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Group fears proposed Essex garden communities are really 'new towns'

PUBLISHED: 07:30 03 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:08 03 September 2019

Cllr Tom Cunningham,deputy leader of Braintree District Council, said garden communities allow planners to rethink how to plan and create communities. Picture: PAUL STARR

Cllr Tom Cunningham,deputy leader of Braintree District Council, said garden communities allow planners to rethink how to plan and create communities. Picture: PAUL STARR

PAUL STARR Photographer

Campaigners have voiced fears about the impact of plans for three garden communities along the A120 in Essex - arguing that they would in fact be 'new towns'.

North Essex map showing the possible locations of three new Garden Village developments, providing thousands of homes and other facilitiesNorth Essex map showing the possible locations of three new Garden Village developments, providing thousands of homes and other facilities

Campaigners have voiced fears about the impact of plans for three garden communities along the A120 in Essex - arguing that they would in fact be 'new towns'.

The Green and Independent Group at Braintree District Council say the largest of the communities will be 24,000 homes, at West Tey, 'sprawling across the countryside' between Coggeshall and Feering.

The group has also voiced concerns about transport links, aimed at reducing traffic in the areas involved.

They argue planning documents contain proposals for 'rapid transport systems', a bus or tram service which will use 'dedicated traffic free lanes'.

Group MD of NECG Ltd  Richard Bayley talks about North Essex Garden Communities at a business breakfast in Dovercourt Picture: NANCY SWORD/TDCGroup MD of NECG Ltd Richard Bayley talks about North Essex Garden Communities at a business breakfast in Dovercourt Picture: NANCY SWORD/TDC

However, the group claims Highways England has confirmed it has no plans to build the lanes.

The group also argue that there are no firm plans to significantly upgrade the main railway line in the Witham and Colchester area and no plan to increase the capacity of the Braintree branch line, where much of the housing in the plans will be built.

North Essex Garden Communities Ltd (NEGC Ltd), which is owned by and working on behalf of Essex County, Braintree District, Tendring District and Colchester Borough Councils, has announced it will be carrying out a consultation on the proposals, which will be organised from October 2019,

A seperate six-week consultation launched on August 19 into the area's local plan where residents can comment on addition evidence being submitted to the planning inspector supporting the development of the three communities.

Councillor Tom Cunningham, deputy leader of Braintree District Council, said garden communities give planners the flexibility to better design infrastructure.

He said: "Garden communities give us the opportunity to rethink everything we know about planning and creating communities.

"Rather than tacking houses in the edge of towns and villages we can create innovative places with modern infrastructure requirements in mind."

Richard Bayley, group MD of NEGC Ltd, added: "Our plan is to design garden communities which suit the needs of local people while safeguarding opportunities for future generations.

"We believe that our approach is the best way of providing new homes alongside the new business space that North Essex needs to thrive."

To view the garden communities proposals and to comment on the plans, visit www.braintree.gov.uk/NEAtechS1

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