Colchester: Severalls Hospital housing development is rejected
PLANS for the first phase of a major new housing development in Colchester have been thrown out by councillors.
A bid to build about 250 houses on the former Severalls Hospital site in Boxted Road, Colchester, was rejected at a meeting of Colchester Borough Council’s planning committee on Thursday.
Mile End councillor Martin Goss, who is not on the planning committee but spoke at the meeting, said councillors had “stepped up to the plate” by sending the proposals back to the drawing board.
“The planning committee was uncomfortable signing off on a half-baked plan that leaves too many unanswered questions,” he said.
“If we make mistakes on phase one of this development then it will be disastrous further down the line. “This development has been on the cards for a long time and it’s generally accepted that it will happen, but that’s not an excuse to do the job badly.
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“There are enough future ghettos in Colchester already, we don’t want another one.”
Landowners, the North Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the Homes and Communities Agency, have applied to build 248 homes on a corner of the site. If they get planning permission the land will be sold to a developer.
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Chairman of the planning committee, Ray Gamble, said the decision to defer the application for further consideration had been unanimous.
“Quite a few questions were raised at the meeting particularly surrounding issues of drainage and flooding,” he said.
“There were also concerns about the proximity of some of the houses to the road and the amount of green spaces.
“We recognise that this is an important scheme for Colchester which is short on housing – particularly affordable and smaller houses – but it needs to be done right.”
Cllr Goss added: “This is a wet area and a lot of work needs to be done to ensure adequate drainage before any development goes ahead.
“The ground is largely clay which doesn’t absorb water. There’s already a problem of flooding in the car park of the Community Stadium.
“In the plans the biggest houses would back onto people’s homes in Mill Road and Thomas Wakley Close which is unacceptable. The three-storey properties should be in the centre of the development.”
In total, about 1,500 homes, a primary school and community facilities are planned for the site of the former hospital, which closed in 1997.