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Uttlesford District Council’s new Local Plan is required to allocate sites to meet the housing, employment and other needs of the district. To better understand the availability of sites for allocation, the Council undertook a ‘Call for Sites’ in winter 2020/spring 2021. In this review, the Land to the North of Stansted was identified as underutilised with outdated policy support for airport uses. Therefore the site is wholly suitable for modern development which supports wider employment uses.
Historically, Uttlesford District Council has been a net exporter of employees, meaning that residents travel out of the district for work. Uttlesford District is presently experiencing its highest period of unemployment. High quality development is needed to provided employment opportunities for local residents
The redevelopment of the site does not affect any current plans outlined for Stansted Airport. The development will reduce the size of Stansted Airport’s operational vicinity and bring new employment opportunities to Uttlesford. Through Columbia Threadneedle Investments’ redevelopment plans, the scheme will diversify the local economy and decrease the area’s economic reliance on Stansted Airport.
The site presents an excellent opportunity to deliver the majority of the land that Uttlesford needs for future employment and economic growth, which would otherwise need to be identified elsewhere in the district.
This site is in a prime location in the Southeast of England, neighbouring the country’s third largest Airport and located on the UK Innovation Corridor.
This brownfield site was identified for employment development within Uttlesford Council’s previous local plan for redevelopment.
The site benefits from exceptional transport connections, adjacent to Junction 8 of the M11 with 25 million people within an hour’s drive. The site has prime public transport links, including a direct bus to and from the airport and its onsite railway and bus network, providing high speed rail access to London and the wider region.
This development will be the largest new employment scheme in Uttlesford and the wider region with the potential to generate employment for c.5,000 people from inception to development, across a broad range of skills, in cutting edge growth industries. This scheme will create a range of sustainable employment opportunities that rely upon a skilled workforce.
In addition to this, Columbia Threadneedle Investments is keen to work with local residents, businesses, education providers and charities to deliver social value that benefits the local community.
A comprehensive traffic assessment has been undertaken to help understand any possible effects on the local transport infrastructure and to help mitigate impacts where possible.
Columbia Threadneedle Investments and their specialist highways consultant are fully engaged with the national and local highway authorities to ensure that our proposals deliver necessary improvements to prevent an adverse impact on traffic and congestion in the local area.
Columbia Threadneedle Investments are also keen to support sustainable travel and are actively exploring how we can promote active commuting and public transport initiatives to minimise car journeys to and from the site.
Columbia Threadneedle Investments’ vision for the development is to create a business, logistics and technology park that attracts innovation, green investment and the most forward-thinking companies because of the scheme outstanding sustainability credentials.
Columbia Threadneedle Investments are developing an energy strategy that minimises the site’s carbon footprint through innovation and maximises the use of renewable energy technologies. The plans aim to create a resource-efficient development that minimises waste, water use and other natural resources, whilst ensuring fabric efficiency of our buildings.
The proposals also aim to align with and exceed Uttlesford District Council’s Climate Emergency policy and its ambitions for sustainability. Finally, the site’s location provides excellent opportunities to promote sustainable travel choices, such as cycling, and electric vehicles.
All of these measures taken together will assist in working towards our goal of delivering a sustainable development.
Columbia Threadneedle Investments is currently working very closely and remains in regular communication with Elsenham Football Club to explore options for their relocation. We have guaranteed the Club usage of the pitches for the remainder of this season and they will continue to have usage of the pitches until we are in a position to begin works on site.
In addition to this, we have met Stansted Mountfitchet Parish Council and other relevant stakeholders and interested parties on several occasions and are working with them to consider all options for unlocking potential community benefits through our emerging proposals, including sports and leisure provision. Columbia Threadneedle Investments is keen to work with local residents, businesses, education providers, charities and organisations to deliver social value that benefits the local community.
All of the current tenants on site are aware of our emerging proposals and Columbia Threadneedle Investments continues to liaise with them closely with regards to the future of the site, including the 494 (Stansted Airport) Squadron. It is currently the intention to include the site where the RAFAC is located as part of the proposals. We are keen to work with local residents, businesses, education providers, charities and organisations to deliver social value that benefits the local community.
The existing tree line around the northern boundary of the site is a key consideration when developing our proposed scheme. Therefore, the project team has worked hard to ensure that the tree line can be retained in its entirety and further reinforced with additional planting where required. Columbia Threadneedle Investments’ ownership of the site will also ensure that this wooded area can be managed going forward, for example by increasing the diversity of species, while maintaining the existing screening potential.
A comprehensive Transport Assessment has been undertaken to help understand any possible effects on the local transport infrastructure and to help mitigate impacts where possible. Columbia Threadneedle Investments and our specialist transport consultant are fully engaged with the national and local highway authorities to ensure that our proposals have considered the impacts of the development on the local transport network and identify suitable mitigation in accordance with the requirements as set out in National Planning Policy Framework. Improvements are proposed to First Avenue and Round Coppice Road, which provide access to this site. The potential for further improvements to the highway is currently being discussed with the local and highway authorities and this specifically looks at journey times along key routes on the strategic highway network such as the M11 and A120 to mitigate pressures upon local networks.
A comprehensive transport assessment has been undertaken and Columbia Threadneedle Investments’ specialist transport consultant has carefully explored all options for active travel to the site. Improved walk and cycle connectivity is proposed from the site to the existing pedestrian and cycle infrastructure to the south west of the site. These improvements will create a safe and convenient route for employees travelling from locations such as Bishop’s Stortford and Great Dunmow through an extension to the existing cycle route to the south of the site. We are committed to providing infrastructure for sustainable and active travel, such as cycle paths, footpaths and on-site Electric Vehicle charging points. These will need to meet the high standards of safety requirements of the local and highways authorities. In addition to this, we are also exploring the possibility of facilitating a shuttle bus or on-demand bus service for employees on the site – in turn improving the safety of those travelling to and from the site, particularly during the darker times of the day.
This project presents an inward investment upwards of £250million by Columbia Threadneedle Investments (CTI), creating c.2.1 million sq. ft. of prime commercial employment space. Following completion, CTI fully intends on retaining ownership of the site, leasing the commercial units for private rental, to a variety of units sizes able to meet a mix of occupier and business needs.
Columbia Threadneedle Investments envisages a broad range of occupiers on site from across cutting edge industries, including e-commerce, life sciences, technology and logistics, which are the fastest growing sectors in the United Kingdom and for which the real estate required to support this growth is critically undersupplied. Following the project’s completion, the development will provide c.2.1 million sq. ft. of prime commercial employment space to cater for these growth industries and has the potential to generate employment for c.5,000 people from inception to completion. The units will vary in size, so as to provide a range of options for possible occupiers.
We intend on submitting a planning application in January 2022. Subject to approval from Uttlesford District Council, we then anticipate it being a five-year project commencing in 2023.