Colchester Borough Council’s Local Plan Committee is about to review its draft Local Plan and associated reports on 5th July. The village features in this draft plan as a ‘sustainable village’.
Whereas this may sound like a comforting declaration, it also heralds the prospect of further growth, although the village has escaped the sort of expansion suggested for our neighbour Marks Tey. Overall, in the period to 2033, it suggests building an extra 120 dwellings in our village. This is approximately a 10% increase. Whilst this may sound a lot, it is probably at the lower level of expectations, given the pressure on new housing in the south east, and the rate of new build in the Borough of about 1,000 a year.
The good news is that the Borough Council has recognised the work going on to produce a Neighbourhood Plan for West Bergholt. This means that any new housing proposed in the village will be:
- Determined by the parish community as set out in the Neighbourhood Plan we are working on.
- Subject to a separate consultation carried out by the West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group. This will follow the Colchester Borough Council consultation period envisaged in September.
- The subject of a separate Examination in Public by a neutral Planning Inspector.
- Subject to a local referendum.
Chris Stevenson Chairman of the Parish Council and Chairman of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering group said:
The proposed increase of 120 dwellings over a 15-year period is greater than our own estimates of need, and that supported by the village in our consultations in 2015. However, we have demonstrated in our work that although we are not anti-development, we cannot accommodate any substantial increase in housing, and so a build-rate on average of 8 dwellings per annum is reasonable. It is also excellent news that Colchester has recognised that only our community will be able to determine where new housing will be located through completion of our Neighbourhood Plan.
Have your say
You can download the draft Colchester Local Plan reports from this link. Communities are encouraged to comment on this document. If you register to submit comments online you will receive emails informing you when new documents are available for consultation. The link for the consultation portal is http://www.colchester.gov.uk/currentconsultations with formal consultations starting once CBC ratify the document.
The response deadline for consultation responses is 5pm on Friday 2nd September 2016.
The Parish Council and the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group will consider the Local Plan proposals during July. Our Neighbourhood Plan will be the subject of a consultation in September. In due course, we will publish details of how you can participate with this on the web site and the Village Bulletin.
The local Gazette is also carrying a news item reviewing the overall plan – we get a very brief mention. Read the article online.