Sunday, 31 December 2017

Garden Community Development Consultation - 13th November 2017 to 22nd January 2018 (extended to 2nd February 2018)

Post updates:
28th January 2018 - Update of deadline from 22nd January to 2nd February 2018

Deadline: 5pm, 2nd February 2018.

There is currently a public consultation on the details of the new Garden Community planned to the East of Colchester.

To quote from the consultation document, “Your feedback to this consultation will directly influence the strategies, policies and proposals in the final Development Plan for the Tendring Colchester Borders Garden Community.”

Important issues, including the position and size of green buffers are covered.

See here for the details of the consultation:

Tendring Colchester Borders Garden Community Issues and Options Consultation

The consultation asks a number of questions. Please respond as you see fit, however, some suggested responses are below, which you are free to use. (I have prepared these by reading the consultation document and discussion with others.)

If you use the answers below, it might help if you highlight any changes you have made, so that the planners don't assume your answers are the same as these.

Q1 - Do you agree with the content of the Vision? Is anything missing? What are the priorities?

a) It is not clear what the following statement means:

“Regardless of which delivery model is applied, capturing the uplift in development land value will be critical to ensuring that the long-term aspirations of community stewardship of public assets and infrastructure are delivered.”

b) On page 12, ‘Key design principles identified at the TCBGC Concept Framework Workshop’

I think this should read ‘The importance of Salary Brook and its wider environment, including hill slopes up to the skyline visible from Greenstead and Longridge Park’, and ‘Avoiding coalescence with other settlements in particular Greenstead, Longridge Park, Wivenhoe and Elmstead Market.’
(Colchester East Action Group attended these workshops.)

c) On page 12 ‘A new Country Park’

The size of this Country Park is crucial – all new development should be over the brow of the hill and out-of-sight of existing residents of Greenstead and Longridge Park.

Q3 - Do you support the emerging approach to green infrastructure?

a) Maintaining a separation between the new community and Greenstead and Longridge Park should be mentioned, as well as between the new community and Wivenhoe and Elmstead Market.

b) The size of the Country Park is crucial - all new development should be over the brow of the hill and out-of-sight of existing residents of Greenstead and Longridge Park.

c) There is a natural buffer between the new community and Greenstead and Longridge park – the hill slope to the East side of Salary Brook, which should not be developed.

d) The Greenstead Ward councillors support a green, undeveloped buffer of 1.5km to the East of Colchester between existing and new development. This would mean an extension of the green space shown on the map, and the removal of the parcel of isolated residential/Knowledge Gateway land shown in Figure 5.1 (in Section 5).

e) All new development should be to the East of the ridgeline shown on the map in Figure 4.1, probably further away from Greenstead and Longridge Park. See d) above.

f) There should be a height restriction on buildings, so that they will not be visible from Greenstead and Longridge Park.

g) The Country Park around Salary Brook and its nearby slopes should be a natural place, similar to the natural areas in Highwoods Country Park in Colchester.

h) The Country Park around Salary Brook should be owned and maintained by Colchester Council. If there are not funds for this initially, the area can be protected from development and reserved as green space and to maintain the rural views from Greenstead and Longridge Park.

i) The boundaries of the Country Park around Salary Brook should be clearly defined, and these should be shown on the maps in Figures 4.1 and 5.1.

j) Small ad-hoc developments, like that proposed by Gladman Developments off Bromley Road, should always be refused.

Q4 - Do you support the emerging approach to integrated and sustainable transport?

a) In the future, private car ownership might be less necessary due to fleets of self-driving taxis which might be easily available.

b) Hythe station is an important asset for local people in the Hythe area of Colchester, and in Greenstead and Longridge Park.

Q8 - Do you support the emerging approach to good design?

a) Continuously-connected streets rather than dead-ends could lead to racing of cars. Maybe the roads should be dead-ends, but there should be pedestrian/cycle access between them.

Q13 - Do you support the emerging Concept Framework for the site?

a) The development to the South of the A133 which was resisted by local stakeholders seems to have been replaced with an inappropriate development parcel to the North of the A133 – the isolated parcel which is half residential and half Knowledge Gateway to the North of Wivenhoe House in Figure 5.1. This will spoil the illusion of a rural area which would be created if all new development is out of sight from Greenstead. If development has to go ahead here, it must be completely screened so it is invisible from Greenstead. Maybe this development could be partly split, with some South of the A133?

b) If the spatial layouts need amending in the case where 9,000 houses are needed, then the Country Park around Salary Brook and its slopes should still be protected, because it will serve as an important amenity to residents of Greenstead and Longridge Park. The boundaries of this country park therefore need to be very clearly defined and added to Figure 5.1. Any additional parcels of land that might be needed could be shown on the map.

c) See my answers to Q3 about the size and layout, and boundaries of the Country Park around Salary Brook and its slopes.

Regards
James
Colchester East Action Group (CHEAG)
Blog: http://cheag.blogspot.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/colchestereastactiongroup

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

'Salary Brook' and other Terms

A few points on wording:

Salary Brook Nature Reserve

The ‘Salary Brook Nature Reserve’ only covers a narrow strip of land, see the map from here:


So we need to argue for an extension of the Salary Brook Nature Reserve to create a green buffer/country park, not just its protection, see below.

Salary Brook

‘Salary Brook’, taken literally, is only the brook itself. This is the interpretation of Gladman Developments in their submission to upcoming Local Plan hearings.

Salary Brook Valley

‘Valley’ is ‘low area between hills’ so is only the green space at the bottom of the area CHEAG is aiming to protect.

Proposed Wording

“Any new development to the East of Colchester should be over the brow of the hill and out-of-sight of existing residents of Greenstead and Longridge Park. There should be a 1.5km green, undeveloped buffer between current housing and any new development. This idea is supported by the Greenstead Ward councillors.”

Regards
James
Colchester East Action Group (CHEAG)
Blog: http://cheag.blogspot.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/colchestereastactiongroup

Saturday, 11 November 2017

June-August 2017 Colchester Local Plan Consultation Responses

Responses to the June-August 2017 Colchester Local Plan consultation are available online and can be seen here:

Policy SP8: Tendring/Colchester Borders Garden Community

Cllr Julie Young, Cllr Tim Young, Cllr Tina Bourne, Sir Bob Russell and many others commented, I won't list everyone here to avoid missing someone!

Thanks to those mentioned above and everyone else.

The next round of consultation starts soon, I plan to write about it in due course.

Regards
James
Colchester East Action Group (CHEAG)
Blog: http://cheag.blogspot.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/colchestereastactiongroup

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Colchester Local Plan Consultation

Deadline: 11 August 2017, 5pm.

Please respond as below, to help preserve green space between Greenstead, Longridge Park and the new development.

The following linked page makes sending comments look complicated, but it isn't really!

Colchester Council - Local Plan Consultation

1) Go to the above web page. If you find the rest of the process below difficult, please see the end of the main text on the web page which gives an email address and phone number.

2) Click the link under Point 2) on the page, to go to the dedicated consultation portal.

3) Click on 'register now' and provide your details, or login if you have already registered.
(Please note that this login is not the same as the login for the Colchester Council website - you can only use it to login to the consultation portal. This is confusing because there can be two login links on the council webpage - one near the top for the council website, one near the centre for the consultation - you need the one near the centre when you want to login or out of the consultation portal.)

4) Click to go back to the consultation section.

5) Click on 'Section 1 - Publication Draft Local Plan'.

6) Click on 'Policy SP8: Tendring/Colchester Borders Garden Community'.

7) Click on the green pencil symbol to the left of the title 'Policy SP8 - Tendring/Colchester Borders Garden Community'.

8) Complete the displayed form, ideas below. You have to answer all the questions, I think.

9) Check back after 1 business day or so that your submission appears next to the policy - click the magnifying glass symbol next to the title 'Policy SP8 - Tendring/Colchester Borders Garden Community'.

Ideas for your submission

The section to comment on is 'Policy SP8: Tendring/Colchester Borders Garden Community'.

Use your words where possible, but include the following text if you agree, which accurately describes CHEAG's goals.

- Any new development to the East of Colchester in the Tendring/Colchester Borders should be over the brow of the hill and out-of-sight of existing residents of Greenstead and Longridge Park. Ideally, there should be a 1.5km green, undeveloped buffer between current housing and any new development. This idea is supported by the Greenstead Ward councillors.

- The green, undeveloped area between current and new housing should ideally be dedicated as a 'Country Park', for the enjoyment of the occupants of the up to 9,000 new houses and the existing residents of Greenstead and Longridge Park.

- Any new road in the area should incorporate noise shielding to prevent disturbance to residents from traffic noise.

