Colchester City Council responds to Middlewick Ranges protest

PUBLISHED: 23 February 2024

Following peaceful protests this week outside the Town Hall regarding the potential development of the Middlewick Ranges, Colchester City Council has moved to clarify its position and address any misunderstandings.

“While we understand and appreciate the passion surrounding the future of Middlewick Ranges, it’s crucial to remember that the council does not own the land and has no direct control over its sale or development,” said Cllr David King, Leader of Colchester City Council.

The Ministry of Defence owns and manages the Middlewick Ranges through their Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO). They hold sole responsibility for access, surveys, and potential buyer interactions.

The DIO is solely responsible for granting access, conducting due diligence surveys, and interacting with potential buyers. The council is not involved in these activities.

Although the DIO is not obligated to inform residents or the council of ongoing surveys, they did notify the council about recent surveys on the same day they began. Local councillors were also promptly informed.

No development plans have been submitted to the council, so no decisions can be made at this time. The existing Local Plan policy outlines rigorous environmental protections that any potential developer would be required to adhere to. Further independent ecological surveys commissioned by the council will commence in Spring 2024.

“In the meantime, the council welcomes and acknowledges all representations regarding the Middlewick Ranges,” Cllr King added. “While we cannot directly influence the sale or development process, we are committed to ensuring any plans by any developer comply with the robust protections we require. The Local Plan Review process (2024-2026) will provide an opportunity to reassess the site allocation based on new evidence and public feedback.

“The council remains committed to responsible development and environmental protection within its boundaries, and we would encourage residents to continue engaging in the Local Plan Review process and to express their views on the future of the Middlewick Ranges.”

Page last reviewed: 23 February 2024


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