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Section 2 - Publication Draft Colchester Borough Local Plan

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14. Place Policies

14.1 The policies and text contained within this section set out allocations for specific parts of the Borough and explain how those allocations align with the Plan's overall spatial strategy and policy objectives. The allocations contain site specific requirements for infrastructure and mitigation and management of any site constraints. These will be required in addition to general requirements for infrastructure contained in Policy PP1 and other requirements as relevant contained in Development Management policies.  Policy PP1 highlights general issues concerning infrastructure provision, archaeology and developer contributions that affect proposals across the Borough and are essential to ensuring that new development adequately mitigates its impact on the surrounding area and makes a positive contribution to its character and amenity.

View Comments (12) Policy PP1: Generic Infrastructure and Mitigation Requirements

In addition to site specific requirements identified in relevant policies, all proposals will be required to make contributions to the cost of infrastructure improvements and/or community facilities as required and supported by up-to-date evidence from appropriate sources including the Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP), Parish Council, or specially commissioned work. Contributions will be secured to an appropriate level by way of legal agreement or through CIL as required.  In addition, proposals must, as relevant, address all of the following Borough wide requirements:

(i) Adequate wastewater treatment and sewage infrastructure enhancements for the relevant catchment area;

(ii) Appropriate SuDS for managing surface water runoff within the overall design and layout of the site;

(iii) Proportionate mitigation for area-wide transport issues as identified in the policies for North, East, South and West Colchester contained in the 'Places' section of the plan;

(iv) Safe pedestrian access from the site to existing footways to enhance connectivity;

(v) Suitable design and screening/landscaping to minimise any negative impact on the surrounding landscape and/or listed buildings; and

(vi) Potential archaeological significance of the site as required, by way of pre-determination evaluation (geophysical survey and trial trenching).  Any findings from the evaluation will need to be reflected in a detailed mitigation strategy for further investigation to be agreed and submitted with the application to preserve in-situ or adequately recorded by excavation, secured by a planning condition.

Colchester

14.2 As a regional centre Colchester is the key focus for a wide range of development opportunities and challenges.  This section covers the area of Colchester, divided up into five broad geographic areas designed to help the user and follow a place based Local Plan.  The policies relating to Colchester are set out below under the headings, Central, North, South, East and West Colchester.

Central Colchester

Town Centre

14.3 The Town Centre remains largely defined by the Town Walls first constructed by the Romans two thousand years ago and which led to the development of a compact commercial core built to a higher density and different character to development outside the walls. The insertion of new roads on Balkerne Hill and Southway in the 1960-70s created boundaries between the Town Centre and surrounding residential areas to the west and south sides and limits the potential for Town Centre expansion in those directions.  Within this plan, the Town Centre boundary has been extended to include the Crouch Street shopping area.  This recognises Crouch Street's role in strengthening the Town Centre's presence of independent retailers, food/drink establishments, and small offices.

14.4 Policy for the Town Centre is intended to support its pre-eminent position in the Borough's spatial hierarchy and provide a flexible approach to adapting to changing economic and social circumstances.  Town centres have been evolving to provide a greater mix of leisure and food/drink uses in previously retail-only areas.  In recognition of this trend, the Local Planning Authority will accept a greater diversity of town centre uses in primary shopping areas to support the core retail uses.  This approach is intended to increase the mix of compatible uses in Colchester's historic core to provide a more robust economic environment which also stimulate a greater diversity of evening activities. The Town Centre will therefore attract people of various ages and interests at different times of the day and night, and when combined with effective Town Centre management policies, safety and inclusiveness will be improved.

14.5 The Town Centre boasts important historic character which must be protected and enhanced by all development as set out in Policy DM16 Historic Environment and relevant supporting guidance as required. Opportunities to enhance the public realm and attractiveness of the street environment will be encouraged where ever possible.

14.6 The town centre is the most accessible location in the Borough by all modes of transport. There is an extensive walking network from all directions with approximately 15,900 people (7,600 dwellings) within an 800m walk distance of the town centre; there is a cycle network serving the town centre from all directions with a mixture of on and off road routes. Barriers to cycling have been improved with new shared use bridges across the river to the north and across Balkerne Hill to the west, with cycling allowed through subways under the main roads to the south and west. Cycle parking is available in the core of the town centre. With a bus travel time of 20 minutes 95% of the urban area of Colchester is served by a regular bus service to the town centre – some services working through the day on a 12 minute frequency. Nearly all the bus services in Colchester pass through the town centre, including those serving the rural areas and the interurban coach services. Park and ride on a 15 minute frequency serves the town centre from the north. Buses pick up and drop off in the heart of the town centre providing excellent access, with the opportunity to interchange between services. The town centre is also served by two railway stations – Colchester Town is on the south east edge of the town centre with a 30minute service from the mainline and the line to Clacton. Colchester station is 1 mile to the north but has regular mainline services and is straight walk to the town centre or a 5 minute wait for a bus. The main vehicle parking is provided around the edge of the town centre with some 3,200 public spaces in the main aimed at short stay shoppers. The road network feeds into the town centre from all directions with an urban dual carriageway to the west and south. No other location in the Borough has this level of accessibility for all modes of transport.

14.7 Colchester Borough Council has worked with partners to deliver pure fibre connectivity, delivering up to gigabit speeds, to businesses in the Town Centre.  The new infrastructure makes Colchester Town Centre one of the best connected places in the UK and positions it ideally for the future deployment of 5G mobile telephony as well as "smart city" innovations.

View Comments (5) Policy TC1: Town Centre Policy and Hierarchy

Colchester Town Centre is at the top of the retail hierarchy set forth in Policy SG5.  Accordingly it will be the priority focus for new Town Centre uses and larger scale development.

The Local Planning Authority will encourage development in the Town Centre (as defined on the Policies Map) which is focused on retail (particularly comparison) and supporting leisure, culture, and restaurant / café uses to enhance the Borough's role as a sub-regional shopping and leisure destination and important tourist destination.

The Council will seek to deliver more attractive public spaces and streetscapes in the Town Centre. The Local Planning Authority will support proposals that positively contribute towards creating an attractive, vibrant and safe Town Centre that offers a diverse mix of uses and extend the time when the Town Centre is active subject to their impact on local amenity.

Retail Frontages

14.8 The extent of the Primary Shopping Area has been reviewed to address the requirement in the NPPF to provide and define the extent of primary and secondary shopping frontages in town centres.  The previous Local Plan provided for an the Inner and Outer Core where the requirement  for the Inner Core was 85% of frontages to be in retail use with a lower requirement of 50% in the Outer Core.  The primary shopping areas illustrated on the Policies map include those selected areas, largely within the previous Inner Core designation, where it is reasonable to maintain up to 70% A1 retail use within each street frontage.  A3 (restaurants and cafes) use, however, will be considered preferable to long term vacancies, if after extended marketing A1 retail use cannot be secured.  Within the secondary frontages as illustrated on the Policies map, 50% A1 retail use will maintained. Greater flexibility for changes of use within Classes A1-A5 is provided to maximise the number of occupied units and sustain a more diverse composition of uses.  This reflects the increasing predominance of leisure, food/drink and cultural uses within town centre areas historically confined to retail uses only. It will also help accommodate the need for additional capacity for town centre uses in the main Town Centre area.

14.9 Town Centre sites are the Council's strong preference for future retail development in line with the retail hierarchy. The need for further development capacity within the Town Centre will largely be met by redevelopment of existing areas, given the land use, environmental and topographic constraints on further Town Centre expansion. The St. Botolph's area to the east will continue to be a focus for new development in the Town Centre, with the Firstsite gallery, which opened in 2011, serving as a catalyst for further culture and leisure-focused development.  With permission granted for an arthouse cinema, further development is programmed to include development of town centre floorspace including an 85-bed hotel; restaurant cluster; and student accommodation.

View Comments (3) Policy TC2: Retail Frontages

Given that the Town Centre is at the top of the centre hierarchy in the Borough as a whole, within Colchester Town Centre the Local Planning Authority will seek to maintain at least 70% retail use on each Primary Street Frontage within the Primary Shopping Area shown on the Policies Map. A3 (restaurant / café) uses will be considered acceptable below this threshold if it can be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Local Planning Authority that, after extended marketing (over 1 year), retail use cannot be secured.

Within the Secondary Street Frontages in the Primary Shopping Area as defined on the Policies map, support will be given for the continuing predominance of retail uses supported by other activity-generating town centre uses which enhance the vitality and activity of the area, including food and drink premises (Use Class A3, A4 and A5), non-residential institutions (Use Class D1) and leisure uses (Use Class D2), at ground floor level.

Where planning applications are required, alternative non-retail town centre uses in the Primary Shopping area will be supported where they meet the following criteria:

  • Maintain a 70% (Primary Street Frontage) or 50%  (Secondary Street Frontage) level of retail uses on the relevant street frontage unless non-viability of retail use can be demonstrated as detailed above and;
  • Make a positive contribution to footfall and levels of activity throughout the day; and;
  • Retain and /or enhances the quality and design of the street frontage through the inclusion of active frontages and / displays; appropriate use of materials; sympathetic scale; retention of historic features; and relationship to surrounding streetscape and ;
  • Are compatible with adjacent uses – the proposal complements the town centre uses in the immediate area.

Proposals which provide premises occupying small footprints and flexible ground floor footprints will be supported in these frontages to help encourage the town's small / independent town centre businesses.

Town Centre Allocations

14.10 Reflecting its position at the top of the retail hierarchy, Colchester Town Centre will be the focus for additional retail floorspace in line with the requirement in the NPPF to meet in full the demand for town centre uses. The 2016 Retail Study Update identified capacity for up to 12,100 sq m net sales of additional comparison goods floorspace by 2023, rising to 18,650 sq m net sales by 2033 (after allowing for existing commitments but not allowing for Tollgate Village if approved on appeal).

14.11 The Council's Retail Study considers that Vineyard Gate is the Borough's best new town centre site and a prime opportunity to accommodate forecast capacity and need for new comparison goods retail floorspace (in the region of 10-15,000 sq m net).  Development there will also include related leisure and food/drink uses to ensure the viability and vitality of the proposal. Such a scheme represents a significant opportunity to offer larger format shop units which would in turn help to enhance the town centre's attractiveness to consumers and 'claw back' expenditure from competing shopping destinations. To realise this opportunity, it will be important for the Council to continue to play a proactive role given the site's complex design, heritage and archaeological issues.

14.12 Medium to longer term need for town centre use floorspace will also be addressed by redevelopment of the St. Botolph's and Priory Walk developments, providing potential opportunities for redevelopment of existing buildings and car parks. At Priory Walk, which provides a key pedestrian link between Firstsite /St Botolphs and the core shopping area, redevelopment could improve the public realm and retail offer either through reconfiguration and refurbishment of the existing outdated centre, or by redevelopment. At St. Botolph's, the Council is actively pursuing a co-ordinated scheme for redevelopment of the outdated buildings and vacant land in line with long-standing Council objectives for the area to achieve a mixed-use development with a focus on leisure and related uses. The need for further floorspace will be kept under review and if required updated evidence will inform specific allocations within these areas and additional areas will be allocated within the Town Centre if necessary. 

14.13 Additional office floorspace to sustain the Town Centre will be supported at the adjacent Middleborough Local Economic Area as shown on the Policies Map.  This is specifically safeguarded for the retention of office uses and also allows scope for redevelopment to provide additional purpose-built modern accommodation well-connected to Town Centre facilities.  The area's edge of centre location means it would be considered to be sequentially preferable, if land was available, suitable and deliverable, to other potential locations for offices in the Borough.  The Town Centre fringe areas also contain areas of existing employment floorspace at South St. Peters Street, George Williams Way and Southway which will be safeguarded to ensure the supply of well-located business use premises.

Residential allocations

14.14 Residential uses will be supported within the Town Centre to support vitality, diversity, and economic activity.  In addition it is expected that further residential units will be created through the permitted development change of use from office to residential, as well as the refurbishment of upper floors over town centre uses.  New residential allocations are provided for in the Britannia Street car park and for a portion of the St Runwald Street car park.  Development of these car parks would require Transport Assessment work to demonstrate that they would result in a neutral impact on parking provision for the Town Centre, or, to provide alternatives including new spaces or demand management measures as appropriate.

Employment allocations

14.15 All planning proposals for new town centre development will need to have regard to the historic nature of the Town Centre and proposals will be required to meet high design standards; respect the surrounding diverse architectural heritage, and meet policy requirements on archaeological investigation in accordance with the generic requirements in PP1 and other requirements as appropriate.

14.16 Vineyard Gate, St. Botolphs, Priory Street and Britania St. fall within Critical Drainage Areas CDA 03 as shown in the Surface Water Management Plan for Colchester.  Developer contributions will be sought towards the costs of delivering flood defence / flood management solutions within this CDA as specified in the SWMP to help manage flood risk in this part of Colchester. Solutions should be agreed between Essex County (Local Lead Flood Authority), the Environment Agency, developers and the Local Planning Authority.

View Comments (7) Policy TC3: Town Centre Allocations

Town Centre Uses- Allocations

The need identified in the Local Planning Authority's retail evidence base for additional comparison retail floorspace will be addressed in the first instance by development of the Vineyard Gate site.   Medium to longer term need for town centre use floorspace will also be addressed by redevelopment of existing buildings and car parks including the outdated Priory Walk development.