- The Strategic Growth Development Plan Document for the area should be the subject of public consultation regarding the position of new development and green space.

Also include these if you agree:

- Housing design in the new development should be comparable with the best in Colchester, photos of which have been sent to planners. Please contact Colchester East Action Group for more details.

- The new development should include references to historical Colchester, in the design of buildings and street names.

Regards
James
Colchester East Action Group (CHEAG)
Blog: http://cheag.blogspot.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/colchestereastactiongroup

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Gladman Land Objection Reasons So Far

(Updated: 17th June 2017 - Added info about Colchester Council's objection. 24 June 2017 - Clarification re views vs landscapes.)

Here is a summary of objection reasons to the Gladman Land proposal, that we have so far.

These are taken from my chat with Councillor Mike Lilley (see 1 June 2017 post, below) and other discussions.

Please remember that your own objections are best, written in your own words. Use the ideas below as you see fit, including copying if you want! (If you do copy, make clear where you have changed any standard text below.)

Here is the link to the planning application, where you can comment:

Tendring District Council - Planning Reference 17/00859/OUT

Colchester Council's response to the planning application can be seen under 'Documents' on the above planning application page. This can be used for objection ideas.

Also, the following ideas can be used.

Please see later in this post regarding views vs landscapes - destruction of a view is not a valid objection reason, but landscapes are an important planning consideration.

Landscape damage:

This development would destroy a sensitive landscape transition from semi-urban Longridge Park in Colchester to the countryside beyond. It would sit on fields sloping up from Salary Brook, which are visible going along Bromley Road and from Longridge Park opposite in Colchester. These fields form a gradual, natural break between the two environments.
The proposed site is not allocated for housing in the local plan, and very likely won't be in the emerging local plan. It is countryside.
The new housing would be impossible to effectively screen, because it would be on rising land. Even a 20 metre tree buffer would not screen it.
This particular site has more landscape sensitivity than others. The development would have significant landscape impact and visibility.
There are other sites in Tendring District where housing can go which won't cause this level of landscape harm.
Tendring are currently pro-actively planning, and putting together a new local plan, in accordance with the NPPF and this application is clearly premature.
This is a piecemeal, ad-hoc planning application. Please reject this application.

From Councillor Mike Lilley (copied from earlier post):

  • Any reasons you can think of yourself, using your local knowledge.
  • Lack of green space, over-development.
  • Look at schools - how much capacity? Developers offered to give £500,000 in Rowhedge.
  • Local dentists, doctors, schools - how many free places do they have? Ask them. Do they have physical room to expand?
  • Objection: destroy green space and buffer.
  • Proposed Garden city will supply housing in this area.
  • In Rowhedge, someone else offered an alternative piece of land - so they supported that instead for local plan.
  • Farmhouses on land were quite old in Rowhedge - historical expert looked at - should be listed. Developer could still build around them, though.
  • Look at hedgerows, would have to destroy to build road to enter site? Historic hedgerows?
  • Ask for properly-built housing, green housing, plugs for electric cars, etc.
  • Will this impact the proposed garden city and its schools and highways provision?
  • What is land currently used for? Farming - valuable agricultural land cannot always be used. There are grades and lifetimes of land. In Rowhedge, land was split between beneficiaries in inheritance, so they wanted to sell it.
  • If they propose a transport plan - e.g. bus passes - who will pay for it? Who will enforce any proposed parking restrictions?
  • Needs an expert in planning to look at the application.
  • What is an affordable house? Can be high cost. Who will it be affordable by?
  • Tendring will get council tax, Colchester will pay for services?
  • 135 homes proposed, so, say, 300 cars - maybe 300-500 cars extra on Bromley Road and Harwich Road. Put pressure on highways about this.
  • Object to lack of infrastructure. Infrastructure that will go in in garden city - to combat current lack of infrastructure, would be needed for this too.
  • Object about destruction of countryside. [A view, for example a sea view from a resident's house, cannot be protected. A landscape can be protected, and is an important planning consideration.] Concentrate on planning matters only.
  • Gladman have said they would build pumping station to prevent flooding - check everything about this. (With building of houses - rain has nowhere to go.)
  • Over-development and loss of green space. Watch out for objecting on basis of lack of affordable housing - developer can counter by supplying.

Regards
James
Colchester East Action Group (CHEAG)
Blog: http://cheag.blogspot.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/colchestereastactiongroup

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Colchester Local Plan Meeting - 12 June 2017

The next Colchester Local Plan meeting is on 12th June 2017. (Check here before you travel, in case there are any changes to the meeting details.)

The new draft Local Plan has been published and will be discussed, see the agenda.

Some notes from a look at the documents:

1) There are 3 small/medium areas of new housing allocated to the North of Clingoe Hill/A133. These can be seen by zooming-in to the 'Colchester Borough' map which is linked from the agenda.

2) In the 'Local Plan Submission Part 1' document, I found this:
Policy SP8 - Tendring/Colchester Borders Garden Community
The adopted policies map identifies the broad location for the development of a new garden community of which the details and final number of homes will be set out in a Strategic Growth Development Plan Document to be prepared jointly between Colchester BC and Tendring DC and which will incorporate around 2,500 dwellings within the Plan period (as part of an overall total of between 7,000-9,000 homes) and provision for Gypsy and Travellers. 
The Strategic Growth DPD will set out the nature, form and boundary of the new community. The document will be produced in consultation with stakeholders and will include a concept plan showing the disposition and quantity of future land-uses, and give a three dimensional indication of the urban design and landscape parameters which will be incorporated into any future planning applications; together with a phasing and implementation strategy which sets out how the rate of development will be linked to the provision of the necessary social,physical and environmental infrastructure to ensure that the respective phases of the development do not come forward until the necessary infrastructure has been secured. The DPD will provide the framework for the subsequent development of more detailed masterplans and other design and planning guidance for the Tendring / Colchester Borders Garden Community.
If you find anything else of interest, let me know!

Regards
James
Colchester East Action Group (CHEAG)
Blog: http://cheag.blogspot.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/colchestereastactiongroup

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Gladman Land - Bromley Road Development

Updated: 15 June 2017 - added clarification about landscapes and views.

1. Introduction

Gladman Land have now submitted their planning application for 'up to 145 dwellings' on 'Land to The South of Bromley Road'.

Their application can be found here:

Tendring District Council - Planning Reference 17/00859/OUT

or search for 'Bromley Road' on the Tendring Council Planning Portal.

Gladman Land are a housing company who sometimes submit planning applications on land that is not allocated for housing. When they receive refusals from councils, they take them through to appeal, where in the past they have been successful.

To help oppose this:
  • Submit your personal objections to Tendring Council, as described on their website. Individually-written objections with your own thoughts are best, although there are some ideas below. I have been told that petitions don't add value. Check with the planning department if you need clarification.
  • Consider volunteering as described below. (Commissioning of a planning consultants' report would be urgent if it is to be done.)

2. Project

I had a very useful chat with Councillor Michael Lilley of Old Heath and The Hythe ward, who was involved in their organised opposition to a Gladman Land development proposal. My notes from that chat are below, in section 3. Thanks to Councillor Tim Young for arranging the chat.

For an organised objection, someone is needed to co-ordinate the following work.

Possible strategy:

a) Assess the risk of this development being approved. Tendring Council are likely to refuse it. However, assuming Gladman appeal to the government planning inspector, will the inspector need to follow 'the letter of the law' and allow 'sustainable development'? Or will they be able to use their judgement with respect to the emerging local plan? What is the risk?

b) Organise work on the items below, where relevant to this case.

If volunteers come forward, I can put people in contact with each other. There is an email button available from the 'View my complete profile' link under 'About Me' on this Internet page.

3. Notes from chat with Councillor Michael Lilley on 30 April 2017

3.1 Actions suggested

One or more people are needed to work on/co-ordinate any of the following items:
  • East Donyland Parish Council paid for a report by planning consultants on the Gladman application at Battleswick Farm. (Cost was £500?) This was really good. Look this up - will be on CBC planning website as Parish Council’s objection to the Battleswick Farm, Rowhedge Road development. To contact the parish council: East Donyland Parish Council, Parish Clerk is Nicki Matthews, see the East Donyland Parish Council website.
  • Use ward councillors’ locality budget to pay for our own report by planning consultants?
  • Do comment on developer’s web page - otherwise they might say to council that no-one bothered responding.
  • Speak to Colchester and Tendring MPs - go to hustings for June 2017 elections.
  • Call open, public meeting - MPs (Colchester and Tendring), borough councillors invited.
  • Councillors are there to defend resident’s rights. Get them on board.
  • Parson’s Heath - get their borough councillors on board, too.
  • Talk to Tendring planning officers.
  • Make residents aware, build-up support. Get loads of people together. Publicity.  
  • Poster campaign to raise awareness. Leaflet drops - try to get everyone to object to council.
  • Put up posters - mention overdevelopment of green space.
  • Rosie at CAUSE - might be able to help.
  • Members of public should go to local plan meetings in Tendring and Colchester.
  • Make sure land not accepted into new Local Plan by Tendring District Council, Colchester Borough Council.
  • Ask for meeting with Gladman Land? Rowhedge team asked for a meeting with Gladman Land.
  • Get county councillors on board. When find out who new county councillors are in May 2017, get them on board. Julie Young is currently our county councillor for Greenstead Ward.
  • Look at results of county council elections in May 2017 - get meeting with new councillors - schools and roads - they can look at.
  • Petition - councils like paper petitions. Sways planning committee, can be better than online.
  • Respond to any appeal by the developers to the Planning Inspector.

