Development threat to rural communities

RURAL communities would be “destroyed” and traffic problems deepened if plans to build thousands of new homes in the countryside are pushed through, according to a report.

RURAL communities would be “destroyed” and traffic problems deepened if plans to build thousands of new homes in the countryside are pushed through, according to a report.

A parish council in north-east Essex believes proposals to build up to 2,000 new homes and a large business park on its doorstep are “inappropriate” and run contrary to Government policy.

Giving their official response to the Tendring District Council's seven-year blueprint for north-east Essex, parish councillors from Frating urged planning chiefs to think again.

The district council wants to create what amounts to a new town on prime agricultural land near the junction of the A120 and A133 in the Frating, Hare Green and Great Bromley area.

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As part of its draft Local Plan issued in May, the authority has also proposed building a new business park on a 27-hectare site south of the A120 and west of the A133 at Frating.

Residents have until Friday to respond.

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In its response, Frating District Council said it strongly objected to the housing and business park proposals.

It said: “We feel that this part of the plan is an inappropriate response to sustain villages using prime agricultural land in this way.

“The business park is unlikely to supply jobs for local people from these villages, as previous experience shows that companies relocating bring their own employees with them.

“These proposals could bring as many as 5,000 people and 4,000 vehicles to this location. This would swamp this rural community and bring a considerable increase in traffic movements.”

Frating Parish Council chairman, Michael Brown, said yesterday: “Our peaceful community would be destroyed.

“People have moved here over the years simply because it is calm and rural. This draft plan was intended to help sustain villages, but I think it will do exactly the opposite.”

James Heaney, chairman of Great Bromley Parish Council, said he had been consulting with his Frating colleagues about the issues ahead of his authority's response later this week.

“We understood that jobs should be created where there's unemployment - well, there's not really any of that around our village,” he said.

“It's places like Harwich and Clacton that are in most need of new jobs so we think it would be wiser to build business premises there, not here.

“What would be the point in having a new business park away from towns when there's just not the infrastructure?

“All they would be doing is increasing traffic at a time when I thought everyone was trying to reduce it.

He added: “There's an awful lot of disquiet about all this, especially since Tendring council did not even visit either Frating or Great Bromley with their exhibition about the plan.”

Peter Patrick, Tendring District Council's planning portfolio holder, said yesterday: “The whole idea of a consultation is to allow people to air their views.

“However, I don't think you'll get an all-purpose junction at the A133/A120 to Harwich and Clacton without the new houses and business park.

“People will have to accept that traffic will carry on going through Frating.”

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