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| Another Consultation on the way | Extension to Deadline | February Floods| Village Meeting | U.D.C. Environment Committee January Meeting| Henham Dads Disco | Boxing Day Walk | U.D.C. Environment Committee November Meeting | Road Shows and Consultation | We are on the shortlist | Fairfield Consultation/Presentation|Questionnaire  | Decision on Eco-towns - 2009 |One Square mile of wheat | Flooding | Caroline Flint Visits Uttlesford | Rally in London - End of Consultation Period| E.C.C. Slams Eco Town in Elsenham |New Judicial Review Launched | Jonathan's great Power-point Presentation |East of England Plan | E-Petitions | The NIMBY|
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Breaking News  and further to Nick's Statement below

From Uttlesford District Council Web Site today, Thursday 20th October, they publish the following: -

"The draft Plan, including allocation of sites and supporting policies, was due to be published this week.

However, the council has been working to a challenging timeframe, and in bringing together the document it has become clear that Members would like more information and greater clarity on the emerging evidence.

This pause also gives officers the opportunity to reflect upon and consider feedback from neighbouring authorities and advice from a team of independent consultants who have been commissioned to provide an assessment of the processes taken so far.

This will put the council in a better position to inform Members and the public of the merits of the eventual recommendations, further reduce the risk of the Plan being found unsound by the Planning Inspectorate, and save time and money in the longer term.

As a result, the public consultation will be pushed back until the New Year.

The council will also need to satisfy the Department for Communities & Local Government (DCLG) that it is still addressing the government's objective of producing a plan early in 2017. Officers are discussing this matter with the DCLG and are confident they will recognise the benefits of this approach and that the council is still positively planning for growth.

Delivering a Local Plan is important as it will set out the policies which are the starting point for the consideration of planning applications, including the identification of suitable locations for strategic development. Uttlesford's draft plan will look to protect the essential qualities of the district whilst at the same time delivering the housing, jobs, open space and other infrastructure which people need and expect.

A revised programme of work will be put in place and further announcements made shortly"

Goodness knows what is happening

Bill Bates - 20th October 2016 6.30pm



The New Draft Local Plan

The new Uttlesford Draft Local Plan is apparently being published.  Residents will be delighted to know that the Fairfield development does not form part of this new Local Plan.  Following the successful campaign for the refusal of 800 houses by the Housing Minister, it seems that U.D.C have given up on NE Elsenham. The new plan proposes two new settlements, one near Stebbing as part of a development shared with Braintree and one at Little Easton. The Little Easton development, first proposed in the 90s, is earmarked for some 17,000 houses over a 25 year period. It include commercial site, links to M11 and a railway link to Stansted Airport.

This is great news as we have argued for 9 years that any large settlement has to come with an infrastructure that would properly support the development, housing, schools, road network etc. To dump 3000+ houses in Elsenham was always daft. So we have got there, huge cost and time to arrive at a solution that could have been agreed in 2007!  

The new draft Plan will come out for consultation in November and we will be advising residents how to respond. It is vital that the District has a sound sensible Local plan in place ASAP. This will stop speculative development in unplanned locations. 

Nick Baker
Save Our Villages

20th October 2016

Dear All

The news below is so welcome after nine years of worry.  Simply, may I take the opportunity of thanking Nick Baker for his outstanding leadership, optimism and tenacity.  Without him our chances off success would have been severely reduced.  Henham and Elsenham owe you a large debt of gratitude Nick.

May this be the last we hear of Fairfield.

Bill Bates
26th August 2016



Appeal Refused

Hi All

By now some of you will have heard the news that the Fairfield appeal was refused by the Secretary of State today. This is outstanding news and I wanted to thank those who worked so tirelessly to fight this unwanted development. I also want to thank those who gave so generously towards a fight that lasted 9 years and cost us, the community £350K.

We are looking through the reasons for refusal and will send out a detailed survey of the findings in a day or two. However just a cursory read shows that the Inspector who heard the appeal said,

' Regardless of the conclusions on the 5 year housing supply , the substantial impact on the surrounding road network would still weigh sufficiently heavily against Fairfield so that the adverse impacts as a whole would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits. Consequently , the Fairfield scheme would not amount to sustainable development in any event'

This is exactly what we have been telling U.D.C Planning for 9 years.  It is, and will remain, a disgraceful episode in the history of U.D.C administration that politics overtook sensible planning considerations and those responsible should be answerable to their tax payers. They now have a Local Plan thrown out and an appeal by Fairfield, undefended by UDC cast aside. It really is a disgrace.

I am heading for the Cock for a pint and join others who have worked so hard. I want to mention Simon Lee, Petrina Lees, Peter Johnson, Bill Bates, David Morson, Karen George Lafferty and Don Sturgeon for their tireless work on behalf of the community. Outstanding.

Nick Baker
Save Our Village.

26th August 2016



Dear All

Please click here to see JPCSG response to to the consultation on SHLAA sites.

Nick Baker
24th March 2016


NEW LOCAL PLAN - Housing Bids

Residents may be aware that the consultation on the new Local Plan finished on the 4th December, The Parish Council submitted a 34 page statement saying where we though future housing should go. In parallel with the consultation UDC called for sites across the District. This means that any Landowner or Developer can put forward a site for consideration for inclusion in the Local Plan. These sites would then be examined by UDC, and those chosen as possibilities would form the next consultation in the New Year. 

So how many houses are we talking about? Well the period of the plan is 2011 to 2033 and UDC have to build 580 house each and every year so that totals 12,496 houses. From 2011 to 2015 1,914 have already been built and a further 5000 have been approved.  In addition a windfall of 900 houses is expected over the period.  That means that an additional  4686 houses have to be built between now and 2033. UDC have rounded this up to 5000. 

Now the call for sites has brought in an astonishing amount of housing bids across the district. I have not added it up but it must be in excess of 50,000.  UDC have to reduce this to 5,000 by appraisal and consultation. 

What does it mean for us?  Well a few old favourites have re-emerged as bids. The Glebe Field owners have made a bid for 50 houses. we wait to see how the propose  this field will be accessed.  Grind Hall owners have asked for 5+ despite being turned down by the Planning Inspectorate on appeal a short while ago. The School site has submitted for 35 houses whilst they await the planning hearing  for their application of 35 houses on the same site, presumably belt and braces approach. Then we have a new application from the owners of the fields south of Vernons Close, running alongside Mill Road for 120 to 150 houses, this will effectively join Vernons Close to the Nursery and Hill Top Yard. 

Then we move to Fairfield and the land they control in NE Elsenham. Residents will remember that the last Local Plan was thrown out mainly because of the Inspectors views on this development. Well here they come again with applications for 800 houses, that is the 800 houses subject to appeal, a further 1500 houses and a further 3000/4000 houses. A total of between 5300 to 6300. This would take the development right up to Henham  at Mill Road and  from the Pub down to Old Mead Road. Old Mead Lane is  completely surrounded by houses. This suggestion is actually bigger than the ECO town of 5200 houses proposed in the dark days of 2009, subsequently turned down by the Labour Government. In addition Elsenham face further development of some 225 houses

So what happens next? Well the Parish Council will have the opportunity of comment on these proposals during the appraisal stage and before the consultation. We will keep the Village informed of what is happening and certainly inform you when it is your turn to have your say. 

So don't be too alarmed about the sites submitted in response to the 'call for sites'. This happens in any District as landowners and developers pile in - so that almost every scrap of land is put forward. It is still the 5000 that UDC must find which is important, not the tens of thousands which have been put forward.

Nick Baker
Chairman HPC

10th December 2015



The Parish Councils have responded to the consultation on the new Local Plan and this can be found by clicking here.  
Residents will have their own views on where future housing should be placed in Uttlesford, but obviously not at Elsenham. We believe our response presents a balanced, sensible way forward. 
If you agree, and want to be associated with our views please send an e mail to with your name and address, stating you would like to be associated with the views of Henham, Elsenham, Ugley and Widdington Parish Councils in the report they have submitted to UDC.

Nick Baker

1st December 2015



Residents will probably be aware that UDC have embarked on a new Local Plan to provide 10,750 houses in Uttlesford.  They have been forced to do this because the last Local Plan was found to be unsound, mainly because placing 2100 houses in Elsenham was rejected by the Planning Inspector. So here we go again! feels a bit like Groundhog Day!  The beginnings of the New Local Plan are out for consultation between 22nd October to 4th December. This first stage is at a fairly high level and is not site specific merely  identifying  'areas of search' for housing. The full 19 questions being asked can be seen on the U.D.C website.

Elsenham/Henham is still an 'area of search' for development. The Joint Parish Councils Steering Group will continue to pursue a campaign of objection until the area is ruled out. The PC hope that by the end of the consultation there will be a decision on the Fairfield appeal. We will not be advising  residents how  to respond to this consultation, this advice will come in the next consultation should Elsenham/Henham remain as a possible site. We shall publish our response to this consultation on the Save Our Village website in due course. 


Nick Baker

7th October 2015






Dear Neighbour,

Essex County Council is proposing a major waste recycling site on the fields to the left and right as you drive towards Elsenham Golf & Leisure Club, off Hall Road.  The consultation documents are long and complex (see, but essentially we could be faced with a major site used for recycling building waste from all over Essex, plus the possibility of a transfer station, waste storage and treatment, composting, the generation of energy from waste, etc…


We have put together a list of objections to the proposals based on the observations in the ECC documentation; the objections are attached.  Even if you don’t live next door, you will be affected by aspects of this proposal such as HGV movements, pollution, loss of amenity, and more. There is a deadline for responses by 30 July, 2015, so please take action quickly to make your feelings known.

Please feel free to write your own list of objections or adapt and amend those provided here.  It is preferable for you to use your own words as far as possible, rather than all using the same template, but try and keep your comments under the same sub headings. The more people respond, the better, so all residents at your address can take part. More copies available as required from Councillor Elizabeth Parr, Uttlesford District Council or from

Make sure to start your response with your name and address, including post code and Ref RWLP/RPA/15.

You can respond in various ways:

·         Online, using the consultation portal

·         Using the response form (download from website above) and return by email

·         Email to

·         Post to Minerals and Waste Planning (RWLP), Planning & Environment, Essex County Council, Freepost CL 3636, E3 County Hall, Chelmsford, CM1 1XZ

Please see list of suggested objection by Clicking Here


Elsenham seems to be bombarded from all sides with various developments these days, but we hope you will be motivated to respond to this before it is too late and the facility is on our doorstep.

Kind regards,

Petrina Lees (Elsenham PC)
27th July 2015


To perhaps misquote a Football Manager, "Its déjà vu all over again"

As a consequence of the Planning Inspector throwing out Uttlesford District Council's Local Development Plan, after nearly a decade of £2 million of local taxpayers money,  £250,000 of SOV funds, consultations, planning meetings and so on, we are almost back to square one with U.D.C launching a two month 'connsultation' for suggested sites for housing. Please click here for a full article in The Herts and Essex Observer (Thursday 2nd April 2015) which includes comments by Nick Baker our Chairman.

Click here if you wish to suggest sites for housing, etc.



Hi All

We still await the date for the planning application by Fairfield to be heard by U.D.C Planners.  As we understand it this can only be at the March meeting as committees stop in April waiting for the Elections.  A first meeting of the new Local Plan Committee has taken place, but again this will not start seriously until after the elections.  So we wait, as you know we expect the results of Fairfield's appeal on or about 15th June.

Please watch the Website for confirmation of date and time of the planning meeting

Nick Baker
Chairman JPCSG
9th February 2015


Now we are into the New Year it is vital you do not forget to send you responses to the Planning Department before 9th January - (see below)
click here to view the Planning Inspector, Mr Roy Foster, scathing rejection of the Uttlesford Plan.



The J.P.C.S.G. have taken advice on how to respond to this latest Fairfield Planning Application. Yet again it is also vitally important residents respond as individuals.  

As you are aware, Fairfield made such an application in 2013 (UTT/13/0808/OP) which was twice rejected by U.D.C Planning Committee.  They subsequently appealed against the rejections and this appeal went before a Government Planning Inspector in September 2014.  The decision on this appeal is expected on 15th June 2015.

In November of this year another Government Inspector sat to examine the U.D.C.’s Local Housing Plan and in no uncertain terms rejected it, especially the siting of 2100 homes in Elsenham (see below).  Bizarrely, whilst the Inspector was still sitting, Fairfield renewed their application for 800 homes on the same site.

We don't want this application to slip through by default. Responses have to be in by 9th January 2015. We suggest you send an e mail to  or write to Planning Dept, UDC Council Offices, London Road, Saffron Walden, Essex, CB11 4ER saying-

Fairfield Planning Application UTT/14/3463/OP

"As there are no substantive changes to the planning application since the last application, my objections to that application still stand. The site has been rejected by the Local Plan Inspector",( plus anything else you want to add).

However, should you not have responded to the original application for 800 houses or wish to refresh your memories on the list of objections used in 2013, click here.

We really do understand how frustrating it is to go through this yet again, but we really do appreciate your support.

Nick Baker
Chairman JPCSG
10th December 2014


Demand For an Enquiry

The Save Our Village Committee has written to The Chief Executive of Uttlesford District Council demanding an inquiry into the utter failure of the Draft Local Plan on examination by the Inspector.

Please click here to see a copy of the letter to Mr. John Mitchell from Nick Baker, Chairman of the J.P.C.S.G.

Bill Bates


Chairman's Update

Hi All

I just thought I would send you the UDC 'spin' on Wednesdays disastrous result (for them!). This is the  statement put out by the U.D.C Conservative Administration,


The Inspector examining Uttlesford's Draft Local Plan has stopped his enquiry. He did this on two principal grounds - he considered the overall number of houses in the Plan to be too low and he had concerns about the enlarged Elsenham scheme.


This Council notes however, that the Inspector also said the ' much of the plan is sound'


The purpose of holding a Local Plan Inquiry is to test the extensive background work that is required to produce a draft document. The Council has always sought to balance the need for new housing with the importance of protecting the district.


The Inspector has indicated that the fact there should be an even higher number of houses than is currently in the Plan. this is something the Council will have to consider, along with the concerns expressed about Elsenham.

This is an astonishing statement, and the Administration should be ashamed of itself to try and spin this humiliation into good news. The commentary is grossly misleading and inaccurate.

There is nowhere in the Inspector's Summary that says any of the plan is sound in any form.  In fact if it were, as the statement suggests a 'near miss' the Inspector would have suspended it, not rejected it in its entirety. The Inspector says the scale of the work which the Council would need to undertake to propose and consult upon changes to deal with making the plan sound, would be greater than could be completed within the normal maximum 6 month period of a suspended examination.

There have only been 15 plans in the country that have been withdrawn due to soundness!

The Inspector heavily criticised the Plan and cited the following reasons for his complete refusal of the plan:

·       UDC had not calculated the housing numbers properly and so 10% more may be needed

·       Elsenham was an unsuitable location for a new settlement

·       He doubted that the existing towns and villages including Saffron Walden and Dunmow, could take many more houses

·       U.D.C. should revert to their previous new settlement approach, which would cater for the majority of new homes well into the future

·       The selection process for new settlement locations should be restarted and be more transparent

Does that give you the impression that 'much of the Plan is ‘sound' ?

Wouldn't it be nice to see a statement from U.D.C that says,

 We were wrong. We would like to apologise to the residents of Uttlesford and particularly residents of Henham and Elsenham for blighting their lives for over 7 years. We made a political decision to place homes in NE Elsenham and, as the Inspector so quickly recognised, it was completely the wrong place to put housing. We recognise that we have now opened Uttlesford to a developer’s scramble to apply for housing all over Uttlesford as we have no Local Plan.  We also apologise for wasting over £2 million of taxpayers money and causing the residents of Henham and Uttlesford to spend £250K of their own money to fight against our Plan. We will be conducting a full Public Enquiry to find out why this went so wrong.  

You may wish to send your comments to Cllr Rolfe, Leader of the Conservative Administration. at

Nick Baker
Save Our Villages.
5th December 2014



Examination of Uttlesford Local Plan
Summarised conclusions after the hearing on 3rd December2014

Dear All

Regarding the great news news from Nick Baker yesterday (see below):-

The Planning Inspector has produced a four page summary of his conclusions regarding the U.D.C plan which may be viewed by clicking here. Pay particular attention to the heading, Elsenham Policy1 -land north east of Elsenham.  I make no comment on its content.  You will see clearly how Mr. Roy Foster, the Inspector views it.

In respect of Fairfield's appeal for their application to place 800 houses on this site, we await the other Planning Inspector's decision in the new year.  The Joint Parish Council Steering Group will be meeting very shortly to consider Fairfield's further planning application for 800 houses on the same site. 

Bill Bates
4th December 2014


It was nearly 8 years ago that Cllr. Barker, a U.D.C Conservative Councillor, proposed 3200 houses in Elsenham.  We never knew where this idea came from but we were certain it was a daft idea. The Save Our Village Committee was born and £250K later, 8 years later, with the massive support of the community, and with a great committee today we won. I just want to say that again today we won. 

Today the Planning Inspector threw out the Local Plan . He was scathing in his observations on Fairfield's plans to put 2100 houses in NE Elsenham. Saying such things as

' Elsenham is embedded within a rural road network '  Isn't' this what we have been telling UDC Planners for 8 years!

' It is unclear that any of these routes are fit for purpose to the extent that Elsenham would be able to overcome its overall connectivity disadvantage and be a sustainable location for growth on this scale'  Isn't that what we have been telling U.D.C Planners for 8 years! 

This report is a damning indictment of the U.D.C Conservative Administration and the U.D.C Planners. This plan has been in the making for 8 years at a cost of goodness knows how much to Uttlesford Council Tax Payers.  Now we are in the same position as we were 8 years ago. No plan, giving a developers charter to build in the whole of Uttlesford.  I would expect to see heads fall at U.D.C.  It has taken local residents to point out the stupidity of this plan to a Planning Inspector.

I could go on, but a drink first. If you bump into Petrina Lees, Peter Johnson, Don Sturgeon, Simon Lee  David Morson or Bill Bates please shake them by the hand. They have worked selflessly for 8 years to achieve this result.

Now we still face the 800 house appeal, but you can be assured that we are working very hard to make sure the Appeal Inspector sees the comments of the Plan Inspector.

Have a wee dram

Nick Baker


Save Our Villages
3rd December 2014

Note From Bill Bates

The driving force, leadership and inspiration throughout this whole campaign has been Nick Baker.  He has worked tirelessly since 2007 to keep the whole thing together.  His chairmanship has been superb, but above all it has been his optimism when other heads, including mine have been downcast. Brilliant Nick.



Fairfield Submit Yet Another Planning Application 

Hardly had the ink dried on Fairfield’s QCs closing speech to the Planning Inspector on Monday 24th November then they were submitting a new planning application on the same site for 800 dwellings. Yes you read that right, Fairfield have resubmitted their planning application for 800 houses in NE Elsenham immediately following their appeal against refusal on the same site. The application seems to be treated with some urgency by U.D.C Planners and we expect a further consultation over Christmas and the New Year!

Why are they doing this when the Planning Inspectorate has said that the Minister will rule on the 800 home development on 15th June 2015 after a three week hearing?  Well Fairfield say they are expecting the decision  on the Draft Local Plan Hearing  fairly soon, which places 2100 dwellings on the same site, and therefore the application for 800 is helpful to planning future housing in Uttlesford.

The cynics amongst us would suggest that this is a blatant attempt by Fairfield and others to try to bypass planning processes and secure planning permission by the back door before the judgement on 15th June. It is disgraceful that a planning system can be used and abused in this way.

I hope to see many of you at the Local Plan meeting on 2nd December when we will show the Inspector the absurdity of placing large scale housing development on the Elsenham site. Meanwhile we will be taking planning and legal advice from our consultants on how to deal with this latest application.  

Nick Baker
30th November 2014

 Chairman's Update

Appeal by Fairfield against the refusal of 800 dwellings in NE Elsenham

This Hearing has now finished. The Inspector goes away to write his report to the Secretary of State. He hopes to complete this in March 2015. However we have been told by The Planning Inspectorate that the Secretary of State will issue his decisions on or before 15th June 2015. The reason for this target date is that the general election is due to be held on 7th May 2015 and new planning Ministers are likely to need a period to prepare for their roles before taking decisions such as in this case.

Local Plan Examination.

This Examination has sat for 4 days and commences again on Tuesday 2nd December for another 4 days. The first 4 days were spent on sustainability, housing numbers and access routes etc. We feel our team did very well in arguing our case. Starting on Tuesday the Inspector will look at individual sites identified in the Local Plan. Tuesday 2nd is a day set aside to examine the Elsenham site. We encourage you to come along and listen to this examination. It starts at 1000 hrs at the Saffron Walden District Council Offices. Just a word of warning, this Inspector seems to be very fair and listens very carefully to the evidence. It would be wise to listen and not get upset if you hear something you don't agree with. We have an expert team who will articulate our case on your behalf.

Look forward to seeing you on Tuesday. 

