Our Chairman’s ‘Have your say!’ speech

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Our Chairman, Tom Foster’s ‘Have your say’ speech at this evening’s Local Plan Committee meeting in Colchester:


Have Your Say!

I am the Chairman of CAUSE and I speak on behalf of 7,000 residents who have signed our petition against a new town at Marks Tey and the hundreds who attended our recent village meetings.

Why is Colchester Council continuing to entertain the possibility of a new town of up to 28,000 houses, west of Marks Tey – 2,500 house by 2033 with the rest coming afterwards ? It is agreed by all that no significant building can take place before the new dual A120 is constructed. The most optimistic estimate puts this no sooner than 2025. Post Brexit, it could be much later. How can any sensible plan be made for large scale development against such huge uncertainty?

CAUSE’s consultants have expressed concerns about the sustainability and deliverability of West Tey. At our request Dr Nicholas Falk – an award winning urban planner – put forward an alternative. This alternative has not been examined and dismissed by your council. It has simply been ignored.

The West Tey concept, like Frankenstein’s monster, is an unfortunate creation. It is clear to our consultants that it is a monster starved of infrastructure. The Council’s consultants, Aecom, have also made a bedside visit to the sick giant. The prognosis is bad. “By 2032”, Aecom say “it is likely that development [at West Tey] will put the current road network under considerable pressure with many key junctions failing to provide enough capacity.” With regard to rail they conclude that there will be a clear capacity gap on the mainline by 2043 even with Network Rail’s interventions.

Why is this new town being considered when we have NO answers about essential infrastructure? We don’t know the route of the new A120 and where junctions with the A12 or the existing road will be. We don’t know how the capacity of the Great Eastern Main Line can be increased to meet forecast demand, or who will fund it.

Why, when principle number 7 of the new ‘Garden Community Charter’ is Community Engagement, is this deeply unpopular proposal still alive in the face of strong local opposition?

By making development at West Tey a “preferred option” you will be supporting something that is undeliverable, unsustainable and unpopular.

If you do not feel able this evening to vote to exclude West Tey then the Local Plan should be delayed until the road and rail uncertainties are resolved and other options including CAUSE’s Metro Garden Communities Plan and North Colchester are properly explored.

We must get the Local Plan right. Chelmsford has delayed its Local Plan because it wants to listen to local people.

West Tey has been described as a gateway and so it would be. It would be a gateway to gridlock.

I hope that you will agree that the proposal is flawed.