Essex: Alresford Parish Council fears local plan delays leave village open to unsustainable development

Cockaynes Wood, Alresford.

Cockaynes Wood, Alresford.

Parish councillors in the Tendring district are concerned the lack of a local plan could leave their village open to large green belt developments.

Members of Alresford Parish Council’s planning committee fear delays to Tendring District Council’s (TDC) local plan will spark a developers’ frenzy.

A local plan is a blueprint for housing and economic growth in this case until 2031.

TDC is currently between local plans with only a draft one in place at the moment.

The original plan to cover the current period was revisited after concerns elements of it were out of date.

Until a new plan is brought in the old local plan remains in force, with the new one gathering importance as it is developed.

In a statement Alresford Parish Council’s planning committee said: “The lack of a Tendring local plan is causing speculative property developers to initiate planning applications for many more homes than is sustainable in Alresford.

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“District councils are required to have an active policy to specify where development will be allowed, but TDC’s adopted planning policy has expired.

“The replacement plan they spent years preparing has been binned after being judged not fit for purpose.

“Now we face years without a Local Plan as they recommence the process.

“Alresford is a highly desirable place to live and large developers are now taking advantage of the Localism Act which states that in areas without a local plan applications come under the National Planning Policy Framework – even green belt land can be targeted.

“Already a developer is looking to build 145 homes on fields off Cockaynes Lane in Alresford.

“The number of homes indicated and the controversial planned access via this ancient and sensitive location is contrary to all outcomes from previous planning discussions.

“It is reasonable to expect limited, sustainable and proportionate development in thriving villages such as Alresford.

“But the current lack of policy appears to be giving developers a free hand to decide housing numbers and road layouts.

“This cannot be right and is not democratic.

“Every field and open space is at risk until a local plan is in place.

“Alresford parish councillors urge our local MP and district and county councillors to find ways to put the brakes on this potentially damaging state of affairs.”

Carlo Guglielmi, councillor for planning at TDC, said: “My heart goes out to Alresford but they are not the only ones with concerns. We are extremely fortunate not to have had an onslaught of applications for sites which we do not want to see development on.

“However I would reassure them that each application is judged on its merits and must be sustainable, and in a sustainable location.

“I hope the local plan committee will at its next meeting on October 21 shrink down the number of development sites and reduce the vulnerability to large applications.”