Time extended to Comment on Gladman’s Plans
On 5th December Planning Services issued a letter indicating that comment in the form of objections or support could be made on Gladman’s Planning Application. The letter stated that comments should be made within 28 days but Planning Officers have now advised otherwise. For the avoidance of doubt, Borough Councillors are opposed to the application as is the Parish Council (see below):
We would like to assure you that we are strongly against this speculative application. We remain committed to sustainable house building for current and future generations but this development would fall outside of the village envelope, damage the character of the village and place further pressure on our local infrastructure. We are also in contact with the Parish Council over this issue. This proposal would also be outside of the village’s Neighbourhood Plan, which is resident led and is part of the process to allocate the 120 homes that West Bergholt must support as part of the Borough’s Emerging Local Plan from 2017-2033.
Councillors Barber, Jarvis & Willets.
The Principal Planning Officer has now said:
Residents have been given an extended period to comment, the letters are dated 5 December and residents have been given 28 days to comment. In reality, the application will not be determined until February/March 2018 and any representations received during January will be taken into consideration.
How to Comment
To comment you need to access the application on the Council’s website at www.colchester.gov.uk/planning. Simply choose ‘View a Planning Application’ and then enter either:
- the reference number: 173127, or
- the site address: Land adj, Hill House Farm Colchester Road West Bergholt Colchester CO6 3JX.
If you do not have access to the internet there are public computers available at all local libraries or you can send your comments in writing to :
Colchester Borough Council,
33 Sheepen Road,
Please ensure you include the planning application number in your response. Once received comments are published online and available for viewing.
The Parish Council’s Response
The proposed development is viewed as unwanted by the residents of West Bergholt and the Parish Council, the reasons for which are laid out below:
The planning application fails to take into account the emerging West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan. West Bergholt Parish Council and the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group have spent four years working on the emerging plan, consulting residents and formulating the best plan possible for the Parish. This plan has already determined the most appropriate and sustainable location for the additional 120 houses which the village is required to accommodate over the next 15 years.
Colchester currently has an existing Local Plan until 2021 and a five-year supply of local housing. The current Plan has already allocated all of the housing required within the designated Village Envelope, this application is outside the existing village envelope and therefore against current Local Plan policies. The Draft successor Local Plan, approval of which is anticipated in 2018, has already determined the numbers & position of a carefully chosen site nestled within a gap in the current Village Envelope, North of Colchester Road. The application is also contrary to the planning policies contained within Colchester’s Draft Plan. It is outside the proposed settlement boundary and exacerbates rather than prevents the coalescence of settlement patterns between Colchester and West Bergholt. There are no exceptional circumstances which would justify any departure from such policies.
The proposal for an additional 97 family houses will cause a multitude of problems for local infrastructure. The site is twice as far from the village centre compared to the preferred development areas in the Neighbourhood Plan. This will worsen the situation in Colchester Road, and not present as sustainable a pattern of day to day travel as the Neighbourhood Plan location. The local school and surgery are already oversubscribed; this proposal for larger family houses will put even more pressure on these facilities, whilst the Steering Group’s proposed mix of housing is likely to reduce that pressure as it would be phased in over time and have a less intensive effect as a result. West Bergholt’s Neighbourhood Plan involves integrated planning over the course of the next 15 years, whilst this application would be immediate, possibly completed within 18 months of approval.
The contribution proposed by the developers towards infrastructure and facilities would be minimal, whilst the Neighbourhood Plan will be seeking a significant contribution (not necessarily financial) to reduce existing traffic issues on Colchester Road whereas theirs will just make the situation worse. It would result in another junction not far from the current Maltings Park one and is far enough from the centre of the village to lead to an increase in car use to the Co-op and school.
Many people including Colchester MP, Will Quince, have already called for a stop to additional development in the Colchester area until adequate infrastructure including highway infrastructure is provided. It is the wrong development, in the wrong place and at the wrong time.