Poll: Fears Tendring’s villages could merge amid plans to shift housebuilding burden away from Clacton

A RADICAL shift to build more new homes in rural Tendring could see communities merging with each other, it has been claimed.

Civic chiefs want to move the burden for new housebuilding away from Clacton and spread it more evenly across the district.

But critics argue the policy is a result of “political appeasement” rather than what is in the best interests of the district.

The plans, if approved in September, would see increases in new housing for many of Tendring’s smaller towns and villages.

Worst hit areas include St Osyth, which would have 60 new homes allocated to it by 2021; Great Bentley, 40; Kirby-le-Soken, 36; and Little Oakley, 32.

Clacton stands to benefit most. Existing housebuilding plans have 4,100 homes allocated to it by 2031, but the new proposals, which only run to 2021, have 1,700 new properties.

“It’s very innovative,” said Councillor Carlo Guglielmi, cabinet member for planning at Tendring District Council (TDC). “We’re the only authority who have come up with a comprehensive way to distribute development fairly and evenly.

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“I think we have done a tremendous job - this plan will prosper Tendring. This is very innovative and there’s some really strong policies.”

But Cllr Ivan Henderson, leader of Labour on TDC, said: “It’s not a good thing for Tendring - you cannot make policy and decisions based on appeasing people. You have to have the courage sometimes to argue the case for the right reasons.

“Housing should not be made on these grounds - it should be made on transport and access and where public services are.”

Cllr Tom Howard, who represents Little Oakley, said the plans would be met with relief in the village - there had been threats of 1,400 new homes being built near the community.

But he added: “I think most rural areas would probably like to see more focus on existing areas and that’s a common theme.

“Six per cent [the proposed increase across the district] is probably sustainable but if they repeat that it would be unsustainable.

“It’s a manageable thing on this occasion but we don’t want to see it repeated. Villages will begin to merge if there are close to each other or with towns if they are close enough.”

The Government has told councils to come up with new plans for housebuilding by March 2013 in a bid to promote localism and community engagement.

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