Nick Baker
27th November 2014


Fund Raising
Launch of the SOV Hundred Club
Please Click Here for details

Your Help is imperative to our campaign

Sir Alan Canvasses the  Minister of State to favour Elsenham Housing Application citing Conservative 'Blood on the Carpet'

The ‘Save Our Villages Committee’ is shocked and dismayed at an apparent attempt by Sir Alan Haselhurst MP to influence the Minister of State for Housing and Planning prior to the appeals by Fairfield and Land Securities against refusal of planning applications in NE Elsenham and West of Dunmow

Click to  View

bullet Press Release from SOV
bullet Copy of Letter to Minister of State from Sir Alan Haselhurst
bullet Copy of Letter to Sir Alan Haselhurst from Minister of State
bullet Herts & Essex Observer 17th November 2014

Urgent Update

Hi All

We have now had a chance to look at the Local Plan Examination. In fact it now starts on Tuesday 18th November, but the best day to come along is Tuesday 2nd December  at 1000 hrs when the Elsenham Site will be discussed .

Venue Saffron Walden Council Offices

Can you please pass to anybody in your Henham Elsenham address book.

Nick Baker
14th November 2014


Chairman's Update

Just to keep you updated on the situation with the Fairfield appeal and the forthcoming Local Plan Examination.

Fairfield Appeal

The Fairfield Appeal against the refusal by UDC Planning Committee of 800 houses has now virtually finished save for some closing speeches on 24th November. The matter will then be reported to The Secretary of State ( Eric Pickles) for a decision. We are not expecting this until spring 2015.

Local Plan Examination

The Local Plan Examination commences on Monday 17th November at 10.00am (see above for important change) at the District Council Offices in Saffron Walden. This Local Plan places 2100 dwellings in NE Elsenham. The hearing sits for one week and misses one week and then recommences the following week. This Hearing is entirely different to the appeal by Fairfield which was a court hearing. This time the Inspector has already read the papers submitted by all interested parties. The Hearing is an informal round table discussion led by the Inspector. He will introduce a subject and invite participants to speak to reinforce the views already given in the submitted papers. We are represented by Geoff Gardner our Planning Consultant, Lisa Foster our Planning Solicitor, and Bruce Bamber our Transport Consultant. We have obtained one seat at the table and our experts will be 'hot seating' as the topics change.

We would encourage as many of you as possible to attend the hearing, especially on day one at 1000 am. Can you please copy this update to anyone in you address book who might be interested in the arrangements.

Fund Raising

Thank you to all those who contributed to the Save Our Village Funds. We have, so far, raised over £35,000 from residents to support our position on these developments. Without these contributions we would have just rolled over and had to accept the will of our Conservative District Council. This amount, combined with  Parish Funds, has enabled us to put up a robust, articulated case against these threatened developments in this completely unsuitable location. If the JPCSG had not fought this issue for over 8 years we would already have had, by now , the first phases of the development  built!  If you haven't contributed and would like to, our Bank Account details are JPCSG, 20-36-98 10490792 or hand a cheque to any Parish Councillor.

Nick Baker

7th November 2014

Further Appeal Update

The Fairfield Appeal against the refusal of 800 houses in NEElsenham concluded on Wednesday, save for some final speeches on Monday 24th November. Our Barrister gave her closing speech on Wednesday afternoon and covered all the points we had agreed on before the hearing. The Inspector walked the site on Wednesday morning and has a good understanding of the transport and sustainability situation. I have attached the final speech in case any of you want to read it.  Click here to view.

We expect to hear the decision in 2015 perhaps as late as May. We don't, at the moment, fully understand how the Local Plan ties in with the Appeal.  

So onwards and upwards, we start the Local Plan Inspection on 17th November at the Council Offices in Saffron Walden. This is quite a lot different to the hearing over the 800 homes. The purpose of this hearing is to ensure that the UDC Draft Local Plan in sound. We have submitted a large amount of papers to the Inspector to show that we believe the Plan is unsound. There will be a lot of interested parties at the Local Plan Inspection including other protest groups and developers. We are well represented. We will contact you nearer the hearing to advise on attendance when we know a little more about the agenda.

Nick Baker
Chairman JPCSG

24th October 2014



Appeal - Update

Tuesday 21st October was, for the most part, taken up by the evidence in chief from the Fairfield planning expert, Mr. Copsey of David Lock Associates.  He expounded the alleged virtues of their proposed development and subsequently our barrister, Miss Wigley, and the representative for Land Securities (The Great Dunmow Appeal) cross-examined him with a view to demonstrating to the Inspector the many flaws in the proposal.

Tomorrow, Wednesday 22nd October will be in two parts.  The morning will be devoted to a site visit by the Inspector and the afternoon, from 2.00pm onwards, will be at the U.D.C. Council Offices, London Road for the closing address by our barrister, Miss Wigley.

Apologies to those residents who today went to the Western Homes venue not appreciating that this was just a temporary venue whilst the Council Offices were unavailable the week before last.


Bill Bates
21st October 2014



Fairfield Appeal Hearing

As I write this update we are finishing the second week of the Fairfield appeal against the refusal of planning permission on the site at North East Elsenham.

I will start with an update on our fund raising, the total received so far from individuals, not including Parish Councils, is £32,147.15, which is a splendid amount, and, together with Parish Funds means we can carry on paying our legal team.

We still need more funds as we have to appear at the Local Plan examination which commences on 17th November at District Council Offices in Saffron Walden. This is a two week examination and as you know the Local Plan allocates 2100 homes in NE Elsenham. We must object to this plan in the strongest possible terms mainly on the grounds that the single site selection of Elsenham was unsound, as other, alternative sites had not been properly examined. We have always said the selection of Elsenham was a political decision and not one based on planning grounds.

Anyway back to the current appeal. You may remember that the Fairfield appeal has been conjoined with an appeal by Land Securities against the refusal of planning permission for 700 homes West of Gt Dunmow. This has proved quite helpful to us, as part of the Land Securities case is that their site is superior to the Fairfield site. The first few days were taken up with arguments over the required housing numbers needed by Uttlesford under Government direction. UDC have arrived at a figure of 523 new homes a year, Fairfield and land Securities figures were much higher  and unsurprisingly ours is a little lower. We hope that we have robustly defended our position and await the opinion of the Inspector.

The next few days were taken up by the evidence for and against the Gt Dunmow site, and it was last Tuesday that our team began their case for the continuing refusal of 800 homes at NE Elsenham.  Our first witness was our transport consultant who, I think, did an excellent job taking apart the road infrastructure around the site, and Fairfield’s view that the exit road down Hall Road to the Takeley crossroads is a desirable alterative to going through Stansted. His evidence took most of the day with cross examination. We hope that the Inspector, who has spent a lot of time driving the routes before and after the daily hearing, has now got a good grasp of the very serious infrastructure difficulties. Our planning consultant then gave evidence on the stupidity of putting a further 800 homes attached to the village of Elsenham. He argued very well, that to locate a further 800 houses in such an isolated location was unsustainable.

Fairfield started their case on Thursday morning and as you would expect tried to claim that the site was wonderful and would be of huge benefit to the existing Elsenham community. We hope the Inspector won't be hoodwinked by what, in the opinion of residents who attended, was a wildly optimistic view of the development..

So what happens next? Well the hearing continues on 21st and 22nd October and closing speeches will be on 24th November. We expect to hear the result in May 2015. Meanwhile as I said the Local Plan Inspection starts on 17th November. What happens if....? I hear you say. Well nobody knows how the two hearings tie together, so we will have to wait and see.

Any Villager who wants to support our appeal can make bank transfer to Barclays, 20-36-98 ac JPCSG  10490792, or hand a cheque to any Parish Councillor.


Nick Baker
Chairman JPCSG

10th October



The Appeal is Under Way

The appeal by Fairfield against the refusal by U.D.C planning committee of 800 houses commenced on 23rd September.   As stated below, Save Our Villages are represented by Jenny Wigley, a planning barrister, Lisa Foster planning solicitor, Geoff Gardner planning consultant and Bruce Bamber transport consultant. 

The first two days were mainly taken up with technical issues over how many homes Uttlesford are required to build per year. The Developers Fairfield and Land Securities, who have joined the appeal against the refusal of 700 homes West of Dunmow, would like to show that the Uttlesford figure is far too low. We, on the other hand, argued that the Uttlesford figure was too high. We will hear the Inspectors view in due course.

The West of Dunmow appeal is being heard first and will conclude on 3rd October.

We commence our case on Tuesday 7th October at 1000 hours.

We would ask that as many of our supporters attend as possible at the start of proceedings and the following days, to show the Inspector the strength of feeling against this development. The venue is Western Homes, The Stansted Centre, Parsonage Rd, Takeley, CM226PU.  We understand there is plenty of car parking space available.


Nick Baker
Chairman JPCSG
27th September 2014


It is now Getting Really Serious

Hi All

As we head into the final week before the Hearing of the Appeal by Fairfield on the refusal of 800 homes on the Fairfield site at NE Elsenham, I though an update was in order. Our 'team' consists of  Jenny Wigley a Planning Barrister of high reputation, Lisa Foster, a Planning Solicitor who comes highly recommended, Geoff Gardner, who has been our Planning Consultant for over 8 years, and Bruce Bamber, who is our Transport Consultant. We believe we have assembled a team who can successfully argue that NE Elsenham is the wrong place to put a development of this size.

We have held two long conferences with our team and are now confident they have an excellent grasp of the issues. Our fund raising to date has raised nearly £23K, which together with Parish Funds from Henham, Elsenham, Ugley, Widdington , Newport and Stansted  mean that we can fund most of the appeal. However, we still need donations as the next stage, the  Local Plan Inspection,  which starts on 21st November to hear the case for the allocation of 2100 homes in NE Elsenham. We will need some of our consultants to advise us on how to approach this Local Plan Hearing.

The Fairfield Appeal is running in conjunction with an appeal by Land Securities to refuse 700 homes West of Dunmow. Both appeals start at 1000 hours on 23rd September  at the UDC Council Offices in Saffron Walden. The first day will deal with openings and the debate on housing numbers, and all parties will be present for a couple of days. The Save Our Village Committee encourages our supporters to attend this meeting by assembling outside the Council Chambers at 0930 on the 23rd, to show the Inspector the strength of feeling against this development. It may be that not everybody will be able to get into the actual hearing on that day.  The Land Security part of the Hearing will start on the Thursday25th.

The main part of our Hearing against the Fairfield appeal will commence on 7th October at 1000 hours at the Conference Centre, Weston Homes Business Centre, Parsonage Road, Takeley, Essex CM22 6PU. This will be an opportunity to hear our case outlined by our team and we would again be delighted if you could attend and show your support. Parking is available.

These hearings are conducted in a 'Court Room' atmosphere and we would ask our supporters to show respect for the Inspector and his Courtroom.

We will attempt to keep the Save Our Village website up to date as things happen.

The result of this hearing is not expected until well into 2015. The Local Plan Inspection will follow this timetable.

Nick Baker

Chairman JPCSG

15th September 2014


Latest Chairman's Update

Hi All

Thought I would give you an update on the 800 home appeal by Fairfield. The appeal will start on 23rd September 2014 and is expected to last 3 weeks. You may be aware that the appeal is being heard in conjunction with an appeal by Land Securities on the refusal of 700 homes northwest of Dunmow. This means that although the individual appeals will be heard separately, there are matters of commonality between the cases and these matters will be heard together. U.D.C has decided not to support the refusal decision on the Fairfield case, but to support the refusal of the Dunmow site. This means that we will be standing alone supporting the refusal of the Fairfield homes.

Our defence team has been formed and we have retained a leading Barrister who comes highly recommended. She will be supported by a solicitor who specialises in planning cases plus a planning expert and a transport export. We consider that we have retained the strongest team possible.

Unfortunately these experts cost money and we are asking all of our supporters to dig deep and provide us with as much financial support as possible to fight this outrageous Fairfield Appeal. All contributions will be allocated to the Joint Parish Council Steering Group (JPCSG) fighting fund to ensure we have the best possible chance of success at sustaining the quality of life we have enjoyed for so many years in our rural communities. Every pound will make a difference. Without your support we are lost.

Please can you forward cheques, payable to JPCSG, to any Parish Councillor or pay directly into our JPCSG bank account. Any requests for anonymity will be respected. The bank account details are:

Barclays  20 36 98  Ac  10490792  JPCSG 

Thank you for your continued support

Nick Baker



3rd August 2014


Yet Another Twist in this Ongoing Saga

With reference to the entry below this:-

We have heard from U.D.C that they have decided not to defend their Planning Committees decision to refuse 800 homes on the Fairfield Site. At a meeting of the Planning Committee on the 25th June, (not a meeting open to the public), the Planning Committee  agreed they would not be  presenting evidence at the inquiry. John Mitchell, the CEO of U.D.C, says that since the Council has approved the draft Local Plan they cannot take a position of seeking 2100 homes in Elsenham and defending a decision not to put 800 homes on the same site.

We believe John Mitchell is wrong, the full council did not approve the draft Local Plan.  Earlier this year they approved that the pre-submission draft version could go to public consultation. The results of this public consultation are still under consideration. That is very different from approving the draft plan. Mr Mitchell can explain this position to the Inspector at the Planning Appeal.

The Save Our Village will be represented at the Inquiry Hearing and we hope that an Inspector will see that a planning decision that has been twice refused by the U.D.C Planning Committee for very sound Planning reasons, cannot be pushed through by  senior U.D.C officers  and U.D.C Cabinet members who are continuing to push through their unpopular Local Plan and sites irrespective of public opinion.  Shame on them, and their policies, which will once again force the electorate to fight for justice themselves against this broken administration. 

Nick Baker

Chairman Save Our Village
1st July 2014

(apologies for the delayed entry on the web site - I was away on holiday when this news broke - BB)



Latest News On Fairfield

We have just heard (13.6.2014) that Fairfield's appeal against the refusal of 800 homes on the NE Elsenham site will be heard on 23rd September. It has been joined with the appeal against 700 homes north of Great Dunmow by Land Securities. The Inspector will hear both appeals together and make a decision. It seems that this could become a Beauty Competition between the developers. However we must be aware that the Inspector could allow both applications ( or neither!). The Save Our Village committee will fight this appeal with everything we have. If the appeal is refused it makes it extremely difficult for the Fairfield site of 2100 homes to be included in the Local Plan. Land Securities want their 700 home site to be extended to take 5000 homes.

Thank you for all Residents who responded to the last consultation. We will be in touch with you to tell you how you can help with the Fairfield Appeal.

Nick Baker
Save Our Village
13th June 2014


Radio Interview

Please take a few minutes to listen to Cllr Barker, the architect of Option 4 justify her position in a Radio Essex interview yesterday.  Click here to listen.

This interview follows an interview with myself concerning the latest consultation. This Councillor, who proudly admitted six years after the event, that she had orchestrated the infamous Option 4 Fairfield development, tries to justify her actions. She says she has only received two e mails commenting on the Fairfield development during this latest consultation.

She is the Cabinet Official responsible for the Local Plan.  Does she not realise that the many thousands and thousands of objections over the years are aimed at her and her decisions!!!.

Does she want us all to divert from the process and write to her?  Sheer arrogance!  She invites residents to e mail her with their views, well let’s send her a few.  Feel free to tell Cllr Barker what you think of her Local Plan and her suggestion to dump 2100 homes in Elsenham. . Her e mail address is .

Nick Baker
3rd June 2014



 Residents Objections to the Local Plan submitted

Nick Baker and represenatives from Henham, Elsenham, Widdington and Ugley

Today, Monday 2nd June 2014 at 2.00 pm, the Save Our Village Committee delivered a magnificent  2211  letters from local residents vehemently opposed to the U.D.C Local Plan and the siting of 2100 homes in NE Elsenham. For eight years now the residents of Elsenham, Henham, Ugley and Widdington have opposed plans to build 2100 homes on high quality farming land between Elsenham and Henham. The residents, in a four page submission, say the Local Plan is unsound and fatally flawed because:

·        it is overdevelopment on the edge of only a key village

·        coalescence of Elsenham and Henham, destroying the special character of both villages

·        it is not a sustainable location in any sense

·        there is inadequate provision for education, health and community services

·        the road system serving Elsenham is seriously sub-standard for the establishment of an extra 2100 homes

·        the development would destroy local landscapes and the open countryside and lose a valuable agriculture asset

·        public opinion, as expressed by thousands of objectors is being ignored

Nick Baker, OBE, Chair of Save Our Villages, said,

‘It is about time that U.D.C saw the stupidity of this housing proposal and acts before it is too late. The Government Housing Inspector will reject this Local Plan as being unsound. Please U.D.C wake up to this appalling situation before it is too late, and accept that the Local Plan is fatally flawed’

In addition to the 2,211, representatives from Newport delivered a further 200 and the We Are Residents campaign group from Saffron Walden a further 500 hard copies.  Saffron Walden have also submitted an unknown number of electronic copies making a conservative total of over 3,000 objections to the plan.

Combined group from Save our Village, Newport and We Are Residents

Unfortunately, there was nobody from U.D.C Planning Department or Planning Committee or Councillors  available to receive the submissions and they were left at reception.

Nobody there to receive them

The Save Our Village Committee would like to thank all the residents from Elsenham, Henham, Ugley and Widdington for taking the time to fill out the forms and in particular to all the volunteers who spent days knocking on doors and explaining why we had to endure yet another consultation on this long running saga.

Well done everybody. 




Dear Resident,

The Save Our Village Committee met last night, (Wednesday 7th May 2014), to decide how best to respond to the current consultation on the Draft Local Plan.  You must respond to this consultation if you share our view that this is the wrong place to place housing.  This is the last consultation before the matter goes to a Government Inspector in the Autumn.  The Inspector will judge if the Plan is sound.

If you don’t respond you will effectively be accepting that placing 2100 homes in NE Elsenham is OK.

The Test of Soundness is very technical and means that the Inspector must be satisfied that the Plan is positively prepared, justified, effective and consistent with national policy.

We believe that the Plan fails on all 4 counts.

We have employed Planning and Transport Consultants to articulate the technical reasons why the plan is unsound and have prepared a short paper for submission to the consultation on behalf of Save Our Villages.  We ask that you, and members of your household, associate yourselves with this report by completing a Contact Details Form designed by U.D.C.   We want to show the Inspector the sheer numbers of local residents who very strongly object to the way U.D.C have dumped these houses on a remote part of the District without proper appraisal. We want hundreds of responses.

In previous consultations, as you are no doubt aware, we have asked you to individually respond to the U.D.C either on Limehouse, by email or by hard copy.  This time, because of the technical nature of the test of soundness, none of these would be appropriate.

However, by completing a Contact Details Form, (see below), residents can associate themselves with the report from our planning consultants to show the weight of feeling.

You will receive Contact Details Forms through your letter box or by personal delivery in the next 10 days. Additional forms can be downloaded here.

Please complete the forms and return them to your delivery person; (their address is on the form put though your letterbox).  If you are a Henham Resident, you can use the box in the Village Shop.

These forms will be submitted with the master copy of the report which you can view by clicking on one of the following:-

Henham, Widdington and Ugley version can be read here.

 Elsenham (who will be submitting a slightly different version)  can be read here.

 Additionally,  Parish Councils will also be submitting individual further responses which will be much more detailed


Nick Baker
Chairman of The Joint Parish Council Steering Group
8th May 2014


The Latest Consultation

With reference to the item below:-

Since 2007 we have been asking you to impress on Uttlesford District Council what you think about the ever-changing housing policies they have put before you via the seemingly never-ending consultations we have had to endure. 

We are now faced with yet another consultation which will end on 2nd June 2014.  The response to this one will be put before the Planning Inspector in the late Autumn and though you must be feeling battle weary and very cynical about how much notice is taken of your views, this consultation is vitally important as it appears to be the only one the Inspector will take into consideration.  We are ardent believers that the District needs extra housing and have always advocated this.  This housing  primarily needs to be 'affordable' in its broadest sense and integrated into our community sensibly and with due regard to existing infrastructure and the rural nature of Uttlesford. In this we do not appear to be in accord with U.D.C who appear to have taken scant regard of your views and produced an L.D.F which is 'developer lead'  and flawed in so many ways.

Yet again we ask you to be patient and hold back on responding to the Consultation until we have taken both legal and expert advice on how you can influence the Planning Inspector that what will be put before him/her by the Administration and Planning Department is not worthy of endorsement.


17th April 2014



Before the meeting of the Full Council was held on Tuesday 8th April 1014 at 7.30 pm, the draft Local plan had already been rejected by Uttlesford residents when 99% of public consultees objected to the draft in 2012 and again in December 2013.  There was further overwhelming objection to the updated plan for including 2100 homes in North East Elsenham. The updated plan was deemed unsound because it was unsustainable and fell short because of unresolved issues with regard to -










Air quality


Views of towns, parishes and the public not being properly considered.

Simon Lee, Henham Parish Councillor and a member of Save Our Village Committee was one of eight speakers, none of whom supported the plan. For the first time proceedings were broadcast live on a sound link on the internet.  A full recording can be heard on  Simon's contribution can be heard about 20 minutes into the broadcast.


Five Conservative Councilors didn't turn up, but six dissenters did.  Well done to them for having the courage to represent the views of their constituents.  Of our local District Councillors, Joe Rich, Stansted, who was present at the beginning of the meeting was absent for the vote, and John Salmon Stansted voted for the plan.  The Chairman, Eric Hicks, Conservative, threatened, more than once to clear the chamber when members of the public reacted to the various speeches. He even threatened to hold the meeting in camera!!!  The meeting was conducted in a very bad atmosphere, with the Tory inner cabinet resolved to defend their position no matter what was suggested or debated.  When it came to the vote there was a balanced cross-party opposition to the plan with six Conservatives, five Liberal Democrats, and all three independents pushing for refusal, but with the Tory whip, the result was 23 votes in favour to 14 against. 