To address the identified need for additional town centre use floorspace providing a mix of comparison shopping; food and drink; entertainment; and residential uses over the plan period to 2033, additional potential capacity has been identified as follows and is shown on the Policies Map:

Vineyard Gate

Redevelopment of Vineyard Gate over the plan period to provide retail and mixed use floorspace:

Requirements;

  • Development will need to protect and enhance the character of the Scheduled Ancient Monument (Town Walls)
  • Provide direct pedestrian connections to/from Lion Walk
  • Contributions needed towards to the delivery of flood defence/flood management solutions as identified in the SWMP for CDA 03

St. Botolphs

Mixed use scheme providing cinema, 85-room hotel; restaurant cluster; retail; student accommodation; Creative Business Centre (1.86 ha)

Requirements:

  • Access off Queen Street
  • Development will need to protect and enhance the character of the Conservation Area and listed buildings
  • Any retail proposals should satisfy the sequential test given the edge-of-centre location of this site.

 Priory Walk

Redevelopment and/or extension of Priory Walk area to provide retail and mixed use floorspace (0.95ha)

Requirements;

  • Development will need to protect and enhance the setting of nearby listed buildings and the town centre conservation area.
  • Provide for pedestrian connections between St Botolphs and Long / Short Wyre Street

The 2016 Retail Study Update identified limited capacity for convenience goods floorspace over the plan period (after allowing for existing commitments). If proposals come forward for new convenience goods floorspace they will be assessed (as required) having regard for the sequential and impact tests set out in the NPPF and other relevant policies in this Plan.

Residential allocations

Residential allocations as identified on the Policies Map will be supported where they meet the requirements identified for each site below in addition to generic infrastructure requirements in PP1 and pollution/contamination mitigation in ENV5:,

Land at Britannia Car Park

  • Allocated for 150 dwellings
  • Residential development to have neutral effect on overall town centre car parking capacity.
  • Development will need to protect and enhance the setting of the Scheduled Ancient Monument  (The Priory)
  • Development will need to protect and enhance the setting of nearby listed buildings and the town centre conservation area.
  • Contribute towards flood risk solutions, in accordance with Flood Risk Management policy DM23 and  SWMP recommendations for CDA 03

Part of St Runwalds Car park

  • Allocated for 40 dwellings
  • Access to be agreed with the Highway Authority
  • Development will need to protect and enhance the setting of nearby listed buildings and the town centre conservation area.

Employment allocations

Additional office floorspace to sustain the Town Centre will be supported just outside the Town Centre boundary within the Middleborough Local Economic Area as shown on the Policies Map.  In addition, proposals for office use elsewhere in the Town Centre will be supported where they comply with other policy requirements.

The following LEAs are safeguarded for economic use in accordance with Policy SG4 and as shown on the Policies Map:

  • Southway
  • COLBEA Business Centre George Williams Way

Transport in Colchester Town Centre

14.17 The town centre is a highly accessible location by all transport modes and is central to urban Colchester.  Being the town centre there is a high level of pedestrian movement and within the central core pedestrians are given priority. Elsewhere pedestrian movement is managed alongside other users.

14.18 The National Cycle network passes through the town centre with routes from the north (NCN1) Highwoods/Ipswich Road Route, west (NCN1) Lexden Route, and the Wivenhoe trail (NCN 51 from the east).  The Garrison Cycle Route connects from the south passing through Southway subway. 

14.19 Nearly all of the urban bus services penetrate into the town centre, with bus priority provided on certain routes to provide a greater reliability of service.  Park and Ride also serves the town from the north.

14.20 Within the Town Centre there are areas designated Air Quality Management Areas.  Measures which help improve the air quality in the area such as, sustainable transport, promotion of low emission vehicles, cleaner vehicles, smoothing traffic flows and improving the street design will be required together with mitigation against any identified impacts.

14.21 Strategic Transport Modelling and other ongoing studies identify locations in the Town Centre where improvements to, and investment in, the transport network have been identified as being necessary.  Where proposals are demonstrated to add pressure to the transport network measures will be required to mitigate the impact.  The transport evidence base is continuously evolving and additional issues and schemes may be identified during the Plan period.  The exact scale, timing and nature of this infrastructure will be determined through more detailed assessment as the planning process develops.

View Comments (1) Policy TC4: Transport in Colchester Town Centre

Developments in Colchester Town Centre will be expected to contribute to a package of sustainable transport measures including walking, cycling, public transport, travel planning and the promotion of sustainable travel.

Where it is demonstrated that proposals will impact on the highway network, contributions will be sought towards mitigation and improvements, including to the following projects;

  • Enhancement to Southway / St Botolphs Roundabout, taking into consideration traffic flows, the quality of place and improving access to the Town Centre and Colchester Town Railway Station.
  • Provision for public transport within the town centre area, including; space for bus stops, shelters and linkage to real-time information.
  • Provision for Rapid Transit services including space to provide capacity for these and connections onto other locations.
  • Improvements to the pedestrian and cycling network to ensure that developments are accessible and permeable.

For areas with large multiple sites located in close proximity to each other the cumulative impact of all the development in the area must be considered.

North Colchester

14.22 The North Colchester area has been the subject of various planning applications and development in recent years and this is expected to continue through the plan period. The road infrastructure has already seen significant change with Axial Way, United Way, A12 Junction 28 and the Northern Approaches Road all opened by April 2015. The early delivery of transport infrastructure allowed Colchester United football club to relocate to the Weston Homes Community Stadium in 2008. The stadium was part of a comprehensive development granted planning permission in 2006. The applications allowed for an element of leisure use as well as employment space to support future housing growth in the area. The uses permitted included the community stadium, health and fitness centre, a hotel, public house and other food/drink uses, some of which are under construction. The mix of uses was permitted to enable funding of the stadium and local road infrastructure.

14.23 The North Transit Corridor will facilitate high quality public transport services that can bypass traffic and provide easy access by a range of sustainable modes to the town centre, North Colchester and the Park and Ride via Colchester Station. The last section of the North Transit Corridor, referred to as NAR2 Busway in the previous Local Plan, is yet to be delivered and is subject to an existing legal agreement. The remaining link is shown on the policies map and the Council will actively seek to secure its delivery.

14.24 All new development must be well connected for walking and cycling to existing and new communities.  The dual carriageway A12 trunk road severs the development areas north and south of the A12.  Measures need to be included in the masterplan to provide safe, direct, cohesive walking and cycle linkages to allow people to move independently between the development areas and the new opportunities on offer.

14.25 The Myland and Braiswick Neighbourhood Plan identifies the Northern Gateway proposals as having the potential to deliver an array of sport and leisure facilities which will provide much needed opportunities for sport and recreation and which will make an important contribution to the sustainability of the Myland area.  The Plan indicates that Myland Community Council will work with Colchester Borough Council to ensure the proposed sport and leisure development area will help to satisfy resident aspirations.

Zone 1 – Strategic Employment Area

14.26 The Employment Land Needs Assessment identifies North Colchester and Severalls Strategic Economic Area as one of the Borough's best located and connected sites for business, benefiting from excellent access to the strategic road network and as such additional land is allocated for employment purposes. The area is well placed to accommodate over-spill demand from the Colchester and Severalls Business Parks, as expansion and development opportunities become increasingly rare on these well performing and popular business areas. A limited range of non-B class uses will be supported in accordance with the policy where they do not undermine or constrain the main purpose of the economic function of the area to deliver significant job growth.  Main town centre uses will only be supported where they are ancillary to, and related in scale to, the primary employment focus of the area. Examples of acceptable uses include trade counters and services to support employees at the business park.

Zone 2 – Cuckoo Farm North West

14.27 Land adjacent the community stadium is allocated for mixed use. It is expected that a mixed leisure and commercial scheme will be delivered to compliment the sport offer elsewhere in the SEA.

Zone 3 - Northern Gateway area north of the A12

14.28 It is proposed that the Council will deliver the next phase of the Northern Gateway Masterplan vision through the development of a new sports and recreational hub on land in its ownership to the north of the A12, referred to as zone 3 on the policies map.  The scheme provides an opportunity to bring forward the site as a sub-regional leisure destination and to enhance and expand the range of sport and recreational facilities available for local clubs and residents in order to increase participation levels across the Borough. 

14.29 Development of land to the north of the A12 provides opportunities to deliver a range of new complementary indoor and outdoor sports facilities. The Indoor Sports Facility Strategy has identified a need for more indoor sports facilities to support the growing population of Colchester, especially in north Colchester. The Playing Pitch Strategy has identified the need to increase the number of sports pitches (including artificial grass pitches) and to enhance the quality of existing pitches to improve provision, maintain quality and to meet growing demand. The Playing Pitch strategy has also identified a number of indoor facilities required to compliment outdoor provision, including an indoor sports hub and a rugby club pavilion. New cycling training facilities will be delivered and the needs of sports clubs currently using facilities at Mill Road will be accommodated where practical. Investment will be made in infrastructure to ensure sustainable multi-user access to the development from the local communities and car parking.

Land at and adjacent to the Rugby Club

14.30 The Rugby Club site is allocated for residential development and open space to provide enabling development to help deliver the sport facilities detailed above, which will benefit the whole borough.  Provision of significant open space will be required within the site to ensure that some of the existing benefits are retained for local residents.  There will also be a requirement to provide a community space which may include provision for a church. As with the proposals in zones 2 and 3, there will be a masterplan agreed which will provide a more detailed framework for the area as a whole.  Proposals will be expected to comply with this.  It is anticipated that development of this site will deliver approximately 300 dwellings.  Land within this allocation will also provide 260 units of Extra Care accommodation.

14.31 The Council is seeking to deliver sustainable initiatives as part of the development objectives within this area including opportunities for sustainable energy and potential for a District Heat Network, ultrafast broadband, and sustainable lighting initiative.   Opportunities to show case exemplar elements, such as these achieving ambitious sustainability objectives will be encouraged where appropriate. The Council has been successful in a bid for funding for the delivery of the Heat Network in this area.

View Comments (19) Policy NC1: North Colchester and Severalls Strategic Economic Area

All land and premises within the North Colchester and Severalls Strategic Economic Area including the areas known as the Northern Gateway and Severalls and Colchester Business Parks will be safeguarded for the identified uses based on a zoned approach as indicated below.

A master plan will be prepared to provide a detailed guidance covering parts of the economic area.  Proposals which are in accordance with the agreed masterplan will be supported.

All proposals within the North Colchester and Severalls Strategic Economic Area will be required to provide good public transport, pedestrian and cycle links ensuring good connectivity within the area, with neighbouring communities, to the Colchester Orbital Route, and to and from the town centre and Colchester Station.

Development will be expected to contribute to the cost of infrastructure improvements where necessary and identified in the Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) or subsequent evidence.

Zone 1: as defined on the Policies Map (existing and proposed employment land) will be the primary focus for B class employment uses and as such, alternative non- B Class uses will only be supported where they;

(i) Are ancillary to the existing employment uses on the site intended to serve the primary function of the site as an employment area and;

(ii) Provide the opportunity to maximise the sites potential for economic growth and support the continued operation of existing employment uses within the economic area and;

(iii) Do not generate potential conflict with the existing proposed B class uses / activities on the site; and

(iv)   There is no reasonable prospect of the site being used for B class employment.

Proposals for main town centre uses will not be permitted within zone 1 of North Colchester and Severalls Economic Area.

Zone 2: The area defined on the policies map as zone 2 (adjacent to the Stadium) is being developed by the Council as a leisure / community hub and will be safeguarded for a mix of uses including sport, leisure and recreation.  Uses will be permitted where they clearly demonstrate the potential for job creation and provided that they do not undermine or constrain the main purpose of the economic function of the wider area. Uses may include an appropriate scale of leisure and commercial space, open space and green infrastructure to enhance connectivity. No retail use will be permitted unless it is ancillary to another use and meets the requirements of the sequential test and impact test if required.

Zone 3 as defined on the Policies  Map (including areas known as the Northern Gateway area north of the A12 ) land will be safeguarded primarily for a range of sport and recreation uses within Use classes D, subject to up to date evidence supporting a need for such use.  Proposals will need to be in accordance with an agreed master plan.

Allocation for Residential and Open Space Uses

The area shown on the policies map which comprises the existing Rugby Club will be safeguarded for employment use (as set out above) as well as residential use to provide enabling development to deliver the sport and leisure / community  uses in Zone 3.  Development of the site will provide for approximately 300 new dwellings, 260 units of Extra Care accommodation and community space which may include a church. Access will be taken from Axial Way unless other considerations prevent this.

Proposals will be permitted in accordance with a masterplan to be approved by the Local Planning Authority which will incorporate an appropriate design approach and enhanced public realm to ensure the different uses can be accommodated in a compatible way.

North Station Special Policy Area

14.32 Colchester Station is a key gateway to Colchester with the mainline railway station facilitating high frequency services including intercity routes between Norwich and London and services to Clacton and into Suffolk.  Regeneration of this area remains key to the continued development of Colchester in a manner that is attractive to investment, visitors and residents. 

14.33 The North Station area of Colchester was designated as a regeneration area in the Core Strategy and some initial work on developing a masterplan was undertaken post 2010.  Implementation of some of the initiatives arising from this, including the Fixing the Link project, have been delivered during the early part of 2016.  Many of the concepts remain relevant and the principle of the overall vision remains, to create a welcoming gateway to the town, set within a balanced mix of uses, with enhanced connectivity to and from this area of Colchester.

