Bishop slates major development

THE Bishop of Colchester has slammed planners and developers for building new housing estates in the north of the town without corner shops, local pubs or open spaces for children.

By Juliette Maxam

THE Bishop of Colchester has slammed planners and developers for building new housing estates in the north of the town without corner shops, local pubs or open spaces for children.

The Right Reverend Christopher Morgan, Bishop of Colchester, spent yesterday morning visiting Myland parish, in north Colchester, with the local rector, Rev Geoff Catchpole.

He looked at new housing estates off the Northern Approach road, Mill Road and the Turner Rise development, where thousands of new homes are under construction or due to be built.


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But afterwards he criticised the developments for their lack of community provision.

He said: "There's little or no provision in the neighbourhood of pubs or corner shops or even open places for children.

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"The social provision so far in these new developments is modest to non existent."

The Bishop said the Church of England wants to find ways of contributing to community facilities in the area.

"There's a human well-being factor in all of this in which we hope to be part."

Bishop Christopher said the church hoped to enter into partnership with the local authority to provide a new school in the area - two new primary schools are planned on both the former Turner Village and Severalls hospitals sites.

Myland Parish Council chair Jean Beeson welcomed the bishop's comments.

"We have a great deal of concern as a parish council about the lack of community facilities in north Colchester.

"We have been trying very hard to get something organised. All we have got at the moment is the promise of a community centre at Severalls far down the line."

She said the council had been trying to get contributions towards community facilities at Turner Rise and the impending Flakt Woods development.

Colchester MP Bob Russell said: "This is a matter for the borough council. It's my understanding that the plans for north Colchester include a new community centre for Mile End and also there are imaginative proposals to extend St Michael's church hall."

He added: "As someone who grew up in Mile End, I obviously regret what's happening but development pressures on Colchester are the same as a great many other towns in the South East as a direct result of Government strategy."

The head of social and economic regeneration at Colchester Borough Council, Steve Clarke, said development packages on the former Severalls Hospital site include a new community centre and funding for a community development officer.

There has also been "significant development" of Mile End sports ground, including youth football provision, he said.

"It's fair to say development so far has concentrated on roads but further phases will put significant investment into community facilities. We are working with the parish council in order to make sure things are as beneficial as possible."

The Bishop also visited Myland School, Asda and the Bricklayer's Arms, in Nayland Road.

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