If you want to e mail your councillor to ask them why they voted the way they did, use the table below to see what they did.


We are now faced with another imminent consultation before the plan goes before the Planning Inspector, probably in the Autumn.  More of that later.

Nick Baker - Chairman
9th April 2014


L.D.F Now Goes Before the Full Council

On Tuesday evening 8th April at 1930 the Full Council will be discussing the Draft Local Plan in Council Chambers at Uttlesford. The plan still places 2100 homes at North East Elsenham. This follows the unseemly haste last Monday when the Draft Local Plan was passed by the Local Plan Working group and the Conservative Cabinet on the same day! The Local Plan Working Group has 4 of the Cabinet members sitting on it. So much for democracy!  The Plan now goes to Full Council for ratification before going out for a further consultation.

We plan to speak at the Full Council and ask all our supporters to attend to show the continuing strength of feeling against this development. Please try and come along on Tuesday, it will be our last chance before the hearing in front of a Government Inspector later this year. We need to document and record the opposition to this sham Local Plan.

Nick Baker
4th April 2014



Council Meeting - L.D.F

This Monday 31st March, the U.D.C Conservative Administration have again chosen to hold a Local Plan Group meeting before the Main Council Meeting in the evening. This is to approve the draft Local Plan. The plan still includes 2100 houses at Elsenham. The results of the last consultation are completely ignored as the juggernaut rolls on. The Local Plan Group has 4 members of the Conservative Cabinet as Members! This whole process is a sham. Normally we would urge you to attend to show your disapproval, but I'm afraid we have lost all faith in the local democratic process and will now rely on the processes outside U.D.C to demonstrate the broken administration we have in our District. 

Having only just been adjudged the best place in Britain to live, U.D.C. seem to be doing their best to reverse this.

Nick Baker

Save Our Villages


Chairman's Update

The Local Plan is out for consultation again in April/May. The bad news is that the NEE development still forms a recommended development area for 2100 homes despite the overwhelming 'NO' in the last consultation. Our District Councillor David Morson asked the leader of the Conservative Administration Jim Ketteridge  the following question-

How can the major component in the new emerging Local Plan of 2,100 houses in NE Elsenham have any planning validity when a lower number of 800 houses on the same site has twice been rejected by the Planning Committee?

This is his reply,

'The Planning Committee refused the application for 800 homes and supporting infrastructure because it represented a departure from the Council’s Plan adopted in 2005 and it could not attach much weight to the emerging plan as it had not yet been submitted for public examination.'

For those of you who attended the two planning meetings this is a blatant insult to the process that took place.  The U.D.C Planning Officers recommended that Fairfield's plans were accepted and they were rejected for sound planning reasons.  Not once did any of the committee refer to the 2005 plan; they referred to the 5 year housing shortage and other planning issues.  This response is duplicitous and downright wrong and misleading.  The Administration has to explain this question to a Planning Inspector in due course and this is what they have come up with.  We have a full transcript and recording of both meetings and a record of events from our legal team.  This response is quite frankly a disgrace and will be shown to be so.

So we fight on.  We will be advising how to respond to the next consultation when our planning and legal team have digested all of the documents.

Nick Baker

27th March 2014


With reference to the item below - Mr. Roger Harborough's response to Mr Cooper (dated 4th March) can be viewed by clicking here


The Saga Continues - (reference below)

Mr Cooper has penned a further letter to Cllr. Ketteridge (received by me on 27th Feb) which can be seen by clicking here.  In it, as you can see, he attached two further PDF files for reference which can  also be viewed.

File One  File Two

  He received an interim reply from Mr. Roger Harborough of the Planning Department which was a briefing note to Cllr. Ketteridge. Mr Cooper awaits the full reply from Cllr. Ketteridge

BB - 3rd March
(Apologies for not updating the web sooner) and by the way, both North Hall Road and Old Mead Road are still flooded in parts today and only passable with extreme care by alternating traffic.


With Reference to the letters below, please click below to view the reply from Cllr.  Ketteridge and the subsequent response from Mr. Cooper dated 25th February

Click Here

Thank you for your belated response. Much of it is highly technical and I do not feel qualified to comment on whether or not it is accurate or best practice. Perhaps others copied into this email can help out here. I would point out though that in recent weeks the Environment Agency has not proved itself to the the most competent of bodies and I think many people would have severe misgivings about its advice or recommendations.  

The facts are that you are proposing to build houses and workplaces within the floodplain and that the development will itself greatly increase the risk of flooding. How do you think the current residents of Old Mead Road and Old Mead Lane, who have suffered most directly in the recent floods, who have seen water gushing out of the drains in the road and cascading down their driveways from the fields behind where the new houses will be built - how do you think will feel about that? How will it affect their insurance premiums and the value of their properties? How will it affect the people in the wider area who have had such difficulty driving along Old Mead Road over the past three weeks? 

It is utter lunacy to build 2100 houses on this site and your inability or unwillingness to take these recent events into consideration is a sign of extremely poor leadership.


Stuart Cooper




Update re below - Still no reply from Cllr. Ketteridge.  Mr Cooper has penned him another very polite letter requesting a reply and adding further observations.  -  BB 18th February

Flooding in Henham and Elsenham
February 2014

The following is a copy of a letter from one of our residents to Cllr. Jim Ketteridge, Leader of U.D.C. regarding the current flooding in our area.

Dear Mr. Ketteridge

I thought you might be interested to see this map of the land which forms such a significant part of your Local Plan, to which I have added a number of photographs taken this morning. Most of them were taken along the length of Old Mead Road, up to the Henham turning, beyond which the road was closed due to the flooding.
I counted 6 drains that were overflowing along Old Mead Road. Houses on the left-hand side of the road had water lapping against their front doors. Houses on the right-hand side of the road had water cascading down their drives from the farmland behind them.
Do you seriously believe that this site is suitable for building 2100 or even 800 homes?

Yours sincerely
Stuart Cooper

Click Here to see a copy of the map which Mr. Cooper has adapted

It really does not take much imagination at this time of severe weather to evaluate those parts of our district, (not just Henham and Elsenham), where it would be most imprudent to build houses.  The flooding in the area highlighted by Mr. Cooper is not by any means an isolated occurrence. 

Click here to view a page posted on this site in July 2008 by Jonathan Leech in which he  calculated how the drainage problems would be exacerbated by building houses on the so called "land to the north east of Elsenham" when we were at that time threatened by the Eco Town.

The following February, (2009), we again experienced severe weather and more disruption.  Click here to view these pictures, particularly of North Hall Road, which again has been closed for quite some time during the past week due to flooding.

Whilst we cannot by any means claim that we have suffered as badly as other parts of the country, the current bad weather, (which seems increasingly prevalent), has again illustrated how fragile Uttlesford's development plan is.  I wonder how Mr. Ketteridge will reply to Mr. Cooper's letter.

BB (8th February 2014)

Further to the above, shortly after I posted this report I received an email from a very concerned resident of Old Mead Road.  (Click here to view)



Consultation Period Closes - Update

Hi All

The latest consultation on the L.D.F has now concluded.

Thanks to you all for responding. We await the results from U.D.C. to see if the overwhelming opposition to the Elsenham site changes their position.

We are given to believe that Fairfield will not appeal the U.D.C Planning Committee decision regarding the application for 800 houses on the same site. Instead they have decided to join forces with U.D.C to promote the 2100 houses in the L.D.F.  How could U.D.C promote a site that they have already rejected?

We believe this latest L.D.F. consultation is unsound. You can't just cherry pick a few sites to 'up' the housing numbers and then have a consultation on just those sites. If you have to have increased housing numbers, then all sites should be examined.  

How have U.D.C. got themselves in this position where a developer is leading the Council Administration by the nose? It is wrong and shows a weak, badly advised administration who have dug themselves into a hole.

We believe we will probably find ourselves in front of a Government Inspector towards the end of the year. He will test the fairness and soundness of the U.D.C Plan. Be assured that our legal team will be armed and ready to show that this plan flies against public opinion as shown in the consultations, is grossly unfair and completely unsound.

Nick Baker
Chairman - 15th January 2014


The End Of The Consultation Is Drawing Very Close

Hi All

May I take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year

2014 promises to be an interesting year in the life of 'Save our Village' as we proceed through the new LDP and any appeal by Fairfield against the refusal of 800 houses.

The purpose of this message is to remind you that the consultation finishes on 13th January. It is absolutely vital that each and every member of your household responds to the consultation.

Can you please also remind everyone living in our area who may have forgotten the consultation closing date.

 If we are to continue our successful campaign we need a huge response to a Council who seem hell bent on ignoring their residents!!

Please refer to the paragraph below for further details

Nick Baker
Chairman - 3rd January 2014



The Latest Consultation

Tell U.D.C what you think

As previously reported, the U.D.C consultation on the Local Development Plan started on 18th November 2013 and ends on 13th January 2014.

It allocates 2100 houses on the Fairfield site on top of the 500 houses already allocated on separate Elsenham sites.  This is despite the U.D.C. Planning Committee turning down an application from Fairfield to build 800 houses on the same site.

We are now in receipt of technical and legal advice from our consultant and it is of paramount importance that as many people as possible respond to the consultation. 

Each household in Elsenham and Henham will receive envelopes containing the above advice and forms to be filled in and sent off to Uttlesford Council. Click here for a copy of the advice and click here for copies of the form.

(Please note that these are Word files and may take a little time to download depending on your computer)

You can respond in four ways

bullet Filling out the form and posting it in the envelope provided.
bullet Filling out the form and placing it in the box at the Henham Shop or the Elsenham Post Office
bullet Filling out the form and send it as an attachment to
bullet Logging on to the Limehouse system at Uttlesford and answering the questions.

There is an empty box on the response form which you may like to use to tell the U.D.C administration and planning department what you think of the way they are handling the Local Plan.

The suggested answers produced by our planning adviser are for you to use and these can be cut and pasted by opening up a copy by clicking here. However please personalize your responses as much as possible.

We are faced with the second campaign held over the Christmas and New Year period.  Those of you who attended the planning applications for the 800 houses will be aware of the way in which the meeting was conducted.  Whatever you feel about the current situation this is your opportunity to unburden yourself.

Please encourage everyone in your household to complete a form. Extra copies can be downloaded by clicking here.

So please pick yourselves up, dust yourselves down, and make sure you don’t give U.D.C any excuse to say that the response to this consultation was poor. People who do not respond are giving U.D.C a ‘Yes’ vote to the extra homes at Elsenham and Henham.

Remember, the closing date is 13th January 2014.

Joint Parish Council Steering Group
December 2013


The J.P.C.S.G met on Tuesday 3rd December 2013 to formulate our response to the current L.D.F consultation. We are seeking expert advice. It will be placed on the website as soon as it becomes available.

Please wait  before responding. It will be vital that you and all members of your household take a few moments to register your views.

Nick Baker



Planning Permission Refused

Today, Wednesday 20th November 2013, the Planning Committee of UDC met to revisit the decision taken on 2nd October (see below) when they had rejected Fairfield's application for 800 houses on the land between Elsenham and Henham. I am pleased to say that they voted six to four in favour of their original decision.



Latest LDF Consultation

Hi All

The UDC consultation on the additional LDF started today, (18th November) and ends on 13th January 2014. It allocates 2100 houses on the Fairfield site on top of the 500 houses already allocated on separate Elsenham sites.  It will be very important that everybody responds to this consultation and we are seeking both legal and technical advice to advise you on how best to respond.
Please do not respond until we have sent this advice
Keep up to date by visiting
this site.

The important planning meeting is being held at UDC Council Offices on Wednesday 20th November at 1400 hrs. (See below regarding transport). Please try and attend. We have retain a QC to represent our interests.

Nick Baker


Meeting of the Scrutiny Committee 11th November 2013

Last night at a Uttlesford District Council meeting the Scrutiny Committee voted 5 to 3 with one abstention to continue the new LDF plans which puts 2100 homes on the NE Elsenham site.

I'm afraid that the ruling Conservative Administration closed ranks and would not consider a full Council meeting to discuss this new plan. They blame the Coalition Government for the raised building figures and seem to ignore the fact that it is the location of the extra homes we are fighting, not the additional figures, albeit we considered the new figures to be wrong. Cllr Susan Barker did admit proudly that she was the architect of the infamous Option 4, something she has not admitted before.

We are now faced with a battle similar to the Option 4 fight some 7 years ago. We will face consultations on the new plan similar to the consultations in the past.

Please make every effort to attend the meeting on Wednesday 20th November at 2.00pm.  Please see below regarding transport if required.

Nick Baker


Planning Meeting on Wednesday 20th November 2013

A 52 seater coach has been booked for the planning meeting on 20th November
If you would like a seat on the bus please telephone Petrina on (01279) 816675, or text 07713074656.

We will be leaving Elsenham at 12.55 and Henham 13.05 to be at the offices by 13.35
The return journey will be when required!
The cost is £2.50 per person.

With reference to my update below:-

The Scrutiny Committee of the District Council is due to meet at UDC offices on Monday 11th November at 1930.

The purpose of this meeting is to 'call in' the decisions taken last Friday in respect of the new LDF which includes putting  2100 homes at Elsenham and some at Saffron Walden and Dunmow.   (Please see a helpful guide to ‘calling in’ on the Wikipedia site by Clicking Here).

The questions we would like answered are:-


·       Why the unseemly rush?  The LDF Working Group met on Friday morning, This group consisted of ten District Cllrs., including four Cabinet members.  What work had been done by the Group which enabled them to come to these decisions?  How were they arrived at? How can a decision to place 2100 homes in Elsenham be made so soon after the UDC Planning Committee refused 800 homes on the same site? The sites were approved by seven votes to three.


·       Why did the Cabinet, consisting of seven councillors, meet on the same day?  Again, why the rush?  How can four members of the Working Group be on the Cabinet.  A Working Group is supposed to make recommendations to the Cabinet.  How can this work?


·       We are now faced with a consultation over Christmas. This happened seven years ago over the infamous Option Four. Instead of 3200 homes in Option Four we are now faced with 2600 homes in the new LDF, This was rejected over seven years and three consultations. How can it reappear  in this secret and underhand way?

Can you please do two things:

·       Send an e mail to Cllr. Godwin, Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee asking some of the questions above or others you are concerned about. ask you to be fair, polite and courteous to her in your comments.  It is important for her to understand the depth of feeling in the community about the process whereby the decisions were made.

·       Sign the petition on

If any of you can make the Scrutiny Committee on Monday great, be pleased to see you

Nick Baker

6th November 2013


Save Our Village Update

Save Our Village has joined forces with other prominent Residents Groups throughout Uttlesford to call for a new Local Plan to replace the present disgraceful one.

Today, Friday 1st November 2013, UDC held a hastily convened Local Development  Framework (LDF) Working Group to recommend a new LDF which includes 2100 houses at Elsenham. It was passed by the working group by seven votes to three.  

This group, which is supposed to make recommendations to the Cabinet, has four members who are on the Cabinet itself!  How can this be right?

The Cabinet itself has only seven members!  We have a situation where seven elected Councillors from the administration are riding roughshod over crucial decisions on housing in our District. We have had seven years of this shambles, enough is enough.  It’s time the residents of Uttlesford stood up and said very clearly, 'no more'.

The UDC Cabinet have allowed a position to happen whereby it has become open season in our district for every developer to apply for planning permission, wherever they want, with a very good chance of success. They have pitched area against area, causing some residents/groups to take legal action.  We alone have spent £91,475.62, from money raised locally, in fighting the Elsenham development.  For what?  It could well be for nothing.

The new Residents Group has been named
 ‘Uttlesford United Residents.

Today, before the Cabinet meeting at UDC offices in London Road, representative members of the new group presented a letter to the Cabinet, followed by a short presentation

Not an occasion to smile about

The letter calls for a brand new local plan development process be put in place. 

It should be strategic, evidence based, open and transparent with engagement with Town and Parish Councils and local residents, and most importantly timely.

Click here to view the letter.

A new website for ‘Uttlesford United Residents’,  (click here to view), includes an important petition
which the Save Our Village Committee asks each and every resident to sign. Everybody from each household should sign

Together we can win this fight!

Don't forget the Housing Committee meeting on
20th November at 1400 UDC Council Offices. Please make every effort to come along.

Nick Baker

Read What the Saffron Walden Reporter has to say




Chairman’s Update

25th October 2013

Dear All

Yesterday UDC published their new LDF. They claim that the Government has forced them to take a further 2680 homes before 2031. Those that have been following the SOV web site know that we challenge this figure as being too high. UDC go on to say that these numbers are so great, that the proposal for the creation of a new settlement becomes inevitable. They therefore propose 2100 new homes in Elsenham. They say that it is in Elsenham, because that is where the landowners are prepared to sell their land. 

So where does that leave us?  Well back to square one I think. The new LDF has to go out to public consolation at the end of the year in exactly the same route the old LDF went 7 years ago, when the infamous Option 4 was the centerpiece of the then LDF.

Meanwhile we still have the planning application for 800 new homes in Elsenham to deal with. This will be dealt with under the old rules and the old LDF, which doesn't include the Fairfield site, as we successfully got that taken out of the current LDF. The hearing is on 20th November at 1400 at the Council Offices and we need you to come along and show your opposition to this development.

Please watch this site for further updates.

Nick Baker
Chairman JPCSG



Fairfield Planning Application

Residents will by now be aware that at the UDC Planning Committee Meeting  on November 2nd the Fairfield Planning Application for 800 houses was refused by 6 votes to 5.  This was an outstanding victory for good common sense, and we thank those District Councillors who understood how flawed the application was and agreed it was the wrong location to 'dump' 800 houses.  

However, it now looks as if the decision will be revisited for no good apparent reason other than the UDC Planners didn't like the result of the democratic process, and are trying their best to reverse it.  

The revised date for the reconvened Planning Meeting is Wednesday 20th November at 1400 hours at UDC Offices in Saffron Walden (and not Wed. 23rd Oct as was first published in this bulletin)The SOV committee has asked the UDC Chief Executive for details of the meeting and why the decision of the  2nd October is being revisited.

There also seems some suggestion that two of the District Councillors absent from the planning meeting on the 2nd may be allowed to vote on the application despite the fact that they were not present to hear the presentation and debates on the day.

The SOV Committee see a clear abuse of process here and will seek legal advice when we clearly understand the reasons for the recall from UDC Officers.  This whole situation smacks of a stitch up of the first order.

Please watch this Web Site for further information as the situation develops.  Meanwhile, put the date in you diary to come along on the 20th and express your views on this appalling situation.

Nick Baker


Hi All

I am delighted to be able to tell you that the Fairfield Planning Application was rejected at today's planning meeting by 6 votes to 5 votes. Thank you to everybody who attended, we think we must have had 200/300 residents there to show their opposition to the application. The result was achieved despite  the Chairman, Cllr. Cheetham being determined to see the application successful, supported by Andrew Taylor the Planning Officer, who in a great volte-face, also doing his very best to get the application approved.

We thank the 6 District Cllrs who voted for the application to be refused, proposed by Cllr. Mackman seconded by Cllr. Loughlin who with Cllrs. Goodwin, Menells and Perry spoke sound common sense.

So we live to fight another day, we expect Fairfield to appeal against the decision, and at a date in the future to face a Planning Inspector inquiry. The Save Our Village Committee are already planning and taking advice ready for this hearing.

Well done to everybody who attended, wrote, emailed Cllrs. before the meeting. And well done to our Save The Village committee for 7 years of effort to get us where we are today

Nick Baker

Save Our Village

2nd October 2013




With reference to the planning application below, this letter has been sent to all UDC District Ccouncillors in advance of the Planning Meeting on Wednesday 2nd October.

Click Here to view


Fairfield Planning Application

We heard yesterday morning (24th Sept) that the Planning Committee meeting to hear the Fairfield Planning Application will be held on Wednesday 2nd October at 1000 am.

This caught us unawares as we were still responding to additional material on 22nd September.  

Worse still, the Planning Officers recommendation to the Planning Committee is for conditional approval.

We are currently planning for the meeting, but will need as many people to attend the Council Chambers as possible to show our disagreement to the application.

We have worked for 7 years to change the local Development Plan and remove the single settlement Fairfield Site. This situation beggars belief. Please watch this site for further information.

Nick Baker





Once again, an application for large-scale housing in Elsenham has been submitted.

We already have two applications approved (for over 300 houses) : NO MORE!

UDC has refused other planning applications where many local people have objected by writing to the Council – ELSENHAM MUST DO THE SAME.

The planning application by Gleeson is for up to165 homes on land to the south of Stansted Road running up to the motorway bridge.

Planning Reference UTT/13/1790/OP - Land South of Stansted Road, Elsenham

Respond by letter to                       

The Planning Team  
Uttlesford District Council
Council Offices
London Road
Saffron Walden
CB11 4ER

 or e-mail

Please, please respond; talk to your neighbours and friends.  Our mass response to the Fairfield Partnership’s application has made a difference.  We can do so again.

Below are some suggested pointers to include in your response:

·      The housing land supply calculation has been miscalculated; there is an adequate supply.  Neither Uttlesford nor Elsenham need these houses.

·      This urban extension into open countryside is contrary to the adopted Local Plan.

·      This site may contain artifacts from the Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman periods.

·      Noise from the M11 will impact upon new residents.

·      Locally protected reptile species have been found on the site.

·      Elsenham has already been given over 300 homes: a 30% increase to the existing village.  This extra housing will increase that to over 45%.

·      Existing village infrastructure and facilities are already becoming overloaded; this new housing will worsen the problems even further.