14.34 The North Station Special Policy Area is based on a review of the boundary that was defined in the previous draft masterplan.  The area designated on the Policies Map focuses on the North Station Gateway and the existing traditional urban village on North Station Road.  Other areas are now covered by different policies.  However, the North Station Special Policy Area still builds on opportunities to improve the public realm and enhance connectivity within the wider area including the Town Centre, Cowdray Avenue and Turner Rise, the surrounding residential areas and green infrastructure links in Castle Park, Highwoods Country Park and the Colchester Orbital Route.

14.35 Colchester Station has been upgraded over the past few years as part of the National Stations Improvement Programme and through the Station Travel Plan initiative.  The Colchester Station Travel Plan was developed in partnership with the Train Operating Companies and Essex County Council and has been running since 2008. 

14.36 As part of the Station Travel Plan, objectives have been agreed for improvements to the station forecourt.  This will include access to the station for all modes and from and from all directions, and prioritise access to the station for sustainable modes.

14.37 The station forecourt needs to become not only an efficient transition point between modes of transport, but also to be seen as a public square and a new public space in its own right.  There are regeneration opportunities adjoining the station and off of Clarendon Road, including the car sales site adjacent to the railway bridge.

14.38 The completion of the North Transit Corridor will provide easy access by a range of sustainable modes to the Town Centre, North Colchester and the Park and Ride, via Colchester Station.  The Transit Corridor will facilitate high quality public transport services that can bypass traffic congestion in the area.

14.39 The traditional urban area that is situated on either side of North Station Road has a distinctive character.  The Fixing the Link project has created new wayfinding to improve the walking route from Colchester Station to the Town Centre.  The North Station Road area will be enhanced as a walkable environment which is the focus for the day to day needs of its immediate community, but also improves the route for those passing through the area to and from the Town Centre and the station.

View Comments (4) Policy NC2: North Station Special Policy Area

Within the area designated on the policies map as the North Station Special Policy Area, development which contributes to regeneration of the area will be supported.  Development will need to address the following criteria:

(i) Creation of a positive sense of arrival at the station, providing a quality public transport interchange as part of the Station Gateway, improving the accessibility and function of the station;

(ii) Creation of new areas of high quality public realm in the station area to provide greater legibility within the area;

(iii) Supports public transport and related physical improvements, including the North Transit Corridor, and encourages more sustainable transport choices, particularly by commuters;

(iv) Support for redevelopment and appropriate new proposals which enhance built character and promote compatible land uses and activities including office floorspace, leisure uses, retail related to the primary function of the area associated with the station, residential and open space;

(v) Improves the quality of the public realm and streetscape through improvements to footpaths, cycle routes and direct crossings in order to encourage walking and cycling, particularly between the Town Centre, neighbouring commercial areas, communities and the railway station. Opportunities will be sought to widen footpaths and cycleways in the vicinity of the station when opportunities arise and encouragement will be given to the creation of a green link between High Woods Country Park and Castle Park;

(vi) Assesses the impact of development proposals on pollution levels in the Air Quality Management Area and if necessary provides adequate mitigation against any harmful effects to air quality. Wherever possible opportunities will be sought to improve the quality of air in the AQMA including through improvements to congestion levels and traffic flows;

(vii) Supports and enhances the vibrancy of the North Station Road area as a focus for the day to day needs of its immediate community and to improve the route for those passing to and from the town centre and the station.

North Colchester other allocations/policies

14.40 North Colchester is designated for the following areas of new residential and employment development:

Land at Braiswick

14.41 Land has been identified at Braiswick at St Botolph's Farm and land south of Colchester Golf Club to accommodate some residential growth over the plan period.  These two sites have been promoted for residential uses separately however given their proximity to one another and in order to make the most efficient use of the land, the sites should be planned comprehensively as one development. Planning this development as one site will reduce the number of access points on to Braiswick. Moreover, a comprehensive approach will be capable of delivering better local infrastructure, including combined onsite open space provision; enhanced connectivity; and integrated landscaping. A comprehensive masterplan will therefore be required to accompany any application for residential uses in this area.

14.42 Landscaping within the sites will be an important aspect of any successful scheme given the site's location on the edge of town; its proximity to the A12; its proximity to the golf course; and to reduce the impact of development on neighbouring residents. Therefore a landscape assessment should be carried out as part of any proposed residential development taking into account these local constraints. Existing belts of trees along the western and northern boundaries of the site should be retained and where possible improved because they help to screen the site from the golf course to the north and provide a soft transition from the Colchester urban area to open countryside and West Bergholt to the west. Furthermore existing landscape features along the western boundary of the site should be retained and enhanced to mitigate the impact of noise from the A12. The most western part of the site is within flood zone 3 therefore no residential uses will be permitted in this area. Finally, an existing Public Right of Way runs alongside the eastern boundary of the site and this route should be retained, enhanced and integrated into the development.

View Comments (16) Policy NC3: North Colchester

Land at Braiswick

In addition to the infrastructure and mitigation requirements identified in policy PP1, development will be supported on land within the area identified on the policies map, which is must be comprehensively planned setting out how any proposal will provide:

(i) Up to 70 dwellings; and

(ii) Access from Braiswick (road); and

(iii) Contributions to highway improvements on the local road network, in particular at North station; and

(iv) The retention and enhancement of existing tree belts within the site in addition to a landscape appraisal to look at opportunities to further improve other landscape features within the site; and

(v) Effective noise mitigation measures; and

(vi) No residential development in the area of site within Flood Zone 3; and

      (vi) Retention and improvements to the existing Public Right of Way which runs along the eastern boundary of the site.

Transport in North Colchester

14.43 The transport network in North Colchester is characterised by access to two strategic routes – the A12 via junction 28 and 29 and the Great Eastern Mainline at Colchester Station.  The Great Eastern Mainline runs east west through Colchester splitting north Colchester from Central Colchester.  These networks serve significant employment and residential areas which are continuing to grow.

14.44 The station and hospital provides a focus for public transport services with regular bus services radiating out from the town centre. There is limited east to west connectivity by bus.

14.45 The National Cycle Network (NCN1) runs from the north via the North Colchester Business Park, Highwoods, including the Country Park, under the railway and through to Leisure World and the Town Centre.  A connection is also made through the Highwoods Country Park to the railway station.  There is an alternative north south cycle route via the A1232 Ipswich Road leading from Cowdray Avenue to the Severalls Business Park.

14.46 Strategic Transport Modelling and other ongoing studies identify locations in North Colchester where improvements to, and investment in, the transport network are required.   Development that will add pressure to the transport network will be required to help mitigate the impact.

View Comments (4) Policy NC4: Transport in North Colchester

Developments in North Colchester will be expected to contribute to a package of sustainable transport measures including walking, cycling, public transport, travel planning and the promotion of sustainable travel.

Where it is demonstrated that proposals will impact on the highway network, contributions will be sought towards mitigation and improvements, including to the following projects;

  • Improvements to A12 Junction 28, including the operation of Axial Way/United Way/Via Urbis Romanae
  • Improvements to the Ipswich Road approach to the A12 Junction 29 Investment in the Colchester Station area to significantly enhance a Key Gateway into Colchester, providing ongoing improvements including; access for all, interchange and enhancements to encourage walking and cycling to the station.
  • Improvements to the current cycle network to provide linkages between developments and access to key locations including; across Highwoods Country Park, Ipswich Road, Mile End Road and Bergholt Road leading to the station and southwards to the Town Centre;
  • Enhancements to the East / West public transport services, to serve the area to connect existing and new residential developments with employment and leisure opportunities.  The type of public transport service may vary.
  • Delivery of The NAR2 busway.

For areas with large multiple sites located in close proximity to each other the cumulative impact of all the development in the area must be considered.

14.47 There are other known improvements to, and investment in, the transport network which have been identified through the Strategic Transport Modelling and other ongoing studies, listed below.  In some cases, schemes have also been identified to overcome these issues.  The transport evidence base is continuously evolving and additional issues and schemes may be identified during the Plan period.  The exact scale, timing and nature of this infrastructure will be determined through more detailed assessment as the planning process develops.

  • A1232 Ipswich Road – modification to the A1232 Ipswich Road/A133 Cowdray Road/St Andrews Ave.  Funding secured through Local Growth Fund for construction to commence in 2017/18
  • A12 Technology Package between the M25 and the A14 – smarter technology package to enable better management of the trunk road network.  Scheme identified in the Government's Roads Investment Strategy.
  • A12 widening between Junction 25 and junction 29 - scheme identified in the Government's Roads Investment Strategy for start of investment to be made by 2025.
  • A133/A134 Colne Bank Roundabout capacity enhancements – scheme to improve operation of this key junction on the local road network.
  • Support to be given to additional car parking provision at Dedham to address an identified need and associated transport implications within Dedham and the surrounding transport network at peak times.

South Colchester

14.48 Development has gradually extended south of Colchester following the relocation of the Garrison.  Further opportunities to expand the urban area southwards presents itself on land which the Ministry of Defence wish to dispose of around part of Middlewick Ranges as well as a number of smaller sites.

Land at Gosbecks Phase 2

14.49 The site at Gosbecks Road, Colchester is well supported by infrastructure including a supermarket. However the immediate area is not well served by public transport with a lack of bus stops on Gosbecks Road. This site has the potential to deliver up to 150 dwellings as part of a logical second phase of residential development at Gosbecks.  Any development would be required to demonstrate that development would not cause an unacceptable impact to the adjacent Scheduled Monument (the landowners having previously gifted the land to CBC with funds for preservation), as well as contributions towards public realm improvements.  Adequate protection and enhancement of the Scheduled Ancient Monument and its setting will be required and agreed by the Local Planning Authority.

South of Berechurch Hall Road

14.50 The proposal for 150 units opposite an existing residential area on Berechurch Hall Road would entail comprehensive planning of two smaller sites accommodating approximately 50 units with an adjacent site accommodating 100 units.   Consideration of a cohesive layout, access and design approach to the site will provide a sustainable urban extension to Colchester's southern boundary.  Landscaping to this boundary will need to reflect the edge of urban area location to respect the transition of character to the countryside. To address the poor public transport provision in the vicinity of the site, new development will provide improvements, and access to the existing bus service. Development will also need to ensure acceptable access is provided onto Berechurch Hall Road and ensure archaeological investigations are carried out.

Land at Maldon Road / Shrub End

14.51 The employment area at Maldon Road has been extended to include a further 0.8 hectare which is allocated within the 3.5ha shown in Table SG3 for Edge of Centre areas to provide further opportunities in this area for local employment, building on the benefits provided by its location, existing operations and access.

Employment Land at Gosbecks

14.52 Gosbecks Farm Gosbecks Road, Colchester is safeguarded as a Local Economic Area which will to support the existing employment uses at the site.  As an economic area a range of mixed uses will be appropriate with the primary focus of the site being to deliver further employment.

View Comments (7) Policy SC1: South Colchester Allocations

Allocations as shown on the policies map will be safeguarded for residential uses.  In addition to the requirements in Policy PP1, proposals will be required to satisfy the Local Planning Authority with regard to the site specific requirements as identified below.

Land at Gosbecks Phase 2

Development of this site will be supported where it provides:

(i) Up to 150 new dwellings of a mix and type of housing to be compatible with the surrounding development;

(ii) New bus stop provision to service the site and improve sustainable transport links to Colchester Town Centre;

(iii) New public art and improvements to the public realm; and

(iv) A contribution to Gosbecks Archaeological Park.

South of Berechurch Hall Road

Development of this site will be supported where it provides:

(i) Up to 150 new dwellings of a mix and type of housing to be compatible with the surrounding development;

(ii) Contributions to/delivery of improvements to the local road network

(iii) New bus stop provision to service the site and improve sustainable transport links to Colchester town centre; and

(iv) A comprehensive approach to development of the three separate parcels of land which together make up the allocation.

The following Local Economic Areasas shown on the Policies Map will be allocated/safeguarded for economic uses in accordance with Table SG3 and polices SG3 and SG4:

Land at Maldon Road / Shrub End and Land at Gosbecks.

Land at Middlewick Ranges

14.53 Middlewick Ranges is a 76ha site owned by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, located between Mersea Road and Abbots Road on the south eastern boundary of urban Colchester. The site is well positioned to key services and is reasonably accessible by public transport. It is located approximately 2.5km to Colchester Town train station and there are buses serving Monkwick and West Mersea that provide regular services past this site. Middlewick Ranges is therefore considered to be sustainable in principle.

14.54 The Defence Infrastructure Organisation is disposing of a number of sites nationally including Middlewick Ranges. The site was proposed for the allocation of 2000 dwellings, however there are a number of constraints at the site which will restrict the final number of dwellings that can be delivered at this location. Given the potential constraints associated with the site, there will be a requirement for a masterplanning approach working together with the MOD to inform the best opportunities for delivering housing and supporting infrastructure, as well as ensuring the delivery of a development appropriate to its setting.

14.55 Vehicular access to the site, the impact of any development on the local road network and necessary mitigation, will need to be determined prior to any detailed scheme being submitted.

14.56 Middlewick Ranges is a designated Local Wildlife Site (reference Co122). The site was reviewed as part of a wider Local Sites Review in 2015 and as a result of the review the area designated has been extended. The Council is aware that the site supports at least one Protected Species, therefore given the site's ecological sensitivity, full ecological assessments will need to be undertaken for all Protected Species, Species of Principal Importance during the appropriate survey season.