3.2 Objection reasons

  • Any reasons you can think of yourself, using your local knowledge.
  • Lack of green space, over-development.
  • Look at schools - how much capacity? Developers offered to give £500,000 in Rowhedge.
  • Local dentists, doctors, schools - how many free places do they have? Ask them. Do they have physical room to expand?
  • Objection: destroy green space and buffer.
  • Proposed Garden city will supply housing in this area.
  • In Rowhedge, someone else offered an alternative piece of land - so they supported that instead for local plan.
  • Farmhouses on land were quite old in Rowhedge - historical expert looked at - should be listed. Developer could still build around them, though.
  • Look at hedgerows, would have to destroy to build road to enter site? Historic hedgerows?
  • Ask for properly-built housing, green housing, plugs for electric cars, etc.
  • Will this impact the proposed garden city and its schools and highways provision?
  • What is land currently used for? Farming - valuable agricultural land cannot always be used. There are grades and lifetimes of land. In Rowhedge, land was split between beneficiaries in inheritance, so they wanted to sell it.
  • If they propose a transport plan - e.g. bus passes - who will pay for it? Who will enforce any proposed parking restrictions?
  • Needs an expert in planning to look at the application.
  • What is an affordable house? Can be high cost. Who will it be affordable by?
  • Tendring will get council tax, Colchester will pay for services?
  • 135 homes proposed, so, say, 300 cars - maybe 300-500 cars extra on Bromley Road and Harwich Road. Put pressure on highways about this.
  • Object to lack of infrastructure. Infrastructure that will go in in garden city - to combat current lack of infrastructure, would be needed for this too.
  • Object about destruction of countryside. [A view, for example a sea view from a resident's house, cannot be protected. A landscape can be protected, and is an important planning consideration.] Concentrate on planning matters only.
  • Gladman have said they would build pumping station to prevent flooding - check everything about this. (With building of houses - rain has nowhere to go.)
  • Over-development and loss of green space. Watch out for objecting on basis of lack of affordable housing - developer can counter by supplying.

3.3 General notes

  • Mike Lilley used to be on planning committee.
  • Rowhedge Residents Association, an action group, was set up.
  • They had a public meeting, 130 people attended.
  • Gladman have money and solicitors.
  • Gladman have won a few appeals to the planning inspector in Tendring.
  • In Rowhedge, residents were lucky because the application was: a) rejected by local plan b) rejected by planning officers. Appeal may still be made to government planning inspector, though.
  • Council planning officers don’t always know all the rules - planning consultants can assist with objections.
  • Gladman Land often propose small developments.
  • Kevin Bentley - their county councillor in Rowhedge. He was very helpful and worked across party lines.
  • Government planning inspectors have been instructed to find in favour of developers more often than previously.
  • Tendring are behind - unfortunate, they don’t have a local plan.

Regards
James
Colchester East Action Group (CHEAG)
Blog: http://cheag.blogspot.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/colchestereastactiongroup

Friday, 9 September 2016

Colchester Council Draft Local Plan Consultation 2016

Colchester Council are currently running a consultation on their 'Colchester Borough Council Local Plan Preferred Options 2017-2032'.

The proposed enormous development to the East of Colchester / West of Tendring is covered.

The deadline for submissions is: 5pm on Friday 16th September 2016.

This consultation is in addition to the one run by Tendring Council, which I emailed about previously.

The Colchester consultation is described here:

Colchester Council - Emerging Local Plan 2017-2032

A proposed response is below, which has been prepared together with greenstead.online.

Colchester Council prefer to receive comments online, which means you will need to register as described on the web page linked-to above.

You can also send comments by email or post, though, as described here:

http://www.colchester.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=21970&p=0#page=14

Please use your own words if possible, using what we have written as a guide if you agree.

If you use the template below, please feel free to amend the text to fit your views, and add other views if you read the document from the web page linked above. You might want to highlight any parts of your answers different from ours, to be sure the council take note of them.

Anonymous responses will not be accepted, so you must include your full name and address. The council may publicly publish responses, but I assume contact details will not be included - please check the web page above, or contact Colchester Council if you are worried about this.

Please send the following online (after registering as described above). If you send your comments by email or post, please also include the relevant parts relating to addresses below.

If you submit online, add the comments below on policy SP8. You may need to split the main comment into multiple parts if you reach a  word limit on the website. In that case, submit it on different sections of the form, but please make clear that all of these split parts of the submission refer to Policy SP8.

(A direct link to Policy SP8, which you can use after you have logged-in, is here:
https://colchester.jdi-consult.net/localplan/readdoc.php?docid=3&chapter=2&docelemid=d49#d49
Click the green pencil symbol to enter your response.)

If you submit online, a summary will be requested. A suggested text for the summary is:
"Any new development to the East of Colchester should be over the brow of the hill and out-of-sight of existing residents of Greenstead and Longridge Park, creating a buffer zone of at least 1.5km to match the one shown on the East of the new development. Infrastructure, flood risk and affordable housing should also be considered. Details in my representation."
For the Infrastructure submissions below, please submit them on the relevant parts of the document online, if possible - otherwise, enter them under Policy SP8 along with the others.

