Residents across North Essex are being given the chance to have their say on the proposed changes to the joint parts of the local plans for Braintree, Colchester and Tendring made by the Planning Inspector.
Following his public inspection of the council’s joint plans, which centred around three garden communities in North Essex, the Inspector recommended some key modifications to the proposals before he can find the section 1 local plan sound.
Now people will be able to have their say on his changes to the draft plan, during a six week consultation running from Thursday 27th August until 5 pm on the 9 October 2020.
The government-appointed Planning Inspector, who examined the joint part of Braintree, Colchester and Tendring councils’ Local Plan, has said the plan can be made sound and the proposed Garden Community on the Tendring/Colchester Border can proceed, but two others should be removed.
The Inspector, Roger Clews, said in a letter to the North Essex Authorities (NEAs) that he agreed the garden communities could be supported in principle and the policies in the plan rightly set high standards for delivery and infrastructure. However, he said the Colchester/Braintree Borders and West of Braintree Garden Community proposals were not, in his view, deliverable.
The inspector gave the authorities two options. Option one is to propose and consult on main modifications to remove the Colchester / Braintree Borders and West of Braintree Garden Community proposals from the Plan; or two, to withdraw the Plan from examination. The NEAs have collectively agreed to take option one and proceed to consultation.
Among the other modifications the Inspector has put forward are: steps mitigating the impact on wildlife; managing any potential flood risk; allocating land in the garden community to accommodate expansion of the University of Essex, and that planning consent and funding approval for the A120-133 link road and rapid transit system is secured before planning approval is granted for any development forming part of the garden community.
Several of his recommendations were put forward by the NEAs themselves, last year.
All three councils have agreed to go out and consult on the Inspector’s proposed changes on his behalf. All the responses made to the consultation will be given to the Inspector, to enable him to make his final decision.
Councillor Gabrielle Spray, Cabinet Member for Planning at Braintree District Council, said: “This is the final chance for the public to have their say on Section One of our Local Plan, and we welcome people’s comments on the Planning Inspector’s proposals.”
Councillor Julie Young, Deputy Leader of Colchester Borough Council, said: “This consultation is just about comments on the Inspector’s proposed modifications, or suggested amendments to those to improve the overall Local Plan, with responses going straight to the Planning Inspectorate.”
Councillor Nick Turner, Chairman of Tendring District Council’s Planning Policy and Local Plan Committee, said: “Once this consultation has concluded the Inspector will analyse the responses before hopefully declaring our Section One Local Plan sound, modified as he has indicated. The NEAs can then move on to examination of their individual parts of their Local Plans.”
The plans for the Garden Communities were supported by Essex County Council.
To view the consultation and to make comments, visit https://www.braintree.gov.uk/NEAMMS1.