Campaigners fear more homes will be added to north Essex ‘garden cities’ proposals

Proposed garden village sites in north Essex. Image: ARCHANT GRAPHICS UNIT

Proposed garden village sites in north Essex. Image: ARCHANT GRAPHICS UNIT - Credit: Archant

Campaigners rallying against plans to build three Garden Communities in North Essex - up to 42,000 homes over 30 years - fear the number of houses could increase even further.

The second day of the three-day review into the plans took place yesterday at Colchester United’s Weston Homes Community Stadium.

The scheme, put forward by Braintree District, Tendring District and Colchester Borough Councils, looks to create three garden communities in Essex - one west of Braintree, one east of Colchester and one west of Marks Tey.

The Marks Tey site could see up to 20,000 homes built, with up to 13,000 at Andrewsfield and Boxted Wood and up to 9,000 north of the University of Essex.

However, concerns were raised at the meeting about the number of homes that would be developed, how to create a balance between the number of residents and jobs and whether planning models used estimate the required growth took into account commuting and the ‘London affect’ - residents living in the area but working in the capital.

Professor Jane Black, of the Wivenhoe Society, said she worried that a backlog in the councils’ current house building plans would create the need to build even more homes, to catch up to their previous targets.

She added she thought it was unwise to judge the need for housing on the current speed of growth in towns like Colchester.

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She sad: “We have had a lot of arguments for putting the housing requirements up but haven’t looked at putting the numbers down.

“The problem is that the housing needs are based on demographic trend predictions.

“Colchester in particular has grown very fast so we are pushed by this method to continue to grow fast”

Following the meeting, a spokeswoman for Cause, the Campaign Against Urban Sprawl in Essex, said: “Local people feel very excluded from discussions like those today, which are highly technical.

“Developers were, as expected, arguing for a higher housing number, on the pretext that this will bring affordable homes. “Unfortunately we all know that the planning system is not good at delivering affordable homes.

“It would be far better to focus on how to meet this need rather than quibble about targets.”

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