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Below are items that previously featured on the front page of this site which I am reluctant to discard.

Links to Articles on This Page
| Eco Towns |Application for Info Under FOI Act |Responding to Core Strategy |
| Important Message |Visiting Planning Department |Judicial Review |Herts and Essex Web Poll |Sir Alan's Letter |Responses by ECC and GoEast | Environment Committee Meeting |Tuesday was Quite a Day |Eco-Town in Henham and Elsenham |An important Day - Monday 2nd June |E-Con |Farirfield Appear above the Parapet |Disbursement Initiative |

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(Transferred from front  page 16th December 2007)


UTTLESFORD District Council and individual councillors have continually referred to the 3000 + development in Elsenham/Henham as an Eco-Town.  As far as I can see from Fairfield Partnership maps, this development immediately butts on to the village of Elsenham and across agricultural land (most of which is in the Parish of Henham), which has been in constant use for hundreds of years.  Indeed, when looking at the map published by Fairfield, they boast control of all the farm land linking linking the two villages.  The Executive Summary of the Government Prospectus on Eco-towns is as follows, I quote:

"Eco-towns will be small new towns of at least 5-20,000 homes. They are intended to exploit the potential to create a complete new settlement to achieve zero carbon development and more sustainable living using the best new design and architecture. The key features we want to achieve are:

(i) places with a separate and distinct identity but good links to surrounding towns and cities in terms of jobs, transport and services;

(ii) the development as a whole to achieve zero carbon and to be an exemplar in at least one area of environment technology;

(iii) a good range of facilities within the town including a secondary school, shopping, business space and leisure;

(iv) between 30 and 50 per cent affordable housing with a good mix of tenures and size of homes in mixed communities; and

(v) a delivery organisation to manage the town and its development and provide support for people, businesses and community services.

Government is looking to encourage and support local authorities and the private sector to bring forward around five new schemes. This prospectus sets out the context for the programme and explains how the Government can support these projects. It outlines the criteria by which they will be assessed, subject to consultation and testing in the planning process."

This definition hardly seem to fit what Uttlesford and Fairfield have in mind and again I quote, this time from the Uttlesford Core Strategy – Policy Choices and Options for Growth, January 2007 Representations on behalf of The Fairfield Partnership  - DAVID LOCK ASSOCIATES. 

Whilst this paragraph extracted below is from the bottom of page 11, please take time if you can to read the whole page.

"Elsenham is a prime Eco-town location due to its sustainability credentials and our detailed proposals include extensive energy efficiency and renewable energy measures to promote zero carbon development. While the site is not brownfield its clear sustainability credentials enable it to fulfil all other Eco-towns criteria. There are no alternative brownfield opportunities of this scale with such sustainability credentials in the District. The absence of brownfield should not therefore hinder the identification of Elsenham as a location for sustainable growth based on the emerging Eco-Town model."

Worried - We Should be!

Bill Bates - 10th December

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Application for Documents under The Freedom of Information Act

Transferred from Front page 9th Jan

On 23rd October 2007, Martin Nicholson the Chairman of Henham Parish Council wrote to Alisdair Bovaird the Chief Executive of Uttlesford District Council as follows-

I now make formal application for the following documents under the Freedom of Information Act
bulletCopies of all papers prepared by Council Officials and Councillors and distributed before the Environmental Committee meeting on 4th September 2007.
bulletAny notes or recordings made by officials at the meeting before preparing the minutes of that meeting.
bulletAny notes or recordings made by officials when briefing the Conservative Councillors meeting on 27ili or 28th September
bulletAny papers prepared by Planning Officials which relates to 'Option 4' before the meeting on 4th September.
bulletAny notes of meetings held by Council Officials about 'Option 4 'to date, and after 4th September.
bulletAny notes about the points made by Paul Garland at the start of the Environmental Meeting on 4th September.
bulletAny notes made by officials at any council meetings held to discuss the 'call in' of 'Option 4', before the Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 3rd October 2007.
bulletAny papers held by planning officials about 'Option 4' prepared before 4th September 2007.
bulletCopies of any advices given to Councillors about 'Option 4' since 4ili September 2007, including legal advice.
bulletCopies of minutes of any council meetings held since September 4th that discussed 'Option 4'
bulletDetails of any conversations or memos between planning Officials about the Environmental committee decision to recommend 'Option 4' on 4th September to current date.
bulletAny other documents held by the Council which specifically relate to 'Option 4'.
bulletAny documents, notes or correspondence between the Uttlesford Planning Officials and The Fairfield Partnership.