[Start of email or letter - for online submissions only include the comments, not the address details. The comments may need to be split as described above when submitting online.]
Email subject: Colchester Borough Council Draft Local Plan Preferred Options Consultation 2016
To: Planning Policy,
Colchester Borough Council,
Rowan House,
33 Sheepen Road,
Colchester,
CO3 3WG
Email: local.plan@colchester.gov.uk
From: [Your name here]
[Your Full Address Here]
Email: [Your email address here]
Telephone: [Your telephone number here - this may not be necessary]
Dear Sir/Madam,
Here are my comments on the Colchester Borough Council Draft Local Plan Preferred Options Document 2016.
Please personally send me confirmation of receipt of this email and display my comments, without my personal details, on your web site.
Policy SP8 - East Colchester / West Tendring New Garden Community
Here are my comments:
(Note to Colchester Council: The following text has been significantly updated on 9 September 2016, since previous text sent to Tendring Council.)
Regarding point 'v' - 'A high proportion of the garden community will comprise green infrastructure including a new country park around Salary Brook':
In Section 2.1 of the document ‘North Essex Garden Communities Concept Feasibility Study, Volume 2: Opportunities and Constraints’, the council state “Importantly, sufficient distance should be maintained between the Garden Community and the village of Elmstead Market to protect against settlement coalescence”.
With regards to the community of Greenstead, the same document states “it may be appropriate to create pedestrian connectivity between Greenstead and the Garden Community”, and describes “the potential to integrate with existing residential development”. Again, Section 3.3 of the document ‘North Essex Garden Communities Concept Feasibility Study, Volume 3: Options and Evaluation’ proposes on the one hand that “Elmstead Market is protected by a green buffer beyond the eastern site boundary”, yet when it comes to Greenstead and the new garden community “some form of pedestrian/cycle connectivity” is proposed to “assist with integration of existing and new development”.
It is unclear as to why the residents of Greenstead and Longridge Park are expected to ‘integrate’ with the new development in the interests of ‘cohesive communities’, while Elmstead Market is given a ‘key buffer zone’ to protect against ‘settlement coalescence’; why ‘integration of existing and new development’ is expected of the residents of Colchester, whereas ‘sufficient distance’ and a ‘green buffer zone’ are considered essential for Elmstead Market? Are the residents of Colchester less important than those of Elmstead Market? In the interests of fairness, an equally wide ‘buffer zone’ should be implemented on both sides of the new development, to prevent urban sprawl.
Therefore, in the interests of the Colchester and particularly Greenstead, the country park around Salary Brook should form a ‘buffer zone’ between existing residents of Colchester and any new development.
In particular, any new development should be over the brow of the hill heading away from Salary Brook, and thus out of sight of existing residents of Greenstead and Longridge Park in Colchester.
The Strategic Green Gaps Policy is relevant here, and should be applied.
The East side of Colchester is already well-developed, but has some well-used and important green open spaces nearby which are valued by the public, and are important for wildlife. These green open spaces, stretching to a distance of at least 1.5km away from existing development, should be untouched by new development, as described later in this answer. Too much new development directly on the Eastern border of existing developed areas of Colchester would destroy the semi-rural character of the current area, and create an unpleasant and unmanageable urban sprawl.
Furthermore, Tendring Council, by introducing a significant amount of residential or other development into the countryside to the East of Colchester, would materially harm the character and appearance of the rural area contrary to the objectives of national policy (National Planning Policy Framework, 2012, paragraph 17, 5th bullet point; paragraph 109; and paragraph 81 is also related, although paragraph 81 is specific to Green Belts). This may also contravene local planning policy.
Local and national policy should collectively recognise the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside, seek to enhance the rural landscape and visual amenity of any Green Belt or general green land, and prevent development conspicuous from within any Green Belt or general green land which would have an excessive impact on rural character.
If there is to be new development to the East of Colchester, there should be a buffer (or country park) of green, completely undeveloped land of 1.5km around Salary Brook.
This protected 'Salary Brook Valley and Slopes' would include the Salary Brook itself, plus currently-undeveloped land 1.5km either side of the brook, along its entire length between Ardleigh and where the brook meets the River Colne.
One of the Colchester community groups organised an e-Petition with Colchester Council called 'Save Salary Brook Valley' which has nearly 800 signatories, available at http://colchester.cmis.uk.com/colchester/ePetitions/tabid/115/ID/1/Save-Salary-Brook-Valley.aspx. There is also a more recent e-Petition organised by greenstead.online at http://greenstead.online/petition/ which has over 600 signatures.
Please also take into account all objections to the 'Colchester Fringe' proposals received during your 6th January 2014 to 17th February 2014 public consultation and the Tendring District Local Plan: Issues and Options 2015 Consultation.
Regarding Infrastructure
- Hythe Station
The Hythe Station is an important asset for residents of Greenstead and Longridge Park in Colchester, and all its services should be maintained or increased.
- Infrastructure First
Any housing development approved to the East of Colchester must be made conditional on the planning, implementation and completion of the infrastructure required to support that development (roads, public transport, schools, healthcare, community facilities, sports and recreational facilities) before the new residential areas are opened.
Colchester Council acknowledge the importance of infrastructure in the 'Sustainability Appraisal for Part One of the Local Plan' document: "6.10.3 - Secondary Effects: The emergence of this Garden Community can be expected to have further significant secondary effects on the wider area, associated with the necessary infrastructure provision required of development at that scale." Policy SP8 states the need for “a phasing and implementation strategy which sets out how the rate of development will be linked to the provision of the necessary social and physical infrastructure to ensure that the respective phases of the development do not come forward until the necessary infrastructure has been secured.” It is vital that this is strategy is comprehensively set out before building commences so that social and physical infrastructure is in place to support the necessary development.
- Flood Risk
A full assessment must be made of the risk of any new development making the existing potential for flooding problems in the Salary Brook area any worse, and binding guarantees being obtained from water companies and the developers that specific measures that will be implemented to prevent the new development from increasing the flood risk, and to mitigate the existing level of flooding in the area.
In Section 2.11 of the document North Essex Garden Communities, Concept Feasibility Study, Volume 1: Baseline Compendium, the council state:
"Surface water networks are at capacity and potential new developments would need to deal with their surface run-off in a way that does not impose any additional load on the system. In practice, this means that surface water cannot be discharged to the existing disposal network. The use of infiltration SuDS may be restricted due to impedance from the soil structure. This could be beneficial for on-site water storage for reuse." “The site sits within both surface and groundwater nitrate vulnerability zones, in which future development will need to ensure that land use does not increase the level of nitrate in groundwater and mitigate any potential affects (sic) on groundwater supply.” and “Salary Brook is a highly modified water course with moderate ecological potential. It is at risk from further ecological deterioration."
In Section 2.3 of the document North Essex Garden Communities, Concept Feasibility Study, Volume 2: Opportunities and Constraints, the council state:
“The topography of the site coupled with reduction in impervious surfacing associated with development along with impeded drainage potential of clay soils and underlying geology will result in high run-off rates that will need to be managed.”
These are serious concerns which must be fully addressed by the water companies before any development can be approved.
[End of email, letter or online submission]

Regards
James
Colchester East Action Group (CHEAG)
Blog: http://cheag.blogspot.co.uk/

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Tendring District Local Plan Preferred Options Consultation 2016

Tendring Council are currently running a consultation on their 'Tendring District Local Plan Preferred Options Consultation Document 2016'.

The proposed enormous development to the East of Colchester / West of Tendring is covered.

The deadline for submissions is: Thursday 8 September 2016 at 5pm.

This consultation is in addition to the one currently running by Colchester Council, which I will email about over the next few weeks.

The Tendring consultation is described here:

Tendring District Local Plan Preferred Options Consultation

I have put together a draft response (below). You can submit comments by registering as described on the above-linked web page, or you can email my text below to:

planning.policy@tendringdc.gov.uk

Please use your own words if possible, maybe using what I have written as a guide if you agree.

Please see the above-linked webpage for more details on other ways to respond, and other information.

If you use my template below, please feel free to amend my text to fit your views, and add other views if you read the document from the web page linked above. You might want to highlight any parts of your answers different from mine below, to be sure the council take note of them.

Anonymous responses will not be accepted, so you must include your contact details. The council will publicly publish responses, but I assume contact details will not be included - please check the web page above, or contact Tendring Council if you are worried about this.

By email (or post), or online:

[Start of email, letter or online submission]

Email Subject: Tendring District Local Plan Preferred Options Consultation Document 2016

To: The Planning Policy Manager,
Planning Department,
Tendring District Council,
Council Offices,
Thorpe Road,
Weeley,
Clacton-on-Sea,
Essex,
CO16 9AJ
Email: planning.policy@tendringdc.gov.uk

From: [Your name here]
[Your Address Here]
Email: [Your email address here]
Telephone: [Your telephone number here - this may not be necessary]

Dear Sir/Madam,

Here are my comments on the Tendring District Local Plan Preferred Options Consultation Document 2016.

Please personally send me confirmation of receipt of this email and display my comments, without my personal details, on your web site.

Policy SP8 - East Colchester / West Tendring New Garden Community

Here are my comments:

Regarding point 'v' - 'A high proportion of the garden community will comprise green infrastructure including a new country park around Salary Brook':

This green infrastructure should be large enough to form a substantial buffer between existing residents of Colchester and any new development.

In particular, any new development should be over the brow of the hill heading away from Salary Brook, and thus out of sight of existing residents of Greenstead and Longridge Park in Colchester.

Policy PPL 6 - Strategic Green Gaps is relevant here, and should be applied.

The East side of Colchester is already well-developed, but has some well-used and important green open spaces nearby which are valued by the public, and are important for wildlife. These green open spaces, stretching to a distance of at least 1.5km away from existing development, should be untouched by new development, as described later in this answer. Too much new development directly on the Eastern border of existing developed areas of Colchester would create an unpleasant and unmanageable urban sprawl.

Furthermore, Tendring Council, by introducing a significant amount of residential or other development into the countryside to the East of Colchester, would materially harm the character and appearance of the rural area contrary to the objectives of national policy (National Planning Policy Framework, 2012, paragraph 17, 5th bullet point; paragraph 109; and paragraph 81 is also related, although paragraph 81 is specific to Green Belts). This may also contravene local planning policy.

Local and national policy should collectively recognise the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside, seek to enhance the rural landscape and visual amenity of any Green Belt or general green land, and prevent development conspicuous from within any Green Belt or general green land which would have an excessive impact on rural character.

If there is to be new development to the East of Colchester, there should be a buffer (or country park) of green, completely undeveloped land of 1.5km around Salary Brook.
This protected 'Salary Brook Valley and Slopes' would include the Salary Brook itself, plus currently-undeveloped land 1.5km either side of the brook, along its entire length between Ardleigh and where the brook meets the River Colne.

One of the Colchester community groups organised an e-Petition with Colchester Council called 'Save Salary Brook Valley' which has nearly 800 signatories, there is also an e-Petition being organised by greenstead.online.

Please also take into account all objections to the 'Colchester Fringe' proposals received during your 6th January 2014 to 17th February 2014 public consultation and the Tendring District Local Plan: Issues and Options 2015 Consultation.

Regarding Infrastructure

The Hythe Station is an important asset for residents of Greenstead and Longridge Park in Colchester, and all its services should be maintained or increased.

