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Colchester/Tendring: Council hit back at MP’s comments

09:00 05 December 2011

A WAR of words has erupted between council chiefs and an MP in Essex over controversial housing proposals.

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Last week MP for Colchester Bob Russell accused Tendring District Council (TDC) of planning to ‘dump’ 3,000 new homes on the border of his constituency.

The outburst prompted a response from TDC’s council leader Neil Stock and finance boss Peter Halliday in which they described Mr Russell as ‘short sighted and childish’.

But on Friday Mr Stock and Mr Halliday said they were disappointed after receiving another letter from Mr Russell which

attacked their leadership.

The row began on Wednesday when Mr Russell sent a letter to both councillors calling for them to stop plans to build housing developments on the edge of the Greenstead and St John’s estates.

Mr Russell said it would create an urban sprawl and put a strain on Colchester’s public services.

However, Mr Stock and Mr Halliday issued a response which pointed out that the proposals were those of developers and not the council’s.

They said as part of local planning procedure, the council asked land owners and developers to come forward with their proposals which form the early stages of consultation.

Mr Stock went on to say: “It is perhaps unsurprising that a developer has seen fit to propose an urban sprawl development into Tendring given the fact that Colchester Council has allowed huge housing developments to be ‘plonked’ on the borders of our district.”

Mr Stock also hit back at Mr Russell’s comment which stated: “Tendring presumably thinks it is acceptable to take the new homes bonus while it would be Colchester which would experience the consequences - of traffic, education, health and other demands.”

Mr Stock said: “Your comments regarding the ‘New Homes Bonus’ are short sighted and childish. You will be very aware that Colchester is renowned for being aggressive 106 monies collectors.

“We do not chase the short term gain of the new homes bonus in the same as any fool can see delivering public services to urban developments on our extremities would be a long-term and costly commitment.”

In the latest exchange, Mr Russell hit back and called TDC’s response ‘immature’ adding that he hoped they would reject the housing proposals.

Mr Halliday said they were ‘disappointed’ with Mr Russell’s latest letter and would be responding to him in due course.

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