December 9 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Concerns have been raised that a proposed 1,600 home development in Colchester is “not feasible” because of the strain it will put on services and surrounding infrastructure.
The planning committee at Colchester Borough Council is due to meet this evening to discuss an application for a major urban expansion in the Mile End area of the town put forward by developers Mersea Homes and Countryside Properties.
The application seeks outline planning consent for a mixed use development of up to 1,600 homes, a community centre and land to be used for schools and sports facilities.
The plans have generated a large number of objections, many with concerns about the size of the development and traffic congestion.
However, the council’s officers have recommended the application be granted, stating that “benefits of the scheme are not significantly or demonstrably outweighed by any adverse impacts”.
The planning committee does not have the final say on the scheme, which must also be passed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
But councillor for the Mile End ward, Martin Goss, says he believes the development will put too much strain on existing schools and health centres and that he would like the developer to contribute more to the cost of building these facilities.
He added: “The proposal isn’t feasible because we need new schools, and health services in this area are already stretched.
“The report says the developer has been asked to make a £240,000 contribution towards extending the existing health centre on Turner Road to cope with the extra patients, but this money has not been secured.
“We are also told the development will create the need for 420 more primary school places and 350 more secondary school places and all the developer is prepared to offer is a piece of land to build the schools on.”
But Tina Bourne, the council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “In most cases, the housing comes first and the infrastructure follows –that’s how it is unfortunately. It’s up to local authorities to negotiate planning gain and they have to weigh up what they ask from developers against the risk of putting the scheme in jeopardy, especially during these difficult times.”
No one at Mersea Homes was available for comment.