Villages and towns throughout Uttlesford will have an exciting new opportunity to develop their own community plans and to address the need for affordable housing thanks to a new partnership agreement just signed between Uttlesford District Council (UDC) and Rural Community Council of Essex (RCCE).

As a result of funding provided under the agreement, RCCE will be able to extend its support for Parish Plans and other community-led plans and provide more help in tackling local housing shortages, in an area where research has shown the average house price is more than 15 times the average income. It will also be working with the District Council to help local communities understand and take advantage of some of the opportunities for local community action set out in the Government’s recent Localism Act.

Under the agreement, communities will be able to access practical support and guidance that will assist them on a range of Community-led Planning projects, including Parish Plans and the new ‘community right’ to produce a Neighbourhood Plan. This will include help with progressing actions identified in Parish Plans.  Support will also be available to communities with regard to the new powers provided in the Localism Act, such as Right to Build, Right to Bid (Assets of Community Value), etc.

RCCE’s Rural Housing Enabler will build on the work already being undertaken in the district with parish councils to identify local housing needs. Parish councils and district councillors will be able to access increased advice and information on affordable housing, including guidance and raising awareness on the concept of affordable rural housing for local people.

“Uttlesford is one of the most rural districts in Essex, so it is extremely important to us,” said Nick Shuttleworth, Executive Director of RCCE. “We have a good track record of working with communities in the district but thanks to this exciting new partnership agreement with UDC, we look forward to doing more to help local people address their local priorities,” he added.

Cabinet Member for Community Partnerships and Engagement Councillor Howard Rolfe said:  “I am pleased that we have entered into this partnership agreement with RCCE.  We look forward to the support and benefits that the arrangement will have for our parish councils and communities.”

For further information from RCCE, please contact either Nick Shuttleworth, Executive Director ( or Sarah Sapsford, Community Engagement Manager ( - telephone: 01376 574330.