Please click here to see the reply he received from Councillor Ketteridge, the Leader of the Council. This appears to be as clear an indication as possible that on 4th September there was no documentary evidence, written rational, or analysis to support the decision to adopt it as the Councils preferred option.

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Important Message

Transferred from front page 9th Jan 2008

Those of you in Elsenham, Henham and Stansted who have received our flyer through your door  showing a map of land controlled by the Fairfield Partnership:  this was reproduced as accurately as we could and in all good faith from the 'Elsenham Settlement Study' by LDA on behalf of Fairfield Partnership. The red line boundary indicated land 'controlled' by them.  What we failed to see was an addendum which stated -

This report refers to ‘land controlled’ by Fairfield Partnership. This should read ‘land considered’ by Fairfield Partnership. The area shown as ‘land controlled’ do not exactly correspond with the areas now under the control of the Fairfield Partnership.

We apologise unreservedly to anyone whose land has been misrepresented by this map.  I wonder what 'land considered' means.


Responding to Uttlesford District Council During the Consultation Period.

Transferred from Front Page 11th Jan 2008

(Please note that where you see underlined text, this indicates a link to another site or document  - also that the copy of the Preferred Options document you will link to is the one on our site. (Uttlesford's is temperamental)

As you are no doubt very well aware the period Uttlesford District Council has set the consultation for their Core Strategy Preferred Options Document started on 30th November 2007 and will finish on Friday 11th January 2008.

You should have received from Uttlesford a four-sided brochure announcing the consultation and explaining their rationale. We have commented on the worthiness of this document before, particularly at a full council meeting and see no point in further reiterating our opinions.

If you have not received it please tell them and ask for one.

Up to now we have asked you to hold back on responding to the document until we received advice. Now it is all systems go.

Picture of front page of Housing Options Brochure


Firstly, whilst the purpose of our Steering Group, (apart from promoting our campaign), is to provide guidance to concerned residents,  we have quickly realized and are being constantly reminded that we are not experts and that our opinions, whilst genuinely held, may not necessarily be the right ones or coincide with yours. Therefore, it is important to stress that each of you must choose to approve /disapprove of the Options Document in your own way and by the method of your choice.

Secondly, whilst we are all worried about the possible effects of the proposals on our villages, we are not to deliberately trying to divert the problem of development elsewhere, although inevitably we will be accused of that. If our area is the right area, so be it.

The Fairfield Partnership features largely in our minds, particularly in relation to our villages of Henham and Elsenham, but we know there are other developers hovering with their own plans to create housing in other parts of the district. No doubt they will be making representations accordingly. We will not comment one way or another on the merits of their emerging plans. Should you wish to do so that is entirely up to you, as with any of the four options.

We are just concerned about the four options put forward by Uttlesford and in particular, their preferred Option Four. For many reasons we consider Uttlesford’s arguments are fundamentally flawed and that our area is not the right place for massive housing developments.

The Main Bit

As we have said before, we have engaged the services of Mr. Geoff Gardner, a former head of planning at Essex County Council. He is a man well versed in matters such as this and it is on his opinions we offer our advice.

He has produced a very comprehensive report that will form the basis of a Joint Parishes submission to Uttlesford regarding the Core Strategy. He gave a verbal presentation to the Joint Parishes Meeting on Monday 17th December. (minutes await)

His report is, by necessity, quite technical and we consider not suitable for publication on this site, nor would we wish to do so at this stage for perhaps obvious reasons. However, it does form the basis of the information we are providing for you underselective summary. We trust that it will prove useful when you pen your responses. As promised, for those of you who attended the Elsenham meeting on 17th December and required the shortened version, please click here .  Others may also find this version useful but please remember Henham copies should come to Bill Bates, (see below).

