Saffron Walden’s road network is primarily based on narrow medieval streets and farm tracks that have been paved over. While this has served the town well for centuries, over the last 100 years the town has developed from a sleepy agricultural market town to one that also now has a large base of family homeowners that commute to work. The town’s streets are already often congested and there are resultant air quality problems and damage to heritage assets. Increased traffic also makes people feel less safe on the pavement, leading to more car journeys.
Over the next 50 years Saffron Walden will continue to grow over and above the immediate 25% growth in households that have already been partly approved or allocated in the draft Uttlesford Local Plan. The vast majority of the Local Plan development is on the east of town, which is particularly inaccessible by road.
Under the draft Local Plan, the highways proposals that have been developed for the District Council to cope with this 25% short-term growth are widely seen by the town as being unfit and unworkable because they don’t cater to the fundamental needs of the town as a whole. All they do is move cars inside new housing estates. They don’t recognise the needs of existing residents, visitors, businesses, changing populations, or that the highways network is a critical piece of infrastructure required to keep the town viable as a market town, retail and employment centre in its own right.
Under the Neighbourhood Plan, a range of radical policies will need to be developed to manage the long term needs of businesses, residents and visitors with respect to Highways and Transport. These should replace those proposals as envisaged by the District Council with something that is more fit to the needs of Saffron Walden and its future.
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