 3 cars of which only one of these will be parked on the road at any time as they have a driveway for 2 cars, can they buy a permit based on the house so that any one of the cars can use it or would they need to obtain a permit for each car? It is not always the same car out of the 3 which parks on the road.

The answer is ‘almost’. A resident permit can have a maximum of two vehicles on a permit, so in this case, it would be any of two vehicles that could be on the road whilst the others are on the drive. The resident would need to decide on a vehicle that is always on the drive. The alternative is to purchase a first and a second resident permit and put two vehicles on one permit and one vehicle on the other, this way all 3 are covered regardless of which one is on the road. We hope that made sense? It can get a little confusing the whole ‘two vehicles on one permit’ scenario. 

8 The NEPP are in Stansted daily so why can they not pay more visits to the estate?

NEPP will attend areas as often as practicable and when resources allow. 

9 NEPP is owned by Colchester Council so shouldn’t they be a non-profitable organisation?

NEPP is not “owned” by Colchester Borough Council. A lead Authority is required in terms of the Governance and our Political procedures in place. The NEPP do not make profits but must ensure that our operations are self-funding as we do not receive any funding from any partner authority member/ECC or Central Government. Any surplus made above and beyond NEPP operating costs is re-invested in Highway-based works and projects

RED LINES

Finally, the proposals for implementation of the red lines on parts of the Mountfitchet Estate will go to the Highways Sub-Committee for ratification.

The main aim of these is to protect the bus route around the estate and to encourage those who have parking to the rear of their properties to use it rather than parking on the street 

 

Melvin Caton

MAY UPDATE

District Councillor Melvin Cation provides an update for May of how Uttlesford is playing its part to deal with the crisis in Ukraine and to manage the escalating Cost of Living Crisis. 

After the unexpected drama of Uttlesford’s Planning Department being designated because of poor performance in deciding major planning applications over the 2018-2020 period last month, the District Councillors report this month outlines the important local actions taken to mitigate decisions taken on the national and international stage.

Help with the Cost of living

Earlier in the winter Stansted councillors were successful in persuading the District Council to write to the Government to oppose the cutting of the £20 uplift in Universal Credit provided during the pandemic. Unfortunately, the government continued with the cut, but locally district councillors donated nearly £6000 from their personal councillors; allowances to the Uttlesford Foodbank and the Citizen’s Advice’s Energy Fund to support local families in need.

At the February budget meeting a proposal by Cllr Khan to provide a one off £100 grant to nearly 1000 working households in Uttlesford to help towards their Council Tax bills in 2022/23 financial year was passed unanimously by the council. With energy costs escalating the District Council has been successful in getting funding to support low income home owners in fuel poverty to improve the energy efficiency of their property.

The scheme will be able to support up to 116 properties. If you want more information about the Green Homes Grants phone 0808 196 8255 or put into your browser surveys.est.org.uk/s/GreenHomesGrantSchemeLAD.

Refugees from Ukraine

Like the rest of the country, residents in Uttlesford have been keen to support the refugees from the war in Ukraine and have been frustrated by the slow response at the national level. At the beginning of April 47 refugees from Ukraine were in Uttlesford, staying with 30 host families. The District Council are responsible for inspecting the homes and for carrying out any necessary Disclosure & Barring Service checks on host families.

Any arriving families with school-age children are having to apply to local schools through the same systems as if they had just moved into the district from another part of the UK, though our schools are understood to being extremely responsive and being advised to register with a local GP again in the same way as if they’d just moved here from elsewhere in the UK.

At the time of writing, a way of linking up incoming refugees and host families with wider support from local communities in their neighbourhoods, has not been established. The kind of voluntary support from local communities is something that they will be able to access as and when they choose by reaching out directly or through their host families.

Planning Matters

And finally some important information on a couple of planning matters. The first draft of the proposed Local Plan containing the proposed locations for development in Uttlesford up to 2040 is now likely to be published at end of May, rather than the beginning of the month.

Secondly, a New Director of Planning at Uttlesford DC, Dean Hermitage, has been appointed and will be in post by the end of June. Dean currently works for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in Whitehall. He has previously worked for Harringay and Southend-on-Sea Councils. Dean lives with his family in Chelmsford.

A120 Roundabout Roadworks

A120 ROUNDABOUT

Changes being made to the traffic system at the A120 roundabout near junction 8 of the M11 will impact on the flow of vehicles running through this area over the coming months. Details are provided in the update by Essex Highways below

M11 Junction 8 Improvements – A120 Birchanger Roundabout Update

What is happening:

  • The project will be implementing a traffic management layout to facilitate civil works on the A120 roundabout.
  • The revised road layout will consist of reduced lane running on the western approach to the A120 Roundabout from Birchanger Green Roundabout.
  • There will be a full ring management system around the roundabout which has been designed to ensure through traffic in both directions is maintained and the impact to traffic flow is reduced.

The works:

  • The work will commence early July 2022.
  • The duration of the work is approximately 17 weeks.

A120 Roundabout Traffic Management

Sisk, working on behalf of Essex County Council, endeavour to ensure that all communications are issued in a timely manner and normally we would like to give more advanced notice. In this instance the delay is due to advanced talks between Essex County Council, National Highways and Sisk to ensure the proposal is the most efficient traffic management possible and to minimise the impact to road users and the general public.

*****

Please note these roadworks will coincide with National Highways’ programme of planned closures and diversions in and around the M11 junction 8 bridges, as reported in an earlier post on this website, details of which can be found at https://www.stansted.net/news/a120-diversion/

 

FULL COUNCIL ~ CANCELLED

Please note due to a lack of agenda items, the Full Council Meeting that had been scheduled for Wednesday, July 6 has been cancelled.

A list of this week’s planning applications can be viewed in the document below:

LOCAL PLAN DELAY

The Local Plan timetable has been amended as new option have emerged, reports Uttlesford District Council.

An additional option has emerged and the District Council requires more time to evaluate this so it can be considered in the plan context along with others.

The next stage of the process – known as the Regulation 18 “Preferred Options” Local Plan – is an important milestone and the District Council wants to ensure it gets this right in order to produce the best plan possible for the district.

This opportunity gives members and officers extra time to review all the potential sites and further evidence base ahead of the Regulation 18 plan being published for consultation, which will be in early November. This is the next point at which the public and other interested parties will be invited to have their say on the plan.

The revised timetable, including dates of key meetings, will be announced shortly.