Mr. Gardner tells us that when Uttlesford’s Core Strategy is submitted, it will be judged against Nine "Tests of Soundness".  It is against principles contained in these nine tests that he has concentrated his objections.

He suggests that, in his opinion, the best way to respond to Uttlesford is by sending a letter (by post or by email)  to The Policy Team, Uttlesford District Council, Council Offices, London Road, Saffron Walden, Essex, CB11 4ER. Email address There are other ways of responding. (see below)

It is important that in your letter you set out clearly which parts of the Core Strategy Preferred Options Document you are objecting to when you make your comments and also advises that you consider limiting the number of objections to about five.

He stresses that you should put the objections in you own words and try to keep them concise. If you have questions for the council on which you would like a response, please do not hesitate to include them and also any other general comments about the quality of life in our area and how it would change if their plan was implemented.

In connection with this, Melanie Jones, Principal Planning Officer at Uttlesford Planning and Housing Strategy kindly emailed us to say, and I quote -

"I have just been looking at the Campaign website. I just wanted to clarify in relation to the consultation arrangements that we will, of course, accept representations from anyone in a household who wishes to reply, there is no limit on the number of representations that can be sent in per household and this, of course,  includes any young people who wish to respond.

The advice says that only one representation per person will be accepted. If someone sends the same letter in a number of times then we will only log the comments once but if someone sends one letter in and then subsequently thinks they would like to make some additional new points before the closing date then these would be accepted and added to the original comments.  Obviously it would help if people could reference their previous letter when making any new comments.

I hope this is helpful."

We will be delivering more leaflets through your doors giving assistance on how you might respond to the consultation and we are recruiting canvassers to call on each household in Elsenham and Henham to give additional help and advice if required. Please don’t forget the letter writing days. (see events)

Methods of responding

As said above, Mr. Gardner points out that in his opinion a letter (either in hard copy or by email) is best.

However, Uttlesford’s main preference is that you to do it online. Please see this link to their site for their full advice. This method will involve you connecting to their Limehouse system for which you will have to register first. You can then go to their main document and put your comments against each part in turn.

The choice is yours but, we ask that if you can you send a copy of your letter or email to our site so that we can keep our own record.

Hand written copies may be delivered, in the case of Henham to Bill Bates at Stone Cottage, High Street, Henham, CM226 AS (next to the shop) or, in the case of Elsenham to Mr. Bush 2, Coriander Drive, Elsenham, CM22 6DL.

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Visit to Planning Department

Transferred from Front Page on 4th April

On Thursday 12th February, at the invitation of Mr. John Mitchell the Director of Development, Chris Bush and I visited the Planning Department of Uttlesford District Council.  We had an informal meeting with him, Roger Harborough Senior Planning Officer and two Planning Officers, Melanie Jones and Hannah Hayden for about 40 minutes. We then spent a  further 20 minutes or so in the office office to witness the imputing of data into the Limehouse system.

Although no minutes were taken, Chris listed a number of discussion points which have been submitted to Mr. Mitchell for agreement and returned. To see them click here.

From the outset however, Mr. Mitchell made a statement that he will be publishing on the Uttlesford website as follows -

Core Strategy Consultation on Preferred Options

Consultation on the Preferred Options for the Core Strategy finished on the 11 January 2008. The Council would like to thank the many people who responded to the consultation, particularly on the housing options for the District.

Officers are currently collating the submissions and preparing to analyse and further explore the issues raised. Some people included specific questions in their representations. The questions are noted and the issues raised will be addressed in the report to members on the consultation responses.

We will not be responding individually to each person who raised questions because we need to concentrate our resources on resolving the issues.

Further work will be needed to inform decisions on Core Strategy options before the Council approves an approach for submission to the government. This will involve work on transport, housing trajectories, water cycles and other infrastructure issues, together with testing scenarios for growth, including levels of airport growth.

 We will not be recommending a Core Strategy to the March Environment Committee. It is unlikely that we will be in a position to make recommendations before September, quite possibly later.