14.57 The area is a well-used recreational space, particularly with dog walkers. Any future development proposal will be expected to deliver new open space to meet the needs of existing and new residents in this part of Colchester.

14.58 The site has the potential to contain archaeological finds therefore it will be necessary to complete archaeological investigations prior to the commencement of any development.

14.59 Development of Middlewick Ranges may be further constrained by pockets of contamination therefore an investigation into all potential sources of contamination will need to be carried out as part of any future development proposals.

14.60 Given the array of identified constraints, all requested surveys should be commissioned as soon as possible.  This is necessary to help determine final housing numbers that can be delivered at Middlewick Ranges and to define the most suitable developable areas and land uses within the Middlewick Ranges site.As well as housing and open space, other suitable uses could include a cemetery extension or green cemetery.

14.61 Developer contributions will be sought towards the cost of ecological mitigation including the provision of compensatory habitat to replace habitat lost to development. Contributions will also need to be secured to remediate any on site contamination as part of the development of the site.  Any future development at Middlewick Ranges will be expected to deliver enhancements to the public transport, walking and cycling infrastructure.

14.62 The Middlewick Ranges site falls within Critical Drainage Area 01 (Old Heath Area) as defined in Colchester's Surface Water Management Plan (SWMP). Contributions will be sought towards the costs of delivering flood defence/flood management solutions within CDA 01 as set out in the SWMP.

14.63 Development at Middlewick Ranges will be phased to start towards the middle of the plan period. This is necessary to enable all the studies to be completed and any mitigation measures i.e. compensatory habitat to be provided prior to the start of development.

View Comments (159) Policy SC2: Middlewick Ranges

The allocation shown on the Policies Map is expected to deliver approximately 1000 new dwellings. The final number of dwellings will only be confirmed when full details of constraints are known. In addition to the infrastructure and mitigation requirements identified in policy PP1, development will be supported on land within the area identified on the policies map which provides:

(i) Up to 1000 new houses of a mix and type of housing to be compatible with surrounding development;

(ii) Access and highway works on the local road network, including new junctions, to be agreed with The Highway Authority and delivered at the appropriate time commensurate with the development;

(iii) Detailed ecological surveys and appropriate mitigation to enhance the ecology of the remaining areas of the Local Site including the provision of compensatory habitat to replace habitat lost to development;

(iv) Strategic areas of  public open space; 

(v) Delivery of enhancements to sustainable travel connectivity including public transport, cycling and walking infrastructure;

(vi) Mitigation measures to address site contamination; and

(vii) Provision for retention or diversion of any existing public rights of way within the site.

A masterplan will be required to inform the detailed definition and mix of uses within the site.

Transport in South Colchester

14.64 This area is characterised by a series of B roads radiating out from the town centre, with a number of unclassified roads linking these B roads together.  Berechurch Hall Road and Gosbecks Road acts as an informal southern distributor route connecting in the east with the B1025 Mersea Road and in the west to the B1022 Maldon Road.

14.65 The bus network radiates out from the town centre, with high frequency services interspersed with lower frequency services serving the rural areas and villages to the south and west.  There are no east-west public transport routes. The Garrison development has provided an excellent north south walking and cycle route with a mix of on road and off road routes leading to Southway in the town centre and will be used as an example of good practice in future developments. The Boadicea route provides a link to the west from Berechurch.  There are however gaps in the network and east-west routes are limited.

14.66 Strategic Transport Modelling and other ongoing studies identifies locations in South Colchester where improvements to, and investment in, the transport network are required.   Development that will add pressure to the transport network will be required to help mitigate the impact. The transport evidence base is continuously evolving and additional issues and schemes may be identified during the Plan period.  The exact scale, timing and nature of this infrastructure will be determined through more detailed assessment as the planning process develops.

View Comments (5) Policy SC3: Transport in South Colchester

Developments in South Colchester will be expected to contribute to a package of sustainable transport measures including walking, cycling, public transport, travel planning and the promotion of sustainable travel

Where it is demonstrated that proposals will impact on the highway network, contributions will be sought towards mitigation and improvements, including to the following projects;

  • Improvements to junctions including; Circular Road South/Berechurch Road and Shrub End Road/Maldon Road.
  • Improvements to manage the flow of traffic along Gosbecks Road and Berechurch Hall Road.
  • Improvements to public transport including potential east / west service and bus priority at junctions, especially where buses are experiencing delays.
  • Improvements to routes for walking and cycling including links to the Garrison and Boadicea Routes and complete gaps in the network.

For areas with large multiple sites located in close proximity to each other the cumulative impact of all the development in the area must be considered.

East Colchester

Knowledge Gateway and University Strategic Economic Area

14.67 The University of Essex is a leading research-intensive university and is ranked in the top 20 for research excellence within the UK. The University currently provides 1870 jobs and indirectly supports a further 2693 jobs, as well as contributing £404 million in turnover and indirect economic impact to the East of England. On the basis of the current Strategic Plan, by 2018, the University will grow to some 15,000 students. Continuation of this current rate of growth in student numbers would see the University achieve a student body of approximately 20,000 by 2025 and 25,000 students by the end of the Local Plan period.

14.68 These ambitious plans for the growth of the University have many benefits for Colchester Borough as a whole, the Town Centre and in particular east Colchester, including allowing the development of clusters of companies that can take advantage of co-location whilst minimising the costs of further infrastructure development. Through £13 million of investment and partnership with new and growing businesses, the expansion of the Knowledge Gateway research and technology park on the Colchester Campus has the potential to bring 2000 further jobs to the local economy by 2025. 

14.69 Colchester's evidence base, the Employment Land Needs Assessment, acknowledges the role and importance of the Knowledge Gateway for developing technological and creative businesses. Unlocking some of the barriers, particularly associated with the existing transport infrastructure will assist in bringing forward further development on this site.  This primarily seeks to promote B1 uses within the area, but acknowledges that some flexibility to this approach is beneficial, with the key principle being that proposals should be related to the key function of the economic area. 

14.70 The University is supporting the designation of a fifth national University Enterprise Zone (UEZ), in addition to those in Bradford, Bristol, Liverpool and Nottingham. UEZs do not come with the same tax and business rate incentives or promises of high-speed broadband that are features of Enterprise Zones.  However, they are granted support in driving export trade and attracting inward investment through the government's UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), as well as being subject to simplified planning arrangements. The Essex UEZ would have a focus on digital and creative industries, a sector that contributes £2.5 billion per year to the economy of the South East LEP area. Colchester has the largest concentration of digital creative businesses in Essex and the Haven Gateway, with over 3500 people employed in this sector across more than 600 companies. A UEZ for Colchester can help to ensure that developments in the Knowledge Gateway will also support developments in Colchester Town Centre.

14.71 The University competes globally for staff and students and there is a clear need for good quality and affordable accommodation. On the Colchester campus, the University already offers a mix of medium and high rise student accommodation, and it is likely that future need will mirror this pattern to allow for an efficient use of space, protection of the historic Wivenhoe House, and surrounding parkland and ensure that as many students as possible can be accommodated on the campus. High quality staff housing will also be in demand, with the development of the new Garden Community also providing attractive new locations for University staff to live, adding to the existing blend of urban and rural dwellings in the area.  The University strongly supports a vision for a proposed Garden Village to the east of Colchester, providing a sustainable, mixed academic, commercial and residential community that offers a high quality of life to enhance both Colchester and the University.  The University will therefore be a key partner in the master planning process for the Garden Community, recognising the importance and mutual benefit to establishing an integrated approach to planning and engagement.

14.72 The significant growth envisaged by the University and the associated expansion opportunities for the Knowledge Gateway technology park will be realised over the long term with phases being delivered throughout the plan period and potentially beyond associated with the new Garden Community.  This will provide a framework for the expansion of both the University and the Knowledge Gateway and also provide the opportunity to maximise any benefits associated with the new Garden Community.   A joined up approach and the mutual opportunities to both are evident, particularly associated with infrastructure improvements with alternative public transport options being a key factor for East Colchester.

14.73 It is recognised that the University makes a significant contribution to the economy of Colchester Borough and to the vitality and viability of the Town Centre.  There are unique opportunities for the community and the university to feed off each other, particularly as sports and cultural facilities are improved with the potential to create opportunities for the community to benefit from extensive facilities providing a hub in this area of Colchester which would not otherwise be available to them.  The benefits and opportunities for shared use will be further explored through the Sports Strategy Delivery Board.  In addition opportunities for the University to pursue a greater physical presence in the Town Centre will be encouraged. Expansion proposals for the University will be supported in response to programmed growth.

View Comments (6) Policy EC1: Knowledge Gateway and University of Essex Strategic Economic Area

The Council recognises the value of the University of Essex to Colchester Borough's economy and the vitality and viability of the Town Centre, and will work in partnership to maximise the economic and social benefits associated with it. 

The area shown on the Policies Map is designated as the University and Knowledge Gateway Strategic Economic Area. Within this area development will be supported which enables significant expansion of the University of Essex as reflected in its current Strategic Plan 2013-19 as well as the retention and expansion of the Knowledge Gateway. Proposals which provide for the retention and expansion of the Knowledge Gateway and which build on the benefits of the growing University will be supported. 

There will be a need for a comprehensive approach to development in conjunction with the new University Garden Community proposed to the east of Colchester, working in partnership with key stakeholders including the University.

Proposals for the expansion of the University will be required to provide good public transport, pedestrian and cycle links ensuring good connectivity to and from the town centre, the Hythe Station and surrounding area, the Knowledge Gateway and the proposed Garden Community to the East of Colchester including contributing to the Orbital route as shown on the Policies Map.

Proposals will need to pay special regard to the preservation and enhancement of the Grade II listed Wivenhoe House and its Registered Park and Garden, including the wider setting of these heritage assets.

Development will be expected to contribute to the cost of infrastructure improvements as required, supported by up to date evidence in the Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) or subsequent evidence which will be secured to an appropriate level by way of legal agreement or through CIL as required.

In addition, contributions may be sought to promote the delivery of infrastructure and Green Infrastructure improvements specifically the East Transit Corridor shown on the and the Proposals Map and the Orbital Route, improvements to upgrading the footbridge across the railway between the Meadows 1 and the University Quays to enhance opportunities to the walking and cycling network accessing the university campus with the Town Centre. These will also help to achieve wider objectives which are also linked to University and Knowledge Gateway.

Knowledge Gateway

The area shown on the East Colchester Proposals Map will be safeguarded for the expansion of the Knowledge Gateway associated with the new University Garden Community to allow for provision of a range for additional jobs and to accommodate expansion of the existing research and technology uses.

Within this area, the Local Planning Authority will continue to support the growth and retention of the University Research Park.  All land and premises within this area will be safeguarded for employment uses, primarily for B1 and non- B class employment generating uses of a scale and type compatible with the Research Park.  Encouragement will also be given to uses which can be shown to be directly linked to the development of research associated with the University and to the provision of business incubator units.  Proposals for uses which are not B1 or where it cannot be demonstrated that they are linked to the Research Park will only be supported where they:

(i) Are ancillary to the existing employment uses on the site and are intended to serve the primary function of the site as an employment area and research park;

(ii) Provide the opportunity to maximise the sites potential for economic growth;

(iii) Support the continued operation of existing employment uses within the employment area and in particular its focus for research and technology contributing towards the delivery of the overall vision;

(iv) Are generally in accordance with the most up to date masterplan / Strategy for the University and Knowledge Gateway; and

(v) Do not generate potential conflict with the existing proposed B class uses / activities on the site.

East Colchester/Hythe Special Policy Area

14.74 The Hythe area is a former commercial harbour which includes some rundown and underused industrial land in East Colchester. Together with the University of Essex, the eastern area of Colchester has experienced a period of significant change and growth. The area provides good access to Hythe Station and is located close to the University of Essex but is currently constrained by flooding issues.

14.75 The Hythe is an established regeneration area that seeks to deliver sustainable, mixed use neighbourhoods, oriented towards the River Colne, which respect the historic character of the area. Over the plan period the East Colchester/Hythe Special Policy Area provides capacity to accommodate approximately 800 new dwellings including those already committed. The regeneration of this area needs to secure the viable re-use of heritage assets and provision of a distinctive public realm.  Growth needs to be supported by improvements to transport infrastructure and services, flood mitigation and open space to ensure that sufficient amenity space is included to support the increasing population. Regeneration will involve partnership working with public sector agencies, the local community, and the private sector, including support for community-based initiatives such as community land trusts.

14.76 The river forms a natural corridor and amenity.  Riverside walking and cycle routes which exist should be retained and extended for walking and cycling as part of a green link giving riverside traffic free routes for both commuting and leisure trips; with links to the Town Centre and Wivenhoe along the National Cycle Network Route 1, the Rowhedge Trail and links to New Town, Distillery Pond and Bourne Ponds. The river also forms an east-west barrier to movement.  More links across the river are required to access local opportunities and create a cohesive development area.  Opportunities should be sought to bridge the Colne to the south of Colne Causeway Bridge and could include power generation through tidal flow as part of the HEAT project. The Energy Centre and HEAT project has identified the ability to redistribute power more efficiently but requires infrastructure in the area to do this.

