No local support for new town

with No Comments

The Editor

Essex County Standard 13 April 2016

Dear Sir,

The Local Councils are considering a large scale development at West Tey as part of the drive to build thousands of new houses . This has no local support, and should be dropped from any preferred options for a new draft local plan to be published in June 2016.

The need for local support is enshrined in several clauses of the NPPF such as Clause 155 “Early and meaningful engagement and collaboration with neighbourhoods, local organisations and businesses is essential. A wide section of the community should be proactively engaged ….”

I was involved with a Petition last year obtaining signatures of local residents who were concerned about West Tey. It has 6700 signatures – 96% of those spoken to signed. 6700 is a big number – much more than the 1000-2000 votes on which Councillors are elected.  Just as interesting are the comments made on an online petition which demonstrate a lack of trust that the public sector will deliver. Even more surprising was that about 40% of those I spoke to had not heard even about West Tey.  This is hardly in line with NPPF requiring local support.

I attended a Colchester Local Planning Committee Meeting in April and quite surprisingly the underlying message from several speakers from the public on different topics was that the Council was not listening to the locals. The Council has not even showed any interest in this Petition which was given to them a few months ago. The timing of the Local Elections on 5 May may well mean that a new set of Councillors and a new Council Leader will be faced with a decision on whether or not to support the decisions made by the previous occupants about West Tey. A brave but sensible new Council would  stop the draft  Local Plan process , review it , negotiate hard for “infrastructure first”   and reissue it when properly made.

Yours faithfully

Mr CP Jellard