NOTE - This statement contains a number of issues that the Joint Parishes Steering Group will have to consider, not the least being perhaps ascertaining the legal obligations of a public body such as Uttlesford to respond to individual questions. As you know we are asking you to write to Uttlesford asking for a response to your questions and we feel they are duty bound to do so irrespective of their resourcing difficulties. I will report back on this is due course.

It was explained to us that there were three people transposing data onto Limehouse, namely Melanie, Hannah and another lady Sara who is on holiday this week.  Only Hannah does the job full time whilst Melanie and Sara work at it when other commitments permit.  With the volume of work they have to complete they are clearly under-resourced.  Whilst it is evident from recent reports that the Council is having severe financial problems, this cannot be considered an acceptable situation.  Council leaders please take note.

They stated that their strategy for imputing was to deal with representations from statutory consultees first followed by developers and parish councils, etc.  Their logic for this is that they consider, probably quite rightly, that the public would want to know what organisations such as GoEast, Essex County Council and so on were saying so they have given them a degree of priority.  Equally with the developers, etc.  This part of the job now is almost complete and then they are now moving on to the individual letters.

They showed us the boxes in which the hard copies of the representations were contained.  By far the biggest contained objections from Henham and Elsenham.  A very small part of another box contained letters filtered out which apparently supported Option 4.  I make no further comment about that.  They were unable to give a total number of representations they have received, but this might well be a figure which will be reported to the Environment Committee on 11th March.

Another reasonably large box contained letters from people concerned about the proposed development by Chater Homes in Little Dunmow.  Reading between the lines I don't think they anticipated that volume of concern which obviously resulted from the road-shows put on by the developers. 

Chris and I were given a demonstration on how details were transposed on to Limehouse and it is a very laborious business.  Each letter has to be carefully logged, read and sections copied into the relevant parts of the data base.  It was explained to us that sometimes a subjective judgement has to be made as to whether the author is supporting or opposing an option.  It was readily admitted that mistakes could be made and we stressed the need for a system of quality control.  We also stressed that we would be redoubling our efforts to check entries ourselves and to encourage residents to check their individual entries.  We were told that where residents had an email address, they would be informed by email when their letters were placed on Limehouse.

We spent some time discussing how data would to extracted to produce the final report and to ensure that the strength of feeling was illustrated.  Mr. Mitchell stated that final recommendations to the Council Members would be made on the basis of 'planning issues and interpretations'.

In all I felt the meeting productive and Chris and I thank Mr. Mitchell and his staff for their time. If was informative and cleared up some concerns we had.  Equally however, for us it highlighted how under-resourced the planning department were and how important it is that the Limehouse database accurately reflects the views of the community if it is to be used as the basis for important forthcoming recommendations.

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Judicial Review

Removed From Front page 4th April 2008

On Thursday 7th February, the Steering Group of The Joint Parishes met and voted to be included as an 'Interested Party' in the action taken by Twigden Homes and Bellwinch Homes (two developers having plans for the development of small parcels of land in the U.D.C area) who have instigated a joint action against U.D.C. over the manner/process in which the decision to make Option 4 was arrived at.  Originally, it was reported that Henham Parish Council would be named as the interested party in the application for Judicial Review, but this as a result of the vote  has been revised.  The minutes of the meeting will be posted as soon as I get them.

Judicial Review

Removed from front page27-6-08

It seems that in respect of the Judicial Review application brought by Twigden Homes and Bellwinch Homes (see original article) of which the J.P.S.G. was an interested party, the judge has decided not to send the application forward for a hearing.  (click here to see his judgement.)  We have heard from the solicitors for Twigden Homes and Bellwinch Homes and there will not be an appeal hearing.

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Herts and Essex Web Poll

Removed From Front page 4th April 2008

In the latter part of January, The Herts. and Essex Observer conducted  on Web Poll. Well over 2000 people voted on the four options entitled  - "Where in Uttlesford should 3,000 homes be built?"

