Date issued: 26 February 2021
Colchester Borough Council’s ambitious plans to help the borough grow and continue meeting the needs and aspirations of residents are to be examined at special hearings next month (April).
A Government appointed Planning Inspector will go through the council’s Local Plan – which sets out the strategy for the growth of our borough to 2033 and beyond, setting out what development will take place and where – during virtual hearings between Tuesday 20 and Friday 30 April.
The sessions will focus on the part of the Local Plan (Section Two) covering policies and maps for considering planning applications, and site allocations for new development for housing, employment, and infrastructure across the borough.
People who have previously submitted representations regarding the plan will be given the opportunity to speak at the hearings, or submit further written information to the inspectors, with letters and emails being sent out over the next few days inviting them to register for the sessions. People will be able to watch the proceedings live on YouTube.
This forms part of the official process towards the adoption of a local plan. Once the plan has been approved by the inspector, the plan can be adopted. Allocations, such as Middlewick, will then develop a masterplan looking at what is needed to support any new communities and existing residents – including country parks, open spaces, or any other facilities.
Cllr Julie Young, Deputy Leader of the Council, said: “Colchester is fantastic place to live and work, with a vibrant culture, unique history and a growing economy.
“We need to ensure the Local Plan provides the robust framework needed for our borough to continue to thrive as a place of energy and opportunity. This will ensure we can meet the needs of the local community and businesses with the jobs, housing, infrastructure and natural environment we all wish to see in the decades to come.
“We know that this process brings up emotive issues, such as Middlewick. I fully share the concern and exasperation of many residents that precious open space may be lost. When we know the Inspector's position, we can immediately set about establishing what residents most want. This council must follow the planning process, but we will stand by the Wick and work with interest groups, campaigners and the many users of this great space, to find a cross-party way ahead that makes the very best of what we have and preserves it for future generations.”
The process being followed for this section of our Local Plan, known as Section Two, mirrors the process undertaken over the last few years for the joint element of the Plan with Braintree and Tendring councils, known as Section One, regarding the Garden Communities proposals.
Last December a Planning Inspector ruled that Section One of the Local Plan, which includes proposals for the Tendring Colchester Borders Garden Community, was legally compliant and has now been adopted.
Find out more about Colchester’s Local Plan here: www.colchester.gov.uk/local-plan