Developers brought in to push forward plans for 14,000 homes along A120 corridor
Landowners behind plans for 14,000 homes along the A120 corridor in Essex have now teamed up with a developer and planning consultant to drive the proposals forward.
The Gateway 120 consortium is made up of landowners with “significant” holdings to the east of Braintree and to the west of Marks Tey. It has been working together since 2008.
It is proposing to build a new settlement at West Tey, on the border with Colchester borough, and at Temple Border between Braintree and Bradwell, along with supporting schools, health facilities and open space.
The scheme will also, it is claimed, help to unlock funding for dualling the A120 between Braintree and Colchester and provide 100 acres of employment land close to the A12.
The consortium has published its suggested new route for the A120, with a Bradwell bypass connecting directly to Galley’s Corner, not Mark’s Farm junctions at Braintree, and new link to the A12 south of Marks Tey.
Earlier schemes submitted by Gateway 120, for 7,500 west of Marks Tey and 3,000 near Bradwell, were not included in previous drafts of Braintree District Council’s Local Plan.
Gateway 120 has said it is too early to say how much funding would be available for the A120. However, an assessment of its 2011 scheme assumed a £127million contribution to the A120 improvements.
Revised proposals were put forward as part of a new call for sites, and Gateway 120 has now announced a development partnership to take the scheme forward.
It has been working for eight months with L&Q, a London-based housing association and developer, and Cirrus Land Ltd, a planning promotion company, and the trio have now signed a formal agreement to cement its relationship.
Robert Crayston, director at Gateway 120, said: “With this partnership we now have the land, resources and experience to allow the new settlements at West Tey and Temple Border to become a reality.
“It is widely agreed that north Essex needs large numbers of new homes, but of all the plans on the table only the Gateway 120 proposals can also help to deliver thousands of new jobs and the infrastructure we need, including new schools, health facilities, open space and the upgraded A120.”
Craig Luttman, planning and residential investment director at L&Q, added: “The Gateway 120 proposals offer an unparalleled opportunity to make a substantial, well-planned contribution to meeting the housing and other needs of north Essex.”
Later this year an “enquiry by design” process will be begun by Cirrus to get residents’ thoughts on the plans.
John Symington, at Cirrus, said: “It is vital the community are fully involved at every step of the way. The enquiry by design process will encourage the local community to work with us to help develop the detailed plans.”
Braintree District Council is currently assessing land put forward under its call for sites, and will present preferred development options in June. This will be followed by consultation and further revision, before the Local Plan is adopted next year.
It is working with Colchester Borough Council, along with Tendring District Council, on potential new garden village settlements – one of the possible options for which is a new village at West Tey. However no decisions have yet been made.
Reaction to the announcement
The Campaign Against Urban Sprawl in Essex (CAUSE) described the announcement as “interesting” and said it led to more questions.
Rosie Pearson, secretary, said: “We would ask what experience they have in delivering a new settlement outside of London and evidence of delivering infrastructure first. Can it be delivered to a high standard – this is not a few hundred homes we are talkin about?
“We absolutely believe the right mix of housing for local people is crucial, and it would be interesting to know if a social housing provider from London will deliver social housing for Londoners?
“West Tey is not the right place for housing on this scale at this time, and should be in the next planning period when the A120 will already be dualled.
“While the inclusion of employment land is to be welcomed, we think housing should be built around existing job hubs.”