9.9% said "Elsenham & Henham"

11% said "Great & Little Dunmow"

12.5% said "Great Chesterford" and

66.6% said "None of the above - they should be spread around the district"

Uttlesford Councillors take notice please.  The opportunity was there for people to vote for specific sites.  They clearly didn't and the majority favour houses to be spread around the District

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Sir Alan Haselhurst's Letter

Removed From Front page 4th April 2008

On 9th January 2008 I wrote a personal letter to our MP, The Right Hon. Sir Alan Haselhurst, regarding the Core Strategy and the planned closure of Henham Post Office.  In this letter I invited Sir Alan to write a article for this site expressing his views as far as he felt able.  He has kindly replied and I attach his covering letter (my address removed) and a page containing his views.  Please click here to see the letters. - Bill Bates

He is also trying to broker a deal with Parish Councils. Click here and go to page 4  to see the article.

Responses by Essex County Council and GOEAST

Removed From Front page 4th April 2008

It seems that Essex County Council Development, Highways and Transportation are not too enthralled by Uttlesford's Options - Please click here to view the report.  It begs the comment "we said that but you didn't listen."  Its a bit wordy but you will get the drift.

It also seems that Go-East (Government Office for the East of England) are also not too impressed by Uttlesford's efforts.  They, (in the person of a lady called Dearbhla Lawson)  have sent Mr. John Mitchell, Planning Officer for U.D.C a 'Dear John letter'.  It seriously questions the quality of Uttlesford District Council Core Strategy  Preferred Options  Consultation Document and makes fascinating reading.

This can be viewed on Limehouse by clicking here. Well worth a visit.

Environment Committee Meeting

Removed from Front Page 4th April

In company with Don Sturgeon, Peter Johnson, Petrina Lees and Cllr David Morson, I attended the 11th March meeting of the Environment Committee.  These committee members, chaired by Cllr. Susan Barker are the people who make recommendations to the full council on many issues, but particularly on the U.D.C. Local Development Core Strategy.  It was they who put forward the four options back in September and Sue Barker in particular was the champion of the preferred option 4.

The agenda can be seen by clicking here and the minutes by clicking here.

Prior to the start of the meeting Peter and Petrina addressed the meeting.  Peter's submission can be seen by clicking here  His concerns were about the way entries were transcribed onto  Limehouse.  Planning Department officers John Mitchell and Roger Harborough responded but rather vaguely.  Hopefully the minutes when they are forthcoming will accurately record what they said. In the meantime Peter has sent an email to John Mitchell asking for a written response.

We were also told that because of the volume of letters the Planning Department had now taken to summarising  what they considered to be the main points rather than entering text from letters which supported or objected to paragraphs from the Core Strategy document. Letters would then be shown as attachments.  (Both Chris Bush and I on our visit to the Planning Department on the 12th February (see below) had rejected this idea as being liable to introduce more inaccuracies and we had thought we had won the day).

Rather disturbingly Roger Harborough stated that resources are being taken way from the task of making entries on Limehouse and moved to analysing the results.  We will have to see whether in fact all our letters will eventually be registered. 

Petrina urged councillors to reassess the preferred option and come up with robust and credible evidence to support future decisions.  Councillor Barker said that councillors had to be led by the officers in the planning department.  (There does not seem to be much supporting evidence that this was the case when the committee came up with option 4).

The 1tem we obviously had attended the meeting to hear was number 6, the last on the agenda which was to hear an update on the progress of the Core Strategy.  Members had been given a briefing note prior to the meeting, (click here to view).  David Morson has kindly given the following summary on what was said.

At the Environment Committee on 11th March we were informed that because of the overwhelming volume of responses to the recent Consultation it would not be possible to process the data or report back findings until September 2008 at the very earliest. There have also been a number of additional submissions by other developers which have to be considered. As a result, the programme for the adoption of a draft Core Strategy will not be available until early in 2009 with an adoption of the Strategy in 2010. There are no guarantees of any outcomes at this stage. During the debate there were calls to totally rethink the whole process and to make any future decisions Council led father than developer led, based on sound research and evidence of infrastructural capability. Cllr Barker ,Chair of the Environment Committee, and author of Option 4 said that future decisions would be made on the advice of Officers and that nothing had been ruled in or out at this stage.