14.77 The area is also split by the road and rail network. Peak hour traffic congestion is severe in this area, especially at Greenstead roundabout. The rail line forms an east-west physical barrier especially for pedestrians and cyclists. Improvements are required to address congestion and severance, linking together development areas and opportunities offered by the expansion of the University and the Knowledge Gateway.

14.78 Much of the Hythe area is in flood zone 3. Development must respect this designation and be designed accordingly to minimise the impact of any potential flooding on people and property. The Hythe Special Policy Area also falls within Critical Drainage Areas CDA 01, CDA 02 and CDA03 as shown in the Surface Water Management Plan for Colchester.  The Local Planning Authority will work with key stakeholders with responsibilities for flood risk and drainage and developers to deliver infrastructure schemes that provide sufficient capacity in the drainage network to support new developments and regeneration and to manage flood risk. Developer contributions will be sought towards the costs of delivering flood defence/flood management solutions within these Critical Drainage Areas to help manage flood risk in this part of Colchester. Solutions should be agreed between Essex County Council (Local Lead Flood Authority), the Environment Agency, developers and the Local Planning Authority.

14.79 As a working port many of the industries based there historically were "dirty" in nature but suitably located. As the area changes it will important not to locate residential properties on or near to contaminated land if satisfactory mitigation cannot be achieved. The major Colchester Sewage/Waste water plant lies at the south end of the area and includes a cordon sanitaire restricting the type of development which can be located here.

14.80 The river and the quayside is a natural place for residential moorings. Boats for residential purpose will be supported if they are of appropriate quality and enhance the marine environment. Improvements will be sought to the landscape and the utility infrastructure to serve boats.

View Comments (6) Policy EC2: East Colchester / Hythe Special Policy Area

Development within the area defined on the Policies Map as the East Colchester/ Hythe Special Policy Area will be encouraged and supported where it contributes to achieving the following key objectives:

(i)  Regeneration of the area at densities appropriate to an urban area with good public transport connections  and a mix of commercial, community and residential uses to provide additional jobs, homes and community and environmental enhancements and create a strong sense of identity for the area;

(ii) Maximise the potential benefits of the location adjacent to the  University, enhanced by its expansion (Policy EC1) and supporting development associated with the University Research Park to provide significant office floor space and high quality new jobs;(iii) Deliver significant public realm enhancements appropriate to local context, maximising the potential of the riverside location and improving the environment, increasing connectivity and providing convenient public access for pedestrians and cyclists;

(iv) Ensure new developments are responsive to the distinctive historic character of the area and reinforce the significance of the Conservation Area designation through the re-use of heritage assets;

(v) Contribute to the delivery of the East Transit Corridor which will bring significant improvements to public transport and accessibility, through enhanced services, improved links to the Town Centre and new Garden Community;

(vi) Enhance provision of Green Infrastructure to maximise potential opportunities for biodiversity and habitat creation, benefit nature conservation and landscape, enhance connectivity including linkages with the new garden community and establish new areas of open space for public enjoyment including an urban park to serve the community;

(vii) Contribute towards flood risk solutions , in accordance with Flood Risk Management policy DM23 and  SWMP recommendations for CDAs 01, 02 and 03

(viii) Provide for a compatible mix of uses having regard to neighbouring amenity;

(ix) Situate proposals for residential development away from land which is contaminated. Where necessary mitigation measures will be required to be agreed with the Local Planning Authority;

(xi) Develop the East Colchester Energy Centre and HEAT network; and Support the use of residential moorings by boats of acceptable quality which enhance the marine environment and which also satisfy flood risk tests including the provision of safe access from land to the moorings in a flood event.

Development should also seek to soften the environment around the electricity sub-station to minimise its intrusive impact on the surrounding area. Opportunities to maximise the potential for comprehensive regeneration of King Edward Quay will be encouraged including exploring the potential to redistribute uses to allow for clustering of complementary uses and to respond to site constraints such as flood risk and land contamination.

East Colchester other allocations / policies

14.81 The following areas of new residential and employment development have been allocated to areas of East Colchester, excluding the Hythe area covered by Policy EC2 on the Hythe Special Policy Area.

Port Lane

14.82 This site formed part of the former Paxmans Factory site.  In the event of cessation of all industrial uses, the site can deliver up to 130 dwellings. Access to the site will be off Port Lane. Given the site's previous industrial use, assessment of contamination and implementation of any required remediation measures will be required.  Thesite is located within an area of archaeological interest recorded in the Colchester Urban Archaeological Database.  There is high potential for encountering early occupation remains at this location so a trial-trenched archaeological evaluation will be required to establish the archaeological potential of the site.  Decisions on the need for any further investigation (excavation before any groundworks commence and/or monitoring during groundworks) will be made on the basis of the results of the evaluation.  Any permission granted is likely to include a condition requiring a programme of archaeological work. This site falls within Critical Drainage Areas CDA02 & CDA03 (New Town and Colchester Town Centre Areas). Developer contributions will be sought towards the costs of delivering flood defence/flood management measures within CDA 03 as specified in the Surface Water Management Plan for Colchester to help manage flood risk in this part of Colchester.

East Bay Mill

14.83 This site includes a listed mill which has been badly damaged by fire.  Redevelopment of the site will involve retention and restoration of this important landmark along with sympathetic development of other dwellings up to a total of 22 units, either independently or as part of a comprehensive scheme.  In either case, proposals will need to be in keeping with the site's location within a Conservation Area.  The site lies within a flood risk area, so it would need to in the first instance satisfy the exception test for development in such areas, and secondly if that is met, provide adequate mitigation for flood risk such as residential on upper floors only.  There is high potential for encountering early occupation remains at this location so a trial-trenched archaeological evaluation will be required to establish the archaeological potential of the site.  Decisions on the need for any further investigation (excavation before any groundworks commence and/or monitoring during groundworks) will be made on the basis of the results of the evaluation.  Any permission granted is likely to include a condition requiring a programme of archaeological work.  Development will need to ensure contamination and flood risk issues are addressed.  Vehicle, pedestrian and cycles arrangements to and within the site will need to have regard to restrictions on access as well as opportunities to provide a riverside path.

Site off Barrington and Bourne Roads

14.84 This 1 hectare site is comprised of vacant greenfield land within a predominantly residential area.  The area was allocated for residential development in the previous Local Plan as part of a wider scheme, but this portion did not come forward.  Open space delivery on the smaller remaining part of the site will need to address the shortfall in open space left over from the earlier phase of development.  To address the issue of the divided ownership of the site, a scheme will need to provide a coordinated approach to secure satisfactory access arrangements, residential amenity and landscaping.  This site falls within Critical Drainage Area 02.  Developer contributions will be sought towards the costs of delivering flood defence/flood management measures within CDA 02 as specified in the Surface Water Management Plan for Colchester to help manage flood risk in this part of Colchester.

Magdalen Street sites

14.85 Magdalen Street contains a number of older commercial buildings suitable for reuse and/or redevelopment. The area could accommodate up to 200 new residential units.  The Local Planning Authority produced an updated Development Brief for the site in February 2014 to realise a vision for the area to create a vibrant community.  Architecturally, the Local Planning Authority will seek contemporary responses to the existing character and densities and parking appropriate to the edge of centre location.  Magdalen Street is within an Air Quality Management Area and proposals will accordingly need to provide mitigation.  The Local Planning Authority will expect development to be set back from the carriageway with large scale forecourts and tree planting to help improve air quality in this part of the town. Vehicular access will only be available via Magdalen Street.  Pedestrian and cycle opportunities also need to be addressed as part of any future design and site layout.  These sites falls within CDA 03 (Colchester Town Centre Area).  Developer contributions will be sought towards the costs of delivering flood defence/flood management measures within Critical Drainage Area 03 as specified in the Surface Water Management Plan for Colchester to help manage flood risk in this part of Colchester.

Employment Sites

14.86 East Colchester contains a number of historic employment sites, a number of which, have already been redeveloped for residential and mixed uses.  The Whitehall Industrial Estate is the largest remaining industrial area, and will be a preferred location for new employment development in East Colchester.  The employment land allocation in Table SG3 includes 2.7ha in Whitehall.  Sites on Barrack Street, Brook Street and Port Lane contain further small areas of employment floorspace which will be safeguarded for employment use. 

View Comments (2) Policy EC3: East Colchester

Allocations shown on the policies map will be supported for residential uses.  In addition to the requirements in Policy PP1, proposals will be required to satisfy the Local Planning Authority with regard to the site specific requirements as identified below.

Land at Port Lane

Development of this site will be supported where it provides:

(i) Up to 130 new dwellings of a mix and type of housing to be compatible with surrounding development;

(ii) Access via Port Lane;

(iii) Contamination mitigation measures as required; and

(iv) Contributes towards flood risk solutions, in accordance with Flood Risk Management policy DM23 and  SWMP recommendations for CDA 03

East Bay Mill

Development of this site will be supported where it provides:

(i) Up to 22 new dwellings of a mix and type of housing to be compatible with surrounding development, including the Listed Building

(ii) Adequate access including appropriate treatment / diversion of the existing Public Right of Way;

(iii) A satisfactory NPPF flood risk exception test and if met, provide flood risk mitigation measures;

(iv) Protection and enhancement of the setting of listed buildings and the Hythe conservation area;

(v) Appropriate conversion of the listed mill; and

(vi) Satisfactory contamination mitigation measures as required;;and

(vii) An air quality assessment and mitigation against any harmful effects to the AQMA likely to be caused by proposals.

(viii) Access to river frontage;

Barrington Road/Bourne Road vacant site

Development of this site will be supported where it provides:

(i) Approximately 28 new dwellings of a mix and type of housing to be compatible with surrounding development;

(ii) A design and layout in keeping with the development on the other part of the site;;

(iii) Suitable landscaping and open space; and

(iv) Access via Knightsfield.

Magdalen Street sites

Development of these sites will be supported where they:

(i) Accord with the Magdalen Street Development Brief (adopted February 2014);

(ii) Include an assessment of air quality and mitigation against any harmful effects to the AQMA likely to be caused by proposals; and

(iii) Contribute towards flood risk solutions, in accordance with Flood Risk Management policy DM23 and SWMP recommendations for CDA 03.

Local Economic Areas as shown on the policies map will be allocated/safeguarded for economic uses in accordance with Table SG3 and policies SG3 and SG4.  The following areas will be protected to retain their function and role as key clusters for a range of businesses including start-ups:

  • Whitehall Industrial Estate
  • Land at Barrack Street
  • Land at Brook Street
  • Moorside Business Park, Eastgates
  • Port Lane

Transport in East Colchester

14.87 In East Colchester the transport network is fragmented due to the historic nature of development in the area, the physical barrier of the River Colne and the railway which serves and passes through the area.  There is a focus of transport routes which converge or cross each other in the Colne Harbour area creating a complexity of competing demands and movements.  To the north of the area the A120 trunk road provides access to North Colchester and the A12.

14.88 The roads radiating out from the town centre to the east are designated Air Quality Management Areas, where vehicular transport is the major contributor to the poor air quality.  Measures which help improve the air quality in the area such as sustainable transport, promotion of low emission vehicles, cleaner vehicles, smoothing traffic flows and improving the street design will be required together with mitigation against any identified impacts.

14.89 The Clacton Branch Line links the coastal towns and rural villages of Tendring with Colchester and the Great Eastern Mainline, with an additional branch to Colchester Town Station.  Within Colchester other stations served by the branch line are Wivenhoe and The Hythe which is the closet station to the University.  There are two level crossings which impact on both train and road operation. 

14.90 The area is served by a number of high frequency bus routes, passing through the area from the Town Centre to serve the University and Greenstead. These bus services are heavily utilised routes. The Garden Community and University expansion provide the opportunity and demand for a rapid transit system in the area to link growth in east Colchester and in Tendring through the Hythe Area with Colchester Town Centre and other key destinations.

14.91 The National Cycle Network (NCN51) passes through the area as the Wivenhoe Trail running from Wivenhoe through to Lower Castle Park.  The Salary Brook Route (also part of the proposed Orbital route) links the large Greenstead Estate through to the University and Knowledge Gateway.

14.92 Strategic Transport Modelling and other ongoing studies have identified locations in East Colchester where improvements to, and investment in, the transport network are required.   Development that will add pressure to the transport network will be required to help mitigate the impact.

View Comments (4) Policy EC4: Transport in East Colchester

Developments in East Colchester will be expected to contribute to a package of sustainable transport measures including walking, cycling, public transport, travel planning and the promotion of sustainable travel.

Where it is demonstrated that proposals will impact on the highway network, contributions will be sought towards mitigation and improvements, including to the following projects;

  • Improvements to the A134/A137 corridor including; Greenstead Junction, Colne Causeway, Elmstead Road Junction, Haven Road/ Hythe Quay
  • Enhancements to the interchange at Hythe Station and improvements to existing public transport services, including the potential for extension to existing services and new routing.
  • Improvements to connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists including; existing and new bridges, links to the Wivenhoe Trail and the Salary Brook Route and other routes identified in the Essex Cycle Strategy and the Colchester Cycle Delivery Plan.

For areas with large multiple sites located in close proximity to each other the cumulative impact of all the development in the area must be considered.

