An over-development revolt has taken place in eastern Braintree District and western Colchester Borough. The message from voters in last week’s local election was clear: there is no mandate for garden communities.
Every councillor elected in the wards surrounding ‘West Tey’ and the cluster of new proposals including ‘Monks Wood’, ‘Silver End Garden Village’ and ‘Kings Dene’ opposes over-development and the garden communities.
In Braintree, wards facing huge garden communities and speculative development, changed hands. Coggeshall and Kelvedon saw the shock loss of staunch Conservative seats to Independents and Greens respectively, in protest, while Silver End, Witham North and Halstead are also now Green and Independent.
Chair of Braintree’s Local Plan Committee, Lynette Bowers–Flint, who made no mention of garden communities in her election literature, despite four surrounding her ward, lost her seat to an Independent, sending another clear signal of disapproval to the council.
In Colchester, all the wards adjacent to ‘West Tey’ have been won by a big margin by Colchester Conservatives, who, unlike Braintree Conservativces, pledged to scrap the 24,000-home proposal.
CAUSE’s spokesperson, Rosie Pearson, said, “It is time to pull the plug on West Tey. Voters have shown they have had enough.
CAUSE’s 8,500 signature petition and responses from the public to several consultations were ignored. Now, looking at the local election results, it is more clear than ever that there is no mandate for West Tey or the ‘spin-off’ garden communities surrounding Coggeshall, Kelvedon and Silver End, which have come about because of the failed garden communities plan.
The Planning Inspector has already agreed with the north Essex authorities that any garden community proposed by them will require ‘acceptance derived locally’. It is clear that there is none.
There is no mandate for the Plan and the authorities should stop wasting our money on the North Essex Garden Communities proposals. The Inspector gave an option which protects our villages from uncontrolled, speculative sprawl. It was ‘Option 1’ and should be taken now.”