He also added the following -

Can I congratulate the Joint Parish Steering Group who have worked tirelessly to get us to this point. Who would have thought when the bombshell broke 6months ago that we would have achieved so much?  We still need to keep up the pressure and we are monitoring all responses on the Limehouse system to ensure accuracy and a proper reflection of residents views on the Consultation. Please do not be lulled into a false sense of security in the intervening period. We will keep you informed.

I echo these latter remarks and also extend thanks to all the canvassers and others who have been involved in so many different ways.  For my own part I will be continuing to make a data base of the copies of letters I have received from you and monitoring their entry onto Limehouse.  -  BB

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Tuesday Was Quite a Day For Our Campaign

(removed from front Page on 15th May)

Tuesday 11th March saw two significant events in our ongoing campaign. The first was a Fact Finding Coach Trip organised by The Herts and Essex Observer and the second a meeting of The U. D. C. Environment Committee at the Council Offices in London Road.


The Coach Trip

In recent weeks The Observer have been trying to discover how many councillors had actually visited the proposed sites for the developments outlined in their options, particularly their preferred Option Four.  Their enquiries revealed that many, particularly the Conservatives who had introduced the option, had not done so.  As a result a coach trip had been organised to tour the Henham, Elsenham and Stansted areas which would be affected.  Of the 44 councillors individually invited, only 25 bothered to reply and 4 accepted.  These four were all Liberal Democrats.  In spite of this the trip went ahead with plenty of room for television crews from the BBC and ITV on the coach. 

The guide for the occasion was Comedian Ed Byrne accompanied by Top Gear editor Jason Barlow, both Henham Residents. The route took in not only a circular tour of the affected villages and countryside but also of the totally unsuitable road infrastructure connecting the proposed development to the M11 and included the difficulties of Grove Hill and Chapel Hill in Stansted.  The event concluded at The Cock in Henham where the bus was met by actor John Savident also a Henham resident.

Both TV companies featured the tour in their evening programmes.  It was a great shame that so few  Councillors thought fit to accept the invitation. 

John being interviewed

The tour is fully reported in a double page spread on pages 4 and 5 in this week's edition of The Herts and Essex Observer which also contains a very good letter from John Savident. (click here to see a Word copy) or -

Click here to see an on-line version of the newspaper.


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Eco Town in Elsenham and Henham

On Thursday 3rd April we were devastated to hear that the land to the north-east of Elsenham (most of which is in the Parish of Henham) had been put on a short list of 15 locations to be developed into Eco Towns (click here to view). The scale of the proposed development is far beyond what was envisaged by Option 4.  Later on this year the list will be reduced to a final list of ten. 

The announcement was made by Caroline Flint, the Minister for Housing and Planning.  The Department of Communities and Local Government have published a document called 'Eco- Towns, Living a Greener Future' which may be viewed by clicking on the picture.

The Joint Parish Council Steering Group met on Thursday 10th April when the matter was high on the agenda.  We will be holding public meetings on Wednesday 16th April (see above for times, etc.) Clearly, we are now fighting on two fronts.  The application for the Eco-Town is based on the U.D.C's preferred Option 4.  However at a press call on Friday 4th April at Elsenham station car park (which overlooks the blighted landscape), Uttlesford Conservative Councillors turned out in force together with our MP, Sir Alan Haselhurst, to state their total opposition to an Eco-Town in Uttlesford.  How can they U.D.C. Councillors still be in favour of their preferred Option 4 whilst being against an Eco-Town in the same place? 

A little while ago, Fairfield Partnership supplied a 44 page document called 'Elsenham - A Strategic Master Plan Vision (dated January 2008) to Parish Councils. I have received permission from them to reproduce it on this site with a reminder that all diagrams maps etc are subject to copy write and must not be reproduced without permission.  This is the basis of their submission to the Government.  Click on the picture to view it.

It is our opinion and that held by others, that the only way Uttlesford District Council can dig themselves out of this mess is by admitting now that Option 4 was a mistake. 