14.93 There are other known improvements to, and investment in, the transport network which have been identified through the Strategic Transport Modelling and other ongoing studies, listed below.  In some cases, schemes have also been identified to overcome these issues.  The transport evidence base is continuously evolving and additional issues and schemes may be identified during the Plan period.  The exact scale, timing and nature of this infrastructure will be determined through more detailed assessment as the planning process develops.  The following requirements are linked to the transport infrastructure identified to support the Tendring/Colchester Borders Garden Community to be informed by further stages of master planning.

  • Rapid Transit – any Rapid Transit system serving the Garden Community will also serve the University, associated employment areas and the Hythe and through to the town centre.  It is expected that the system will have a Park and Ride stop in the A133 area.
  • A120 – A133 link - It is expected that this new link will be provided as part of the Garden Community but it will draw traffic from east Colchester and provide an alternative access to the A120 and A12 trunk route to the north of Colchester.  This link will have an impact on the operation of the Greenstead Roundabout and capacity gained here should primarily be allocated to rapid transit or public transport.

West Colchester

Stanway Strategic Economic Area

14.94 The Stanway Strategic Economic Growth Area is situated at the western end of the urban area of Colchester, with good access to the strategic road network at Junction 26 of the A12.  It contains a mix of commercial uses including retail and B-use employment floorspace and is the Borough's largest District Centre.  A significant amount of new commercial development has been constructed over the last decade, in part enabled by the completion of a new bypass.  The 2013 Tollgate Vision Framework prepared with local landowners in the area set forth a vision for the area 'to create a sustainable and balanced place as the heart of the Stanway Growth Area and to transform the character of the Tollgate area to become a stimulating, attractive and economically vibrant hub for the growing population, building on its success as a retail and commercial destination'.

14.95 The area shown as Zone 1 of the Stanway Strategic Economic Area on the Policies Map is allocated for further employment land supporting the basis of the areas good location and potential for development of high quality additional employment floorspace to contribute to the Borough's supply of employment land.  Table SG3 shows an allocation of 15.6ha of employment land in Stanway. Alternative non- B class uses will only be supported where they are ancillary to the employment focus of the area and they support the continued operation of the employment uses within the SEA.  Part of the Stane Park site will, expand the retail / leisure element within the area following the grant of planning permission on appeal for a range of food / drink uses.  Another proposal for a large retail led expansion is currently the subject of an appeal. Further pressure to change employment land to retail/leisure use will continue to be resisted due to concerns about the potential impact of other uses on Colchester town centre and to protect the Town Centre at the Apex of the hierarchy.  

14.96 The area shown as Zone 2 comprises Tollgate District Centre. It has evolved from a predominantly 'bulky' retail park into an established shopping destination with a substantial range of multiple comparison goods retailers (such as Next, Argos, Sports Direct, Boots, Currys and PC World), a Sainsbury's food/non-food superstore, and a number of food and drink uses.  Tollgate competes with Colchester Town Centre for comparison goods expenditure. This is likely to be further exacerbated as work has commenced to implement development of additional food / drink uses allowed on appeal. Another proposal for a large retail led expansion is currently the subject of an appeal. Accordingly it is important that planning policy for Tollgate District Centre ensures that it enables it to fulfil a subsidiary position to the Town Centre in the centre hierarchy as set out in Policy SG5 and Table SG5a. Its role and function as a district centre would be enhanced through the introduction of new services and/or community facilities, as opposed to further new town centre and retail development. 

14.97 In order to help manage the future growth of this centre to ensure it retains its role and function in relation to its position in Colchester's hierarchy, a Primary Shopping Area is defined. Further retail development will only be supported outside of the Primary Shopping Area where it meets the sequential test and can demonstrate that it will not have a significant adverse impact on Colchester Town Centre (and / or any other centre) where an impact assessment is required.

14.98 In addition, to help protect the Centre Hierarchy with Colchester Town Centre at the apex and to manage the potential impacts of any further retail and leisure growth at Tollgate on the Town Centre, proposals above the floorspace thresholds set out in Policy SG6 (Table SG6),  including change of use or variation of planning conditions, will need to demonstrate that there will not be any significant adverse impacts on the Town Centre (and /or any other defined centre), through an Impact Assessment. The retail evidence concludes that Tollgate does not require substantial new retail development to ensure its vitality and viability over the plan period. Instead, larger scale retail development should be focused on Colchester Town Centre to help strengthen its primary role as a sub-regional shopping destination.              

View Comments (8) Policy WC1: Stanway Strategic Economic Area

Any proposals within the Stanway Strategic Economic Area will be required to provide good public transport, pedestrian and cycle links ensuring good connectivity within the area and Zones, to the neighbouring communities, and to and from the Town Centre.

Development will be expected to contribute to the cost of infrastructure improvements as required, supported by up to date evidence in the Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) or subsequent evidence which will be secured to an appropriate level by way of legal agreement or through CIL as required.  Such infrastructure is likely to include improvement works to Junction 26 on the A12.

All land and premises within the area allocated as the Stanway Economic Area will be safeguarded for economic / employment uses based on a zoned approach in accordance with the following principles:

Zone 1: as defined on the West Colchester Policies Map and incorporating the Stanway allocations listed in Table SG3 will be the primary focus for B class employment uses and as such, alternative non- B Class uses will only be supported where they:

(i) Are ancillary to the employment uses on the site intended to serve the function of the site as an employment area; and,

(ii) Provide the opportunity to maximise the sites potential for economic growth and support the continued operation of existing employment uses within the economic  area; and,

(iii) Do not generate potential conflict with the existing proposed B class uses / activities on the site; and,

(iv) There is no reasonable prospect of the site being used for employment purposes.

Proposals for main town centre uses will not be permitted within zone 1 of the Stanway Strategic Economic Area.

Zone 2: Within the area shown on the West Colchester Policies Map, comprising the Tollgate District Centre, proposals for uses which are suitable for, and proportionate to, the role and function of the centre and its place within the hierarchy will be supported.

Where the proposal is for a main town centre use(s), it must be of a scale and type appropriate to the centre (having regard for the Centre Hierarchy and the definitions under Policy SG5) and must also satisfy the criteria set out below.  Proposals must:

(i) Enhance the role of the centre through the introduction of new services and/or community facilities, and;

(ii) Proposals outside the Tollgate District Centre should meet the requirements of the sequential test as set out in policy SG6 in so far as the Local Planning Authority should be satisfied that there are no suitable alternative sites located more centrally in or on the edge of the District Centre or any other centre; and

(iii) Where the scale of the proposal requires an impact assessment, in accordance with policy SG6, the Local Planning Authority are satisfied that the proposal will not have a significant adverse impact on the vitality and viability of Colchester Town Centre and / or any other defined centre.

Stanway Residential Sites

14.99 Stanway is a parished area on the western edge of Colchester and lies adjacent to the A12.  Over recent years it has been the location for significant growth seeing the delivery of the former Stanway Growth Area.  Approximately half of the 1800 houses allocated in this Growth Area have been delivered together with elements of infrastructure including new roads.  The remaining areas of housing, including Fiveways Fruit Farm and Lakelands remain allocated in this Plan for residential development.  Further infrastructure previously agreed, linked to this, will also be delivered as part of these developments including a primary school, road improvements and areas of public open space, including strategic green infrastructure associated with the minerals working restoration.

14.100 Stanway Parish Council has commenced work on a Neighbourhood Plan and the Neighbourhood Plan Group is considering the potential scope of the plan working with the community and stakeholders.  The Local Plan therefore provides for the strategic significance of the area, particularly for economic growth and the existing commitments associated with the former growth area.

14.101 It is considered that there are opportunities for further development in Stanway. Sites off London Road; to the west of Lakelands; the former Sainsbury's site and at Chitts Hill are identified in this plan for additional housing growth.  These sites are detailed below.

14.102 Existing capacity issues at the primary schools in Stanway will be addressed in the short term by planned expansion at a number of the schools. Further capacity will be created by the provision of a new primary school at Lakelands and a new school on land being allocated off London Road. Additional nursery provision will also be required to accommodate the growth.

Land to the North of London Road

14.103 Land between the A12 and London Road has been identified for 630 new dwellings over the plan period. Two sites in separate ownership are included and given the close spatial relationship of these sites it is fundamental to the success of the area that they are comprehensively planned and do not result in competing developments which could prejudice each other's delivery. The Local Planning Authority therefore recommends a masterplan is prepared to inform development proposals in this area.

14.104 New development proposals will be expected to deliver a new primary school with integrated early years and childcare provision.  This will complement the additional school provision elsewhere in Stanway including planned expansion of the existing facilities and new provision at Lakelands. This new educational facility should be situated in an area within the sites which maximises the use of sustainable transport modes and reduces the need to pick-up and drop-off pupils by car.

14.105 A key component of the comprehensive planning of these sites will be the highway arrangements which must minimise the number of vehicular access points onto London Road. Furthermore pedestrian and cycle links should be integrated as far as possible in order to maximise the connectivity of this area of Stanway and reduce the need to travel by car to access local services, facilities and public transport hubs.

Land north of London Road- Almshouse Allocation

14.106 Land is allocated north of London Road to expand the existing Rosemary Almshouse site.  The site will provide for 26 Almshouse units developed in a way to reflect site constraints including retention of key trees and access. 

Land between Tollgate West and London Road (former Sainsbury's Site)

14.107 The former Sainsbury's site has been vacant since the supermarket relocated to its current location just north of the site in 2010. The site represents an excellent opportunity to provide new housing on brownfield land and provide a further mix of uses within a predominately commercial area. Due to its location close to a range of shops and facilities, including public transport links to Colchester, the site would be suitable for development at a higher density than surrounding areas.

14.108 The site benefits from an existing access on Tollgate West but connectivity would be improved by a new footway and cycle way linking London Road to the north of the site to Tollgate West at the southern boundary of the site. This new link will improve permeability and sustainable transport connectivity in an area dominated by motorised transport. Furthermore the new link could be fronted by small scale services and community uses on the ground floors of proposed residential buildings, ensuring that any small scale uses are visible from and relate well to, the Tollgate District Centre and Tollgate West. Establishing an active frontage on ground floors will be complementary to the neighbouring District Centre and be consistent with the strategy seeking diversification / more services and community facilities. Importantly, development proposals will deliver high quality landscaping and public realm improvements to complement the site's enhanced connectivity to and from the adjacent District Centre.

Land to the West of Lakelands

14.109 A site to the west of Lakelands is allocated for a mixed use development to include approximately 150 dwellings.  To create a more logical extension to the settlement boundary and mix of uses the allocation provides for residential development to the south of the site and employment to the north. 

Land at Chitts Hill

14.110 The site is in a sustainable location with access to public transport.  It has natural existing defensible boundaries and is surrounded by areas of predominantly residential development and an existing private school with associated playing fields which are safeguarded as private open space.  The proximity of the site to the mainline railway on the northern boundary and the school to the south requires a substantive landscape buffer to minimise amenity impacts.

Land off Dyers Road including Fiveways Fruit Farm

14.111 Sites off Dyers Lane including Fiveways Fruit Farm, for approximately 490 dwellings, remain unimplemented and are therefore re-allocated in this Plan as continued progress demonstrates that these sites will be delivered early in this Plan period.  Those requirements, previously identified remain relevant to ensure adequate mitigation is provided against impacts including, ecology/landscaping, archaeology/heritage assets, flood risk/drainage, access and highways management, as well as ensuring adequate provision of open space and community infrastructure.  The generic policy requirements are set out in Policy PP1 and the site specific elements identified in Policy WC2 below. 

Land between Churchfields Avenue, Church Lane and Partridge Way

14.112 Planning Permission is granted for 28 dwellings on this site, associated with the wider development at Lakelands.  It is expected that these dwellings will be delivered during the Plan Period.

Open Space

14.113 An area of land to the east of Tollgate Road is allocated for public open space, recognising its value as a linear link with potential benefits for landscape / amenity, recreation and biodiversity interests.

14.114 Land between Church Lane and Maldon Road including Stanway Hall Farm and Bellhouse Pit, comprising the area of the quarry workings is reallocated for strategic open space which will be delivered post restoration of the quarry (Essex Minerals Local Plan) and previously covered by Policy SA STA5 Open Space in Stanway Growth Area. (Adopted Site Allocations Plan).  The use of this for built formal, indoor and outdoor leisure uses will be limited and need to compliment the nearby employment and housing allocations and the adjoining open countryside.

View Comments (18) Policy WC2: Stanway

Allocations as shown on the policies map will be safeguarded for predominantly residential uses unless otherwise stated.  In addition to meeting the requirements set out in Policy PP1 existing capacity issues at the primary schools will be addressed by planned expansion at a number of the schools in the short term and by the provision of a new primary school at Lakelands. A new school will also be required on 2.1 hectares of land to the north of London Road in a location to be decided.The primary school will be secured through a S106 agreement and will be co-located with a 56 place early years and childcare facility (D1 use).  An additional 0.13 hectares of land for a 56 place early years and childcare facility will also be required in Stanway in a location to be decided.

All proposals must also satisfy the Local Planning Authority with regard to the site specific requirements as identified below.

Land to the North of London Road

Development of these sites will be supported where they provide;

(i) Up to 630 dwellings of a mix and type compatible with surrounding development

(ii) A new primary school with co-located early years and childcare nursery places;

(iii) A comprehensively planned highways access which takes into account adjoining residential allocations in order to minimise the number of new access points onto London Road but without prejudice to the development of the adjoining sites;

(iv) Suitable landscaping and open space provision to the north of the site to form a buffer between future residential uses and the A12;

(v) An integrated cycleway and footway serving the development and connecting to the existing network;

(vi) A design and layout to minimise the impacts from, and mitigate against any impacts associated with noise from the A12; and

(vii) Suitable landscaping and open space provision to the west of the site to form a defensible boundary and visual separation from Copford.

