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West Bergholt is an attractive place to live due to the
surrounding countryside combined with accessibility to larger
towns, travel hubs and employment areas. There are many
long-term residents of the village, including families going
back several generations.
There is a growing elderly population and house prices are
higher than the national average. Older residents do not wish to
move from the village, but a number would like to move to
smaller homes that are more suitable for their circumstances. As
a result, some remain in larger homes that could be more
suitable for family accommodation.
Housing is split between the original irregular pattern of
housing in the Lanes area of the village with the newer styles
of estate type development characteristic of the 1960's, 70's
There is a long-standing need for affordable housing for local
people, particularly for young adults wishing to live
independently and for young families.
Consultations have shown that residents want West Bergholt to
remain a village and that its character should not be harmed by
inappropriate new housing development, particularly that which
might add to traffic and parking problems around the village.
Yet the majority of residents accept the need for new homes.
There is a desire for a mixture of housing types, with highest
support for small family homes for sale followed by affordable
homes for local people to rent, and lowest support for large
family homes for sale.
Residents state that good design is important and new houses
should not have a harmful impact on existing homes.
Overall there are a number of aspects to consider here
including tenure type, number of dwellings required, wider
sustainability issues and pressure from outside the village. As
the population gradually ages, there is a need for limited
housing to support new families, either from within the village
or from outside. This helps maintain the balance of the age
pyramid. Secondly there is a need to identify the right balance
of housing type, and thirdly because there is little room inside
the current settlement boundary there is a need to consider
changes to its boundary.
There are currently 1500 dwellings in the parish with planning
permission in place for a handful more (Nov 2018). The majority
of homes are owner occupied.
The Neighbourhood Plan seeks to ensure a supply of sufficient
homes to meet local needs and contribute to the retention of a
sustainable community. An appropriate housing mix must suit
elderly residents as well as first time buyers and those needing
affordable homes. Valued parts of the landscape will be
protected by building as far as possible on brownfield sites or
sites where development will not have a harmful impact on the
There is limited space for new development within the
settlement boundary and many houses within the area have
inadequate parking facilities, leading to on-street parking.
Residents value the countryside and wish to protect it from
The Parish Council produced a Village Design Statement (VDS)
in 2011 and this was adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance
by Colchester Borough Council subsequently. The VDS provides a
detailed description of the existing character and main features
of design in the village of West Bergholt and a guideline for
how this should be respected in any new development.
The VDS was a product of consultation with the community and a
derivative document of the successful Parish Plan.
The VDS describes how the residents of West Bergholt would
like new development – including new buildings, change of use,
alterations or improvements to buildings or the landscape – to
contribute to the unique character of the village.
The VDS contains 37 policies and the most important strategic
ones have been incorporated within the general Housing Planning
Policies at the end of this section.
Residents value the countryside around the village and wish to
protect it. To demonstrate West Bergholt's distinctiveness Map
PP12 has been produced to show visually the location of
important views of the landscape surrounding West Bergholt,
photos from these views are in the supporting documents
(Appendix 2). These views greatly assist in demonstrating an
understanding of the location of the village and to assist in
ensuring the countryside between West Bergholt and Braiswick is
maintained free of development in that any development of this
area is considered such as would completely alter the character
of the area and cause severe harm to the setting.
Indeed, when approaching from Braiswick, intrinsic views of
the village over the dominant arable fields are softened and it
is substantially enclosed in views from the south east into the
village, West Bergholt sitting on a plateau above the River
Colne, giving a strong sense of natural separation. As a result,
PP22 has been developed to seek to ensure such separation
remains to the part of the parish to the south east of the
settlement boundary, as shown on Map PP22.
Policies have been developed to maintain this distinctiveness
with the community so as to reflect local aspirations, and are
grounded in an understanding and evaluation of the area's
defining characteristics as Map PP12 clearly demonstrates,
noting that the Neighbourhood Plan seeks to play an important
role in identifying the qualities of the area and how this
should be reflected in the location of development areas, to
check the unrestricted sprawl of built-up areas; to prevent
neighbouring areas merging into one another and to assist in
safeguarding the countryside from encroachment.