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An Important Day - Monday 2nd June

Removed from front page 1st July

As every body is now aware, on Thursday 3rd April 2008 we were devastated to hear that the farm land between Elsenham and Henham had been put on a short list of 15 locations to be developed into so called Eco-towns. The scale of the proposed development is far beyond what was envisaged by Option 4 which we have been fighting since September 2007.  Later on this year the list will be reduced to a final list of ten, but we are now in yet another crucial period of consultation. Your response to the L.D.F. consultation earlier this year was magnificent, but now we have to re-double our efforts before Monday 30th June to convince the Government that Elsenham/Henham is totally the wrong place to build a huge new town. Although the current consultation has been running for some weeks we have been asking you to hold back on writing your protest letters until we had taken all the advice we could on the best way to respond. 

Now is the time for action. - See details in the article below

Monday 2nd June saw the launch of our concerted effort through public meetings, first at Henham and then at Elsenham. In both venues the turnout was excellent. A packed out Village Hall
Grant Shapps The meetings were in two parts.  First, we had a keynote speaker in Grant Shapps, M.P.  for 'Welwyn Hatfield' and Shadow Cabinet Minister for Housing.  He was accompanied by our M.P. the Rt. Hon. Sir Alan Haselhurst.

Mr Shapps started by congratulating the Joint Parishes Steering Group on mounting an excellent campaign and stated it was crucial to be well organised.  He denigrated the nonsense of eco-towns.  "Eco sounds good but it is in effect 'eco-spin"


Whilst he agreed that we needed more housing he criticised the 'Soviet style' of government and stated his party would scrap central planning and allow communities to choose where houses will be built and employ incentives for local government to do so. He said that he and his party were 100% on our side in opposing the proposed new town but warned that residents must ensure that they 'actually register their objections as forcibly as they can' and not leave it to others. Every letter counts. A question and answer session then followed.  Carol Barbone of SSE urged the Conservative party to include a commitment in their election manifesto not to support eco-towns.  Mr. Shapps stated that at no time had the concept of eco-towns been voted on in Parliament.
The second part of the meetings was in the hands of Don Sturgeon and Simon Lee.

Simon said that in the next few days every household would be receiving an A4 envelope through the door containing a number of very important documents which stated in detail what the J.P.S.G. were asking residents to do. 


Simon and Don
1. A full update from the Joint Parishes Steering Group on where we are currently. (Click here)

2. A four page Eco-Town Consultation document on who to write to, by which method and importantly who to send copies to so that we can keep track of numbers, etc.  Summarised under thirteen headings is advice on points to include in letters. (Click here) Note - There is a fuller version of this document but we are reluctant to put in on the site because of possible plagiarism.  Petrina Lees (see Contact Us page) will supply an email or hard copy on request.

Please also note that the email copies to Caroline Flint should be sent to and not the email address shown in the instructions, i.e.

3. A 'We Need Your Support' letter asking you to formally join the Save Our Village Campaign by giving a small donation. (Click here)

4. Instructions on how to complete the 10 Downing Street E-mail petition (Click here)

5. A set of three sample letters as a guide to those who wish help on compiling letters.  Please put the samples into your own words. (These letters have not been copied to this site)

6. Save Our Village car and window stickers

7. A check list on 10 WAYS YOU CAN HELP viz-


Write your letter to object to the Eco-Town proposal.


Complete the email petition on the 10 Downing Street web site and email your friends to do the same.


Place the enclosed window poster somewhere prominent on your property.


Use the car sticker on your vehicle or anywhere others may see it.


Join the Save Our Village campaign.


Support the Save Our Village campaign with a monetary donation.


Volunteer to help the campaign by offering your time as a canvasser, leaflet dropper or general helper.


Attend Save Our Village fund raising events.


Talk to your neighbours and friends about the campaign and remind them to write their letters.


Check weekly for updates


On behalf of the J.P.S.G. many thanks to Simon for all his hard work in producing the packs.

