Witham MP Priti Patel labels Colchester Borough Council 'rotten' in Stanway housing development dispute
PUBLISHED: 09:54 06 September 2016 | UPDATED: 09:54 06 September 2016
Essex MP Priti Patel has labelled Colchester Borough Council "rotten" and accused them of "incompetence" in a heated dispute over a housing development bid in Stanway.
The Witham MP criticised the authority when outlining her opposition to proposals to build 28 affordable homes at the Lakelands development, located off Tollgate Road, Church Lane and Churchfields Avenue.
The bid will be ruled over by the authority’s planning committee at Town Hall today.
According to Mrs Patel, the site, also known as SR6, had been categorised as open space in the council’s Local Plan, but the council, without consultation, has changed the allocation, resulting in the developer putting forward the proposals.
Outline planning permission has been granted for 800 homes in total at the site.
She said: “The decision taken by the council to sneak this site into its new Local Plan has been done in an attempt to support the developer and to cover-up the council’s incompetence and previous mistakes.
“It is astonishing that this rotten council thinks it can get away with misleading residents and treating them with contempt.
“I stand alongside the hundreds of local residents who are opposed to this development and unacceptable loss of open space.
“Colchester Borough Council have mishandled this site by changing its allocation without any public consultation.
“There are serious questions about how they have conducted themselves and the planning committee should now do the right thing and refuse this application.”
Dominic Graham, portfolio holder for waste and sustainability, said: “We have anticipated an increased level of public interest in this application and have therefore moved the meeting to the Moot Hall, where three speakers will be permitted to speak for and against the proposal.
“The report to the planning committee carefully explores many of the issues raised by Mrs Patel. In proceeding as it has, the council has taken independent legal advice in the form of written legal opinions which indicate that the actions we have taken are both lawful and appropriate.”
A Flagship Housing Development spokesman said: “Our reserved matters application has followed planning guidance and we await a decision to be made at committee next week. The 28 homes will provide the balance of affordable housing as required by the Section 106 for this site.”