·      New proposed site access road will increase traffic congestion on a busy road during peak periods and on a road of limited size.

Closing date for our responses is 7th August

If you need more information, contact:

(  Peter Johnson 812704, or  (  Petrina Lees 816675,  mobile  07713074656





The Fairfield Planning Application for 800 houses, leading to 3000 houses, between Elsenham and Henham which was due to take place at the Uttlesford District Council Offices on Wednesday 17th July at 1400 hrs. has been postponed, apparently until a date in September.  The reason is not as yet known

Joint Parish Council Steering Group. 2nd July 2013


Apologies Required

It has transpired that one of our helpers  decided to personally address and post our consultation advice to residents instead of delivering by hand.  Unfortunately, this person failed to attach the correct postage to the oversized envelope which has resulted in the letters having to be personally collected from Bishop Stortford Post Office upon payment of a handling fee.  We are unsure of how many letters have been thus delivered, but the J.P.C.S.G would like to sincerely apologie to anyone who has been inconvenienced, both in time and financially.



We have heard today (25th April 2013)  that UDC have extended the Fairfield consultation until 17th May. This gives us a bit of breathing space for our responses.





Over next weekend residents will receive a communication from Save Our Village advising how to respond to the Fairfield Planning Application.  Fairfield has applied for planning permission for 800 houses leading to 3000 houses on land between Elsenham and Henham. We have until 2nd May to register our objections with Uttlesford against this development.  It is vital that we again show Uttlesford the strength of feeling against this opportunistic development.  The Save Our Village Committee will respond with a detailed technical paper setting out the reasons for our opposition. You will receive two copies of a suggested response by residents.  If you agree with the letter simply add your name and address and sign and post the letter in the envelope provided.

If you want to make additional points please do so in the space provided.  Should you prefer please download the document from the website and edit to your individual style.

Please copy additional letters for other members of family and friends.  Contact a member of your Parish Council for additional copies or ask them to post the letters for you if needed. Please send responses to Planning Team UDC, Council Offices, London Road, Saffron Walden.



Click Here to open Copy Letter


Chairman's Update

On Wednesday 3rd April Fairfield delivered their planning application to UDC. J.P.C.S.G. picked up a copy immediately and are presently analysing the documents. We hope to have completed this by the 12th April and have advice on how to respond through your letter box weekend of 20/21st April. This timescale is very tight as responses need to be at UDC by 2nd May. However we have made your suggested response as easy as we can, so a response by 2nd May should be doable.

Nick Baker

7th April 2013



Planning Application by Fairfield

We expect Fairfield to lodge an outline planning permission application on or about the 20th February for 800 homes leading to an eventual 3000 homes.

We are ready to deal with this application albeit that the timescale's are very short. Fairfield are applying for planning permission in the knowledge that there is no support whatsoever in the community for this development. They are, as ever, cynically attempting to get planning permission despite residents objections. We have something like 3 weeks to respond to Uttlesford District Council.

We ask residents to hold fire in responding to the application until we have heard from our consultants on how best to articulate our objections. We will be posting our suggested objections through your letterboxes leaving plenty of time to post your views to Uttlesford.

We are moving towards the end game in this long running saga, and ask that you respond to this planning application as soon as you receive our advice.

Nick Baker


Joint Parish Councils Steering Group

17th Feb 2013

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The following is an email I received from Mr Michael Smith of
JCN Design
2 Exchange Court, London Road
, Feering, Colchester, Essex,
D: 01376 572999 | M: 07824 882568 | T: 01376 572977 | F: 01376 573774

I am a planning consultant working with Charles Church on initial proposals for a small housing development on the land to the south of School Lane and Vernons Close, comprising around 30 homes, a play area within public open space and a new car park for the school. The site has been allocated for residential development in Uttlesford District Council’s draft Local Plan, which is expected to be issued for consultation in the New Year.

Discussions are still at a very early stage, but we know that the residents of Henham have a good understanding of how the planning system works through their involvement with the potential development on the edge of Elsenham, therefore we are arranging a public exhibition at OSCA on the afternoon and evening of 10 December to introduce ourselves and explain what we hope to do with the site. Flyers are being distributed to all homes in the village today (a copy is attached), but would it be possible add a note to both the village’s website ( and the Save Elsenham & Henham Villages website ( to spread the word a little further?

Please call if you would like to discuss the exhibition in more detail, but in the meantime, thank you for your help.

Michael Smith

Click here to see a flier of the event


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What The Papers Say

 - Click here to view the Herts. and Essex Observer article and to submit your comments -

The Web Site Blackboard

Its three years since we last used the Blackboard page on this site to express your individual views.  Please send me your emails concerning the Fairfield Presentations.  May I ask that your comments are made in the constructive, fair and well mannered spirit in which we have conducted our campaign from the outset.  - BB

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Fairfield Exhibitions

Well we have finished the week of Fairfield Exhibitions, starting at Henham on Saturday 10th November and finishing at Elsenham on the 17th November. If Fairfield wanted the public to show support for their development they must be sorely disappointed. Their disgraceful policy of encouraging residents in Saffron Walden and Great Dunmow to support their development, by telling residents (which they did) that they should dump all the housing in Elsenham has spectacularly failed.

Let's analyse the Exhibitions, at Henham 288 residents attended a 'shortened' session between 10am and 2pm. Our 'Save our Village' reps met all residents attending and not one was in favour of the development. We then had the mid-week exhibitions in Saffron Walden from 2pm to 8pm, this Exhibition saw 23 attendees, yes I'll say that again 23 attendees, including some from Henham/Elsenham. Again all were met by our members who report that 6 people were in favour of the development.

At Stansted we saw an attendance of some 100 residents, and again each resident was met by our representatives. Nobody favoured the development. At Great Dunmow we saw an attendance of 28 residents and again no one supported Fairfield's plans. We finished at Elsenham, again a shortened event, where some 300 residents came to show their opposition to Fairfield's 'New Town'.

So this expensive series of exhibitions attracted 739 Uttlesford residents, of which 6 were in favour of the Fairfield single settlement. I wonder how Fairfield will 'spin' this result. We can be sure that they will find something positive for their daft plans. Isn't it time that Fairfield gave up on their development, and accepted that nobody wants their flawed settlement with its false and ridiculous claims. We await the planning application in January, and look forward to its rejection by Uttlesford Councillors, as a plan that exposes this developer as a greedy company, that is interest in profit only, and ignores local residents’ opposition.

This must be the single most unpopular development plan in the Country.

Nick Baker


19th November 2012


Fairfield Continued

With reference to the entry below this, the following is a message from Nick Baker OBE, chairman of The J.P.C.S.G:-  Remember there are other meetings this week, especially at Elsenham on Saturday 17th November - See below  - BB

Fairfield Exhibition at Henham

Thank you to the 300 residents who came to the Fairfield Exhibition at OSCA on Saturday 10th to register their objections to 3000 house between Elsenham and Henham. There are 420 houses in Henham, and this does represent a huge percentage objecting to this outrageous development. You won’t be surprised that Fairfield had no representatives to face the residents. They had chosen to have consultants present, who had little or no knowledge of the area, the problems, or the understanding of the objections. One of them admitted that he did not know the village but had driven around two days before to try and understand the objections from residents!! Mr Stephen Briat, the main Fairfield representative ‘could not attend’, we were told he had a ‘prior engagement ‘, or alternatively he was ‘unable to attend at the last minute’. Let’s accept the truth; he was incapable, or perhaps afraid, to defend his development.

Fairfield brought two ‘bodyguards’ with them, they expected such heated objections that they felt they had to protect their staff. They had the decency to thank the ‘Save the Village’ campaigners for their courtesy afterwards. We are not hooligans and intend to defeat this stupid development by sensible objections and not violence.

So what of Henham residents who did not come along to OSCA.  Is there a complacency that says we will not get the development so why bother to attend? Fairfield recorded every visitor so they could gauge the local opinion. The people, who have worked their socks off for ‘Save our Village’ for over 5 years have no complacency. They know we still have a real battle on our hands and need the support of every resident We have presented logical arguments to Uttlesford District Council (UDC), and changed their position from a single settlement to a dispersed option. It was sensible of UDC to change their position. We need to support them.

So we will continue to fight. Fairfield will put in planning applications in January 2013. We hope to show that 100% of  Henham residents object to these plans. If you welcome the development fine, we respect your view, but if you object, and we believe most of you do, please support us and give us some encouragement by showing it. If Fairfield win, Henham will never be the same again, property prices will fall, we will be part of an urban sprawl from Bishops Stortford to Henham, roads will be choked, and our unique village will be ruined.

Nick Baker

Chairman Save Our Village.



Fairfield and their Proposed Development

Dear All,

As you are now most likely aware, Fairfield are holding Public Meetings in preparation for submitting their planning applications (See list below).  It is of the utmost importance that as many residents as possible attend these meetings to register their views.  Please ensure that your views are recorded on paper on the facilities provided by the developer.  The quality and quantity of these views could play a crucial part in the subsequent decision making processes.

The Joint Parish Council Steering Group met on Monday 29th October and Nick Baker our Chairman will be updating you in the next couple of days.  You will also be receiving notices through your doors

Margaret Shaw, as many of you know, has an email list of people willing to help in our efforts to oppose the development.  She has already sent out an email which many of you may have received.  However, if you have not received it it may be because you are not on the list or have changed your email address.  We are looking for volunteers for various tasks in relation to the meetings so if you wish to help please email her on .

We are looking for a maximum turnout at the Henham and Elsenham Meetings and as many as possible at the other meetings which are as follows-

Saturday 10 November 2012 10am to 2pm at the OSCA Centre, Crow Street, Henham, CM22 6AH
Wednesday 14 November 2012 2pm to 8pm at Stansted Free Church, Chapel Hill, Stansted, CM24 8AG
Thursday 15 November 2012 2pm to 8pm at St Mary’s Church Parish Rooms, Church Path, Saffron Walden, Essex, CB10 1JP
Friday 16 November 2012 2pm to 8pm at the E T Foakes Memorial Hall, 47 Stortford Road, Great Dunmow, Essex, CM6 1DG
Saturday 17 November 2012 10am to 2pm at Elsenham Village Hall, High Street, Elsenham, CM22 6D

The developers Charles Church have arranged another public exhibition of the latest proposals for the redevelopment of land adjacent to Hailes Wood, Elsenham,
Elsenham Memorial Hall
on Friday November 9 between 3pm and 7pm

The proposal includes 36 new homes, a car park and a new children’s play area.
In addition to the meeting on the 9th November, Charles Church and their highway consultants are presenting to Elsenham Parish Council at the Memorial Hall at 8:00pm on Monday 5th November.
All Parish Council meetings are open to the public.

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The Fairfield Partnership announces plans for new homes to the North East of Elsenham.

We have today (Tuesday 11th Sept 2012) received a letter from Fairfield saying it is bringing forward plans for up to 3,000 new homes, new jobs, new schools and associated infrastructure and services on land to the north-east of Elsenham. The times scales are to submit a planning application in early 2013 for the first phase of 800 homes to be delivered by 2018/19, Consultation by Fairfield on the emerging plans will take place in November 2012 in Elsenham, Henham, Stansted Mountfitchet, Saffron Walden and Great Dunmow.

The Save Our Village (JPCSG) Committee will be advising residents on the best way to fight this development. We are still awaiting the UDC Consultation on the dispersed option, and this is yet another attempt by Fairfield to bypass the legitimate consultation process and appeal to residents of Saffron Walden and Great Dunmow to dump the housing on Elsenham. We will need a lot of support from residents to fight this development, we will need to be well organised, and have our arguments well mustered, to convince the officers that this is the wrong place for a development of this size. We will need to show the powers to be that the residents of Henham and Elsenham are 100% opposed to this development.

We have been preparing for this for nearly 5 years. If you feel that you can give some time to help as our campaign unfolds, please let me know at

Nick Baker

Chairman JPCSG

Click here to see a copy of Fairfield's letter to Councilor Parr

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Fairfield Latest

Dear All,

Fairfield Partnership have written to our Chairman, Nick Baker setting our their objectives. Please click here to view.  Nick has written back and similarly click here to view his letter.


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Latest Housing Consultation

Dear All

As mentioned below, the latest and perhaps the most important consultation on housing in our District and in particular our village started on Friday 8th June, and will run until Monday 23rd July.

Fairfield have written to all Uttlesford Councillors criticising the Council's latest policy and asking that Option 4 be reinstated with a first phase of 800 hours on the HENHAM farmland between us and Elsenham and stressing that the site can take 3000 hours.

They are also targeting Saffron Walden, Dunmow, Newport and Takely with flyers asking people to support Option 4.  I am at a loss for any more words that are printable.

If you haven't yet responded to the consultation please do do before the 23rd.


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U.D.C. Proposals for a Draft Local Plan
Friday 8th June to Monday 23rd July 2012

(Download your Henham Elsenham and Ugly response form by clicking here)

Dear All

Thank you for your patience

Our consultant has now reported back and we are taking his advice.
Uttlesford District Council have detailed how you can respond to the consultation and you can view this and peruse the draft plan by clicking here. As usual, Limehouse is available should you wish to avail yourselves of the facility. 

However, we are asking you to respond by letter which should make things much easier for you and your family.  Please read on:-

The difference between this consultation and the previous consultations, is that UDC have now accepted that the infamous Option 4 was a silly and impracticable idea, and are recommending a dispersed housing solution, with the main towns of Saffron Walden and Great Dunmow taking a larger share of development.

Key villages, including Elsenham and Newport, take some housing and villages such as Henham are being asked to take a small housing allocation.

It is very important that you respond to this consultation. When we were severely affected by the Option 4 proposal you responded magnificently. This time we expect Saffron Walden and Great Dunmow to object, so we must balance this weight of opinion with our support for the new strategy.

To this end, over the weekend of 23rd and 24th June information packs will be prepared and nest week delivered to all houses in Henham, Elsenham and Ugly. Please read the advisory letter and complete the pre-prepared form.  You will notice that our Consultants advice is included on the form.  All members of your household and family are entitled to respond and we are asking you to make sure that they do.

All you have to do is write your name and address and sign the form, nothing else, pop the completed forms into the envelope provided,  put a stamp on and post the response -  it’s that easy.  For those in Henham (and indeed Elsenham), there will be a box in the Henham Village Shop should you wish to use it and we will ensure that the forms are taken to the council offices.

Alternatively, you may wish to sent your response as an attachment(s) (see above re downloading) to an email addressed , i.e. My advice is to rename your attachments individually.

Please please take a couple of minutes to complete these forms and send them off. Together we have done so well in getting Option 4 off the agenda. Don’t become complacent now!!

In respect of Stansted and Newport, these villages will be making there own local arrangements tailored to their local needs and how the draft plan affects them.

Bill Bates

UDC Public Exhibitions

Public exhibitions open from 10am to 8pm, will be held on:

Tuesday, 19 June - Town Hall, Saffron Walden

Wednesday, 20 June - Church House, Newport

Thursday, 21 June - Priors Green Community Centre, Takeley

Friday, 22 June - Community Information Centre, Thaxted

Monday, 25 June - Memorial Hall, Elsenham

Tuesday, 26 June - Foakes Hall, Great Dunmow

Wednesday, 27 June, Community Centre, Great Chesterford

Thursday, 28 June - Day Centre, Stansted



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Latest Housing Consultation

Dear All

As Nick mentions below, the latest and perhaps the most important consultation on housing in our District and in particular our villages has started today, Friday 8th June, and will run until Monday 23rd July. Many of you will have received emails from Uttlesford District Council asking you to respond on Limehouse, etc.  This is the first time we have been able to see the exact nature of the survey and as a matter of urgency our consultant expert will be examining the consultation document and reporting back to the Joint Parish Council Steering Group with his observations. 

It is therefore asked that you be patient before responding so that you may consider what he has to say.  We will update you as soon as possible.


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Chairman's Update - 11th May 2012

Dear All

At a Cabinet Meeting of the Uttlesford District Council held last night (10th May 2012), the infamous 'Option 4' was rejected as the Districts Local Development Framework (LDF) strategy in favour of a hierarchical approach. This decision is still subject to the next housing consultation commencing on 8th June. It will be essential that residents respond to this consultation supporting this Cabinet decision.

We can no doubt expect a planning application to be submitted by Fairfield, in an attempt to overturn this fair and open LDF process. The Joint Parish Council Committee is working to prepare for this application and will publish details as they emerge. Meanwhile please wait for advice on how to respond to the next consultation

Nick Baker


(Update - with reference to the meeting  below, the Dispersal Option was passed to the Cabinet (see above) on an 8 to 1 vote)

Scrutiny Committee - 8th May 2012

The Scrutiny Committee of Uttlesford District Council will discuss and recommend a Distribution Strategy for the Local Plan.  A very important meeting which could see the beginning of the demise of the infamous Option 4 in favour of a dispersed housing strategy.

Please see the following documents

Item 5 - Distribution Strategy for Local Plan

Item 5 - Distribution Strategy for Local Plan Appendix

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Chairman’s Update - 29th February 2012

On the 5th March we come to the end of the current consultation on the Local Development Framework. If you haven’t responded yet please do so immediately. We need a response from every member of the household please.

Fairfield, the Developer of Option 4, have produced a glossy brochure extolling the advantages of their development. They sent the brochure through the Royal Mail to every household in Uttlesford.  They produced the brochure in the Uttlesford District Council (U.D.C) consultation colours, trying to convince residents that it was an official consultation document from U.D.C. U.D.C have issued a disclaimer on their website.  Fairfield's message to Uttlesford residents?  If you support development in Elsenham, U.D.C won’t need to put more development in your area. What a cynical approach, they are unable to support their development on grounds that it is the right development in the right place, so they resort to blackmail. What lovely people to work with! If this doesn’t make you cross enough to put pen to paper nothing will.

The J.P.C.S.G Parish Councils have responded to the consultation and are reassured that the right decision will be made by U.D.C. We can expect a planning application from Fairfield in the future, but are confident it will be rejected.

Nick Baker

Chairman JPCSG

Developing Uttlesford Consultation
 20th Jan to 5th March

Dear All

Our campaign seems to have been littered with requests to respond to consultations and as explained by Nick below, whilst we appear to have been successful up to now, we cannot relax as we enter the period of this latest one.

In the next few days the information packs from the Joint Parish Council Steering Group with be arriving through your letter boxes.  In preparing the advice contained therein we have yet again commissioned our expert to examine closely the latest U.D.C policy, source documents and consultation questions.  Enclosed in the packs you will find a summary of his advice together with a response form and another U.D.C questionnaire called ''About You" which apparently they are legally bound canvas you.

We ask you to pay close attention to the experts advice.  Be unambiguous in your contributions and as far as possible express your reasoning in your own words.

U.D.C have been very thorough in producing information which outlines the purpose of the consultation, and with providing links to related documents, etc. (Please click here to view). 

Particularly important is the section entitled, How do I get Involved?.  I will not repeat the information contained therein, but you will find links to the Limehouse Electronic System of responding and to the forms should use should you wish to answer by Email or by Post.  There is also an explanatory animated Site Tour should you wish to take it.

Whatever way you choose to take part please remember that it is essential we have as many responses as possible.  That means all members of your family.  The future of our villages and way of life depends on your contributions.

Please also remember that there are Public Exhibitions (10.00am to 8.00pm) on Developing Uttlesford on the following dates and locations.

Friday, 27 January - Community Information Centre, Thaxted
Monday 30 January - Church House, Newport
Tuesday 31 January - Foakes Hall, Great Dunmow
Thursday 2 February - Priors Green Community Centre, Takeley
Friday 3 February - Memorial Hall, Elsenham
Monday 6 February - Day Centre, Stansted
Tuesday 7 February - Town Hall, Saffron Walden
Thursday 9 February - Community Centre, Great Chesterford



Chairman's Update 23rd January 2012

Dear All

The latest U.D.C consultation about the Local Development Framework (L.D.F) has started and runs until 5th March. This Consultation asks residents where they would like future housing in the District. It suggests a hierarchal system with Saffron Walden and Great Dunmow taking much of future development with seven key settlements taking some development.  Elsenham has been identified as a key settlement. It also identifies villages that are suitable for a scale of development that would reinforce their role as a local service centre, Henham is in this category. The infamous Option 4 is no longer the preferred option, but the housing land at this location is included in a list of sites across Uttlesford as having potential for housing development.

We need to respond to this latest consultation with the same energy and vigour we have achieved in the past. Our response to earlier consultations has changed the thinking on where the housing should be placed in Uttlesford. This is not the time to relax; we absolutely must get each and every resident to respond to this consultation. To this end the J.P.C.S.G (Save Our Village) campaign has prepared an pack which will be delivered to every household in Henham and Elsenham advising residents how to respond to the consultation. Also in the pack is advice on how to respond to the consultation questions. When you receive the pack please take a few minutes to respond.

We shall be collating the packs at OSCA in Henham on Thursday 26th January at 1900 hrs. If you can spare an hour to help us we would be more than grateful.

Nick Baker
Chairman J.P.C.S.G




Chairman's Update 21st December 2011

Hi everybody

As expected the Uttlesford District Council Cabinet met last night (20th) and approved the papers for the upcoming Local Development Framework (L.D.F) consultation. This action abandons the old L.D.F options including the infamous Option 4 and recommends a policy of sharing the housing needs across Uttlesford.  An exact housing figure is not as yet given.

