Neighbourhood Plan Updates

March 2024 – Drop-In Sessions

The Neighbourhood Plan Review Group held 2 drop-in sessions on the 15th & 16th March 2024.

Over the two days of the drop-in sessions at the Memorial Hall, the Review Group met 137 parishioners who viewed and commented on the 18 information boards and the maps of the sites the Group was proposing as possible sites for the 95 additional new homes the parish is obliged, by Uttlesford District Council  (UDC) to accept between now and 2041.

The unanimously expressed opinion was that Felsted ‘had enough’ and any further development was undesirable anywhere in the parish. However, it was also accepted that if Felsted had to have more homes, planning where they should be, what they should look like and defining the need they should meet was infinitely preferable to allowing developers free reign.

The drop-in invited parishioners to consider 12 sites, all of which have been put forward by landowners to UDC as being available for development, and to put coloured dots signifying either their support or objection to each site. Members of the Review Group had well-informed and engaged conversation with many of the attendees, while others were content just to read the information boards and make their decisions.

The Review Group also asked where, if necessary, the shop could be relocated and are grateful for the consideration this issue was given.

The next step for the Review Group is to analyse the choices indicated and to combine the results with the outcome of the independent Housing Needs Survey.

Three points have emerged as recurrent concerns:

  1. It is important to know the Felsted parish boundaries. For example, the large developments west of Priory Bridge on Station Road are in Flitch Green and Little Dunmow parishes, outside of Felsted Parish and are therefore beyond any control or influence Felsted might have through its current neighbourhood plan.
  2. There is a consensus that the kinds of home that are being built are often not what local people want. There are too many large ‘executive’ homes and too few, smaller but nevertheless high quality, spacious homes for downsizers or homes for younger entrants to the housing market. The Review Group will very carefully consider these comments alongside the outcome of the Housing Needs Survey, which is expected towards the end of April.
  3. There was a broad consensus that development should be phased over the 17 years between now and 2041 and not front-loaded. These comments are in alignment with the Review Groups current thinking, insomuch the group thinks that the housing need will change over the plan period and should be met incrementally after further Housing Needs Survey’s at five year intervals. The group will now investigate how phasing can be structured.

The Review Group thanks everyone who came along, for their kind words and for sharing their passion for keeping Felsted a wonderful place to live.