10 July 2018
CAMPAIGN GROUPS SEEK PUBLIC ASSURANCES ON FAILED GARDEN TOWNS
Campaign groups CAUSE, Hands Off Wivenhoe and SERCLE have written to all north Essex councillors seeking public acknowledgement that the North Essex Garden Communities proposals have been found unsound. The groups wish to see recognition that the plans have been sent back to the drawing board and ask that no further public money is allocated to the delivery vehicle, NEGC Ltd.
CAUSE spokesperson, Rosie Pearson said “NEGC Ltd is a body set up by the authorities to deliver the garden towns vanity project. It has little accountability and, even now, after the Inspector has found the proposals unsound it is still spending taxpayers’ money. NEGC Ltd has recently appointed a global PR firm, Grayling, to engage with local communities even though there are no garden communities now to deliver. It is symptomatic of the project that councillors seem to believe that all the infrastructure and viability and many other problems can be papered over by a PR firm. This is spin at its worst.”
SERCLE spokesperson, Peter Finlay said, “No amount of spin from the authorities can cover up the fact that the Inspector has sent their plans back to the drawing board. Not only that but he has recommended that they appoint a new and objective consultant to do the work – with an open mind. Until it is clear that local people will have an influence over the brief and appointment of a new consultant, we will not engage in discussions with NEGC’s PR firm, Grayling.”
Wivenhoe Town Council spokesperson said, “Planning officers have mislead councillors into believing that the proposals for the garden communities plans are funded and deliverable. Instead, the plans have been thrown out by the Inspector, leaving north Essex at risk of speculative developer applications. If they had listened to to us and other local groups long ago, we would not be in this situation.”