Remember this map? This is the West Tey map from the ‘Issues & Options’ consultation which the authorities held on their proposed master-plan for each of their three garden communities. It took place over the 2017 Christmas period (always a good way to minimise public responses).
It wasn’t a great map! Firstly, it incorporates the new A12 route which has not been consulted on, blasts through Copford and is delaying A12 the widening project. Secondly, it included a mis-representation of the amount of green space which could actually be included in a town with 24,000 houses.
At the time CAUSE, SERCLE, CPREssex and Wivenhoe Town Council wrote to the authorities saying that the consultation was premature and should not take place before the proposals were examined by a planning inspector. The authorities ignored the request to postpone the consultation and pushed ahead.
The responses to all three early masterplans (‘concept frameworks’) were overwhelmingly negative.
Yet here we are, over a year later and not a whisper of feedback from the authorities. Radio silence.
Despite this, we know that North Essex Garden Communities Ltd has now hired new master-planners. In addition, Uttlesford is planning ‘community forums’ to discuss what their new garden communities will look like (prior to examination) and one of these new settlements includes part of ‘West of Braintree’.
It is not clear what the new NEGC master-planners will be planning. As we all know, the Planning Inspector found the three garden communities unsound and asked for an objective look at alternatives. We also know that there are now over 27 of these alternatives to be assessed. And that the Sustainability Appraisal is delayed (presumably because of, er, overwhelmingly negative feedback).
In the absence of feedback from the authorities, CAUSE prepared two things. One is a pie chart summarising views. The second is a ‘word cloud’ showing some of the comments on the West Tey ‘masterplan’.
We know that Hands Off Wivenhoe carried out a similar exercise. Why should campaign groups have to undertake this work, and why have the authorities not bothered to address concerns raised?
No new master-planning should start until concerns raised previously have been dealt with. And, as before, there is certainly no justification to waste tax-payers money until a Plan has been found sound by the Inspector.
West of Braintree https://braintree.objective.co.uk/portal/negc/wobgc
East Colchester https://braintree.objective.co.uk/portal/negc/tcbgc
For CAUSE’s response, click here: CAUSE DPD response