The consultation on the new L.D.F starts on the 20th January and runs until the beginning of March. The J.P.C.S.G is meeting on the 12th January to help prepare the community on how best to respond to the consultation. Please do not respond to the consultation until you have read the recommendations we shall offer you. We expect to get something through your letterbox by the end of January.

Nick Baker
Chairman J.P.C.S.G

Further to Update below
The Agenda and Cabinet Papers for the Meeting on 20th December can be viewed by clicking here.  Apparently I have been advised that members of the public can attend Cabinet meetings and if so desired, speak/ask questions at the beginning of the meeting, subject to the usual 2 days notice.
Also, please see our District Councillors U.D.C update on the Henham website by clicking here

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Chairman's Report - December 2012

Hi All

I wonder if any of our supporters against the development in  Elsenham expected us to still be campaigning four Christmas's and New Year's later. Well we are, and although things have changed quite a lot, the threat of a development of some size is still real, and hasn't gone away. What has hopefully changed however is the Local Development Framework (L.D.F) document. The last draft L.D.F showed the infamous Option 4 as the preferred  Option by Uttlesford District Council (U.D.C). This is now changing and on 20th December the U.D.C Cabinet will consider a dispersal option for housing initially in eight settlements. You may remember that this has always been the favoured option of the 'Save Our Village' campaign,  If the Cabinet accept this dispersal option it will replace the present draft L.D.F and Option 4 will cease to exist.

The new L.D.F, with the dispersal option, will then be consulted on in exactly the same way that the Option 4 L.D.F was three years ago.. The timeframe is, consultation with residents between 20th January and 5th March. The results of the Residents Consultation will be analysed and published and proposals for the New L.D.F published by July/August.

None of these processes and procedures can stop Fairfield from applying for planning permission on the NE Elsenham land. However if Option 4 is no longer the preferred option on the new L.D.F, then we hope we can fight this planning application in a forceful manner, this time alongside U.D.C.

Your J.P.C.S.G will be meeting early in the New Year to discuss how to advise you to respond to the consultation. In the meanwhile the J.P.C.S.G wishes you a very Happy Christmas and wishes us all a very successful 2012.

Nick Baker

Chairman JPCSG 


Reply by Sir Alan Haselhurst MP to the letter of 22nd September
Click here to view - Click here to view a subsequent reply from Sir Alan

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Hi All

I encouraged you to sign the National Trust Petition. Can I also encourage you to send an e mail to the Government. It only takes a minute and the format can be found at the Campaign to Protect Rural England web site at

Nick (4th Oct 2011)

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Letter From Joint Parishes to Sir Alan Haselhurst, our MP.
22nd September 2011
Click here to view

Chairman's Report - September 2011

Hi All

You have probably seen from the newspapers and media that the planning issues advanced by the Coalition Government are out for public consultation. I don't suggest that you respond to the consultation as individuals, because it is a lengthy technical document and your Parish Council has responded on your behalf. However The National Trust  and various other bodies are up in arms at the Governments push to build houses with a 'presumption in favour of sustainable development' and I urge you to sign the National Trust petition at (see below). It is vital that the current plans are overturned and that the communities, who were promised that development would only go ahead with their consent, have their say in any planning process.

You may want to make your views known to Sir Alan Haslehurst . The JPCSG are writing to Sir Alan expressing our disquiet over the National Planning Policy Framework, and particularly the suggested presumption in favour of  sustainable development without local communities involvement.
Nick Baker




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National Trust

The National Trust is campaigning for people to respond to the Government’s reform threats to our green spaces.  Join their petition by clicking here

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Sunday 7th August 2011

The Sunday Telegraph featured a well balanced full page article by Andrew Gilligan headed 'Developers get the green light after Tory about turn'. Prominent in the article was our campaign.  A condensed version (not including the picture of our protesters) can be found by clicking here.

As a personal aside, having just watched Country File on BBC which talked about food shortages and escalating prices of grain crops, what sort of 'political logic' could allow the concreting over of a square mile of fertile grain crop producing land? It beggars belief. - BB

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Option Four

Dear All

I thought it is probably time to update you on the infamous 'Option 4' and the latest position on the housing development.  As you know the attempt by U.D.C to rid us of the 'top down' housing figures failed, after a developer took the Government to Court and successfully argued that, until the figures were revoked by law they should stay.  So, until the Government pass the Localism Bill, the top down housing figures remain with us.  The Bill is expected to become law in April 2012.

However, we are now faced with the Government's new planning rules, published last week.  In an effort kick-start the economy, the Government is creating a presumption in favour of development. Yes, the Government has ended the hated top down targets that imposed estates on unwilling parts of the countryside.  Yes the Localism Bill will push power down to local people.  But, the Government's national planning policy framework says that local authorities must approve all proposals wherever possible, changing the default on development from "No" to "Yes" or if not why not?

  For the first time since the 1980's, this will make it harder for local people to oppose the schemes.

It is not yet clear what will actually be built.  Architects and developers, like all of us, are confused by the conflicts within government policies.  The Government has simplified 1,000 pages of planning policy down to 52.  The 52 pages are open to wide interpretation and the balance between developer, local authority and residents is likely to be thrashed out in appeal hearings, case by case.

Ministers clearly hope to encourage growth, placate the building trade and convince enlightened communities that they are 'empowered'.  Well we know what we want in this community and we will not hesitate to fight any suggestion of this development returning under these new planning changes.  The formulation of neighbourhood plans where the community articulates the housing needs was the backbone of  election promises.

Our fight continues

Nick Baker

Chairman JPCSG.

August 2011

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Chairman's Update

Dear Resident,

I thought it was time to update you on the present position with the proposed housing development in Elsenham. You will remember that any progress on the Local Development Framework (L.D.F) was suspended late last year, whilst Uttlesford District Council (U.D.C) conducted a housing numbers appraisal to ascertain exactly how many houses it needs for the period up to 2027. This work has now been completed and at the LDFG held on the 28th February a number was arrived at which the U.D.C planning officers felt would satisfy the Inquiry Inspector in due course that the L.D.F was 'sound'.  That number was  2,500 dwellings over the planned period to 2027 being a build rate of 295 per annum. It is interesting to note that the recent build rate is 430 per annum. This substantially reduces the rate of growth previously imposed by Labour Government targets from the additional 4,200 dwellings in the plan period, (over and above existing planning consents) to the 2500, now accepted by the District Council at the Environment Committee on the 17th March 2011.

You may ask that as the Housing figures have been reduced, why can't U.D.C just scrap the existing L.D.F including Options 3 and 4 and start again. I have asked this question and been assured that legally this cannot happen, but what can and will happen is that the L.D.F, with the new housing figures, will be consulted on again in October/ November 2011. It is plainly obvious that Option 4 no longer an option, as there is no need for a single settlement of 3200 dwellings as we only need 2500. However Options 1,2 and 3 are still on the table until the fresh consultation takes a new direction. Option 3 is potentially very damaging with 1400 houses and the fear that if they are built, the development could be added to in years beyond 2027.

However I asked U.D.C Planning for their comment, and although the answer is a little obscure, the statement finishes off on a optimistic note.

' Limited weight can be attached to consultation documents that are part of preparing a new development plan in determining planning applications, particularly where the response to consultation does not indicate general support for the proposed approach. Hopefully the reduced scale of housing growth on which the council will be consulting later this year will attract greater approval from communities. Reducing the scale of growth will necessitate a review of where it could best take place, as a new settlement would be too small to have the range of facilities its residents would need. These implications will need to form part of the planned consultations.'

I also asked our MP Sir Alan Haselhurst his view and he said, ' I welcome the council's decision to reduce the scale of it's housing plans in view of the impending disappearance of the Regional Spatial Strategy. Although there are legalities to be observed and procedures to be followed before a new L.D.F can be endorsed, it is clear to me that the slate has been effectively wiped clean. What is needed now is not what was needed on previous assumptions. So, if anyone asks me, I would say that options one, two, three and four are dead in the water'

Complicating all of these issues is the Budget announcement that seems to be at odds with the Governments stated policies on communities having a large say in local developments. The Budget seems to say that planning applications for developments would have a 'presumption of acceptance' with a much faster process than at present. In addition the Government is  offering District Councils large inducements to build more dwellings, especially affordable homes. We are taking professional advice on these matters.

So there you have it. Some cause for optimism but with an strong underlying message of caution. Your Save Our Village committee continues to work very hard to steer a path between these mixed messages. I am sorry this note is a little long, but best you are all updated in the fullest possible way.

Nick Baker

Chairman J.P.C.S.G

April 2011

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Dear All - Christmas 2010 was our fourth 'Option 4 Christmas'.  I wonder what was on your wish list for the coming year.  Best wishes and thank you for your continuing support. 
May 2011 see the end of it all.


Chairman's Report - November

Dear All

You may have seen that the Government lost a High Court case on Wednesday, which declared Eric Pickles action of abolishing the top down housing figures illegal. The case was brought by a number of building companies who had advanced planning permission for some large scale housing developments before they were cancelled by Local Authorities using the Pickles decision.

This decision shouldn't worry the Save our Village campaign as no planning applications are in place for the Elsenham development. The Government intend to enshrine the abolishment of the housing figures in a Communities Act which will starts it's passage through Parliament later this month. If developers apply for planning permission before this Act becomes law, expected to be in about 12 months time,  Local Authorities have to take the fact that the top down housing figures are about to be abolished in account when decided the planning application.

Nick Baker
12th November 2010



Chairman's Report - October

Dear All

We now enter what will be a quiet spell for the Save Our Village campaign. The decision at the Uttlesford Council Environment Committee means that a housing needs survey will be carried out to try and ascertain exactly how many houses are needed across Uttlesford. We hope that this survey will establish that there is no need for a single large development and that future housing needs can be met by planned growth across the towns and villages.

The Parish Councils in the Save our Village group, will be looking at whether they need to plan for some housing, including affordable housing, in their villages. This process can take place over the winter months.

We hope that common sense has now prevailed, and the threat of housing on the totally unsuitable site at Elsenham has gone for ever. We are determined that no creeping development takes place on the site, and that any development in the villages is conducted with the residents and Parish Councils. We will keep you updated with any news.

Nick Baker
October 2010

U.D.C Environment Committee Meeting - Tuesday 7th September 2010

Almost three years to the day when the Environment Committee introduced their notorious preferred Option 4, the residents of Henham and Elsenham turned out in large numbers to hear the latest progress on the Core Strategy.

Prior to the start of the meeting, our Chairman Nick Baker gave an excellent address to the committee which set out the feelings of the J.P.C.S.G, (click here to view). The Chair of the meeting, Councillor Barker, welcomed residents by saying that with the new government, 'we had a new opportunity to move towards a new plan'.  Roger Harborough, Uttlesford's Development Director summarised the latest consultation, which reinforced, yet again, the strong opposition to a single settlement. 

For the first time since I have been attending these meetings I found myself listening, (for the most part), to a constructive discussion on the change in planning obligations on local government and in particular, the motion before the committee which was, 'That a review of the scale of growth appropriate for Uttlesford be taken'.  The leader of the council, Councillor Ketteridge, proposed an amendment which read,  'That a review of the scale of growth appropriate for Uttlesford be taken and subsequently a location of that growth'.  He made the point that new guidelines from the government have yet to be published although it had been stressed that the 'top down' allocation of housing numbers was a thing of the past. 

It was also stated that the council believed that when the number of houses needed was calculated, the 2,500 houses already in the pipeline with planning permission be taken into account.

Various views were expressed including that parishes should be consulted on local need and location and any initiatives should not be 'development led'.  Councillor David Morson stressed the need for the political parties to work together for the good of Uttlesford.  He asked that a the committee should state that the threat of a single settlement be removed.  This was obviously met with great support from local residents.  Councillor Ketteridge again spoke and it seemed from what he was saying that we were back to the drawing board.  Addressing residents he said words to the effect of, 'I am not sure what you are worried about - you have got what you wanted'.  However, the Committee, for reasons best know to themselves and to the disappointment of residents, refused to categorically confirm that option 4 was no longer an issue.

For the first time that I can remember a motion relating to the issue passed unanimously.

That does this mean?  We will wait and see.  It seems that it will be at least a year before the housing need analysis becomes available and after that? - who knows. 

Perhaps maybe the 'Sword' of Damocles'  has been removed for the time being and replaced by a 'Penknife'.


Subsequent to the above, in the front page article in September 9th's Dunmow and Stansted Observer, Steve Biart the director of land for the Fairfield Partnership apparently said that the company would still press ahead with its proposals.

Click here to view the agenda and relevant documents
Click here to go to U.D.C.'s Core Strategy page to view the results of the 2010 consultation

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Chairman's Update

Hi All,

This is a short note to update you on the present position with the housing at Elsenham. The results of the last consultation have now been published and can be found on the link on our website. You will be pleased to know that 64% of the responses were against Option 4, and generally, the responses to the related issues were in our favour.

Of course, since the end of the consultation, the Coalition Government have written to Councils taking away the obligation to built houses based on the last Governments top down figures. U.D.C have always said that their hands were tied by these housing figures, hence the Local Development Framework (L.D.F) and the threat of 3200 houses at Elsenham. In future U.D.C will be able to set their own housing figures based on the needs of the District.

The J.P.C.S.G agree with this approach and on Tuesday the 7th September at 1930 hrs at the U.D.C Council Offices, the Environment Committee will consider the results of the consultation and agree a way forward. The way forward, as recommended by the officers, is to park the present L.D.F process and conduct a housing needs study, which would report back in autumn 2011. Whilst this is sensible and the proper way to  start a housing review, we would rather see the present discredited present L.D.F abandoned and a new L.D.F started once the housing figures were known. We think it unreasonable to have the threat of housing hanging over our heads for another 2/3 years.

We would also like to see more co-operation between the political parties at U.D.C, and indeed more co-operation with the Parish and Town Councils, to resolve the issues once the scale of the problem is known. 

I would like to encourage you to attend the U.D.C meeting on Tuesday, it is important that we continue to show our elected members of the District Council that this threat of large scale housing in Elsenham is something that matters to the residents. I would like to see the council chambers packed.

Nick Baker

Chairman J.P.C.S.G


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They just won't go away will they
Land between Henham and Elsenham

From wheat field to Wheatfield Avenue, Elsenham?

What it could look like

Fairfield have written to Nick Baker stating their intention to pursue Option 4 and Nick has responded

Click here to see their letter
Click here to see Nick's response

This month's crop being harvested
(pictures courtesy of Jonathan Leech)

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Now the general election is behind us we are waiting for the promises and commitments made by our politicians to come to fruition.  We have seen the Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), Eric Pickles MP, has committed to abolishing the East of England housing plans.  However, we are told that Uttlesford District Council (U.D.C) is continuing with the Local Development Framework (L.D.F) consultation process which is due to finish in July 2010, followed by a report to be made at the September U.D.C Environment Committee.  This is in spite of many local authorities tearing up their plans based on Eric Pickles letter to all local authority chief planners.  The opportunity now being given by central Government is for local planning authorities to reconsider their housing requirement meaning that the Core Strategy needs only to find an additional 660 dwellings in the Uttlesford district and that the allocation for North East Elsenham is unnecessary. It is said that this continued commitment by U.D.C to its current L.D.F proposed solution (of Option 4, with 3000 homes at Elsenham and Henham) is due to their concern of legal action against them if they don’t continue.  Clearly, the instruction from Eric Pickles has fallen on deaf ears there!


We have been aware for almost a year that the Fairfield Partnership has been trying to sell their land bank which includes the land under option between Elsenham and Henham.  We are advised that negotiations are at an advanced stage for this land to be sold in its current form to private equity firm MGPA or Investor Revcap.  This is not good news for the Save Our Village campaign.  It means that at any time in the future, probably sooner than later, planning applications will be made to UDC to initiate development so that the buyers get a return on their investment.  This is now probably the biggest threat to our campaign as we will be dependant on U.D.C supporting a policy of developing housing to meet the needs of the Uttlesford community and not what developers want to do purely for profit at our expense.

 However, there is a considerable amount of land throughout the district which is under option by developers.  It is important that we keep U.D.C focussed on ensuring essential development in our communities is rational, proportionate and fair.

 The next important stage of the process is to ensure that U.D.C have listened to the government, the DCLG, our campaign and finally ditch their plans for L.D.F Options 3 and 4.  It will be much appreciated if as many people as possible attend the next U.D.C Environment Committee on:



 We regret to say that we must now consider the Save Our Village campaign as a long term project.  This is due to the very serious threat from long term investors whose only interest is in getting a financial return by pushing for the fields between Elsenham and Henham to be covered in concrete.



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Letter from the Rt. Hon. Eric Pickles MP - Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government regarding abolition of Regional Strategies.
Click here to view.

Come on Uttlesford.  Now see sense and drop the seriously flawed Option 4, The Coalition Government don't want it, the local residents don't want it; the only people who do are the Developers.

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Where we stand following the election

Dear All

The J.P.C.S.G view is quite simple. The Conservatives told us that if they got into power they would get rid of the East of England top down housing figures and ask U.D.C to plan their own housing requirements bottom up. Sir Alan Haselhurst  repeated that promise in his election manifesto.

The Housing Minister Grant Shapps gave the public meetings at Elsenham and Henham the same message. We fully expect the coalition Government to honour these promises. The Liberal Democrats had a very similar policy, save some disagreement over social housing numbers. This must mean the end of Option 4 and back to a more sensible policy as outlined in the S.H.L.A.A. where U.D.C sets it's housing numbers in accordance with local needs.

There is a general agreement across the Parish Councils that we are all in need of building a sensible number of affordable homes to support local needs and support the existing infrastructures.

We now look to both the U.D.C Conservatives and the Government to honour their promises and design a sensible housing programme for U.D.C, which is supported by the people. Let this be an end to developer led, extremely large, daft, unwanted developments such as the Elsenham Option 4.

Nick Baker Chairman


Henham Fun Day in Aid of SOV Funds
Sunday 9th May 2010 at Woodend Green
The Red Barrows Bring it back to Blighty
'The Red Barrows' Terrestrial Display Team 'Bring it back to Blighty' World Cup song
(View Video)
Bouncy Castle Classic Cars
(View Video )
Many different stalls Henham Juniors win the Rally Rounders Martin Nicholson Shield for the third year running.
The trophy was presented by Mrs. Sylvia Nicholson
Yet again a really splendid Henham day on Woodend Green in aid of the Save Our Village Fund.  The weather was relatively kind to us and we were privileged to be entertained by the Footlights Dance Group, Mr. Happy, music by 'Double Vacant' and The Red Barrows display team from Essex who performed in aid of a cancer charity.  There were may stalls, an OSCA raffle and a splendid collection of very special motor vehicles.

Our thanks go to Gerry and Sheena Bigland, Karen George-Lafferty, Julie Churchouse, Clare Robertson who collectively style themselves as the 'Non Committee' for their excellent organisation together with compare Ed Byrne and all the others who helped in so many ways including the umpires of the Rally Rounders.

This year the total sum to be donated to the Save our Village fund was an excellent £634 and not £1040 as I previously reported. (I misunderstood the email I received - apologies)

Gerry Bigland and Ed Byrne
Gerry and Ed

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Fund Raising

I am very pleased to announce that the Spring Food Night raised £450 and that so far this year, the coffee mornings have raised £491.  A really splendid effort by all.

Tickets can now be obtained for the summer evening meal on Friday 2nd July from Jennifer on 814 434.

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Chairman's Report

21st April

Well the campaign is over for now and I want to thank all of you who submitted your questionnaires and our canvassers for their excellent work in helping villagers respond to the consultation.  U.D.C will realise, whether they want to hear it or not, that there is huge opposition across the District to this stupid, idiotic plan to place 3000 + houses at Elsenham.

I am much encouraged with the opposition to the proposed development from both  East Herts District Council and Bishops Stortford Town Council, who represent a market town only five miles from Elsenham and already swamped by development. We were also pleased to see the submission from Takeley Parish Council, an area which has also seen much disorganised development, which supports a development at Great Chesterfield rather than Elsenham. 

Well, we now await the results of the consultation and the impact on the situation from the General Election. I remain positive that good common sense will prevail, and much like the demise of the 2nd runway, we shall also see democracy in action and a just result. If not than I pledge that the J.P.C.S.G will fight this crazy development every inch of the way and with your support we shall win.

Nick Baker

Chairman JPCSG



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2010 Consultation

On Behalf of the Joint Parish Council Steering Group, may I thank the hundreds who responded to the latest Uttlesford District Council Consultation.  We can only hope that the message finally gets through to those advocating the preferred option just how much the people of Elsenham, Henham and surrounding villages and indeed further afield abhor the idea of this ill-conceived proposition. 

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Public Meetings at Elsenham and Henham and The Information Pack Collation

Two very good meetings took place  on Thursday 11th and Friday 12th March at Elsenham and Henham respectively.  In the region of a 100 people attended each. On the evening of Monday 15th , nearly 40 residents from both villages turned up at OSCA to put the information packs together and managed the job in under an hour.  Brilliant! Well done everybody.

For residents of Elsenham, Henham, Ugley and Widdington your letters should be with you in the next few days.

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2010 U.D.C Consultation

Please Visit the Consultation Page and Send in your Responses
Click Here


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What the Papers Say

Click here to view very good letters to the Herts and Essex Observer from Henham and Elsenham Councillors David Morson and Catherine Dean

Herts and Essex - click here to view

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Tuesday, 2 March - South Community Forum, Helena Romanes School, Great Dunmow
Click here to view a short recording of part of the above meeting - courtesy of Herts and Essex Observer.

