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Stop Easton Park




Following the release on 25 June of UDC’s revised Local Plan, SEP has set out, below, its basic arguments as to why Easton Park is the wrong place to attempt to build a major new town. SEP also sets out what should be done to open Easton Park to the public for recreational purposes.

The concept of Easton Park as a location for a major new town is fundamentally misconceived due to its proximity to Stansted Airport, its proximity to Great Dunmow and its limited access.

It is also not necessary, particularly since the probable availability of Carver Barracks was made known by the Ministry of Defence in late 2016.

But UDC has seen fit to stick to a flawed process and force this Plan through a reluctant Council. Vincent Thompson said “UDC seems determined to create a white elephant built on a house of cards”.

The impact of Easton Park on our local area would be enormous resulting in an urban industrialised sprawl from Bishops Stortford to east of Great Dunmow and traffic gridlock.

Local residents should express their concerns before the deadline of 13 August 2018.

View the Plan and register your concerns at:-

The deadline is 5.00 pm on Monday 13 August 2018.

Contacts: Vincent Thompson - 01371 872246



We understand the need for houses. We understand that UDC must build houses.

But Easton Park is the wrong place to attempt a major new town

Why build a major new town so close to a busy airport when we know the health risks of noise and pollution?

➢ For whose benefit are these houses being built? The people who would live there or UDC?

➢ EP lies just a mile from the airport,

➢ directly in line with the prevailing SW wind,

➢ adjacent to one of the main flight paths (Clacton),

➢ directly under one of the main night flight paths (Dover/Detling) and

➢ with no direct access to the M11 or main line train.

Why build a major new town so close to Great Dunmow?

➢ EP lies just 300 yards from the expanded G Dunmow,

➢ which is already scheduled to nearly double in size (3,800 houses to 7,000 = + 85%).

➢ At 10,00 houses, EP will swamp G Dunmow and drain the infrastructure investment it needs.

➢ Coalescence with Stansted Airport, Takeley, Canfield and G Dunmow,

➢ will result in urban sprawl from Bishops Stortford to east of G Dunmow

Easton Park lacks adequate access

➢ Blocked to the west by the airport,

➢ blocked to the east by G Dunmow,

➢ and effectively inaccessible from the north,

➢ the only access is from the south via the B1256, one of the main exits for G Dunmow,

➢ and then by the A120 and J8 which are already overloaded

Is Easton Park realistic or are UDC creating a white elephant?

➢ Who will want to buy houses so close to a busy airport?

➢ Surely, UDC cannot consider this suitable for affordable housing?

➢ What builder will want to build on a disused quarry accounting for a quarter of the site?

➢ Quarry will remain active for the next 10 or 15 years impeding access for construction traffic.

➢ Where will people work? MAG projections are totally unrealistic.

➢ EP could only be a commuter dormitory clogging the inadequate local transport infrastructure.

➢ Where will the water come from? Where will the sewage go?

Is it necessary?

➢ Plenty of ways in which the 1,925 houses allocated to EP for this Plan could be accommodated.

➢ Strong probability of Carver Barracks in 2031, a large brownfield site with direct access to M11 and main line trains to London and Cambridge.

Easton Park does not make sense!

And what would be lost?

➢ A 700 year old park and 1,700 acres of prime arable land,

➢ designated as a nature reserve in 1937 by the Countess of Warwick.

➢ A much loved leisure asset with huge potential for future generations,

➢ with multiple bridleways and footpaths,

➢ already widely used for walking, running, riding, bird watching etc,

➢ adjacent to conservation area of Little Easton, Gardens of Easton Lodge and High Wood,

➢ Surrounded by multiple historic buildings.

But what could be achieved?

➢ A park with public access.

➢ Maintain the arable land,

➢ restore the tree avenues,

➢ adapt existing bridleways and footpaths for running, walking, riding etc,

➢ add some playing fields,

➢ retain the wild life areas and

➢ take the pressure off Hatfield Forest

➢ Note the importance of open spaces for mental health – see Fields in Trust report of 7 May 18 calculating £34bn of benefit.