Colchester's adopted Core Strategy outlined that the Borough
needs to allocate and build 19,000 homes between 2001 and 2023,
an average of 830 homes a year. In line with national policy
contained in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), the
Council is required to ensure sufficient housing land is
supplied to meet local housing needs.
The Council has developed a new Objectively Assessed Need
(OAN) target for the submitted Emerging Local Plan of 920 houses
a year which takes into account the requirements of the NPPF
2012; and will ensure the Borough provides a five-year supply of
specific deliverable sites and identifies a supply of specific
developable sites or broad locations for growth, for years 6-10
and, where possible, for years 11-15.
The target of 920 homes a year reflects a comprehensive
evidence base which includes the following:
These figures reflect the OAN of 920 dwellings per annum which
has been endorsed by the Local Plan Inspector (letter dated 27th
June 2018). Accordingly, it is considered that the figure is fit
for purpose despite the publication of the revised NPPF and PPG,
updated population projections and the current consultation on
the standard methodology.
Colchester Borough Council has determined the Objectively
Assessed Need (OAN) for the district using projected growth
figures provided by the Government and in its Housing and
Economic Development Needs Assessment (HEDNA), CBC set an OAN
figure for the district of 11,152. The emerging District Plan
provides for 7,210 for existing commitments and 7,853 new
allocations, totalling 15,063 over the Plan period.
A target for West Bergholt, (considered by Colchester Borough
Council as a Sustainable Settlement as it has a sufficient
population base and a range of community facilities and
infrastructure to support appropriate growth), has been set in
the emerging Neighbourhood Plan Policy ss15 in the publication
draft Local Plan of 120 dwellings. This is higher than the 100
proposed during early consultation on the Neighbourhood Plan.
The Neighbourhood Plan has sought to take account of the
emerging Local Plan and its predicted levels of growth for the
The household Neighbourhood Plan Survey indicated over 40%
preference for the following types of development:
Following this, the 'Issues & Options' Questionnaire
indicated support for around an additional 100 new dwellings, of
which the majority would be 'of type, style and numbers deemed
necessary to meet the Parish's needs.'
Then in November 2015, a full 'Housing Needs Survey' was
commissioned from the Rural Community Council of Essex (RCCE).
Their report indicated that 53 people had given details of
different local accommodation required in the next five years
and beyond. Whereas some of this could be provided by the
commercial sector as houses to buy (34%), there remained a need
for rental accommodation and shared ownership.
Furthermore, the timescales that this need was predicated on
The survey only covered up to 5 years or over. However, we may
assume that local need would be similar between year 11 and year
15 of the plan making a total of around 75 homes needed to
satisfy local need. Whereas this would accommodate local need it
is reasonable to assume that some additional housing would be
required from people wishing to move into the village – say a
further 25 units making a total of 100 units over the 15-year
lifetime of the plan. This is not inconsistent with the CBC
policy ss15 and accords with the Issues and Options support by
the results of village surveys. This equates to an average
building rate of around 6 or 7 houses per annum.
A number of sites were assessed for their suitability and
availability for housing development during the Plan period. The
Report on the Assessment of Potential Housing Sites (see
supporting documents in Appendix 2) explains the methodology
used and sets out the individual assessments.
Initially with over 20 sites being put forward in the Local
Plan "call for sites" there was a need to strategically sift the
broad locations. Colchester Borough Council in their settlement
boundary review and the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group both
assessed sites being proposed. Three broad areas were considered
and the section below is a summary of finding taken from
Colchester Borough Council's Settlement Boundary Review.
Development in this area, within the limits of the existing
built development to the north-west and south-east, would fill
in gaps along Colchester Road. Development would be closest to
the existing facilities and services in the village although
there would need to be provision made for safe crossing of
Colchester Road. Development in this location could also provide
additional sports pitches in the same area as the existing
Cricket Club Ground, with the potential to share some
Development in this area could be considered to fill in gaps
along the existing settlement boundary. For example, small areas
of land with access off existing roads to the south of the
village could be considered. However, due to identified
constraints, larger scale expansion beyond the existing
settlement boundary and built-up limits towards Colchester is
not considered suitable.
