New housing at Gt. Chesterford

Residents of Great Chesterford are aware there is an application to build 350 houses on the fields between the Community Centre and Stump Cross roundabout. This is additional to 187 houses that are already in process along London Road.

70% growth in the size of Great Chesterford is not sustainable!

Sadly we have to face the realities of a planning system deliberately tilted in favour of market forces and for the benefit of developers. But the rules say development – any development, whether in a Local Plan or speculative such as this one – must be sustainable.

Adding 350 houses will seriously compromise the functioning of the community and access to schooling and health services. Patently, this is not sustainable.

At the same, the Wellcome Trust are starting the expansion of their campus just over the county border to include some 1,500 dwellings and new laboratory space. This combined with 350 houses in GC will result in a 267% increase in housing within 1km of the village centre. The traffic implications are unthinkable!

The current estimate is that this 350 house scheme will come to the district Planning Committee in the next 2-3 months. Something to note: this is an outline application, it’s about the principle of development and whether this a reasonable place to stick 350 houses and how they will access the road network. It is not about the detail of housing types, layout, and onsite infrastructure. Whatever you have seen is only indicative and could change.

You can give your views on this development by emailing or writing (see details at the end). You can also speak at the council if you wish when this application is presented to the Planning Committee. You might also want to let our local MP, Kemi Badenoch, know how you feel about this scheme. The details of planning applications are not decided at Westminster; but they very much set the rules that allow this sort of unsustainable and dangerous development to come forward. That can only be changed at Westminster.

We have been over the proposals with a fine tooth comb. It is the wrong place for development; but leaving that aside, the current plans are inadequate in the extreme, as follows:

SAFETY: walking routes to the village centre from this development are potentially dangerous. Pathways would be needed on Carmen St and Jacksons Lane. It isn’t clear there is space for either. The footpath on Newmarket Rd is dangerous and non-existent in places. The safety aspects are particularly important for young families walking to village facilities or pushing buggies, and those with mobility concerns. About traffic: Newmarket Road has had more than it’s share of near misses as you approach the 30 mph limit plus a nasty accident not mentioned in the development report. The proposed access is poorly sited and potentially dangerous. Simply not good enough

SCHOOLS: As a general rule 500 houses require a new primary school. If you add London Road (187) together with these 350 you get 537. But because neither hits the threshold, the developers are not required to provide a school. The madcap planning system in this country makes no provision for cumulative impact. Where will the extra primary-age children go to school?  At secondary level there isn’t any capacity at County High in Saffron Walden and limited capacity at the Academy in Newport. Where will the children be bussed to school on the already inadequate Essex County Council school bus provision? Unacceptable

DOCTORS: The current surgeries in Great Chesterford and Saffron Walden are over capacity. We hear that Crocus medical practice is operating 40% above capacity in some weeks. Again, the madness of cumulative impact. Govt is neglecting its responsibilities. No provision is being made for increased medical facilities. Unacceptable

SEWAGE: The proposals are for sewage outflow from the 350 houses to connect with the 8″ sewer pipe halfway down Carmen St, upstream of the sewage pumping station on Newmarket Rd. This is a recipe for poo in the streets and on the Recreation Ground. 350 houses will generate another 100 tons daily of foul water to the sewage treatment works by the Cam. Thois risks even more pollution of the river. Unacceptable

WATER: There isn’t enough. We are in the driest and hottest part of England. Our water comes from the chalk aquifer which is already massively over-abstracted, drying-out the rivers and risking emergency measures in the summer. Some parts of GC already experience unreliable supply. It will be at least 2040 before there is adequate water. Unacceptable

VILLAGE CENTRE TRAFFIC IMPACT: Because of the flood plain and the ancient monument site, the houses will be concentrated to the north of the site, farthest from GC but still reliant on village facilities. This will result in many extra car journeys into the village centre. It is implausible to presume that people will walk given the distance and safety issues.  Unacceptable

Recording your objections:

  • email to
  • or write to Planning, Uttlesford District Council, London Road, Saffron Walden CB11 4ER
  • be sure to use the reference UTT/22/2997/OP
  • You can view all the documentation associated with this planning application here

WHAT’S NEXT: The parish council has made written representations and when the application comes to the Planning Committee will be speaking to reinforce the community’s concerns. Richard Pavitt sits on the Planning Committee and will, as always, challenge the claims and assumptions made by the developer, council officers and statutory bodies.

One comment on “New housing at Gt. Chesterford

  1. It’s insulting to have this amount of development thrust upon such a small and charming area, how many other daft plans will encouraged by this like the ‘agricultural hub’ adjacent to the A505. The slow and very painful strangulation of our 3 villages will result if this goes through and the complete grid lock of the road system.

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