➢ Michael Gove – 27 May 18, England should have new national parks,

Now that does make sense!





Finally, after some 12 plus years of work, Uttlesford District Council, issued their Local Plan on 25 June. This, of course, is the second Plan that UDC have issued since the first did not find favour with the Inspector in 2014.

It was a close-run thing when, after a five-hour marathon, Councillors finally voted at five minutes to midnight on Tuesday 19 June to approve the Plan by 23 votes to 13. The fact that a third of Councillors voted against is indicative of the concerns raised by this Plan. And the fact that the five Dunmow Councillors voted in favour notwithstanding the opposition of their Town Council colleagues to Easton Park shows how contentious the Plan has become. Clearly party loyalties were enforced. A proposal to defer approval of the Plan to allow time to address some of the issues, notably the implications of the Inspector’s letter in relation to NEGC, was lost by the same margin.

SEP was set up in May 2017 to support the Little Easton Parish Council in their opposition to the inclusion of Easton Park as a settlement for up to 10,000 houses. We understand the need for new houses and that UDC is required to build new houses, but the question is where?

It is disappointing that UDC have not listened to our concerns, but SEP welcomes the opportunity to move forward to make its arguments to an independent Inspector whose appointment will be announced in due course. As the first step in this process, SEP will be joining with LEPC and Great Dunmow Town Council in making representations to support our case prior to the deadline of 13 August.

SEP’s primary motivation is the preservation of a unique asset of incomparable value to future generations. Easton Park has been in existence for 700 years and more and lies at the heart of one of the biggest concentrations of historic buildings in Uttlesford. Its peace, tranquillity and space are widely enjoyed by those who come, often from far away, to walk, ride, fish, bird watch etc. It is an exceptional haven for wildlife. Katie Rodwell, a local resident, pointed out that UDC’s own conservation appraisal noted that “The historic environment cannot be replaced and is a resource that is both fragile and finite”. We must preserve this unique asset for future generations.

Equally, it makes no sense to embark on building a major new town in this location. The arguments used by UDC to promote its selection for their Plan are the very arguments that explain why it is not a suitable location:-

  • Proximity to the airport – why are UDC planning to build a major new town so close to a major airport and its flight paths when the health hazards are so well documented?
  • Access to the A120 and M11 – the weight of traffic from this proposed development would choke both as too access to Great Dunmow
  • Single ownership – results in far too much power for Landsec which UDC will struggle to control.

Andy Dodsley, Chairman of Little Easton Parish Council asks, “Is it sound to build a new town right next to a major airport with aggressive expansion plans?”

Great Dunmow is already scheduled to expand from 3,800 to 7,000 houses during the 15 year period of the Plan. Regardless of Easton Park, Great Dunmow will almost double in size and is making the biggest contribution to housing in the Uttlesford District. How can it cope with another major development just a few hundred yards away?

The Easton Park proposal runs a high risk of failure. Vincent Thompson, spokesman for SEP said, “this proposal is a white elephant built on a house of cards which would destroy a unique asset for those who will follow”.

  • Who will buy expensive houses so close to a runway?
  • It cannot be right to build affordable housing there given the health risks.
  • What builder will want to build on the quarry that accounts for a quarter of the site?
  • The employment figures derived from MAG’s absurdly optimistic projections are not credible.

A notable flaw in the Plan is the failure to adapt it following the MoD’s announcement in November 2016 that they plan to leave Carver Barracks in 2031. This brownfield site would come too late for the 15 years of this Plan but its probable availability for the next plan should have influenced the strategy adopted for this Plan. Are UDC planning to create FOUR new towns in this rural area?

This is the last chance that residents have to express concerns. Do not miss the chance to protect this unique asset and to safeguard your future against permanent gridlock.

View the Plan and register your concerns at:-

The deadline is 5.00 pm on Monday 13 August 2018.