Date issued: 2 February 2021
Colchester Borough Council has formally adopted the first part of its new Local Plan.
At an extraordinary meeting of the Full Council last night (1 February), members approved Section One of the plan, paving the way for a new garden community and for work on Section Two of the plan to continue.
Section One has been drawn up jointly between Colchester Borough Council, Tendring District Council and Braintree District Council, and supported by Essex County Council, taking a cross-border approach to sustainable development and the future of homes, jobs and infrastructure in north Essex.
It includes proposals for a new garden community on the border of Colchester and Tendring, adopting an infrastructure-led approach that includes a Rapid Transit System and a requirement for 920 homes to be built each year during the plan period to 2033.
The council will now continue with Section Two, its individual plan, which contains local policies and allocations, while adding more local detail onto the strategic proposals outlined in Section One, prior to adoption of the whole plan.
In December, a Planning Inspector ruled Section One of the plan to be legally compliant and could be adopted subject to including his previously announced modifications.
Cllr Julie Young, Deputy Leader of the Council, said: “I am hugely grateful to everyone involved in what was a prolonged and often-complex process. I am pleased that we can now move forward with Section Two and begin to plan to meet our housing and other development targets in the most sustainable and appropriate ways possible. This is an exciting opportunity to do something different, and better.”
Cllr Mark Cory, Leader of Colchester Borough Council, added: “The council has attempted to look at a different way of doing development, not only pursuing widely-welcomed garden community principles, but working jointly with neighbouring councils and looking further into the future. This approach should be encouraged.
“However, I still believe that the Local Plan process should be reformed, as the parameters in which they are set by government are too focused on housing delivery in the most suitable places put forward by landowners. This can’t be right.
“In this plan, Colchester Council has worked with neighbouring councils to mitigate those factors and look to future-proof development. We still have a long way to go to ensure our councils deliver on the principles and infrastructure promised, whilst protecting existing communities and co-creating new settlements of the future that enhance biodiversity, deliver real environmental sustainability, and create healthy and happy communities we can be proud of.”