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Nick Baker Speaks to Essex Radio
On Friday 19th February, shortly before 7.15am Nick was interviewed on Essex Radio concerning Option 4. For the next few days you can listen to what he said by clicking on the link below, starting the broadcast and using the slider, take it forward to about 1.13.20

Click here

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Uttlesford District Council Housing Consultation

Dear Resident

By now you will have received your Consultation Papers through your letterbox. They are addressed to the ‘Occupier’ so I hope you haven't thrown them away as junk mail!  The J.P.C.S.G is asking you at present to delay responding to the consultation which ends on 9th April. The reason for this is that we are busy meeting  with both planning and legal experts to give us best advice on how to respond to this. The documents issued for the consultation available on the U.D.C web site are detailed, and many of the assumptions need challenging by people who can understand the detail. We are doing this and by the middle of March we shall issue specific advice on how to respond.  

Public meetings are planned at Elsenham (11th) and Henham (12th) Village Halls on in March at 1930 hours, where we will have the opportunity to discuss the consultation in more detail.

Thank you for your patience

Nick Baker

Chairman J.P.C.S.G

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The Burns Night Supper, Friday 29 January 2010 at Elsenham Memorial Hall
Raised a grand total of £530.
A great effort by all concerned


Forthcoming Events - Click Here

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Uttlesford District Council Housing Consultation

The next consultation sponsored by Uttlesford district council takes place between

Monday 15th  February and Friday 9th April 2010

 U.D.C will be posting a brochure to each household in early February.

Please read it carefully, but we ask you not respond until you have received more information from the the experts employed by the the Joint Parish Council Steering Group.  We have yet to see the brochure, but our experts are currently analyzing the various studies, some of which have only become available recently.          

We will be organising Public Meetings in Henham and Elsenham as soon as we have all the information and updating you on this site.

Thank you for your continued support

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Uttlesford District Council Consultation - Info From Our Councillor, David Morson
Please see Latest District Council News from Cllr. David Morson regarding the next Consultation on the proposed housing plans of U.D.C.  due to start on 15th February.  As with previous consultations, The Joint Parish Council Steering Group ask residents to hold back on responding until we have taken advice from our consultants.  We will update you as soon as possible.

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Hard to believe, but we have just celebrated SOV's third Christmas.  Please be ready for a big effort in the new year for the next dreaded 'consultation.'

Happy New Year to you all and may 2010 be a good for our campaign

OSCA at Henham

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Draft Comparative Transport Assessment by Essex C.C.

Now available - click here to view 

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Another Consultation on the Way
(Environment Committee Meeting)

Agenda  - Item 2 - Core Strategy Consultation - Item 2(b) Option 4 - a suggested distribution of housing

On Tuesday 24th November 2009 the Environment Committee of U.D.C. met in the Council Chambers at London Road to consider the following recommendation.

1. That further consultation be carried out and the Preferred Options be reviewed in the light of the responses in mid 2010 before proceeding to submission.

2. That the consultation be on the basis

I.   that the Core Strategy assumes the Stansted Airport G1 development will be implemented

II.  that Option 4 comprise 3000 homes to the north east of Elsenham; 750 homes at Great Dunmow; 30 at Great Chesterford; 50 at Newport; 20 at Stansted Mountfitchet; 30 at Takeley; 30 at Thaxted and 90 distributed across other villages.

III. that the Preferred Options for Core Strategy Policies address the issues and include the proposed changes identified in the table in paragraph 20 of the report

3. That officers review the findings of the ongoing technical studies and bring a further report to the committee before consultation is launched should the findings indicate an adjustment to the preferred option may be required.

Whilst I and others did not fully understand the semantics of the ensuing discussion, on the suggestion of the Committee Vice Chairman, Councillor Howell from Saffron Walden (Audley), the recommendation was changed to a reduction to 500 houses at Great Dunmow and adding 250 houses at Saffron Walden. Whilst introducing his proposal for the change this Councillor stated he was in favour of the single settlement in Elsenham, it being 'the least unpalatable proposal'.  This beggars belief in view of the recently published technical reports. He also linked the need for these houses to the expansion of Stansted Airport.  Previously, the concept of an 'Airport Town' has been denied by U.D.C. and whilst this may be a personal view of the Councillor, I find it very worrying.

A number of speakers, including a representative from the campaign against the Boxted Wood development spoke eloquently and sensibly of the dangers of a single settlement anywhere. A recurring theme was that distribution of housing throughout the District was far more popular, sensible and sustainable.

The recommendation was passed (with the changes) and the Councillors who had spoken against the single settlement for some reason abstained rather that voting against.  I and others could not understand why.

We are now left with another consultation sometime in the new year of either 6 or 8 weeks with little or no detail on how/when it will be progressed, its range or how the views will submitted and collated.

We will keep you informed.

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Chairman's Update

The Water study is damning on development on the proposed site at Elsenham particularly in relation to ‘Wastewater’. Considerable major capacity upgrades would have to be made and the availability of land to support these upgrades may be an issue, as will achieving the necessary discharge consent standards. In addition, the sewers that approach the ‘Wastewater’ treatment site would be restricted from being upsized by the narrow streets and existing utilities, requiring the construction of new bypass sewers around the urban areas. The report identifies other potential building sites in Uttlesford that don't have these problems

We have not seen the Transport Study yet, but believe it follows the previous suggestion of all the traffic coming from the new development going down Hall Road to Takeley. We have always said this is daft as traffic going North will not want to head South first.  

So where does that leave us?  We await an opportunity to listen to U.D.C debating these reports in public. We will seek our own expert advice on the contents of the reports to challenge any maverick decisions. Meanwhile U.D.C go through a lengthy consultation process on where to put the 1200 houses required by the L.D.F. on top of the 3000 houses planned for  Elsenham. They have selected 6 options for the placement of these 1200 houses.

It was two years ago that U.D.C put us through the pain of a consultation over Christmas and the New Year. Vital, they said, that it had to be completed over that period!  We can expect further consultations in the New Year and we will have to be ready to respond. I thank the Villagers for continuing to hold events to fund raise for save our Villages, and I thank the hard working J.P.C.S.G committee for their continued efforts.

Everything we have been saying about the stupidity of a large development in Elsenham is now showing itself to be true. Only political dogma keeps the scheme going.

Nick Baker


J.P.C.S.G - 23rd November

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Uttlesford District Council have published a draft report on land availability  in the district which they introduce as follows-

  1. This is the first Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) for Uttlesford District Council.  It is a study of potential housing on sites within the district over the period up to 2026.

  2. The SHLAA has been prepared in accordance with national Planning Policy Statement PPS3 “Housing”, a practice guidance published by the Government in July 2007, and more detailed guidance prepared by Uttlesford District Council.  This process has involved key stakeholder participation and a SHLAA Panel.  The SHLAA replaces the Uttlesford Urban Capacity Study 2005.

They ask for comments on the Draft Report be sent to Sarah Nicholas at or by post to the council offices, London Road, Saffron Walden CB11 4ER by September 18, 2009.  Both Henham and Elsenham PCs will be sending their observations.

To view the report and the appendices click here and then go half way down the page to Housing / Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment, which lists the report and its eight appendixes. Appendix 7 and 8 are the two documents of particular interest.  Appendix 7 is the table giving general details of potential sites in all villages and Appendix 8 opens the web page to the individual villages' Site Appraisal Sheets and Maps.

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Eco-towns Decision Statement
Click here to view the reasons for selection and particularly the DCLG opinions on Elsenham.  We are not out of the woods yet by any means. We will hold a Joint Parish Council Steering Group Meeting as soon as possible to discuss the way forward. - BB

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We are not on the Short List

Hi All

 Perhaps by now you will have seen the good news that NE Elsenham has not been selected as one of the first four Eco Towns to be given the go ahead. John Healy the DCLG Minister has selected  4 sites to be commenced fairly soon but  talks of a second wave of Eco Towns to be underway by 2020. We believe that we were selected as a special case because of the sensible logical arguments we made in the consultations. So for the moment the threat of an Eco Town has gone away, however it may return so we will keep alert to the situation and continue to articulate our case against.

The major threat to us now is Option 4 in the U.D.C plans. We must continue to fight this option and indeed any option which involves a large mass of housing at NE Elsenham. We have seen the latest plans from U.D.C which still supports Option 4. How can it be that the DCLG finds good reasons not to go ahead with an Eco Town on this site, yet U.D.C still supports the building of 3000 houses?

So reason to raise a glass today, but put away the rest of the bottle for the real celebration when we persuade U.D.C of the total madness of siting a mass of housing at NE Elsenham.

 Nick Baker


16th July 08

Read the D.C.L.G statement - Click here

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Eco Petitions to 10 Downing Street
Remember the on-line petitions many of us sent last year to 10 Downing Street regarding objections to the siting of eco towns at Elsenham and Hanley Grange, these have now closed and replies have been sent out as follows.


Eco-towns present a unique opportunity to provide more affordable housing where it is needed, while pioneering new green ways of living that will act as a showcase for new development everywhere.

On 4 November 2008 the Department for Communities and Local Government published for consultation a Draft Eco-Towns Planning Policy Statement (PPS), Sustainability Appraisal (SA) and Impact Assessment.  In the accompanying press notice, the Housing Minister outlined the shortlist of locations with the potential to be an eco-town and this included North East Elsenham.  Our consultation on the draft Planning Policy Statement (PPS) and accompanying documentation closed on 30th April 2009.

We are now considering all representations before finalising the Eco-towns Planning Policy Statement later this year.  This will include the list of locations with potential to be an eco-town.  Along with these documents we will also publish a Government response to the consultation together with a summary report of responses received.  Following this individual schemes in the shortlisted locations will then need to submit planning applications, which will be for local authorities to determine through the planning process.

Hanley Grange

Since you submitted your petition on 17 April 2008 Hanley Grange has withdrawn from the eco-towns process, with the promoters deciding that they needed more time to develop their proposal.

While assessment of the location is included in the Sustainability Appraisal for Hanley Grange and Cambridgeshire published on 4th November 2008 the Government would not consider taking forward a scheme for this location before the next review of the East of England Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS).  The promoters would expect it to be considered as part of the planned review of the RSS.

Eco-towns present a unique opportunity to provide more affordable housing where it is needed, while pioneering new green ways of living that will act as a showcase for new development everywhere.  We hope that you were able to submit comments to the consultation on the draft Eco-towns Planning Policy Statement which ended on 30 April 2009. Further details can be found at

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Lord Hanningfield, Leader of Essex County Council, visits Henham
Lord Hanningfield On Wednesday 27th May, Lord Hanningfield, accompanied by our Essex County Councillor Ray Gooding came to Henham primarily to talk about the progress of the re-opened Post Office.
J.P.C.S.G Chairman Cllr Nick Baker, together with Cllr. Simon Lee were also present and the visit gave Nick the opportunity to question Lord Hanningfield about the Essex C.C. views on the proposed eco-town and on large scale housing developments. (See below)
When asked about the plan to build an eco-town between Henham and Elsenham he stated that Essex County Council was totally opposed to it and any other large developments which were not supported by appropriate infrastructure.  Clearly the N.E. Elsenham options did not come into that category. He did however recognise the need for appropriate developments, especially social housing but not on the scale that Uttlesford District Council proposed.  He looked forward to the time when the East of England Assembly and its Regional Plan would no longer exist and to the re-introduction of the County Council Structure Plan.


Chairman's Update

Hi All,

You may by now have thought that we've all gone away and the Save Our Village Campaign is over.  Far from it.  We are at the end of the DCLG consultation and are awaiting the results which are expected at the end of July. Having said that we have had so much slippage on dates, don't hold your breath.  We know we had a magnificent response to the consultation and if the DCLG take any notice of public consultations they can come to no other conclusion than scrap this scheme immediately.

We have had some support from the consultation response from SHELTER who have come out against an Eco Town in our location. They have selected 5 other sites which is helpful. Essex County Council have also come out strongly against the Eco Town in their response. Uttlesford DC have responded, but with their unresolved position on Option 4, they were regrettably unable to come out strongly against the Eco Town, very disappointing.

Ray Gooding our County Councillor, brought Lord Hanningfield, Leader of E.C.C. to Henham Post Office today 27th May and he was able to repeat his unequivocal opposition to both the Eco Town and the large settlement Options 4.  A change of Government, he said, would mean the end of both proposals.

So your committee continues to meet and plan for every possibility, and we will continue the fight until we are rid of these ridiculous building plans.

May I thank the Henham Fete Committee for a donation of £725 from the Village Fete, this together with other fund raising from the Elsenham Quiz, and other events in both Villages means we are funded to continue our fight.

Nick Baker



Henham Fun Day raises over £775 for the Save Our Village campaign

Click here to view

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U.D.C. Full Council Meeting - Continued.
(see also below)

With reference to the comment below regarding the full council meeting held on Tuesday 21st April, Henham Councillor Simon Lee sent the following letter to the Herts and Essex Observer and it appeared in the Dunmow and Stansted addition.  He pulls no punches in very ably summing  up the views of the residents of Henham and Elsenham who attended the meeting.

Click here to read

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Letter received.

From Mr. Henry Cleary, Deputy Director of the Housing and Growth Programmes Team at the Department of Communities and Local Government   He acknowledges all our letters and sets out criteria for selecting eco-towns, although he does not give information when the choices will be made other than later this year.

Click here to view

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Tuesday 21st at April Uttlesford District Council - Full Council Meeting
Tuesday 21st April 7.30pm at Council Chambers


Since our campaign started, in common with many other residents of Henham and Elsenham I have attended many council meetings and most of them have left us disappointed at the outcomes.  We have learnt to live with that, but along the road have become, to say the least, cynical.  Equally, as editor of this web site I have refrained from personal attacks on individuals whose attitudes and motivation I have found very hard to understand.

At the conclusion of voting on Item 8ii on the agenda i.e. "The Environment Committee resolved on 17 March 2009 to require a robust report to be submitted to this meeting rebutting the Elsenham eco-town proposal in response to the Government’s consultation on the Eco-towns Planning Policy Statement,"  I was perhaps the first out of the Council Chamber and watched the many residents file out in almost total silence.  Cynical and disillusioned as we had become, I sensed a new feeling towards what we had witnessed, which I can only describe as something bordering on contempt for local government politics.

Many of you have responded to the DCLG Consultation of their Draft Planning Policy statement prior to the previous deadline in March and it was only because of an extended deadline to 30th April that U.D.C. were pressured into a response of their own.  An accompanying briefing paper suggested four response options for the council to consider. Response Option Three was the only one that could be construed as a robust rejection of placing a Eco-town at North East Elsenham.

Prior to the meeting, Henham Parish Councillor Simon Lee urged the council to adopt Response Option Three as the only option that sent a unambiguous message to the DCLG.  When the debate started District Councillors Catherine Dean, David Morson and others repeated the message, but a motion by Catherine Dean to strengthen the response was rejected by the council.  Despite reminders to the Council that paragraph 6(9) of the Draft PPS referred specifically to Elsenham and that Saffron Walden Conservatives had issued a communiqué earlier in the week quoting senior Conservatives' opposition to eco-towns and the Local Development Framework, (LDF), Councillor Barker proposed that the Council adopt Option Response One (with a brief amended mention of NE Elsenham) be adopted.  Seconded by Councillor Cheetham, the Conservative members present voted unanimously in favour and this much weakened response was carried. 

Where does that leave us and what will the DCLG make of Uttlesford's response? -  only time will tell when they publish their short list.  Remember, the NE Elsenham nomination as an eco-town came directly out of Option 4 of the Core Strategy which still underpins that nomination.  I will leave you to mull that over - BB

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Minutes of the last UDC Environment Committee meeting (see below) now available for viewing - Click here

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The BARD Campaign today (18th March) lodged an application with the Court of Appeal, seeking permission to appeal the ruling by Mr Justice Walker dated 27 January 2009 that the Government’s consultation on its April 2008 shortlist document: “Eco-towns Living a Greener Future” was lawful.

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Environment Meeting - Tuesday 17th March 2009

Hi All,


Firstly thank you if you managed to attend last night's U.D.C Environment Committee meeting. The purpose of this meeting was to approve the U.D.C response to the DCLG consultation. The J.P.C.S.G were very keen to ensure that U.D.C responded very strongly against the eco-town at Elsenham. The draft response prepared by the Planning Officers for approval was anything but strong, and having read it several times I was not sure whether U.D.C were for, or against, the eco town!


Petrina Lees from J.P.C.S.G kick started the meeting by asking the Committee how they intended to respond given that last year they had past a motion vigorously condemning the eco-town and agreeing to campaign against it. We then moved on to the debate on the response and Catherine Dean proposed a motion that reiterated the very strong U.D.C opposition to the eco-town and called for more work on the paper that would then  be debated by  the  full Council on 21st April.


I'm afraid that at this point the meeting descended into farce with political mudslinging between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems. The leader of the Council Jim Ketteridge, read a long prepared statement which outlined the past history of the housing situation blaming much of the current position on the Lib Dems. This was all very unhelpful given that the agenda item was to discuss the Councils response to the DCLG consultation. In the end Cllr. Dean's proposal was passed and we hope to see a much stronger response put forward to full Council on the 21st.


Please make a note in your diaries for this date.


I must say the evening was not without a little humour. When Cllr Barker called for a vote on Cllr Dean's motion many of the Conservatives were not sure which way to vote, and looked like rabbits caught in the headlights.


I am pleased that yet again we turned out in numbers and I think influenced another look at the consultation response.


Nick Baker Chairman of J.P.C.S.G

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Environment Meeting - Tuesday 17th March - 7.30pm at the Council Chambers, London Road, Saffron Walden

Minutes Now available - Click here

Once again the people of Elsenham and Henham turned out in a good numbers to hear the U.D.C. Environment Committee discuss the proposed Eco-town at North-east Elsenham.  On behalf of the Joint Parishes Council Steering Group I thank you for your continuing support - BB

Item 7 on the meeting agenda was:-

Response to the Government’s consultation on its draft Eco-Towns Planning Policy Statement

Item for decision:-

Further to the Committee’s resolution of 18 November 2008, this report will recommend further points for incorporation in the Council’s response, including those arising on the additional Viability Assessment material published on 5 March.  (para 3.8 deals specifically to Elsenham) A Briefing Note to members of the committee from Melanie Jones, the Chief Planning Officer for U.D.C can be viewed by clicking here.

Please see above for a review of the meeting by Nick Baker, Chairman of the J.P.C.S.G

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Click Here to go to the SOV DCLG Consultation Page Anthem for Green England

Communities Against Ford Eco-ton (CAFE)

Click here to visit the site for a download



Dear all

Well, we are nearly at the end of another consultation and I have to thank all those who helped organise the response, and of course those who replied. We feel that our consultants reports drew out the main issues very well, and our responses will reflect not only our strong feelings against this development, but also articulate the reasons why we object in a very clear manner.

I say at the end of another consultation because at the last minute the Government decided to extent the deadline for replies until the 30th April. This cavalier approach to dates is extremely unhelpful, and doesn't take into account the enormous amount of work that goes into responding to a consultation like this. To tell us one week before the end of the consultation that we have another two months to reply is frankly disgraceful. We want an end to this ridiculous eco-town proposition and to continually move dates backwards bears no thought for people who are blighted whilst this process creaks onwards.

On a brighter note, Essex County Council has lodged a strong ‘no’ to the eco-town at Elsenham. I heard today (4th) that Bishops Stortford Town Council have also lodged strong objections. We have not heard the Uttlesford response, but we are pressing them to make their eco-town objections known to Government and to publish their paper so we can all see what they say.

So, what's next?  Well, the Government, at the end of this consultation, will publish a short list of possible eco-town sites which will go forward to the next stage which will bring them into the planning processes. I hope that our strong objections, together with any independent Government appraisal of Fairfield’s plans, will mean that we are not on this short list.

Nick Baker - Chairman J.P.C.S.G


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Extension to Deadline for DCLG Consultation

Dear all

Please see blow a copy of the email from the DCLG regarding their decision to extend the deadline for submissions to their consultation until 30th April 2009.

On behalf of the Joint Parishes Steering Group I would like to extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all who have submitted responses thus far.  Don Sturgeon will be making a special trip to the DCLG offices this week with sizable and ever growing bundle of your letters.  A special thanks must also go to our canvassers who have been working tirelessly over the past two weeks to deliver the packs to the villagers of Elsenham and Henham and to collect your responses.  A great effort by all. 

May I also say a further special thanks to our neighbouring village of Widdington from whom we had over seventy submissions of support.

For those of you who have not yet managed to respond you have now have more time to do so. 

I am sorry for those who, whilst in the process of filling in the DCLG on-line form, found that their system crashed on them, sometimes at the very point of submitting the form.  Very frustrating.


Bill Bates

Copy of email from DCLG

Thank you for your submission to the first stage of eco-towns consultation.

Following the release of the full written judgment of recent legal proceedings, the consultation on the draft Planning Policy Statement (PPS) and Sustainability Appraisal on eco-towns has now been extended to Thursday 30 April.

We would be very grateful if you could alert any relevant members of your organisation to this deadline extension and look forward to receiving any submissions by this date.

Copies of the relevant documents are available from:

Paper copies can be ordered by calling: 0300 123 1124

The official consultation form can be found at:

 Submissions can be made to:
Eco-towns Team, 2/H9, Eland House, Bressenden Place, Victoria, London SW1E 5DU 

We also plan to publish a financial viability study on prospective eco-town locations (prepared by external advisers for CLG) next week which people may want to draw on when submitting their consultation responses.