This area has been considered, similar to the areas above, as
any potential development would be located around one of the
three main roads in West Bergholt. Development to this side of
West Bergholt would be within 400m of the main facilities in the
village. However, it is not clear if access to the land is
possible without taking access off Cooks Hall Road or Hall Road,
which are both rural roads located at the southern and northern
ends of the broad area of search.
Although the broad sifting of sites was helpful to determine
an initial view, to assist a more definitive focus of where new
housing might be developed, a number of principles have been
devised in consultation with Colchester Borough Council, in that
These principles have been applied to the areas of development
put forward to date as part of Colchester's Local Plan
preparation and those sites identified as the most appropriate
taking all matters into account, including CBC and community
surveys and the RCCE survey, it was decided to make the
appropriate allocations on two sites, and those preferred for
housing development are contained in two locations off of
Colchester Road, one opposite the Poor's Land and the other
opposite the Treble Tile Public House.
These sites are also deemed supported in Colchester Borough
Council's emerging Local Plan and the paragraphs from the latest
publication draft of the Local Plan are reproduced below:
These sites are in the ownership of parties which have
indicated their commitment to deliver housing and this is
evidenced in the supporting documents (see Appendix 2).
Both sites are located in Flood Zone 1, an area with a low
probability of flooding.
A 12-metre strip of land parallel to the highway boundary of
Colchester Road will be retained and integrated into the design
and layout of the scheme to respect the semi-rural nature of the
village in this location.
The site boundaries will generally follow the topography of
the field boundaries.
The density of the development will be within the range of
20-25 dwellings per hectare on average, with the desirability of
maintaining the Parish's prevailing character and setting
(including residential gardens), noting the importance of
securing well-designed, attractive and healthy places to live
Further, the tenure mix as discussed in Chapter 10 reflects
the need for space with those wishing to downsize preferring
bungalows and a garden to tend whilst younger families desire
garden space for health and socialising. This is a chance to
improve on the planning mistakes of the past.
proposed sites are shown above in pink on Map PP13/2.
Given the locations one could expect new residents to be
accessing the village amenities by foot, therefore means of
crossing Colchester Road safely is essential. Thus, new mini
roundabouts are proposed to be installed at the junctions of the
new development areas with Colchester Road, and a new zebra
crossing sited to allow access to the rest of the village
safely, including the nearby school, church and sports fields.
Whilst energy efficiency targets are set nationally in the
Building Regulations, West Bergholt's Neighbourhood Plan will
encourage developers to demonstrate how they have followed the
'energy hierarchy' in reducing energy demand before implementing
renewable energy schemes or make the most of solar gain and
passive cooling through the orientation, layout and design of
There is much to be explored and many different ways in which
the community could benefit from renewable energy using such as
wind turbines, battery pods and community renewable heat
initiatives. Whilst policies will be developed to encourage the
use of cycling, walking and public transport - all forms of
sustainable transport, the Neighbourhood Plan will also include
a policy for the installation in new developments of an
electrical infrastructure that will support as a minimum
community charging points for electric vehicles.
A number of policies allocates sites. Each of the site
allocation policies have a number of criteria designed to ensure
that new development reflects and respects the character of West
Bergholt and to enable it to integrate into the prevailing
character of the locality in which it is located as identified
in the Village Design Statement which helps to identify the key
characteristics of our parish.
These measures will help to ensure that a high standard of
development and design is achieved in West Bergholt and will
discourage development that looks out of place and is poorly
integrated with its surroundings.
As the objectives relate in part to the use and development of
land only, Planning Policies alone have been developed.
Commentary on policies
Policies below relate to sites at Sites A and B.
The site allocation policies, together with other Planning
Policies, are intended to ensure that a high quality of design
and a good standard of amenity for all existing and future
occupants of land and buildings is achieved in line with this
core planning principle in the NPPF.
New housing developments will be required to include at least
30 percent affordable homes.
