Thaxted is a town of historical and cultural significance to the surrounding area of North Essex. It has two famous landmarks, John Webb’s Windmill and the Church of St John the Baptist, where Gustav Holst composed his Planet Suite between 1914-1916. Thaxted Parish Council Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group commissioned Liz Lake Associates to undertake a Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) of the landscape surrounding the settlement.
Thaxted is a desirable place to live and the town has come under increasing pressure from developers wishing to advance development proposals, in light of Uttlesford District Council’s identified shortfall in 5 year housing supply. In order to help inform local planning decisions in future and ensure new developments do not compromise the town’s special historic character, the practice worked closely with built heritage consultants to identify key views and setting issues, and undertook a detailed landscape appraisal, sensitivity and capacity study.
The outcome of the assessment now forms part of the evidence base that Thaxted Parish Council have used to compile its Neighbourhood Development Plan. It is hoped that the work will help conserve the special qualities of the town’s character and setting, retaining key landscape views and vistas towards the windmill and church, while still enabling the town to evolve in the future by accommodating new development appropriately and in a way that is well-integrated into the landscape setting.