You can keep up to date with eco-town news by signing up for the e-newsletter, follow the process here:

Kind regards,

The eco-towns team

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Tuesday 10th February - North Hall Road

In common with other parts of Essex, on Tuesday 10th February, following a thaw and further rain, we awoke to find our roads flooded.  Jonathan Leach ventured out with his camera and took a number of pictures of North Hall Road which most Elsenham and Henham folk use to travel north to Saffron Walden and beyond, e.g. Cambridge. and which the residents from the proposed eco-town would also have to use.

Click here to view some of his pictures

North Hall Road at the Widdington turn off
Additionally, back in July Jonathan wrote an article for this web site about the inevitable problems that would be caused by heavy rain.  Click here to visit it again.  Similar pictures?

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Sue Mott, Nick Baker and Simon Lee Sue Mott, sports Journalist and nine year Henham resident opened the meeting at Henham Village Hall on Wednesday 11th February.  Addressing a very good turnout, Sue spoke passionately about her village and the 'vandalism in the name of progress' that was being imposed on Henham and Elsenham.  She likened our campaign to a marathon that the Government had thrown at us and urged every resident to respond yet again to another consultation.
Following an outline of our current situation by Don Sturgeon, Simon Lee, a fellow Henham Parish Councillor, explained that every household in Henham and Elsenham would be receiving an information pack over the weekend giving details about the latest consultation and how to best respond. 

Please click here to go to the consultation page which gives all the information. It is essential than you make your feelings known.

There will be a further similar meeting at Elsenham on Friday 13th at 8.00pm in the Village Hall.  Please attend and show your continuing support.

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Look East on Eco-towns

See a repeat of BBC Look East report (Monday 10th) on Marston Vale in Bedfordshire and an Eco-town in Sweden built on a brown-field site
Click Here

Eco-towns are also a subject in the Politics Show at 12 noon BBC 1 this coming Sunday

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An Important Week in Our Campaign.
(See consultation page - click here)


You may have see that another eco-town has been 'pulled up' by the developer in the Grand National Eco-Town Stakes, viz. Marston Vale, in Bedfordshire. That was a 20,000 homes development and no doubt very good news for them but perhaps not so good for us. We need to keep the pressure on.

In a letter to Nick Baker dated 6th February, Sir Alan Haselhurst M.P told us that he had what he believed to be a 'useful meeting' with Margaret Beckett concerning the proposed eco-town at Elsenham. He said,

"I placed particular emphasis on the necessary supportive transport infrastructure, but I was also able to draw on your consultants' report.   I also took the opportunity to stress the general unsuitability of a District such as Uttlesford to accommodate the total number of houses which now seem to be in the pipeline under one heading or another. Apart from the extra homes for which planning provision has already been made before the LDF target was increased, I told her that Uttlesford's housing needs would be better catered for by low cost social housing additions such as we have already seen in many of our villages."

The Minister reiterated that she was not committed to any set number of eco-towns and those which are allowed to go forward would have to meet the most exacting standards.

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Middle Quinton Judicial Review

You may have read in the paper that one of the eco town sites lost a judicial review in the High Court on Tuesday.  Be assured that we have been monitoring this situation closely. Although the decision was a disappointment it was about the process of the initial consultations by the Government on eco towns, and not about the locations etc.  If the decision had been the other way it would have meant that the Government would have had to start the consultation all over again leading to major delays in any decisions.  I don't think it has too much impact on our campaign which is all about Elsenham being a wrong development in the wrong place.'

Nick Baker, Chairman J.P.C.S.G

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Item of Considerable Interest
Please see the Blackboard Page for responses to a letter written to Fairfield following their presentations last October

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Progress Report on the Grand National Eco-Town Stakes

It struck me the other day that our campaign can be likened to a steeplechase devised on similar lines to that which might appear in a sequel to Alice in Wonderland, namely, The Grand National Eco-town Stakes. Our horse, called North-East Elsenham, is owned by the Fairfield Partnership.  It was sired by a horse bred by David Lock Associates out of a mare of suspect pedigree called Option 4, (owned by Uttlesford District Council).  This race is of indeterminate length and nobody is quite sure where the finishing line is.  Fences keep being erected as the race goes on and our money is firmly on North-East Elsenham not being placed or hopefully falling well before the end.

Over the last year, particularly in the early stages of the race we saw a Foinavon type of incident (Grand National 1967) when many horses fell at the same fence.  The race continued and three more horses, notably one called Hanley Grange, were pulled up by their jockeys.  There are now 12 runners left.  Currently, the owners of one of the horses, Middle Quinton, has called for a Stewards Enquiry, (known in this race as a Judicial Review), which if successful may result in the race being stopped and either abandoned or started again.  We cannot rely on this however. (latest see above)

We are approaching a crucial stage in the race in March when the race organisers, the Department of Communities and Local Government, sponsored by Gordon Brown and  Associates, will themselves make a judgement on the names of horses to continue.  We are not sure how many they will decide on but bad weather, (economic climate change), has made the going decidedly heavy.

It is therefore very important that we keep up the pressure on the D.C.L.G. to convince them that North East Elsenham is totally unfit to continue.  On 4th November 2008 they issued yet another version of the set of rules regarding fitness of horses for the latter stages of the race called the Draft Planning Policy Statement - Eco-towns Consultation, abbreviated as  'PPS' which you can see by clicking here. This report contains a number of questions about the concept of the The Grand National Eco-town Stakes and about the condition of the remaining horses.  They have given 'the connections' until 6th March 2009 to respond to their questions.  Yes, you've got it, they call it a 'public consultation', a term we have heard before somewhere. 

We, the punters, who have placed a considerable amount on North East Elsenham to lose, have commissioned two reports from independent vets called Hives Planning and Stuart Michael Associates.  These reports categorically say that our horse is unfit to continue and should really not have started in the first place. In a nutshell they say:-


Transport: The road system to serve a 5,000 dwelling, 11,000 population Eco-town is wholly inadequate. Traffic would pass through the already congested small town of Stansted Mountfitchet or along unclassified country lanes.


Employment: The settlement is too small to provide adequate employment facilities for its population. This would result in an unacceptable degree of out-commuting


Education: The provision of a secondary school is widely seen as a key indicator of a new sustainable (eco-town) settlement. The proposed town is not big enough to support such an institution leaving pupils to travel elsewhere.


Services: The settlement is too small to support adequate services such as convenience shopping, leaving residents to travel elsewhere.


Regeneration: This is not a brownfield site as originally envisaged by the eco-towns initiative. It is a greenfield site, the ‘best and most versatile’ agricultural land.


Conflict of interest: there is concern over the fairness and potential conflict of interest in the process where advisers seem to have been consulting for the Government and the North East Elsenham development promoter.

At this stage in the race we are going to ask for your help once more.  With the aid of the vets reports we are going to ask you to give the D.C.L.G your views as before.  Currently we are preparing information packs for each household in Elsenham and Henham which will explain in detail what we are going to ask you to do.  Additionally, as before, we are going to hold public meetings in both villages, probably in the second week in February. (see above).

The J.P.C.S.G is keenly aware that you may be suffering from 'consultation overload' but we see no other way.  The race organisers set the rules but we cannot ignore them and hope they will go away.

We have decided to make the vets reports public and are in the process of giving Uttlesford District Council (the owners of Option 4) a copy to assist them when making their response to the D.C.L.G.  To view them please click on the respective names, i.e. Hives Planning and Stuart Michael Associates

Please remember these reports are subject to copyright.

What a silly race this is!


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The  Uttlesford District Council Environment Committee Meeting

 Held at 7.30pm on Tuesday 20th January 2009 at the Council Chambers.

Prior to the meeting, Nick Baker the Chairman of the J.P.C.S.G was given leave to address the Councillors.  A full transcript can be seen by clicking here

He explained that whilst the relationship between the J.P.C.S.G and the Environment Committee had never been close, we were willing to share the contents of the two independent reports commissioned by the campaign against the proposed Eco-town. 

He stated that the reports confirmed that the governments proposal for an Eco-town in north east Elsenham was fundamentally flawed.  He urged the Committee to consider the reports when replying to the current D.C.L.G consultation which ends on 6th March.

The meeting commenced and Item 7 on the Agenda was:-Local Development Scheme - Item for decision, viz-

"This report recommends a revised programme for the preparation of the Local Development Framework, and that the Committee recommends the Scheme to the Full Council".
(It has some 21 pages and can be viewed by
clicking here.) 

Roger Harborough outlined new timetables for the LDS (Local Development Scheme). The presentation was confusing and few members of the public, if any, left the meeting with a clear comprehension of exactly what was happening.

It seems that the Stansted Airport G2 enquiry has some bearing on the timetable as the housing and road infrastructure requires an understanding of whether we are to get a second runway. Additionally, the various technical studies are still awaited and these will determine whether development plans are sound.

So where does that leave us. It seems that in September 2009 there will be further public consultation on options for Stansted Airport and housing distribution. In April 2010 the Core Strategy will be published. From November 2010 there will be public examination of the Core Strategy leading to Adoption in October 2011. Meanwhile, running alongside the Core Strategy are the Development Control Policies which involve public participation on preferred options for specific development sites. This starts in 2011 and finalises in 2013.
It appears that we have considerable slippage in the timetable. The Stansted enquiry may not start until September 2009 and is likely to last 20 months. This could disrupt the timetable further. Meanwhile other housing plans are emerging including a 20,000 'New Town' in the Little Canfield area. What this all means is we have a long campaign which will constantly change as new plans are submitted.

In response to a question from Councillor David Morson, Mr Harborough reported that a final decision on whether Option 4 would go ahead or be abandoned would be taken in May 2010 following new reports on site location, drainage and transport. Cllr. Morson asked for clarification on what would be the criteria for coming to this decision, given that a Preferred Option had already been identified in September 2007. Was it going to be the case that the results of the new, subsequent surveys would either vindicate or remove this choice which has already been made?  Mr.Harborough's response was that this would partly be the case. When Cllr Morson further asked what then would be the other components of the decision, Mr. Harborough replied the ‘consultations which have already been done’.


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The Independent  of 12th Jan says -

"Fierce opposition forces Brown to shorten eco-towns shortlist"

click here to view

Sunday Telegraph of 3rd January says -

Government eco-town proposals receive fresh blow

"The Government's flagship eco-town strategy has suffered another damaging blow after an independent report said one of the proposed towns was "unworkable".

Click here to view

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The South Uttlesford Community Forum met on Thursday 8 January 2009,7.30 pm. at Mountfitchet Mathematics and Computing College, Forest Hall Road, Stansted Mountfitchet.   Cllr David Morson has written a brief report concerning the LDF, Elsenham Pharmacy and this year's Community Charge

Click here to view

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Elsenham/Henham Boxing Day Walk
(Apologies - I got these pictures some days ago and forgot to put them on - BB)

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Henham Dads Christmas Disco in aid of the Save Our Village Fund.

I am pleased to announce that the Disco at the Village Hall on 20th December raised a princely £500 to boost the funds of the Save Our Village campaign.  Steve Inkley said, "The highlight of the evening was a Disco dancing competition between six Henham Dads that was comfortably won by Scott Robertson. Give the man a white suit and he will be available for the remake of Saturday night Fever."

Nick Baker, chairman of the Joint Parish Council Steering Group said, "On behalf of the J.P.C.S.G our thanks go to the organisers and all who attended.  It is a magnificent sum that will be well used in our campaign."

Click here to read more

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The following email has a been received on Tuesday 24th December from regarding the Eco-town Programme -


Thank you for your submission to the first stage of eco-towns consultation.

You may or may not be aware that a judicial review has been granted to opponents of the Middle Quinton scheme near Stratford and that the Court has now listed this for hearing on 22 and 23 January 2009. In line with commitments which she has made to the claimants and to other interested parties in the case, the Secretary of State has decided to extend the deadline for responses on the draft Planning Policy Statement and the accompanying Sustainability Appraisal on Eco-Towns from 19th February 2009 to 6th March 2009. This effectively allows an additional two weeks for people to respond to the current round of consultation.
We would be very grateful if you could alert any relevant members of your organisation to this deadline extension and look forward to receiving any submissions by this date.

Copies of the relevant documents are available from:

The official consultation form can be found at:

Submissions can be made to:
Eco-towns Team 2/H9 Eland House Bressenden Place Victoria London SW1E 5DU

Kind regards and best wishes for the Christmas period,

The eco-towns team


Christmas Message from Nick Baker - Chairman of the Joint Parish Council Steering Group.

Click here to read

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Letter from the Rt. Hon Margaret Becket, Minister for Housing and Planning
Back on 1st September 2008 Lembit Opik MP, the then Lib Dem Shadow Housing Minister came to a meeting of the Joint Parish Council Steering Group and promised to right on our behalf to the then Housing Minister Caroline Flint regarding the notion of disbursing housing needs through Uttlesford, (named Option 5). This he did but, in the meantime, Ms. Flint was superseded by the Rt. Hon, Margaret Becket MP, who has subsequently replied in her capacity as Housing Minister. Mr. Opik has forwarded a copy of the letter to Cllr. Catherine Dean and it contains some significant statements, particularly in the third paragraph.  To view a copy of the letter in picture form, please click here. (You may have to enlarge it to read it properly)

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Interesting Article on Eco-towns from the trade magazine Property Week
click here to view

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U.D.C. Environment Committee - Tuesday 18th November 2008  - Complaints
(see below)

Since this meeting, many complaints have been received about the manner in which it was conducted.  A selection of these have been placed on The Blackboard on this site.  These and more have been sent to Mr. John Mitchell, the C.E.O. of the U.D.C. Mr. Mitchell has responded with an investigation and adjudication on the matter.  This can be viewed by clicking here.  For those who attended the meeting, I leave you to draw your own conclusions and will no doubt be hearing from you. - BB

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From Nick Baker - Chairman of the Joint Parishes Steering Group

Dear All

As I said in my last message things are really moving on a pace at present. On the positive side Sir Alan Hazlehurst and the Shadow Housing Minister have stated their position to the developers, that should a Conservative Government be elected they would withdraw all support for an eco-town at NE Elsenham. In addition Eric Pickles another Shadow Minister has stated that he would disband the East of England planning authority and return the decisions on local development to local democracy.

On the negative side we were all disappointed at the Environment Committee meeting held at Uttlesford on the 18th Nov. About 100 supporters attended and most, like me, left the meeting in total confusion. Were Uttlesford now in favour of an eco-town at NE Elsenham? It now seems not, but it was very confusing on the night. It seems an easy task to Chair a public meeting in a courteous, efficient, and effective manner, but this seems beyond this particular committee. I sometimes think that U.D.C. Councillors forget that many supporters of S.O.V. campaign have held high office in public and private life, and find some of these meetings astonishing in their lack of direction and appalling meandering debates. I sat next to a very successful business man who said to me, 'If you ran a company like this you'd be bankrupt in days'. Some residents have written to Uttlesford expressing their disappointment and copies of these letters can be found on this website. J.P.C.S.G members have had useful meetings with the D.C.L.G representatives and feel that our concerns are in part shared by Government. We will continue to analyse and articulate these concerns using independent experts.

Well at the meeting of the J.P.C.S.G last night we were faced with how to react to the second consultation on the eco-town by the D.C.L.G. This finishes on the 19th February 2009. Again we will ask you to put pen to paper, but not until the New Year. We have commissioned a number of technical reports from experts in their fields. These reports will not be available until around Christmas, so we will be canvassing you in January with the findings of these reports. We will provide a shortened version where you can select the issues that concern you the most. You will remember that last year the Environment Committee forced us into a Christmas and New Year consultation period, at least this year we will do it after the festive season.

I wish all our supporters a very happy Christmas and New Year. I think we are winning the debate over this ridiculous development proposition and we are winning with sensible, well thought through arguments. This next stage will reinforce these arguments and hopefully we will win the day. It must be true that the rejection of an eco-town by the D.C.L.G would knock on to the 'Option 4' proposals. Infrastructure arguments will be the same for 3000 houses as 5000.

Nick Baker

How did we get in this mess?

Please take time to read the Communities and Local Government Department's Eco-towns Sustainability Appraisal for North East Elsenham, a document prepared by Scott Wilson Ltd.  It is a long-winded title, but the report is relatively easy to digest and in my opinion worth printing off if you can, (45 pages).   Download it by clicking here. Draw your own conclusions on the responsibility that must be shouldered by the U.D.C. in relation to their preferred option 4.

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Uttlesford District Council Environment Committee Meeting
Tuesday 18th November at 7.30pm. (

(Read what the Herts and Essex Observer said click here for page one and here for page two) -

Villagers from Elsenham and Henham were once again out in force to attend yet another meeting of the Environment Committee.  On behalf of the Joint Parish Council Steering Group may I thank all who attended only to come away again with mixed feelings of anger, confusion, disbelief, puzzlement, sadness and above all frustration.  As we left the Council Chamber one resident said, "and how are you going to sum that lot up for the web site." How indeed, well here goes!

Cllr. David Morson, District started the proceedings with a question once again relating to how the preferred option 4, on which the subsequent Eco-town proposal was based could have been introduced last year without prior technical studies.  Once again Cllr. Barker failed to give a convincing reason stating that a preferred option had to be put forward and that it was a 'chicken and egg' situation and Roger Harborough stating that the Consultation had raised many issues which necessitated further studies.

Two local speakers then addressed the meeting.

The first was Mrs. Gail Phillips who introduced herself as a school teacher from Old Mead Lane and area surrounded by beautiful countryside.  She spoke scathingly on the way that Fairfield had conducted their presentations.  She criticized the lack of detail, especially in relation to where the proposed houses would be placed, (shown as green on the map), the lack of opportunity to study the various display panels.  Click here to view her speech. At the conclusion Cllr. Barker stated she also had not been impressed by Fairfield's efforts.

Mrs. Sheena Bigland from Henham then gave a passionate speech in defence of our countryside and I will not attempt to précis it. Please click here for the full text which I urge you to read.

Items 7 and 8 on the agenda were of importance to our campaign.


Item 7  - Eco-Towns Consultation. Click here to see the council papers. This report recommends how the Council should respond to the next stage of the Government Consultation on Eco -Towns. The Council claims it has achieved a victory by removing the enforcement of Eco Towns centrally by incorporating them into the Local Development Framework Core Strategy. However, as pointed out by Cllrs. Morson and C. Dean this will also cause a contradictory problem for the Administration if it continues to support Option 4.
The council voted in favour of the recommendations contained in the report.


Item Progress with the L.D.F. Core Strategy. Click here to see the council papers for this item. The long awaited report which summarised the key issues arising from the representations received on the Core Strategy Preferred Options Consultation, (Click here to view) It was received by the committee and in my opinion almost glossed over. 
Cllr Morson comments, "These long awaited Consultation results were full of criticisms of lack of evidence and sound judgement for the process so far." When he questioned the actual status of Option 4,  Cllr. Barker stated she could not answer as all the studies were in the hands of the Officers and she would be guided by their judgement.

During this item, the frustration from the residents present increased more and more, fuelled by the perceived evasive attitude of the committee members. 

Cllr Morson, said, "How can the Council publicly oppose the Eco Town Proposal for Elsenham and use planning arguments against it, when these same arguments could be levelled against their own Preferred Option 4 at Elsenham."

A number of referrals were made to the Chief Planning Officer, Roger Harborough and the answers received left me more than confused. It would appear that the council will not be in a position to make any sort of decision until well into 2009.  The schedule for receiving the technical studies was very vague and Mr Harborough intimated that these studies would also have to be consulted on.

As a result of Stage 2 of the Department of Communities and Local Government Eco-town Consultation which runs from 4th November until 19th February 2009 we are going to ask you for your involvement. We intend to place all the relevant documents in the hands of our planning adviser and will be reporting back to you at the earliest opportunity on the way forward and how we as a community can best tackle this stage of the campaign.  In the meantime if you attended the meeting and wish to comment, particularly on anything I have missed, please send then to me via for posting on The Blackboard.

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Quiz Night Saturday 8th November at Elsenham Village Hall
Raised a brilliant £908.  Well done to Jennifer, her mum Ruth, Andre and Petrina Lees and of course to all of you who attended'

Additionally, we have some quiz sheets at a cost of £1 each for a first prize of £50. Purchase from – Jennifer Jarvis, 24 Broom Farm Road, Elsenham (814434) or from Henham village shop, TJ Poppins, Barkers Garage, Post Office

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Department of Communities and Local Government Road Shows and Stage two Consultation
Presentation van in Bishops Stortford Monday 10th November from 0900 -1900  in the Market Square, Bishops Stortford
Tuesday 11th November at Saffron Walden Market 1000 - 1700.
On Monday 10th November I visited the trailer in Bishops Stortford.  It was staffed by very helpful young people although the amount of information inside was decidedly uninspiring.  Unfortunately, owing to the very heavy rain the roof was leaking like a sieve and the analogy did strike me that the whole Eco-town programme, whilst looking quite attractive on superficial perusal, actually also leaked like a sieve when tested to any degree.

From what was on display, shoppers from Bishops Stortford will have no idea of the negative impact that the proposed eco-town will have on them and the surrounding area.  Indeed, the purpose of the road show was not to go into detail on individual projects and the young lady I spoke to had not visited the Elsenham site.