Any development proposals for sites allocated in this Plan
will need to obtain planning permission from Colchester Borough
Council, which will consider the application against its own
policies and national policies together with the policies of
Housing Planning Policies
The settlement boundary is shown on Map PP13/1. The
minimum number of dwellings to be provided over the
Neighbourhood Plan period will be 120. These dwellings
will be provided on Site A and Site B as shown on Map
Development on land on the North East side of
Colchester Road and identified on Map PP13/2 as Sites A
and B for one, two and three bedroomed dwellings
suitable for first time buyers, homes for older people
or small families will be supported.
The density of the development should be within the
range of 20-25 per hectare on average.
A mix of housing tenure will be encouraged. It is
expected that the development will include at least 30%
affordable housing including affordable rent or shared
Satisfactory access must be provided.
A 12-metre strip of land parallel to the highway
boundary of Colchester Road will be retained and
integrated into the design and layout of the scheme to
respect the semi-rural village aspect.
Landscaping will be an important and integral part of
the design and layout of the scheme. It is expected that
all principal roads will incorporate a minimum 1 metre
wide green verge to each side and the development should
include an appropriate amount of public open space.
In order to ensure that a stock of smaller dwellings
is retained to meet the village's needs, permitted
development rights will usually be withdrawn for
extensions through the imposition of conditions on any
grant of planning permission.
The provision of land for a cemetery indicated on Map
PP13/2 will be supported.
The provision of land to accommodate sports facilities
adjacent to the cricket club as indicated on Map PP13/2
will be a requirement of the developer of this site.
All new development should be of a high-quality design
and sustainable construction is encouraged. Account
should be taken of the guidance and principles in the
Village Design Statement, which seeks to promote or
reinforce local distinctiveness. In particular new
development and any additions or extensions to existing
dwellings will be expected to:
In addition, any infrastructure required for new
development will be expected to be provided in a timely
manner and before the development is substantially
Developers will be required to demonstrate how they
have followed the energy hierarchy in reducing energy
demand before implementing renewable energy or make the
most of solar gain and passive cooling through the
orientation, layout and design of the development.
Infill and Redevelopment Sites
Applications for residential developments on infill
and redevelopment sites within West Bergholt village
will only be supported subject to proposals being well
designed and where such development meet all the
Dormers should be used sparingly and be subservient in
New Agricultural Buildings
Any new agricultural buildings should have a
high-quality design and be constructed from suitable
materials and be sited appropriately within their
setting taking account of the surrounding landscape.
Change of Use of Agricultural Buildings
Change of use of agricultural buildings to residential
must not have any adverse effect or cause any
disturbance to the occupiers of any nearby properties.
Buildings must be suitable for conversion without
substantial rebuilding or expansion.
Essex Parking Standards
Compliance with Essex Parking Standards will be sought
for new or altered dwellings. Designs that cannot
satisfactorily show how parking cannot be accommodated
on the site and which would result in spill over parking
on the adjacent highway will be resisted.
Rural Exception Sites
Proposals for affordable housing on rural exception
sites will be supported if it meets all of the following
Development will not be supported in the area shown on
Map PP22 if individually or cumulatively it would result
in increasing the coalescence between West Bergholt
village and Braiswick, reducing their separate identity
by reducing the separation between these two
All new developments will provide on-site, or
contribute towards, appropriate measures to assist
walking, cycling, public transport use as well as other
highway improvements and links to village facilities.
All proposals are to include provision for electric
Colchester Road (in the vicinity of the two
development sites), will be the subject of speed
reduction and accessibility improvements. New mini
roundabouts are to be installed at the junctions of the
new development areas with Colchester Road, and a new
zebra crossing sited to allow access to the rest of the
village safely including the school and sports fields.
This is to be funded by the developers of Site A and
Any planning applications for new development within
the Neighbourhood Plan Area must demonstrate how they
can contribute towards the delivery of infrastructure
and other development projects prioritised by the
community. This may be through planning conditions, via
a section 106 agreement or through payment of any
Community Infrastructure Levy.