[End of email, letter or online submission]

Regards
James
Colchester East Action Group (CHEAG)
Blog: http://cheag.blogspot.co.uk/ 

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

greenstead.online and Evidence Base

greenstead.online

Colchester East Action Group and greenstead.online have very similar views regarding the housing development proposals in the East of Colchester / West of Tendring area.

I propose that the priorities for action for residents are:

Joint first priority: Respond to current Colchester and Tendring Local Plan Consultations (I will be emailing about this before the September deadline).
Joint first priority: Write to Greenstead Ward Councillors (please email me for ideas and contact details).
Joint first priority: Sign the petition, details below. This is not a substitute for the two previously-mentioned actions, but will really help.

Information about the petition organised by greenstead.online can be found here.

Colchester Council Evidence Base Documents

There are some very interesting documents in the Evidence Base, which can be found here:

Emerging Local Plan Evidence Base

They are not council policy yet, as far as I know.

Among the documents that are interesting are the four in the ‘North Essex Garden Communities Concept Feasibility Study’ section of the above web page.

These four have been prepared by a consultancy commissioned by the council.

Page 39 of the document 'Baseline Compendium LOW RES [20Mb]' on that web page shows a very small proposed country park.

Regards
James
Colchester East Action Group (CHEAG)
Blog: http://cheag.blogspot.co.uk/

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Email to Greenstead Ward Councillors

I received a response from Cllr Julie Young regarding my previous blog post.

I have updated the previous blog post with some notes from what she said.

I also emailed a reply, which went to all the Greenstead Ward councillors. My reply is reproduced here:

Dear Ms Young,

Size of Country Park

Of course, it is the size of the “country park” that is the crucial point. The area a hundred yards to the side of Salary Brook along its length is very unlikely to be developed, and could be called a “country park”. That would leave an enormous housing sprawl over the hillsides opposite Greenstead and Longridge Park.

Boundaries of Country Park

The boundaries need to be very clearly defined, as well. “East of the tree line” could be interpreted in several ways, I think. The term “Salary Brook Valley”, used last year by the Lib Dems, is a mistake, I think – the “valley” is only the part at the bottom of the slopes. A good informal definition I have recently heard is from Sir Bob Russell, who said “new development should only be over the brow of the hill and out of sight of existing residents of Greenstead and Longridge Park”. Of course this needs formally defining, including with maps.

Current Local Plan Proposals

The current Local Plan proposals from Colchester and Tendring Councils talk about a country park of 70 hectares, incorporating Churn Wood. Highwoods Country Park is 150 hectares, so more than double the size.

Comparing here:

https://binged.it/2a9lqHO

and looking at the attached map from the recent Tendring meeting, which shows an enormous potential area of development, it is obvious that, apart from Churn Wood, there will probably be very little green space protected apart from probably the few hundred yards around Salary Brook that I mention above. (In the attached map, Greenstead and Longridge Park are in the bottom 25% of the page.)

Churn Wood is protected anyway – see the second attachment.

Tendring Council

Much of the proposed development near Longridge Park, and Greenstead, is part of Tendring Council’s area. Representations need to continue to be made to them as well.

Your Newsletter

I hope your newsletter will describe how the local plans as currently proposed will mean that the hill-slopes opposite Greenstead and Longridge Park will almost certainly be covered in houses. I hope you will encourage residents to object to this in the current public consultations.

Representations to the Councils

I hope you will be making representations to both councils in your capacities as councillors.

Please keep me informed. I will update the CHEAG blog.

Regards
James
Colchester East Action Group (CHEAG)
Blog: http://cheag.blogspot.co.uk/

Friday, 22 July 2016

Greenstead Ward Councillors - My Comments on their Actions on the Local Plan Proposals

This post updated:
25 July 2016 - I have added the full text of the email received from Councillor Julie Young in response to this blog post, at her request. I have added this at the end of this blog post. My summaries of her email below are accurate, I believe. I had good reasons for not originally publishing her full email - there was some legal text in the email saying not to, and there is personal information in her email.
24 July 2016 - 2 updates, both highlighted below with this date - these are my notes and comments on an email received in response to this blog post from Councillor Julie Young.

Greenstead Ward Councillors - My Comments on their Actions on the Local Plan Proposals

I am going to comment here on actions taken by our Greenstead Ward Councillors regarding the current Local Plan housing development proposals affecting Greenstead and Longridge Park.

This is a crucial issue, and residents need to be sure that they are being adequately represented.

Please contact them with your views on the proposals, in addition to responding yourselves to the current public consultations, which I will write about in the coming weeks.

Greenstead Ward Councillors

The Councillors for Greenstead Ward, Colchester, which now covers Greenstead and Longridge Park, are:

Tina Bourne
Julie Young
Tim Young

Their contact details are on their party communications which you have probably received through your letter box. If you do not have these, please email me and I will point you in the right direction. There is an email button available from the 'View my complete profile' link under 'About Me' on this Internet page.

Colchester Local Plan Meeting, 5 July 2016

This was an important meeting and many local ward Councillors spoke regarding the proposals. Also, many Councillors visiting from neighboring districts spoke for their constituents.
None of the Greenstead Ward Councillors spoke. None of the Greenstead Ward Councillors are on the local plan committee. I am dissapointed by this.

Update 24 July 2016: I received an email from Cllr Julie Young. Cllr Tim Young was present at the meeting but couldn't speak because the local plan comes under his cabinet portfolio. The other two Councillors had important, prior commitments so couldn't attend the meeting. Tina Bourne and Tim Young cannot sit on any committees because they hold cabinet positions. Julie Young is Mayor of Colchester, and does not sit on any panels or committees.
I hope the considerable political weight she describes will be brought to bear on the important issues facing the East of Colchester.

Green Buffer / 'Country Park' Between Existing and New Development

The current proposed size of this country park / green buffer, around half the size of Highwoods Country Park, is small, and will mean that much of the new development is visible to residents of Greenstead and Longridge Park. The sloping hill-sides opposite Greenstead and Longridge Park could well be covered in houses, according to my analysis.

I will record here efforts made by the Greenstead Ward Councillors to improve this situation.

This is one of the crucial issues!

Update 24 July 2016: I received an email from Cllr Julie Young. She said the Greenstead Councillors did submit a request for a country park when they first heard about the local plan proposals. She has met with representatives from Essex University, and also participated in a walk through the Salary Brook area with senior planning officers from Colchester and Tendring last year. She also said that their newsletter had covered this issue, although since July 2015, I could only find one small mention of this issue in the newsletters that I received. Ms Young also said that the Councillors highlighted an error on the maps distributed for the July 5th 2016 Local Plan meeting, which incorrectly showed housing, already, near to Longridge Park.
I replied to Ms Young and the other councilors to say that it is the size and clearly-defined boundaries of the country park which need to be determined. I also encouraged them to respond to both Colchester and Tendring Councils, and to use their upcoming newsletter to alert residents to the clearly-inadequate size of the currently-proposed "country park".

Colchester Council Local Plan Consultation running to September 2016

I will record their responses individually:

Tina Bourne

Reponded? [To be confirmed]
My views on content of response: [To be confirmed]

Julie Young

Reponded? [To be confirmed]
My views on content of response: [To be confirmed]

Tim Young

Reponded? [To be confirmed]
My views on content of response: [To be confirmed]

Tendring Council Local Plan Consultation running to September 2016

I will record their responses individually:

Tina Bourne

Reponded? [To be confirmed]
My views on content of response: [To be confirmed]

Julie Young

Reponded? [To be confirmed]
My views on content of response: [To be confirmed]

Tim Young

Reponded? [To be confirmed]
My views on content of response: [To be confirmed]

Update 25 July 2016:

Here is the full text of the reply received from Councillor Julie Young to this blog post on 24 July 2016, which is included at her request.

My reply to this email is reproduced in my later blog post 'Email to Greenstead Ward Councillors', which will be above if you are viewing the entire blog rather than just this post.

Dear James
If we are to protect as much of the wonderful green space that residents of East Colchester currently enjoy, this will require ward Councillors and residents to work together to ensure everyone in the local community is made aware of the proposals and take part in the consultation over the 10 week period. You may have noticed that [this sentence was not complete in the original email]
Indeed it was your current ward Councillors who asked for a Country Park to be created at the earliest opportunity we could, as soon as the development was talked about by the Local Plan committee. Indeed this was made possible by the Labour representative Cllr Kim Naish on the local plan committee who gave the ward Councillors in Greenstead early notification of the proposals. This early submission was made by me on behalf of the three ward Councillors and specifically stipulated this.