These road shows are part of the D.C.L.G  second stage of consultation which started on 4th November and will continue until 19th February 09.  They seek views on the following publications:-

  1. Draft Planning Policy Statement: Eco-towns -  Consultation

  2. Eco-towns: Sustainability Appraisal and Habitats Regulations Assessment of the Draft Eco-towns Planning Policy Statement

  3. Impact Assessment - Planning Policy Statement (PPS): Eco-towns - Consultation

  4. Eco-towns: living a greener future - Summary of consultation responses

Please take time to read the above if you can.  The Joint Parish Council Steering Group will be doing the same and seeking the advice of our experts.  We will report back as soon a possible.

In relation to 2. above -

Click on the picture to go straight to the Sustainability Appraisal on Elsenham

Click here to view the publication
In relation to 4. above -

Many of you may have received the e-mail from the Department of Communities and Local Government  regarding the views received by them by 30th June 08 on their document 'Living for a Greener Future'. The summary can be viewed by clicking on the picture.  Particularly have a look at Section 1 page nine.  This shows a graph of responses and Elsenham features highly due to the letters you sent in early this year. On page 47 is a summary of the specific issues raised in relation to Elsenham which I have also copied to a Word document which you may view by clicking here.

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Eco Towns - Shelter and the D.C.L.G. - BBC4 'You and Yours'
If you did not hear it at the time, there was a very interesting discussion on BBC 4 'You and Yours' on Thursday 6th November regarding Eco-towns and the government funding of Shelter leaflets - Click here to go to the page relevant page, scroll down and you will see the Eco-town item.

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We are on the Short-List
"Local communities will get their next chance to have their say on the eco-town proposals as Housing Minister Margaret Beckett today (4th November) launches the Government's second round of formal consultation on the proposed locations and standards for eco-towns."
 Click here to read the Department of Communities and Local Government's announcement on the beginning of Phase Two in which Elsenham is given a grade B listing and here to see what BBC Look East had to report.
The Panel at the Elsenham Meeting Also on Tuesday 4th November the Joint Parish Council Steering Group held two Public Meetings at Henham and Elsenham.  There was a good audience at both venues.

Amongst the speakers was Kate Ward of the Saffron Walden Friends of the Earth who gave their unqualified support to our campaign.  Please click here to view what she said.

I attended the Elsenham meeting chaired by Stewart Pimblett.  Journalist and Henham resident Jason Barlow was first to speak and he outlined what we had gone through over the last year.  He stated that there there were clear and compelling arguments why Elsenham was totally the wrong place for an eco-town, and he was particularly scathing about Option 4, but emphasized that we were not against affordable housing or indeed the concept of eco-towns. (a full report of his speech will be available soon).

Simon Lee spoke next and stated that we had a long haul in front of us and that we needed substantial funds if we were to get the best advice from our legal and technical advisors.  He stressed the need for community involvement in fund raising and other aspects of the campaign.  The Working Party and the Joint Parishes Steering Group could not do it all and needed to concentrate on convincing government that the Elsenham option was totally flawed.

Don Sturgeon then spoke about the way that our campaign had been conducted over the past year and summarised the many meetings we had had with ministers, MP's, Government officials, etc.  He also talked about the invaluable advice we had received from our retained experts and the support of Essex County Council.  He stated that he and Petrina were meeting again with Henry Cleary of the DCLG.  He talked about the forthcoming presentations at Bishops Stortford and Saffron Walden (see below) and stressed that as many people as possible should attend and give their constructive views.  He said that Bishop Stortford and Stansted residents  were yet to fully understand the impact that an eco-town at Elsenham would have on them. 

Last but by no means least Petrina Lees passionately appealed for more help in the campaign, fundraising and to keep writing to Ministers, Mp's Government Departments, Essex County Council and Uttlesford District Council. - BB 

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What the Papers Say 
Only two of the 10 sites originally promised by Gordon Brown are now expected to be built

Click here to view the article in The Observer 26th October

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Fairfield Presentation/Consultation - Questionnaire

Further to the article below, Margaret Shaw has managed to get a 'Word' copy of that notorious questionnaire they were encouraging us to fill in.  click here to view. - BB

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Two new Press Releases from The Joint Parish Council Steering Group - 22nd Oct
Release One - Release Two

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The Fairfield Presentation/Consultation
Click on link to view a Press Release by the Joint Parish Council Steering Group
Cllr. David Morson's view
Presentation at Henham Village Hall
Henham Village Hall
Having already given presentations at Saffron Walden, Great Dunmow and the Hilton Hotel, Fairfield arrived at Henham and Elsenham on Tuesday 14th October 2008.  Their display consisted of three panels showing information about their project.

Should you wish to do so they have supplied PDF downloads of each, viz.
Panel 1 - Panel 2 - Panel 3

Further downloads of many of their documents can be obtained by going to their site - click here should you wish to do so.

I attended the Henham Presentation and I tried initially to put myself in the position of someone living outside the affected area.  Superficially, (and this is how it must also appear to Ministers, M.P.'s, Government Departments, etc.) the idea of an Eco Market Town must be appealing.  The presenters were very pleasant and rehearsed in their explanations of the information on display.

In spite of the fact that the Henham presentation was only between 11.00am and 4.00pm (when they had the hall booked from 9.00am and 6.00pm and they could have hired it for much longer should they have so wished) it was very well attended by those residents who were available during the day time.

It was only when I started to listen to the responses to specific and penetrating questions that it quickly became apparent how little substance there was to the various topics raised.  In fact, considering the time Fairfield and their associates have have had to develop this scheme it was appalling.  Time and time again the presenters were unable to give satisfactory explanations on major and fundamental issues and the mood in the hall was of incredulous disbelief and seething anger.  I am led to believe that the same occurred at Elsenham presentation later in the evening.  A 'total farce' was an opinion widely held.

In spite of this Fairfield seem confident that they will win the day and that a development of either 3000 houses (option 4) or the bigger eco-town project will be successful.  I wonder where they get their confidence from.  What is it we don't know?

The bottom line remains that Uttlesford District Council hold the key. 

Fairfield say they are in the process of 'Consulting,' (a word I have grown to hate over the last year), so see the comments form at the back of the flyer you received through your door entitled 'Your Views Count'.  However, we are unaware how your comments are to be evaluated.

Fairfild's flyer - click here to go to their site

Please fill this in carefully with your views and send it off to them. There is also a feedback form on their websiteAdditionally, you may have picked up a Consultation Questionnaire at one of the presentations.  Before filling this in please read it very carefully. I feel this is is 'loaded/biased' and has an overriding assumption that the reader is in favour of either option 4 or the eco-town.

One of the presenters stated that Fairfield will answer questions about the project if you write to them.  Personally I wouldn't hold my breath on that one. Click here for the Freepost address which you can print off, viz. Ron Gibbons, David Lock Associates, Elsenham Consultation, 7 Bayley Street, London WC1 3HB.

Yet again you might find you wish to send an email to our new Housing Minister, the Rt. Hon. Margaret Becket MP via 

If you have any comments you wish to make I am thinking of starting a 'blackboard' of such views.  Please send then to me via

In the meantime I have already received a very good letter which Jonathan Leech, a regular contributor to this site has sent off to the Consultation, (Click here to view) and one from Trevor Ellis-Callow sent to Henry Cleary of the Dept. of Communities and Local Government. (Click here to view)


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Latest Odd bits
bullet3rd October - Cabinet reshuffle -  Rt. Hon Margaret Beckett, MP for Derby South and former Foreign Secretary, has replaced Caroline Flint.  (third housing minister in a year) - Find out a little about her  click here
bullet SHELTER the Housing and Homeless Charity have formed what they call a 'Coalition' and have issued a Press Release last week.
We attach a copy of it and our press release in response at
ShelterCoalition and  Save Our Villages.  Please click on the respective link to read and draw your own conclusions.

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What the Papers Said
Eco-town Protesters Hit out at Labour - See Don Sturgeon's comments in the Herts and Essex
click here
County Councillor Ray Gooding wrote a very interesting letter to the Herts and Essex Observer this week (25th Sept) - See 'This is Social Engineering'
CAMPAIGNERS against the proposed 6,000-home eco-town at Long Marston are celebrating the news that the government’s policy on the scheme will have to be defended before the High Court in a judicial review.
Click here to view an article in the Stratford Herald

Sir Alan Haselhurst
MP for Saffron Walden gives his latest views

"Campaign against Hellsenham must move up a gear"

Click here to view the article in this week's Herts and Essex

Homlessness charity Shelter is under fire for using £100,000 of Government money to publish eco-town propaganda

See the article in the Herts and Essex Observer

The Sunday Telegraph of 8th September 2008 reports –

 ‘A housing Charity has admitted that it was paid £100,000 by the government to produce a series of 13 information leaflets setting out the case for Gordon Brown's controversial eco-towns scheme
Called Eco-town - the facts, the 20 page leaflets are branded with the Shelter logo and focus largely on the need for more affordable housing, with only one paragraph addressing such concerns as traffic levels, flood risks and pressure on public services'
  How fair is that!  Very strange - Should such a charity be sponsored for Government purposes such as this?

Eco-Towns - A design for Life

See what The Times - 5th August has to say - click here

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Eco-towns set to face toughest ever green standards, plus-

I quote - from the DCLG web site
"Following changes made to the shortlisted schemes announced in April, including two new proposals for an eco-town in Rushcliffe and major changes made to the proposal at Rossington, a formal consultation on both these draft standards and a detailed sustainability appraisal of each location will now be published in September. A final decision on up to ten potential locations will be made in early 2009, after which the individual schemes will each have to submit planning applications."

Click here to view the article on the Department of Communities and Local Government Website

Where does this leave Uttlesford District Council and their decision about the Local Government Framework and Option 4 in particular? 

Nick Baker says

"The J.P.C.S.G. are convinced that the U.D.C. consultation should be brought to a conclusion as soon as possible.  We know that U.D.C. will publish the results of the consultation for discussion at the Environment Committee on the 16th September 2008.  We are also aware that the consultation shows overwhelming opposition to Option 4, as well as considerable opposition to Options 2 and 3. The J.P.C.S.G. strongly believe that the adoption of Option 4 as the 'preferred option' by U.D.C, led to the 'Developer led' proposal for an Eco-town on the same site. Without Option 4 being the 'preferred option’ in the consultation I doubt the proposed Eco-town would have been considered. We do understand that the consultation should run it's course to stand up to scrutiny, but given that we were forced to hold it over Christmas and the New Year because of the extreme urgency, it seems ironic that we are now in August without further advancement.

 U.D.C. continue to deny the link between Option 4 and the Eco-town I cannot understand this thinking and we now head for a decision on the Eco-town and Option 4 in the same time frame, early 2009.

 The J.P.C.S.G. would like to take the perceived preference for Option 4 off the table for good, by fairly appraising the consultation results.  We still don't know whether the Eco-town proposal for 5000 houses is in addition to the 4200 extra homes under the Regional Spatial Strategy, indeed their is little encouragement from Government that this is the case.

 The J.P.C.S.G. strongly support Sir Alan Haselhurst's dispersed solution, 'Option 5' as he calls it.  Sharing the pain of the extra houses across Uttlesford, with affordable houses being a key ingredient, would make a lot of sense. We will continue to work on this proposal to try and find consensus."

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One square mile of wheat growing arable land feeds a lot of people

by Jonathan Leech of Henham

This land would make a lot of loaves of bread; just see for yourself.

 1 Square mile of proposed arable land equals 640 acres

 At say 4 tonnes per acre, that equals 2560 tonnes of grain

 Take a small to medium loaf of 800 grams. A loaf consists of quite a lot of water and other ingredients, but let’s assume for this calculation that 70% of a loaf is wheat, therefore 560 grams of every loaf is wheat.

 2560 tonnes X 1000 = 2,560,000 kilograms x 1000 = 2,560,000,000 grams

Divided this by 560 grams per loaf = 4,571,428 loaves lost to concrete.

Yes 4 ½ million loaves lost per year forever.

 This kind of loss would be totally unacceptable, but the Government wants 10 or 12 of these Eco towns??? So we would need to import ever more food.

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Looking back at Toot-Toot Bridge - Aug 2001 A further very interesting article by Jonathan Leech on Henham on the possible flooding problems we could face with an Eco-town

Click here to view

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Read what the Campaign to Protect Rural Essex have to say -

"COUNTRYSIDE campaigners have a launched a stinging attack on proposals to build an ‘eco-town’ at Elsenham. Campaign to Protect Rural Essex has strongly condemned the way the plan has been presented and said it will be forced on the local community and not part of a local development framework or regional spatial strategy."

Click here to read on

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‘Eco-town’ dash is unacceptable' says the East of England Regional Assembly - Click here

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Stop Stansted Expansion against 'Airport Town'

 Click here to view their representation to the Department of Communities and Local Government Consultation.

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Monday 30th June 2008 - The end of the Consultation period and Rally in London
On behalf of the Joint Parishes Steering Group I would like to thank everyone for your magnificent response to the Department of Communities and Local Government Consultation. As you are well aware, Chris Bush from Elsenham and I from Henham have been collating copies of all the letters you have been sending to the Consultation Team, The Rt. Hon, Caroline Flint. M.P. Minister for Housing and Planning, and the Rt. Hon. Sir Alan Haselhurst M.P. our member of Parliament.  The quality of your representations has been of the highest standard and those receiving them cannot fail to have been impressed.

With the approval of the J.P.S.G. Chris and I made additional copies of your letters.  Whilst we recognise that we have not received copies from every one, on the morning of the last day of the consultation we had well over a thousand plus a hundred or more from outside our villages.  Every one condemned the plan to build the eco-town.  Additionally, we felt that because this plan had been devised on the back of the notorious 'Preferred Option Four' we decided that the D.C.L.G. should have copies of the letters you sent in to the Uttlesford Consultation earlier this year as well.  These we had bound into 32 spiral backed volumes.  In total between the two consultations well over two thousand letters.

Led by Nick Baker and armed with the letters, the petition you have all been signing, plenty of banners and in good voice, fifty of us from Elsenham and Henham set off for London at 9.00am on Monday 30th  in a coach supplied by Uttlesford District Council to attend a national rally of campaigners against the now 14 short-listed eco-town sites.

Photo opportunity outside the shops in Elsenham
About to set off
Outside Parliament
on arrival
We reassembled outside the Houses of Parliament and then, consistent with the average age of the group, like a bomb-blast headed off in various directions in search of loos and cups of tea.
Other groups began to arrive on College Green and we were joined by our M.P. Sir Alan Sir Alan with our protesters and others
Sir Alan et al
Various representing M.Ps
Could this be a 'sitting' of MPs
MPs representing other affected areas arrived and it began to get noisier and noisier with each group trying to outdo each other.
The press were out in full force and many interviews were given.  Unfortunately the TV coverage later in the day was to say the least disappointing.

Click here to see the BBC's response

Press out in force
say something Terry

promises promises
Grant Shapps M.P. the Shadow Housing Minister arrived and addressed the meeting.
At just before 1.00pm we all went into Parliament through quite heavy security to attend a meeting chaired by Grant Shapps.  It is a long time since I had been inside the seat of our Government and I like everyone could not but feel impressed.

Here Chris and I are holding two of the ten ring binders holding your letters.

Bill and Chris
thank goodness no more copying

very impressive room
We all assembled in a very imposing Committee Room 14.  Originally they were only going to allow in about 120 but many more squeezed in.  Grant Shapps stated that the Conservatives would not support the Eco-town proposals and called them 'Eco-Spin' and Eco-Con' .  'They were anything but Eco-Friendly'.
All of the six MPs spoke (except Sir Alan who was engaged elsewhere on House business) and members of the audience were encouraged to ask questions and make statements.  Two of our District Councillors, Howard Rolfe and David Morson contributed. At the end of the meeting all your letters were collected by representatives of the Department of Communities and Local Government and the petition was taken to Downing Street and handed in by Alan Hatherway.  Whilst we were making our way home, Don Sturgeon and Petrina Lees attended a meeting with Caroline Flint together with other representatives of the campaigning groups. Don and Petrina had met Ms. Flint last week in Uttlesford.  She recognised them and invited them to sit at the front.

Of the meeting, Don said,

'It was very clear that the rest of the group were up for a fight and the meeting did get a bit aggressive and negative. The questioning was very subjective and repetitive, causing the Minister at one stage to slap her hand on the table in front of her! Due to the low quality of the meeting, Petrina decided against asking a question and I kept the question I had to a general issue relating to the role of David Lock with the Government and with the developers. I acknowledged that we'd had a constructive meeting with the Minister last Thursday with our main concern being that UDC continued to treat LDF Option 4(strongly in favour) and the Eco-Town (strongly against) as separate issues when everyone involved in the process is fully aware they are inextricably linked.'

Where to we go from here?

Firstly, may we thank all who wrote letters, came to London, donated money (we have had a great response from the latest membership scheme) prepared posters and banners and a special thanks to Gary Willis at Millways for providing the binders, paper and printing facilities for the letter copying, Ken Forbes for spiral binding our option4 letters and Jonathon Leech and Margaret Shaw for contributing pictures.

Secondly, we have a Joint Parishes meeting on Wednesday and we will take stock.  Nick Baker will be sending out a message via this site in the very near future, outlining the next stages of the process and how we are going to tackle it.  In the meantime well done everybody.  We are getting there.  - BB


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Caroline Flint MP the Housing Minister visits Uttlesford and Look East Visits Elsenham - Thurs 26th June

In anticipation of a eco-site visit to Elsenham by the Housing Minister Caroline Flint a BBC Look East camera team came to interview her. However, she was delayed at another nearby visit and Look East so they had to put up with interviewing the locals.  A very sympathetic piece appeared on the lunchtime programme and longer pieces in the evening and late news. Unfortunately, in editing the interviews they chose one interview which could have been easily mistaken for an audition for 'Grumpy Old Men.'  Fortunately, at the time of writing the repeat on the Look East Web page is not working.

Petrina being interviewed
At lunchtime, Ms. Flint went to the District Council Offices at Uttlesford and and received a presentation from Fairfield and then attended a private meeting with our MP, Sir Allan Haselhurst, the Deputy Director of the D.C.L.G. Councillors David Morson and Catherine Dean, Don Sturgeon and Petrina Lees.  John Mitchell and Roger Harborough were observers.  Don has described the meeting as very constructive and came away with the impression that an Eco-town in Elsenham was by no means a 'Done Deal'.  Don continued,

"Our dispersement proposals for housing in line with Sir Alan Haselhurst's Parish Council's meeting, and in particular the affordable housing, was clearly a welcome part of our initiatives and very well received by the Minister. We have been given access to the Deputy Director of the DCLG with whom we intend meeting in London within the next two weeks.

The Minister did confirm that she has concerns about the economic situation and developers financial commitment. She also made it clear that although the airport is there, this proposal for an eco-town at Elsenham and Henham should not be considered as an airport town."

David Morson who was present at the earlier meeting summarised as follows, "

At today’s first Meeting with Caroline Flint the following 4 outcomes were apparent.

John Mitchell made it clear that Uttlesford was working well within its capacity to deal with its housing issues and politely implied we have no need of an Eco Town.

The Fairfield Partnership failed badly to convince anyone about the suitability of the road infrastructure and how they proposed to provide 50% the town’s employment at the site in their presentation.

Caroline Flint warned Fairfield that she would need to see evidence of their active engagement with the Community over their proposals by September.

The worry is that there could be some reduced Eco type Settlement with the 3,000 houses allocated in Option 4 of the LDF, instead of the Eco Town of 5,000. The Minister was impressed by how briskly Uttlesford had got on with the LDF in comparison with other Local Authorities!!

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Essex County Council Slams Eco-town in Elsenham

Click here to view a damning report

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Judicial Review Launched

'The campaign group against the proposed Middle Quinton eco-town outside Stratford-upon-Avon has formally lodged its application for Judicial Review of the eco-town process.

The Better Accessible and Responsible Development (BARD) campaign is seeking a declaration that the government's eco-towns programme is unlawful and should be halted until proper and full consultation has taken place.

It is the first application of its kind by any of the campaigners against 15 short-listed sites'

 It is based on the consultation, etc. Interesting!. Timetable as before, 2/3 months to see if it has merit. Full hearing 8/9 months. I think it's value lies in the fact that the Gov. knows it has been taken to JR.


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Click here to see powerpoint presentation Click on the picture to see a splendid presentation by Jonathan Leech, a Henham Resident

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The following is taken from the Daily Telegraph book, ' People Power' where a passage from The New Statesman 2004 is quoted:

"The NIMBY is not the enemy of progress but its begetter. In a land, and increasingly a world where democracy is bought and where global triumphs over local every time, the NIMBYs, - those prepared to defend what they know and love against the depredations of the disengaged - are the true heroes.  It is they, not the house-builders and their tame ministers, who represent the best of what democracy is about"

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East of England Plan

The Revision to the Regional Spatial Strategy for the East of England has just been published.  There is no apparent specific reference to Elsenham or Henham, but under Section 3 - Spacial Strategy at para.  3.5 et seq. the document does talk about Growth Areas, Growth Points and Eco-Towns and mentions the Department for Communities and Local Government consultation document ‘Eco-towns – Living a greener future’. mentioned below

Click on picture for Document
(131 pages)

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Please visit the on-line petition to 10 Downing Street, viz:-

'We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Abandon plans to build an Eco Town in Elsenham & Henham.'

which you can find by going to:-

 Abandon plans to build an Eco Town in Elsenham & Henham

Please forward this to all your friends and family so they can sign up as well

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