(Community Halls And Centres)


11.4.1  Saffron Walden has one building which is officially listed as a community centre; Golden Acre. It also has several other community spaces within the parish, such as church halls. All of these spaces are well-used and a survey carried out by the SWNP discovered that they all operate over capacity.[1]

11.4.2  The UDC sports strategy documents published in 2019 are silent on what makes for adequate provision levels for community centres. However, the Uttlesford Open Space, Sport Facility and Playing Pitch Strategy of 2012 noted a benchmark of at least 1 community centre per 1,500 residents. This figure is slightly higher than the provision which is proposed for the garden communities, which is one community centre per 1,469 residents. [2]

11.4.3  Using the garden community standards, Saffron Walden should have 12 community centres. Even including all buildings used but not officially classified as community centres, Saffron Walden has 10. Therefore, the parish has a shortfall of at least two community centres.

11.4.4  Additional community spaces will enable residents to organise a wide range of activities. This will promote positive mental and physical health, reinforce community spirit and promote the town’s economy by keeping bookings and ancillary event services local.

11.4.5  There is a presumption that new community facilities will be owned by the Town Council and run either by the Town Council or a community group. The Town Council must be consulted on the design and construction of the buildings in order to ensure that they meet requirements in terms of design, accessibility and appropriateness for end use.

[1] See Appendix 7 for survey responses

[2] Source: Uttlesford Local Plan Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) ANNEX: SCHEDULES Garden Communities and Settlements / North Uttlesford GC scheduled to deliver 5,000 homes (i.e. population 12,000), and 8.17 community centres, i.e. one community centre per 1,379 residents.


1.  Major new developments with a forecast of 1,500 or more inhabitants will require new centres or halls to be provided as part of the development and in line with the Uttlesford benchmark.

2.  Smaller developments will be required to contribute towards the extension or other improvement of existing facilities in order to allow them to deal with the expected increase in demands placed upon them, or towards a general fund to be ringfenced and accessed in the future for the creation of new facilities as required and when total funds permit.

3.  When 56 High Street is developed, the Scout Hall will be lost, and contributions or land, as appropriate at the time, to replace it, will be required as mitigation.

This policy supports the Neighbourhood Plan Objectives 1,2,3,5


Please use the relevant section numbers as reference markers when writing your comments.

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Neighbourhood Plan Objectives

Objective 1

Saffron Walden will be an economically active and self-sustaining town, offering equal opportunities to all.

Objective 2

Saffron Walden’s residents will be able to live as healthily as possible.

Objective 3

Saffron Walden will be an environmentally sustainable town.

Objective 4

Saffron Walden’s heritage assets, high quality landscape and conservation areas will be protected or enhanced.

Objective 5

Saffron Walden will retain its market-town feel and community spirit.