In January 2015 I made arrangements to meet with Anthony Forster Vice Chancellor at Essex University, Bryn Morris, the Registrar and Steve Clarke, their planning expert to discuss the proposals. They explained the University's approach and their preferences and I explained the Greenstead ward Councillors desire to see a Country Park created.

In April 2015, I had meetings with Cllr Barry Cook, St Anne's ward, Cllr Neil Stock (Leader of Tendring District Council) Cllr Gary Scott,mAlresford ward and local residents at the Oak Tree Centre where we viewed plans and discussed the impact of this development would have on our respective communities. We all agreed that this should NOT be allowed to strip away the natural environment that our respective communities currently enjoy. We arranged to walk the whole area and Cllr Barry Cook and I did so with residents and local environmental experts together with SENIOR planning officers from Tendring and Colchester. At the end of that day planning officers of both authorities would have had no doubt in their minds about the shared view that development should be east of the tree line with as large a Country Park as possible, this happened on the 15th May 2015 , under separate cover I will send you a screen shot of my Facebook page created on the 17th May 2015, together with the photos I took that day together with the business card of the Tendring District Planning officer present.
Due to the Boundary changes, we started to distribute newsletters to the Longridge area, starting with a Longridge special which introduced ourselves to residents. The proposed development has been a feature of these newsletters right from the start making our views very clear.
As soon as the papers for the 5th July were released we realised that a large chunk of housing had been placed on the map incorrectly close to Longridge. This was immediately raised with officers, an error had been made and this was changed at the meeting.
As for the 5th July, this was an important meeting that is why Cllr Tim Young was at the meeting, the local plan is in his portfolio, although responsibility for the plan rests with this committee. Cabinet Members cannot be members of the Local Plan so neither Tina or Tim can sit on this committee. As Mayor of Colchester I do not sit on any panels or committees, I chair Full Council and concentrate on the ceremonial role and ward casework. On the 5th July I was travelling back from Loughborough having moved my son from his University Accommodation into his new home and I believe Tina as Deputy Head Teacher of a local primary school had a school commitment that she had to honour. Just because Tina and I were not able to be at the meeting does not signify a lack of commitment to ensuring as much open space as possible is protected.

As your ward Councillors we will be promoting the necessity to respond to the consultation in our next newsletter, as we will be doing, reiterating the position we have been promoting both publicly and behind the screens over a significant and sustained period.

Julie

End of Update 25 July 2016

Regards
James
Colchester East Action Group (CHEAG)
Blog: http://cheag.blogspot.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/colchestereastactiongroup

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Colchester Council - Update on Proposals in Agenda for 5th July 2016 Meeting

Colchester Council have published an update to their proposals for the East of Colchester.

Please see the agenda for the 5th July 2016 Colchester Local Plan Committee meeting:

Colchester Council - Local Plan Committe

There will be a public consultation running until September 2016 - see the meeting agenda for more details.

I haven't had a chance to look at the documents yet.

Regards
James
Colchester East Action Group (CHEAG)
Blog: http://cheag.blogspot.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/colchestereastactiongroup

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Tendring Council - Update on Proposals at Local Plan Meeting 9th June 2016

Tendring Council have published much more detail on their proposals for the East of Colchester / West of Tendring area.

Details can be found in the agenda for the 9th June 2016 Tendring Council Local Plan Committee meeting:

Tendring Council - Local Plan Committee

There will be a public consultation running until 8th September 2016 at 5pm, to which I encourage you to submit comments when it starts. Please check the documents on the web page linked above regarding how to participate.

Please note: this may only cover Tendring Council's proposals, not Colchester Council's proposals.

I have only briefly looked through the documents so far.

Regards
James
Colchester East Action Group (CHEAG)
Blog: http://cheag.blogspot.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/colchestereastactiongroup

Monday, 21 September 2015

Tendring Council Issues and Options 2015 Consultation

Deadline: Tuesday 13 October 2015.

Tendring Council are currently running a consultation on their 'Local Plan Issues and Options 2015' document, starting Tuesday 1 September 2015 and ending on Tuesday 13 October 2015.

The possible 'Colchester Fringe' development to the East of Colchester is mentioned.

The consulation is described here:

Tendring District Local Plan: Issues and Options 2015

I have put together a draft response (below), which can be emailed to:

planning.policy@tendringdc.gov.uk

Please see the above-linked webpage for more details on other ways to respond, and other information.

Please feel free to amend my answers to fit your views, and add other answers if you read the document from the web page linked above. You might want to highlight parts of your answers different from mine below, to be sure the council take note of them.

Anonymous responses will not be accepted, so you must include your contact details. The council will publicly publish responses, but I assume contact details will not be included - please check the web page above, or contact Tendring Council if you are worried about this.

By email (or post):

[Start of email or letter]

Email Subject: Response to Tendring District Local Plan: Issues and Options 2015 Consultation

To: The Planning Policy Manager,
Planning Department,
Tendring District Council,
Council Offices,
Thorpe Road,
Weeley,
Clacton-on-Sea,
Essex,
CO16 9AJ
Email: planning.policy@tendringdc.gov.uk

From: [Your name here]
[Your Address Here]
Email: [Your email address here]
Telephone: [Your telephone number here - this may not be necessary]

Dear Sir/Madam,

Here are my answers to selected questions from your Issues and Options 2015 document.

Please personally send me confirmation of receipt of this email and display my comments, without my personal details, on your web site.

Question 1

Do you agree that creating the conditions for economic growth and creating new jobs should be a top priority for the Local Plan?

It should be a priority, but it has to be balanced against the other equally, or more, important priorities of conserving heritage and the natural environment.

Question 5

Do you agree that we need to plan for the right number of new homes, of the right size, type and tenure to be built and in the right locations for current and future generations?

The council should also think about why so many new homes are needed, and whether there are any policies which could be put in place to reduce the number needed in future, perhaps by co-operating with national government.

Question 7

Do you have any other comments or suggestions about housing development?

Many modern housing developments are a mishmash of different styles, often side-by-side. This looks awful. More control should be placed on housing developers, so that estates have a uniform, attractive appearance.

The following extract from an email to a Colchester East Action Group member from the Department for Communities and Local Government, received this year, states that good design of external appearance can be required by councils:

"The [NPPF] Framework also states that local and neighbourhood plans should develop robust and comprehensive policies that set out the quality of development that will be expected for the area and that planning policies and decisions should aim to ensure that developments are visually attractive as a result of good architecture and appropriate landscaping. It also encourages local planning authorities to consider using design codes where they could help deliver high quality outcomes."

This information has been sent on to Tendring Council planning department.

Also, the NPPF states that planning should always seek to secure high quality design and adds at paragraph 56: "Good design is a key aspect of sustainable development, is indivisible from good planning." and at paragraph 64: "Permission should be refused for development of poor design that fails to take the opportunities available for improving the character and quality of an area.."

The new local plan should include provisions for requiring high-quality external appearance of new buildings and the developments they are in.

Question 13

Do you agree that protecting and enhancing the environment is an important issue for this Local Plan?

Yes, it is very important. The environment is crucial for education, cultural development and general wellbeing.

Heritage assets should all be preserved and well maintained.

Question 14

Do you have any thoughts about how the Council, through the Local Plan, should go about addressing this issue?

Wildlife habitats and landscapes should all be protected through appropriate designations, to prevent them being spolit in any way.

Question 17

Do you agree with the vision for the future of Tendring set out above?

Regarding the 'Colchester Fringe' development, when is comes to be considered:

The East side of Colchester is already well-developed, but has some well-used and important green open spaces nearby which are valued by the public, and are important for wildlife. These green open spaces, stretching to a distance of at least 1.5km away from existing development, should be untouched by new development, as described later in this answer. Too much new development directly on the Eastern border of existing developed areas of Colchester would create an unpleasant and unmanageable urban sprawl.

Furthermore, Tendring Council, by introducing a significant amount of residential or other development into the countryside to the East of Colchester, would materially harm the character and appearance of the rural area contrary to the objectives of national policy (National Planning Policy Framework, 2012, paragraph 17, 5th bullet point; paragraph 109; and paragraph 81 is also related, although paragraph 81 is specific to Green Belts). This may also contravene local planning policy.

Local and national policy should collectively recognise the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside, seek to enhance the rural landscape and visual amenity of any Green Belt or general green land, and prevent development conspicuous from within any Green Belt or general green land which would have an excessive impact on rural character.

If there is to be new development to the East of Colchester, there should be a buffer of green, completely undeveloped land of 1.5km around Salary Brook.
This protected 'Salary Brook Valley' would include the Salary Brook itself, plus currently-undeveloped land 1.5km either side of the brook, along its entire length between Ardleigh and where the brook meets the River Colne.