Up to 26 additional Almshouses (for affordable housing) on land to the north of London Road will be supported where it also provides:

(i) Safe vehicular, pedestrian and cycle access

(ii) A Tree Survey, to be agreed with the Local Planning Authority

(iii)  Retention of important landscape features on the northern and eastern boundaries of the site; and

(iv) Enhancement of the street frontage and the setting of the street scene.

The best way of securing a comprehensive approach to development ofthesesites north of London Road is through the use of a masterplan which will be prepared prior to the first application being submitted.

Land between Tollgate West and London Road (former Sainsbury's Site)

Development of this site will be supported where it provides:

(i) Up to 200 dwellings of a mix and density suitable for its location;

(ii) A new pedestrian and cycle link from London Road to Tollgate West in order to improve the District Centre's north-south connectivity;

(iii) Services and community uses on the ground floors fronting the aforementioned new link to establish active frontages which complement the adjoining District Centre; and

(iv) High quality public realm and landscaping improvements in order to encourage the use of the new link through the site.

Land to the West of Lakelands

Development of this site will be supported where it provides:

(i) A mix of uses to include: Approximately 150 new dwellings and provision of employment floorspace to be compatible with the surrounding residential uses;

(ii)   An ecological survey with appropriate mitigation;

(iii)  Satisfactory access to be agreed with the Highway Authority;

(iv) Provision for retention or diversion of any existing public rights of way within the site

Land at Chitts Hill

Development of this site will be supported where it provides:

(i) Up to a maximum of 100 new dwellings of a mix and type of housing to be compatible with surrounding development;

(ii) Substantive landscaping in particular to reflect appropriate boundary treatment to the north along the railway line and the south around the school;

(iii) Access to the site to be restricted to Chitts Hill;

(iv) Open space / green infrastructure provision to compliment the biodiversity and wildlife interests of the neighbouring Local Wildlife designation (CO68) at Iron Latch Lane Woods and Meadows;

(v) Adequate noise mitigation from the adjacent railway line; and

(vi) Further exploration of potential archaeological significance of the site.

Land off Dyers Road including Fiveways Fruit Farm

Development of this site will be supported where it provides:

(i) A mix and type of approximately 490 dwellings;

(ii) Proposals which accord with the agreed masterplan for the Stanway Growth Area;

(iii) Local road improvements, including, but not limited to, the closure of Dyers Road to through traffic and;

(iv) Strategic area of open space to the south of the site

(v) Contributions to education facilities in Stanway

(vi) An ecological survey with appropriate mitigation.

Open Space

Land between Church Lane and Maldon Road, including Stanway Hall Farm and Bellhouse Pit will be safeguarded for strategic open space following restoration works associated with the minerals extraction at the quarry, as shown on the Policies Map.  Any built development associated with formal indoor and outdoor leisure provision will be limited in extent and closely related to allocated employment and housing areas to safeguard the more open countryside from built development.

Land to the east of Tollgate Road is allocated for public open space as shown on the Policies Map and will be safeguarded as such.

Colchester Zoo

14.115 Colchester Zoo is an important visitor attraction in the Borough and has operated successfully in its current location for over 50 years.  The Council recognises that tourist attractions require constant updating and that expansion in its current location could have strong justification.  Development that provides enhanced visitor facilities and opportunities whilst having regard to the sensitive location of the zoo will be supported.  The extent of any development ancillary to the zoo, such as additional retail, hotel and food and drink outlets, would need to be related to the function of the zoo and assessed against the potential negative impact on the town centre and countryside.

14.116 Any proposals for the expansion of the zoo, and associated facilities, should be undertaken through a Masterplan approach, taking into account the sensitive location of the zoo including the issues identified below, and the impact on the Town Centre.

14.117 The site is in an environmentally sensitive location adjacent to the Roman River and includes a Scheduled Ancient Monument and Gosbecks Archaeological Park.  Creation of new wildlife habitats accordingly would need to have regard to the existing habitats and the landscape character of the area.

14.118 Additionally, the impact of increased visitor numbers would need to be carefully managed to minimise any impact on the local highway network and ensure safe access to the site via Maldon Road, including the Warren Lane junction.  A comprehensive Transport Assessment would be required.  Any proposals should promote access by bus from the Town Centre and local train stations, as well as promoting local access via cycle and footpaths and improving improvements to these routes where necessary.  There are a number of Public Rights of Way in the area and these would need to be taken into account in any further expansion plans.

14.119 Colchester Zoo is located adjacent to an existing sand and gravel minerals extraction site and is in a Minerals Safeguarding Area for sand and gravel as detailed in the Essex Minerals Local Plan 2014.  In accordance with national mineral policy and the Essex Minerals Local Plan, a Minerals Resource Assessment must be submitted as part of any planning application.  The Minerals Resource Assessment must assess economic viability of prior extraction and be prepared using the latest PERC standard.  Should the viability of extraction be proven, the mineral shall be worked in accordance with a scheme/masterplan as part of the phased delivery of the non-mineral development.  Consultation with the MPA and LPA will be required to determine whether a separate minerals planning application would be required.

View Comments (4) Policy WC3: Colchester Zoo

The Council recognises the importance of Colchester Zoo as a visitor attraction and as a contributor to the local economy.  The Local Planning Authority will work in partnership with the Zoo to maximise the social and economic benefits associated with its development while ensuring any development proposals have regard to the environmentally sensitive location.

The area shown on the West Colchester Policies Map will be safeguarded for potential further expansion of Colchester Zoo to provide additional facilities associated with the Zoo's vision for growth.  The extent of any development ancillary to the zoo, such as additional retail, hotel and food and drink outlets, will need to be related to the function of the zoo and assessed against potential negative impacts on the Town Centre.

Any proposals for the expansion of the Zoo will be undertaken through a master plan approach taking into account landscape and Scheduled Ancient Monument impact, safe access to the site via Maldon Road, existing public rights of way and accessibility by sustainable transport modes.  A comprehensive transport assessment would be required.  Proposals will need to ensure any necessary road improvements as required in Maldon Road and at the Warren Lane Junction are secured and delivered before expansion takes place.  These works may require land and / or financial contributions.  An off road cycle route should be provided linking the Zoo with Gosbecks Archaeological Park to facilitate sustainable modes of travel.

Any proposals will include an appropriate SuDS for managing surface water runoff within the overall design and layout of the site.

Any proposals will also take into account the Essex Minerals Local Plan and the developer will be required to submit a Minerals Resource Assessment as part of any planning application.  Should the viability of extraction be proven, the mineral shall be worked in accordance with a scheme/masterplan as part of the phased delivery of the non-mineral development.

West Colchester other allocations / policies

14.120 The following areas in West Colchester are allocated for residential and economic uses, excluding those areas within Stanway which is covered by Policy WC2.

Essex County Hospital site

14.121 The Essex County Hospital site lies within the Lexden Conservation Area on a prominent site lying over a Roman burial area just outside the Town Centre on Lexden Road.  The site contains a number of hospital buildings constructed over its two hundred year history, including a Grade II listed main building and a Locally Listed nurses block. In 2015, the Council received notice of the Health Trust's intention to dispose of the site for redevelopment, with the remaining hospital uses on the site being transferred to other sites.  The Local Planning Authority has prepared a Development Brief for the site, adopted in December 2014, which provides guidance to ensure appropriate development of the sensitive hospital site within the Lexden Conservation Area.  Parking and amenity requirements for the site will reflect the site's sustainable location near the Town Centre.

Land at Irvine Road

14.122 This 0.6ha site is located north west and to the rear of existing residential properties on Irvine Road. The site is currently designated as a Local Site (ref CO97) and along with the Philip Morant playing fields contributes to the green infrastructure in this part of Colchester. The site is accessed via a private track, however there is no public access to this plot of land. 

14.123 The 2016 Local Site Review concluded that this site is in favourable but declining status as an orchard with no management of the fruit trees or other vegetation in recent years.  The grassland is becoming rank and the Prunusscrub which is spreading, is already dominant in some areas.  The northern edge of the site is also being managed inappropriately, from a conservation point of view.  This lack of active and appropriate management if not addressed over time, will result in further decline in the ecological value of the site. This could result in it eventually being de-designated as a Local Site if it fails to meet the qualifying criteria for designation.

14.124 Whilst the site has some limited wildlife value, a small amount of development, of up to a maximum 8 dwellings, covering no more than 40% of the site is considered appropriate at this location.  The remaining 60% of the site should be brought back into suitable condition with management to improve the sites ecological value and to ensure it continues to contribute to the local Green Infrastructure network.  A detailed ecological management plan and mitigation plan should be prepared as part of any future development proposal to conserve the most valuable habitats/part at this site.

View Comments (7) Policy WC4: West Colchester

Allocations shown on the policies map will be safeguarded for residential uses.  In addition to the requirements in Policy PP1, proposals will be required to satisfy the Local Planning Authority with regard to the site specific requirements as identified below.

Essex County Hospital site, Lexden Road

Development of this site will be supported where it accords with the Essex County Hospital adopted Development Brief (December 2014).

Land at Irvine Road

Development of this site will be supported where it provides:

(i) Up to 8 new dwellings of a mix and type of housing to be compatible with surrounding development;

(ii) Access via existing track off Irvine Road;

(iii) A maximum development area of 40% of the site;

(iv) An Ecological Management Plan and Mitigation Plan for the remaining 60% of the site to improve and enhance its ecological value.

Transport in West Colchester

14.125 The transport network in West Colchester is characterised by the A12 trunk road running east west carrying very high volumes of traffic, with access via junction 25 at Marks Tey (also giving a connection to the A120 westwards towards Braintree), junction 26 at Eight Ash Green giving access to Stanway and Tollgate.  These two trunk road junctions suffer from significant peak hour queuing impacting on the village of Marks Tey and queuing back onto the A12 trunk road.  The Great Eastern Mainline runs parallel to the A12, with a station at Marks Tey with a branch line to Sudbury.

14.126 Stanway/Tollgate currently forms a natural destination point for buses radiating out from the town centre using London Road.  There are high frequency bus routes serving the West Colchester area.  A small number of interurban bus services also pass through the area.

14.127 The National Cycle Network (NCN1) heads from the town centre through the area prior to heading southwest past the Colchester Zoo towards Tiptree.  The Lexden Cycle route follows a mix of on-road and off-road routes linking the town centre to Stanway.

14.128 Strategic traffic modelling has been undertaken which has shown a number of links and junctions operating over capacity at peak times.  Development will add pressure to the transport network and measures will be required to help mitigate the impact.

View Comments (1) Policy WC5: Transport in West Colchester

Developments in West Colchester will be expected to contribute to a package of sustainable transport measures including walking, cycling, public transport, travel planning and the promotion of sustainable travel.

Where it is demonstrated that proposals will impact on the highway network, contributions will be sought towards mitigation and improvements, including to the following projects;

  • Improvements to the A12 Junctions 25 and 26 to provide measures which reduce queuing at junctions.
  • Improvements to the southern distribution road network to smooth the flow of traffic along this route including the Maldon Road/Warren Lane junction.
  • Improvements and extension to the current bus services and routes, to serve developments and link the key attractors in the area and to the town centre.  Provision of additional routes to serve the area as it develops further towards the West.
  • Improvements to the existing cycle and walking network providing connections from Stanway through the Lakelands and Tollgate area to ensure that the new developments are permeable and connected to the existing services as identified in the Essex Cycle Strategy and the Colchester Cycle Delivery Plan.

For areas with large multiple sites located in close proximity to each other the cumulative impact of all the development in the area must be considered.

14.129 There are other known improvements to, and investment in, the transport network which have been identified through the Strategic Transport Modelling and other ongoing studies listed below.  In some cases, schemes have also been identified to overcome these issues.  The transport evidence base is continuously evolving and additional issues and schemes may be identified during the Plan period.  The exact scale, timing and nature of this infrastructure will be determined through more detailed assessment as the planning process develops.

  • A12 Technology Package between the M25 and the A14 – smarter technology package to enable better management of the trunk road network.  Scheme identified in the Government's Roads Investment Strategy.
  • A12 widening between Junction 25 and junction 29 - scheme identified in the Government's Roads Investment Strategy for start of investment to be made by 2025.
  • A133/A134 Colne Bank Roundabout – scheme to improve operation of key junction on the local road network.
  • A120 upgrades – preferred route to be identified summer 2017.


Sustainable Settlements

Abberton and Langenhoe

14.130 Abberton and Langenhoe were originally two separate settlements but have now effectively merged into one village which share services and facilities. The facilities in the village include a primary school, community hall, public open space and a proposed shop at the former Langenhoe Lion Public House. The village benefits from good road connections to Colchester being situated along the B1025 which has bus stops situated along it which are served by the Mersea Bus.

14.131There are a number of constraints within Abberton and Langenhoe which restrict new development including the fact that much of the land to the south of the village lies within the Coastal Protection Belt. Furthermore there is also a current deficit of pupil places at Langenhoe Primary School so new development proposals will be required to contribute towards improvements and/or expansion of the school to accommodate new provision. Similarly, there is also a shortage of early years and childcare places across the age range in the village.

