‘It could be hundreds more homes’: Backlash against 100-home development on Mersea Island
Furious residents have blasted plans for more homes on Essex’s Mersea Island, telling developers their community is already at breaking point.
The proposal for 100 homes on the island near Colchester, on land close to Dawes Lane, were put forward by Mersea Homes in February, but have met stiff opposition from individuals and organised pressure groups.
As well as 30 of the homes being made affordable housing, the development would see open public spaces and land dedicated for a potential doctor's surgery.
However, fears over stretched public services, traffic in disarray and the loss of the island's character have led to a backlash from those living near the site.
John Akker, a West Mersea town councillor and member of campaign group Stop 350, has spent years opposing the over-development of the island.
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"The plan is for 100 homes but there are several plans for homes on Mersea - 100 homes really means hundreds more," said Mr Akker.
"There is one tidal road off of Mersea, if we have to evacuate we cannot get away with more cars on the roads.
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"And despite the name 'affordable housing', very few will actually be affordable for those living here.
"We speak for 1,163 people living on Mersea Island and represent them in respect to the local plan - this development is premature."
Although the council's planning webpage shows almost 100 objections have been made to these plans, Mr Akker insists there are at least 60 more yet to be included.
Stuart Cock, Mersea Homes managing director, said: "We are proud to present this application for 100 dwellings and extensive land for community uses in West Mersea.
"We believe this proposal has all the hallmarks to deliver an excellent development that will integrate, complement and enhance the facilities of the town."
"We have deliberately maintained an element of flexibility with this land, as it is our view that this land should be planned by local people for uses that they deem appropriate," he added.
Plans submitted for the development would also add cycling and walking routes to the island, as well as 'wildlife corridors' to keep the area biologically diverse.
Those wishing to see the plans and make a comment can do so on the council website before March 20.
Those wishing to see the plans and make a comment can do so on the Colchester Borough Council website before March 20.