One of the Colchester community groups organised an e-Petition with Colchester Council called 'Save Salary Brook Valley' which has nearly 800 signatories.

Please also take into account all objections to the 'Colchester Fringe' proposals received during your 6th January 2014 to 17th February 2014 public consultation.

Question 22

Are these the right planning policies to help the Council deliver sustainable development?

Green gaps of significant size between developments are very important, both for people and wildlife.

Green gaps of, say, at least 2km between developments per 1,000 dwellings in each development should be considered.

Question 26

Are these the right planning policies to help the Council plan for people?

Green infrastructure and green gaps are very important, both for people and wildlife.

Question 28

Are these the right planning policies to help the Council plan for places?

Regarding heritage, all listed buildings, conservation areas and scheduled monuments should be preserved and maintained at all costs. Other heritage assets should be protected by a generous local list.
Other, unlisted, heritage assets should also be preserved and maintained.

Regarding nature conservation, important wildlife sites should be protected, but it should also be realised that these sites may not work on their own - they need a buffer of countryside suitable for wildlife around them.

Data Protection

I understand that any comments submitted cannot be treated as private and confidential and may be made available for public inspection. Respondents’ details will be held on a database in accordance with the terms of Tendring District Council’s registration with the UK Information Commissioner pursuant to the Data Protection Act 1998.

[End of Email or Letter]

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Comments on Summer 2015 'Focus on Longridge' Newsletter from the St. Anne's Lib Dems

I received this newsletter on 14 June 2015.

Here are my comments on the section 'Preserving the Salary Brook Valley' in the newsletter.

I am disappointed with what is being done by the St. Anne's Lib Dems, as reported in the newsletter, because they seem to have missed three important things:

- There was no mention of the crucially important Colchester Council public consultation which was run in January 2015 and covered development plans in these areas, the results of which were released at a Colchester Local Plan Committe meeting on 8 June 2015. See my previous blog post. This consultation received over 600 responses from residents around Colchester, but the St. Anne's Lib Dems barely publicised it - hence only a small fraction of the responses were from our area. Also, the St Annes Lib Dems have not published any analysis of the consultation responses with regard to our area, hence I had to do what I could, see my previous blog post!

- The St. Annes' Lib Dems are not publicising the meetings of the Colchester Council Local Plan Committee, where the new development proposals are discussed. I think they should, and they should provide a summary of discussions that occurred which are relevant to our area.

- I think the St Anne's Lib Dems should have contacted Colchester's new MP regarding the possible development to the East of Colchester. According to an article in the Daily Gazette, they have spoken to him about security concerns at a local community centre, but I've seen nothing about the possible enormous development to the East of Colchester!

Frankly, if there is room in the newsletter to talk about a new salt bin (on page 2), there would have been room for the above, if there was any news, so we have to assume there hasn't been.

Let's hope the St. Anne's Lib Dems buck their ideas up so that I can spend time on other things, rather than analysing these issues!

Regards
James
Colchester East Action Group (CHEAG)
Blog: http://cheag.blogspot.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/colchestereastactiongroup

Thursday, 25 June 2015

My Comments on Responses to January 2015 Colchester Consultation

I've had a look online through the responses to the January 2015 Colchester consultation and I found these of particular interest:

Essex Wildlife Trust, see here. (Archived by WebCite® on 19 July 2015.)

Colchester Natural History Society, see here. (Archived by WebCite® on 19 July 2015.)

Responses from other groups, see here. (Archived by WebCite® on 19 July 2015.)

Natural England (under 'Public Bodies'), see here. (Archived by WebCite® on 19 July 2015.)

Tony and Lisa Barker, see here. (Archived by WebCite® on 19 July 2015.)

Sir Bob Russell, see here, here and here. (Archived here, here, and here by WebCite® on 19 July 2015.)

Cllrs Cook, Hogg and Chuah, see here. (Archived by WebCite® on 19 July 2015.)

Also, I saw eleven responses that used the template letter from this blog.

Regarding the historical environment of Colchester in general:
English Heritage (under 'Public Bodies'), see here. (Archived by WebCite® on 19 July 2015.)

I think it's a shame that the politicians (Sir Bob Russell and the councillors above) didn't publicise the consultation more to residents of East Colchester. East Colchester had the fewest responses from residents out of all the areas, according to my check of the responses online.

Regards
James
Colchester East Action Group (CHEAG)
Blog: http://cheag.blogspot.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/colchestereastactiongroup

Colchester Council Update on January 2015 Consulation

I received the following email from Colchester Council, regarding the January 2015 public consultation. (Please email me if you want the contact details which I have removed from the email before posting on this blog.)

Subject: Local Plan - Issues & Options
From: Charlotte Allen
Date: Mon 15/06/2015 15:22

Dear Consultee,

Thank you for your response to Colchester Borough Council’s consultation on the Local Plan Issues and Options document. All responses can now be viewed on-line (with all personal details redacted). Additionally, a summary table of responses and a report on the consultation are also available.

The Council is now developing a draft plan based on consultation responses, up-to-date evidence and planning policy requirements. Consultation on a Preferred Options version of the plan is programmed for early 2016, and you will be kept informed of details of this consultation and all other further opportunities to be involved with the plan-making process.

Please feel free to contact the Planning Policy team if you have any questions. [Contact details removed].

Regards
Planning Policy Team
Charlotte Allen
Support Assistant - Commercial Services
Colchester Borough Council
[Contact details removed]

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Suggested Response to Colchester Local Plan Public Consultation, 16 January - 27 February 2015

1. Deadline

The deadline for responses to Colchester Council is 5pm, 27 February 2015.

It will really make a difference if you help by spreading the word to friends and neighbours.

2. Background

This consultation is about important issues to be decided for the future of the Colchester area. I suggest people read the following page:

Colchester Council: New Local Plan 2017-2032
Click Here

There is a lot of detail in the public consultation - the important thing for us is to just send some comments to the Council, we don't need to get bogged-down in all the information and issues.

The public consultation is described here:

Issues and Options Consultation (16 January - 27 February 2015)
Click Here

Please email me if you have any comments on what I have written here, there is an email button available from the 'View my complete profile' link under 'About Me' on this internet page.

3. Suggested Responses

There are two main ways to send comments to the council.

3.1 By Email (or Post)

Send your email to
planning.policy@colchester.gov.uk
This email address is on the consultation page linked above.

(Or send by post to: Spatial Policy Team, Colchester Borough Council, FREEPOST RLSL-ZTSR-SGYA, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1ZE.)

Suggested text of email (or letter) follows - please check that you agree, and edit as appropriate. You can just add any other ideas or opinions you have, they don't have to be answers to the questions listed.

(For anyone interested, the last part of the answer to question 29 below is adapted from the text of Appeal Ref APP/J1535/A/13/2201035 from The Planning Inspectorate, Point 16, regarding a separate planning application elsewhere in Essex.)

[Start of Email (or Letter)]

" re Colchester Local Plan Issues and Options Consultation, 16 January - 27 February 2015

Here are my answers to selected questions from your online questionnaire.

Please personally send me confirmation of receipt of this email and display my comments, without my personal details, on your web site.

29.Which option do you think would form the most appropriate strategy for the growth of the Borough and why?

Options 2A and 2B, which do not involve new development to the East of Colchester, are most appropriate because the East is already well-developed, and has some well-used and important green open spaces nearby which are valued by the public, and are important for wildlife. These green open spaces, stretching to a distance of at least 1.5km away from existing development, should be untouched by new development. Too much new development directly on the Eastern border of existing developed areas of Colchester would create an unpleasant and unmanageable urban sprawl. Please also see my answer to question 32.

Furthermore, Colchester Council, by introducing a significant amount of residential or other development into the countryside to the East of Colchester, would materially harm the character and appearance of the rural area contrary to the objectives of national policy (National Planning Policy Framework, 2012, paragraph 17, 5th bullet point; paragraph 109; and paragraph 81 is also related, although paragraph 81 is specific to Green Belts). This may also contravene local planning policy.

Local and national policy should collectively recognise the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside, seek to enhance the rural landscape and visual amenity of any Green Belt or general green land, and prevent development conspicuous from within any Green Belt or general green land which would have an excessive impact on rural character.

32. Should we look to have high densities if possible, if so, where do you think higher densities would be appropriate and why?

If there is to be new development to the East of Colchester, there should be a buffer of green, completely undeveloped land of 1.5km around Salary Brook.
This protected 'Salary Brook Valley' would include the Salary Brook itself, plus currently-undeveloped land 1.5km either side of the brook, along its entire length between Ardleigh and where the brook meets the River Colne.