At the end of both meetings Don announced that substantial funds had been put aside to finance a publicity campaign and also that new signs (to replace the ones stolen) would appear round the villages and be displayed until the end of the consultation


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I unreservedly believe that that attaching the prefix 'Eco' to government planning initiatives is a complete and utter confidence trick.  We all understand the need to address global warming, properly conserving energy and the the discipline of re-cycling waste. However, in the midst of the proposal to build a so called eco-town in Elsenham/Henham, we find that we have in Henham perhaps one of the most advanced eco-friendly houses in the country.  This house was built at approximately 30 - 40% above the cost of what an average similar sized house.  How is it possible that our government could believe their own spin and that of developers that an eco-town, and in particular the proportion of low cost affordable housing, is in any way financially viable?  This is just an excuse to appropriate nearly a square mile of prime arable land for building houses close to Stansted Airport; land which has contributed to feeding this country for well over a thousand years and is more than ever needed now.  It is nothing less than vandalism of our countryside on a huge scale. How can it in any way can the proposal be contributing to making our planet a better place?

On Tuesday 13th May. Simon Lee, the owner of the aforementioned house, addressed the full council meeting of Uttlesford District Council on the subject. Please click here to see what he said. - BB

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Removed from front page 15th Oct 08

 Fairfield at Last to Appear Above the Parapet.



Fairfield are at last making appearances in an attempt to their justify their plans for 3000 homes via U.D.C.'s. Option 4 and the so-called 5000 home Eco Market town on the greenfield farmland north-east of Elsenham. 

They are going to hold public exhibitions at Henham Village Hall on Tuesday 14th October between 11am and 4.00pm and at Elsenham Village Hall between 6.00pm and 9.00pm.  Additionally, they are going to be at Saffron Walden Town Hall on Thursday 9th October 12.00pm -, Great Dunmow, ET Foakes Memorial Hall on Friday 10th October 12.00pm - 5.30pm and The Hilton Hotel at Stansted Airport on Saturday 11th October 11.00pm - 4.00pm.

For the first time you will actually be able to question them on the lack of substance to their plans. So far they have been very sketchy on detail. We strongly urge you to attend and really put them to the test.  Challenge them on building all affordable homes in one location, transport, water problems, infrastructure, employment, commuting and so on. Don't be fobbed off with waffle.  Remember the questions you asked Uttlesford in last year's consultation to which very few of you got any answers.  Put them to Fairfield and see what sort of response you get.  Remember the summary of objections to Option 4 published last year which assisted you to write your letters.  Refresh your memory of these before you go. 

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Disbursement Initiative
Removed from front page 24th October 08

You may have thought that not a lot has been going on lately, but please be assured that the Joint Parishes Councils Steering Group has been beavering away on your behalf over the past few weeks to find ways to combat the threats of Option 4 and the proposed Eco-town. 

We have written to all Parish and Town Councils asking for their views on a fair disbursement solution to Uttlesford’s housing allocations. This follows the Sir Alan Haselhurst initiative, now called 'Option 5 ', when he called a meeting of Parish and Town Council Chairman earlier this year to try and find a solution to the housing situation. The J.P.C.S.G have called their initiative 15/15 as we are asking councils to take 15% housing over 15 years based on the 2001 housing census. The J.P.C.S.G argues that this small housing increase will include 40% affordable housing, allowing communities to re-energise by allowing people to live and work in their own communities.

Please click here to see a copy of the letter sent to the councils and here to see a spread sheet of the accompany figures they received.

Lembit Opik MP visits the JPCSG meeting

Last night, Monday 1st September, following visits by Grant Shapps M.P. (Conservative Shadow Housing Minister) Caroline Flint M.P. (Labour Housing Minister) we were pleased to receive Mr. Lembit Opik M.P. the Liberal Democrat Shadow Housing Minister.  He toured the area and later attended our meeting of the J.P.C.S.G.  We found his comments and advice very helpful and constructive and we wish to thank him for giving us his time.


Cllr. Peter Wilcox has written an account of Mr. Opik’s tour.  Please see below.


Also see the Herts and Essex interview with Mr Opik - Click here

Nick Baker


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