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Colchester/Tendring: MP slams council’s housing plans

06:00 01 December 2011

MP for Colchester Bob Russell

MP for Colchester Bob Russell

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AN MP in Essex has accused a council of ‘dumping’ 3,000 new homes on the the borders of their constituency.

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Bob Russell, MP for Colchester, said Tendring District Council’s (TDC’s) proposed housing developments on the edge of Greenstead and St. John’s estates would create an urban sprawl, putting a strain on the town’s public services.

TDC is in the process of setting out its Local Development Framework (LDF) which includes plans of where homes will be built over the next 15 years.

Under the proposals, TDC has set out to build around 3,000 homes in Elmstead and Ardleigh parishes which adjoin Colchester borough.

In a letter sent to TDC’s Development Plan Officer, Mr Russell said: “I have come to the conclusion that the proposals from Tendring are a deliberate attempt to dump as much as possible of its required housing allocation on the doorstep of Colchester rather than to do what it should, namely come forward with sustainable and sensible proposals throughout the Tendring District.

“The proposals for Elmstead and Ardleigh would have communities whose obvious community of interest would not be to Tendring but to the town of Colchester which it would adjoin. This is not good planning, and Tendring District Council should be ashamed for even putting it forward.”

Mr Russell has also called for Colchester residents to form part of TDC’s consultation with the public over the plans.

“Surely Colchester residents should form part of your consultation? They are nearer to two of Tendring’s proposed sites than those Tendring residents whose views you are seeking.

“You must know that these proposals represent lack of consideration, and would be a planning and environmental disaster. 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.”

TDC’s planning portfolio holder Carlo Guglielmi said the plans were in the very early stages and may not even go ahead. He also said the sites earmarked for potential developments were publicised several years ago.

“We invited developers and landowners in the district to come forward with their sites years ago and we published the locations that they wanted to build on. This information has always been available to the public so I’m surprised Mr Russell has not picked up on this before now.

“We extended the consultation period, which focused on the type of housing, the location and the number of houses, with the public until yesterday so those who may have missed out the first time round could give their feedback on the plans. “We hope to be able to share the results this side of Christmas or in early January. These will be followed up with workshops with council members and discussions over what residents have fed back.

“These are only proposals and there’s a long way to go yet.”

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