25. Do you have any further comments to make on design and heritage related issues?

Many modern housing developments are a mishmash of different styles, often side-by-side. This looks awful. More control should be placed on housing developers, so that estates have a uniform, attractive appearance.
Heritage of all kinds, including architecture, is a very important part of Colchester, and utmost importance should be placed on preserving it.

28. Do you have any further comments to make about issues related to the Natural Environment?

The natural enviroment is a very important resource for Colchester, its people and its wildlife, and should be preserved as much as possible.

Please do not display my personal contact details on the internet.

Please let me know if you need more information from me.

From:
Your name.
Your postcode.
Your contact telephone number.
(Plus your full address if you want to send it)."

[End of Email (or Letter)]

If you have time, check that your response is included when the consultation results are published.

3.2 Using the Online Questionnaire

Find the text 'Complete the Issues and Options questionnaire.' in the 'Issues and Options Consultation (16 January - 27 February 2015)' web page linked above - you will need to 'Page Down' to find it because it is quite far down the web page and will probably not be shown on the first page of text you see after clicking-on the link.

Answer the questions as suggested above in the 'By Email' section, or as you see fit.

Just leave answers blank in the questionnaire where you don't have any comment - the council expect this.

I advise adding any ideas you think are relevant in your answers, even if you don't have time to fully check the council documents.

Regards
James
Colchester East Action Group (CHEAG)
Blog: http://cheag.blogspot.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/colchestereastactiongroup

Friday, 16 January 2015

Colchester Local Plan Consultation, 16 January 2015 - 27 February 2015

CHEAG and CECA will be jointly preparing a suggested response. Please watch this space or email me so I can send you updates, there is an email button available from the 'View my complete profile' link under 'About Me' on this internet page.

Please see the following Colchester Council pages:

New Local Plan 2017-2032
Click Here

Issues and Options Consultation (16 January - 27 February 2015)
Click Here
(This second page is actually linked from the first, but I included a link here for convenience.)

Please add your comments below.

Regards
James
Colchester East Action Group (CHEAG)
Blog: http://cheag.blogspot.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/colchestereastactiongroup

Saturday, 27 December 2014

CHEAG supports CECA!

Colchester East Action Group (CHEAG) endorses Colchester East Community Association (CECA)'s vision for protecting the Salary Brook Valley from damaging housing/commercial development.

A message from CECA:

"CECA has started its 'Save Salary Brook Valley' initiative and urgently needs your support. The CECA team will make presentations to the Tendring and Colchester Local Plan committees. The 'numbers game' is very important, hence CECA needs you to send a simple support email to:

ceca.countmein@gmail.com and simply give it a subject of 'Count me in'.

CECA will then keep you fully updated on progress. Many thanks in anticipation..."

Regards
James
Colchester East Action Group (CHEAG)
Blog: http://cheag.blogspot.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/colchestereastactiongroup

Monday, 3 November 2014

Comments on Winter 2014 'Focus on Longridge' Newsletter from Lib Dems

My comments on the section 'Tendring District Council's Nominated Building Sites' in the newsletter.

I am still dissapointed with what our elected Lib Dems are doing on this matter:

a) The newsletter does not make clear what is actually happening at the moment - Tendring and Colchester Councils are liasing to determine whether building in the 'Colchester Fringe' area - their name for this area - should be put forward as part of their new local plans.

b) The term 'Salary Brook Valley' has not been defined properly, and does not cover all the areas where Tendring Council may want to develop, as discussed in my earlier blog post about the previous Lib Dem newsletter. The term does not appear in any of the council documents. The 'valley' does not form the boundary between Colchester and Tendring as stated in the newsletter, by any means - a large part of the valley is entirely within Colchester borough, the part to the South-East of Greenstead, and East of part of St. Anne's ward.
If we are just talking about 'the line of the boundary area', as stated in the newsletter, could that be a very small area?

c) I think it is wrong to state that by identifying areas for possible development, it makes them less likely to be the subject of speculative development! It is the absence of a local plan for Tendring in general that makes any area subject to possible speculative development. Once specific areas have been specified in the local plan, then other areas are less subject to speculative development.

d) The newsletter would have been an ideal place to directly mention the upcoming public consultations by Tendring and Colchester Councils, possibly late in 2014 / early 2015, but they are not mentioned in the newsletter.

e) The Lib Dems have come in to this matter very late - I didn't receive any information on this subject from them before the public consultation by Tendring Council in Januray/February 2014 - hence I sent postcards to inform people.

Frankly, I think one of the other political parties might have served us better!

Regards
James
Colchester East Action Group (CHEAG)
Blog: http://cheag.blogspot.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/colchestereastactiongroup

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

30 Sep 2014 Tendring Council Local Plan Meeting - Rescheduled

The Tendring Council Local Plan Committee Meeting which was scheduled for 30 September 2014 has been rescheduled and will also be held in a new location on the new date.

Please check the Tendring Council website or email me for the new details - there is an email button available from the 'View my complete profile' link under 'About Me' on this internet page.

Regards
James
Colchester East Action Group (CHEAG)
Blog: http://cheag.blogspot.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/colchestereastactiongroup

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Comments on Latest 'Focus on Longridge' Newsletter from Lib Dems

A few comments from me on the piece titled 'The Salary Brook Valley' in the Summer 2014 'Focus on Longridge' leaflet from the Colchester St. Anne's Lib Dems:

Tendring Council and the 'Salary Brook Valley'...

Tendring Council are putting forward some possible development in the 'Salary Brook Valley' - to the West of Wall's Wood - but by far the majority of their proposals of possible development are near the top of the ridges or over the other side. This can be seen in the maps referenced in my 12 and 15 July 2014 posts, and also by comparing with the Ordnance Survey map available on Bing Maps (Click Here for Bing Maps of the area), where the contour lines of the valley can be seen. The reason for this is that the Tendring Council part of the 'Salary Brook Valley' is partly-covered by Churn Wood and Wall's Wood, which are ancient woodland and cannot be developed.

Most of the undeveloped part of the Salary Brook Valley which might be developed - near Greenstead and Longridge Park, and North of Bromley Road - comes under Colchester Council, according to the maps referenced above.

So asking Tendring Council not to develop in the valley is not asking them to change too much!

Dual objections...

Some strong objections may need to be made to keep any Tendring Council developments out of their part of the 'Salary Brook Valley', and further away from it. However, having seen the maps referred-to in my 15 July 2014 post, it seems Colchester Council may be an equally, possibly more, important focus of objections, if and when the time comes.

Re-assuring statement comment...

I think the statement in the newsletter 'The above suggestion seemed well received both in Colchester and Tendring' is a vague statement to make, at this stage, when there is potentially so much work still to do. It gives the general impression things are going well, and people can sit back and relax! Does it mean 'well-received' by Colchester and Tendring Councils, or the residents of those areas? Have the planning departments officially received it well?

Wording comment...

I think the wording of all objections needs to be thought about very carefully. For example, the newsletter talks about 'possible future house building in the Salary Brook Valley' and 'residents...who oppose building houses on the Salary Brook Valley'. Actually, the Colchester Council part of the 'Salary Brook Valley' is subject to the possible building of a technology park - maybe not houses! Reference: maps referred-to in my 15 July 2014 post. (Obviously a technology park could be good for Colchester, but an appropriate location needs to be found.)

Direct 'ready for action' needed...

The proposals by Tendring and Colchester Councils are still in their early stages, but I think the newsletter should have directly given a 'ready for action' call to residents of Greenstead and Longridge Park, describing what they may need to do, rather than just online contact details.
Given the number of new houses these councils need to build, it is likely that action will be needed!
There are two public consultations scheduled for next year regarding the new Tendring District Local Plan, but these are not mentioned.
Colchester Council will also have public consultations regarding the new review of the Colchester Local Plan.
I think it is vital that as many people as possible object during these public consultations, if necessary, so I think they should have been mentioned.
The Lib Dems seem to be saying 'look at what we have done', when actually 'what you may need to do' directly in the newsletter is needed as well.

Definition of 'Salary Brook Valley'...

The term 'Salary Brook Valley' or whatever term is used in objections needs to be precisely defined, maybe more in line with the title of this blog, at the top of this page. The definition should clearly exclude all unwanted development - for example, the possible development around Churn Wood is very close to Colchester, but is not technically in the 'Salary Brook Valley' according to Bing Maps.

Link Road...

The newsletter does not mention the possible link road between the A133 and the A120. This new road would ideally be much further away from current built-up areas than any new development of houses or buildings.

Comments welcome!

Regards
James
Colchester East Action Group (CHEAG)
Blog: http://cheag.blogspot.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/colchestereastactiongroup

This post updated: 15,16,17 August 2014.