Uttlesford is a large rural District in north west Essex covering approximately 250 square miles. The District includes two market towns that serve extensive rural hinterlands and has 56 parishes. A number of larger villages also provide services to their surrounding catchment areas. The District has a total population of 85,100 people.

The two major settlements, Saffron Walden and Great Dunmow, are market towns with town centres providing a range of services to an extensive rural catchment area. These towns provide vital facilities for the District such as schools, health services and nearly all the District’s food shopping needs. They are also important cultural and leisure destinations for the District and beyond. There are a number of larger villages: Stansted Mountfitchet, Thaxted, Elsenham, Great Chesterford, Hatfield Heath, Newport and Takeley. Stansted Mountfitchet and Thaxted provide local centres, while the other villages also provide a range of services to the surrounding rural areas. There are a large number of smaller villages which mainly provide services for their local communities. Smaller hamlets, groups of cottages and isolated homes and farmsteads are scattered across the District. About 70% of the District’s population live in the villages and countryside outside Saffron Walden and Great Dunmow.

The distinct rural character of the District with its attractive and historic market towns and villages is widely recognised. The District is characterised by more than twenty distinct and often sensitive landscapes punctuated by historic settlements, protected lanes, and historic parks and gardens. The quality of the cultural heritage in the District is high with around 3,700 Listed Buildings, 36 Conservation Areas and seven Registered Parks and Gardens, as well as 73 Scheduled Monuments and more than 4,000 records of archaeological sites and finds in the District. The District is also important in terms of biodiversity and nature conservation. It has a significant proportion of ancient woodland including the Hatfield Forest which is an important remnant of a medieval forest. The District has two National Nature Reserves, 12 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and 281 Local Wildlife Sites as well as more than 100 designated Special Roadside Verges which are important for their ecological value.

The District is central to the London Stansted Cambridge Corridor economic growth area and in particular the importance of London Stansted Airport and its role within the South Cambridgeshire research and bio-technology cluster focused on Chesterford Research Park. The District continues to attract inward investment, both from within the region and internationally. With the District's locational advantages, significant potential exists to attract more investment into the District assuming that sites are available. The District is also a highly productive arable farming area with most of the agricultural land classified as Grade 2 (very good) with the rest forming Grade 3 (good to moderate). Pastureland is not extensive but it does exist in the river valleys and although not the best and most versatile land it is important to the character and biodiversity of the District.

Uttlesford District Council is preparing a local plan for the next 16 years and also setting the spatial strategy for the district well beyond the plan period by planning for three new communities.

The Uttlesford Local Plan will provide for 14,100 new homes and 14,600 jobs up to 2033, and the infrastructure to support that level of growth. The draft Local Plan proposes three new garden communities, following TCPA principles, to help deliver the required growth. West of Braintree and Easton Park Garden Communities will ultimately each total around 10,000 new homes and the North Uttlesford Garden Community will total around 5,000 new homes.

The three new garden communities will be delivered over a number of decades. In the case of the development proposed at West of Braintree, the community is being planned jointly with Braintree District Council and the North Essex Garden Communities initiative.

Each new settlement will comprise well planned district and local centres, and a full range of community and recreational facilities. Neighbourhoods with distinctive character and well-designed houses and employment areas will be the component parts of the new communities. These elements will help new residents feel they ‘belong’ to the community.

Uttlesford District Council Local guidance Countywide / Subregional Not currently available
Local Development Plan      
Adopted Local Plan    
Draft Local Plan    
Development Viability      
Developer Contributions     
Greater Essex Growth and Infrastructure Framework (GIF)    
Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)    
Development and Urban Design      
Neighbourhood planning    
Planning Policy    
Design Guidance    
Parking Policy    
Health and Wellbeing      
Health Impact Assessment(HIA)    
Accessible and Adaptable Dwellings    
National Space Standards    
Essex Insight Public Health Profile    
Open Space Appraisal    
Open Space Strategy      
Playing Pitch Assessment      
Climate Change and Flood Risk      
Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA)    
Water Cycle Study    
Surface Water Management Plan (SWMP)    
Sustainable Drainage Systems Design Guide    
Environment Quality      
Landscape Character Assessment    
Green Space Strategy    
Uttlesford District Historic Environment Characterisation Project    
Local Wildlife Site Review    
Conservation Appraisal    
Transport and Communications Infrastructure      
Highways Standards      ●
Uttlesford Cycling Strategy  
Local Transport Plan    
Uttlesford Protected Lanes Assessment    
Economy & Retails      
Economic Development Needs Assessment (EDNA)    
Retail Needs Assessment    
Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA)    
Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA)    
Gypsy & Traveller Accommodation Assessment  
Green Belt      
Green Belt Functions Assessment    
Green Belt Landscape Assessment    
Green Belt Boundary Review    


Page updated: 9/12/2019

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