14.132 Land has been identified either side of Peldon Road, adjacent to the existing settlement, which represents a logical extension to the village. Development at these locations will have to be contained within the wider landscape by suitable screening and landscaping to provide a defensible settlement boundary and minimise impacts on the wider landscape. Land to the east of Peldon Road is situated close to a listed building and considerate design will be required to ensure no adverse effects on its setting result from new development at the site.

14.133 Development proposals in Abberton and Langenhoe will have to address existing highways issues in the village including a persistent problem with vehicles travelling over the 30mph speed limit along Peldon Road and safety concerns at the junction of Peldon Road with Layer Road. The larger proposal should be supported by a transport statement, which among other issues, should include solutions to these issues where necessary and/or appropriate. Development proposals will also be required to address congestion associated with Langenhoe Primary School through the provision of a new drop-off/pick-up area outside the school. Whilst the provision of such a facility is not normally encouraged, the specific circumstances in Abberton and Langenhoe, including its rural nature, lends itself to such a pragmatic solution.

14.134 Additionally development proposals will need to provide improved pedestrian links to the village, including a safe road crossing facility on Peldon Road and a new footpath from Peldon Road to the primary school. Importantly the two sites should be planned comprehensively, taking into account the opportunities presented by their locations.

View Comments (37) Policy SS1: Abberton and Langenhoe

In addition to the infrastructure and mitigation requirements identified in policy PP1, development of the sites below, as shown on the Policies Map will be supported where they meet the requirements identified for each site below;

Land to the west of Peldon Road

Development will be supported which provides;

(i) 50 dwellings of a mix and type of housing for which there is a demonstrated need; and

(ii) A transport statement to include but not limited to a safety assessment of the Peldon Road/Layer Road junction and any necessary mitigation; and

(iii) Provision of a new drop-off/pick-up point at Langenhoe Primary School; and,

(iv) Provision of new public footpaths to the north of the site connecting to the school and village.

Land to the east of Peldon Road

Development will be supported which provides:

(i) 5 dwellings;

(ii) A new pedestrian access route from Peldon Road to the grounds of Langenhoe Primary School;

(iii) Provision of a new drop-off/pick-up point at Langenhoe Primary School.

Pantiles Farm on Peldon Road is allocated as a Local Economic Area and will continue to be protected for this use. Any future development proposals will be required to comply with policy SG4.

Boxted

14.135 Boxted is a rural parish located approximately 3km to the north east of urban Colchester. Development in Boxted is currently concentrated within three distinct settlement areas: Boxted Cross, Workhouse Hill and Mill Road. These latter two settlement areas are not considered suitable locations for new growth as they have no community facilities and are not well served by public transport. Boxted Cross is considered to be a sustainable location for limited growth only as the few community facilities that Boxted does have are concentrated in this northern part of the parish. Like the rest of Boxted, this area also has limited access to public transport. Community facilities comprise a primary school, village hall, playing field, social club and community shop.

14.136 The Dedham Vale AONB abuts the north eastern edge of Boxted Cross settlement boundary in the vicinity of Cooks Lane. This restricts development opportunities northwards to ensure that the qualities of the Dedham Vale AONB are protected. Development is constrained to the northwest and west by arable land and land used as orchards/vineyard. Growth opportunities are constrained to the east by the sports and recreation ground and arable land. A local wildlife designation (Local Site Co136 Black Brook), is an extensive mosaic of habitats forming an important wildlife corridor on the eastern edge of Boxted Cross and represents a further constraint on development in this direction. Development southwards is also constrained due to the desire to prevent further ribbon development along Boxted Straight Road leading to the coalescence of settlements and to discourage further housing away from existing village services and facilities.

14.137 Boxted Parish Council has produced a Neighbourhood Plan that covers the whole of the Parish and was made on 8 December 2016. While the Boxted Neighbourhood Plan promotes residential development at Hill Farm, a derelict employment site located in Boxted Cross, it does not identify a specific number of houses to be delivered. The Local Plan proposes an allocation of approximately 36 dwellings at the Hill Farm site which reflects the fact that Boxted is a rural village with limited facilities.  The Neighbourhood Plan sets out a policy framework for Hill Farm and the wider Parish that all future development proposals in Boxted will have to accord with, now that the Neighbourhood Plan has been made. Development proposals will also be required to comply with Local Plan policies where relevant and outside of the scope of the Boxted Neighbourhood Plan.

View Comments (2) Policy SS2: Boxted

All development proposals in Boxted parish including the Hill Farm site at Boxted Cross, as shown on the Boxted policies map, will be determined against and be required to comply with policies in the Boxted Neighbourhood Plan and any relevant Local Plan policies.

Prior to the commencement of development at Hill Farm enhancements will need to be provided to the wastewater treatment and sewerage infrastructure in the catchment.

14.138 There are two Local Economic Areas on Boxted Straight Road. Development proposals affecting these sites will be required to comply with policy SG4.

Chappel and Wakes Colne

14.139 Chappel and Wakes Colne are two parishes located 7km to the north west of Colchester separated by the A1124 (Colchester to Halstead road) and the River Colne.  Although separate Parishes they have a close inter-dependency in respect of shared community facilities split between the two settlements either side of the A1124.

14.140 Chappel has one core settlement area with three remote/dispersed small clusters of housing at Rose Green, Swan Street and Wakes Street. Wakes Colne is also the main settlement area with smaller dispersed clusters of housing around Inworth Lane and at Middle Green.

14.141 Despite being two distinct villages, both provide an important community function in terms of the provision of local services which all residents use and benefit from including the railway station at Wakes Colne. The main part of Chappel has a village shop, post office, primary school and pub.

14.142 A site in Chappel, to the east of Chappel Hill and to the south of the Swan Grove development is considered suitable for some limited development. This site is well located relative to the existing facilities in Chappel and within walking distance of the train station in Wakes Colne. This site could deliver 30 units which is considered appropriate given the available services in Chappel and Wakes Colne and the capacity based on constraints and opportunities. Chappel and Wakes Colne is served by Earls Colne Water Recycling Centre which has sufficient headroom capacity to serve the proposed development.

14.143 Suitable screening/landscaping will be needed to replace any hedgerows removed to accommodate the development and to minimise any visual and landscape impacts. A single access should be provided via Swan Grove and development will need to provide a suitable pedestrian access from the site into Chappel. Good design will be needed to complement the existing built character and to protect the setting of Hill House, Martyn's Croft and Brook Hall which are all Grade II listed buildings.

View Comments (6) Policy SS3: Chappel and Wakes Colne

In addition to the infrastructure and mitigation requirements identified in policy PP1, development will be supported on land within the area identified on the policies map which provides:

(i) 30 new dwellings of a mix and type of housing to be compatible with surrounding development; and

(ii) A single site access via Swan Grove; and,

(iii) A design and layout which complements the listed buildings and their setting.

Copford and Copford Green

14.144 Copford represents an appropriate location for additional growth over the plan period given its proximity to Marks Tey train station, the A12/A120, and the main urban area of Colchester. To contribute to the continued sustainability of Copford two sites have been allocated for housing development over the plan period: land to the East of Queensberry Avenue north of London Road and land to the west of Hall Road, south of London Road.  These sites will deliver an additional 120 houses by 2033.

14.145 Copford's close proximity to Marks Tey means that it is important to seek to prevent coalescence between the two settlements to ensure that both villages retain their individual identities. Development that would not represent a logical extension to the existing built up areas of Copford will be discouraged to prevent coalescence between settlements. Development will be also be discouraged in the most northern part of the village, adjacent to the A12 to protect local amenity, and open spaces and to avoid land at risk from flooding. Growth will be discouraged to the east where the character is more rural/or is open countryside and to the south to discourage further development away from existing village services and facilities and to help protect the setting of Copford Green Conservation Area.

14.146 Waste water and sewage infrastructure is over capacity and it will be necessary for these issues to be resolved prior to the start of development. Copford Primary School is also currently at capacity. Contributions will be sought to replace the temporary accommodation at the primary school to meet the increased demand that the new development will generate and to improve secondary school provision where a need is demonstrated.

14.147 Development of land to the east of Queensberry Avenue represents a sensible and logical extension to the existing built up area of Copford to the north of London Road. The site has been proposed for allocation for residential use, but the delivery of new extra care facilities at this location would also be supported, given its proximity to existing similar facilities to the north of London Road.Access to this site will be via Queensberry Avenue or London Road, where feasible. There is a Public Right of Way running along the western boundary of the site and development proposals will need to consider a permanent diversion or upgrade to the public footpath.

14.148 Good design will be needed to complement the existing built character, to provide suitable screening / landscaping, to replace any hedgerows removed to accommodate the development, to minimise visual impacts on the local landscape and to protect the setting of any Listed Buildings close to the development site.

14.149 Development of land to the west of Hall Road represents an appropriate extension to the existing built up area to the south of London Road. Development will need to provide suitable vehicular and pedestrian access between the site and London Road into Copford. Good design will be needed to complement the existing built character and to protect the setting of Brewers Cottage, Old Mill House and Shrub House which are Grade II Listed Buildings. The land to the south of this site is in agricultural use, therefore suitable screening / landscaping will be also be needed to replace any hedgerows removed to accommodate the development and to minimise any visual and landscape impacts. The proposed site is of potential archaeological significance. It is, therefore, likely that heritage assets of archaeological interest will be found, i.e. below-ground archaeological remains and site investigations will need to be completed prior to the start of development. Detailed flood modelling will also need to be completed to assess flood risk from the Roman River.

14.150 The potential archaeological significance of the site should be further explored, by way of a pre-determination evaluation (geophysical survey and trial trenching), before any decision is made as to whether all or part of the site would be acceptable for development. The Local Planning Authority will, on request, provide a brief for each stage of the archaeological evaluation.

14.151 There is a Water Recycling Centre located to the east of Copford village. Anglian Water has indicated that there are significant water supply and waste water infrastructure capacity issues in Copford.  To address this waste and water treatment from new developments in Copford will be directed to Colchester's Water Recycling Centre. As a precautionary approach, development of these sites cannot come forward until there is sufficient water supply, network capacity, waste water treatment and sewage infrastructure capacity to cope with the two developments. Where this cannot be demonstrated it will be necessary to seek further advice from Anglian Water.

View Comments (37) Policy SS4: Copford

East of Queensberry Avenue

In addition to the infrastructure and mitigation requirements identified in policy PP1, development will be supported on land within the area identified on the policies map which provides:

(i) 70 new dwellings of a mix and type of housing to be compatible with surrounding development;

(ii) Access via Queensberry Avenue and/or London Road;

(iii) The permanent diversion and/or upgrade to the existing Public Right of Way which runs along the western boundary edge of the site.

West of Hall Road

In addition to the infrastructure and mitigation requirements identified in policy PP1, development will be supported on land within the area identified on the policies map which provides:

(i) Up to 50 new dwellings of a mix and type of housing to be compatible with surrounding development;

(ii) A single site access via Hall Road;

(iii) Detailed flood modelling to assess flood risk at Hall Road from Roman River; and

(iv) A safe pedestrian footway agreed with the Highways Authority from the site to London Road to enhance connectivity with Copford.

(v) A design and layout which complements the listed buildings and their setting as well as any archaeological assets.

Dedham

14.152 Most of the Dedham parish area falls within the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The largest settlement within the parish is the historic village of Dedham to the north. The smaller settlement of Dedham Heath lies to the south of the parish along with two smaller clusters of properties to the west and east of Dedham Heath known as Lamb Corner and Bargate Lane, respectively.

14.153 Dedham village has a range of services and facilities, including its own primary school, a GP, Post Office and a number of shops and services. As such Dedham is designated as a Local Centre providing a range of small shops and services which meet the basic needs of local communities, in the rural north of the borough.  The other settlement clusters within Dedham parish not only lack such essential services and facilities but also have limited safe walking and cycling access to them. Dedham village therefore is considered a sustainable settlement for the purposes of the spatial strategy but the other clusters of housing in Dedham Parish are not considered to be suitable to support further residential growth.

14.154 Despite Dedham village's status as a sustainable settlement it is heavily constrained by its location within the AONB. Furthermore a lack of suitable and available development land means that no growth has been proposed for Dedham village during the plan period.

14.155 As well as being a service centre for surrounding villages, Dedham is also a popular tourist destination. At certain times the existing roads and car parks struggle to cope with the additional traffic and the Parish Council have indicated that they would support additional car parking. Applications which help address this issue will be supported where they meet other policy objectives.

14.156 Dedham Heath as a smaller settlement with limited sustainability is an Other Village in the spatial hierarchy and not therefore been identified for any additional growth.  The two more remote clusters of residential development to the west and east of the Heath are within the countryside and as such are not sustainable locations for growth.

Eight Ash Green

14.157 Eight Ash Green is a rural parish located approximately 6km to the north west of urban Colchester. Within Eight Ash Green development is mainly concentrated around Fordham Heath and Choats Corner. There is also a small cluster of housing at Seven Star Green, located to the south of Halstead Road which separates these dwellings from the key facilities in Eight Ash Green village.

14.158 Despite being located approximately 5km from both Marks Tey and Colchester train stations, Eight Ash Green is considered a Sustainable Settlement as it has a reasonable number of local services and facilities which serve the needs of local residents. Local facilities include a village hall, three shops, a takeaway, convenience store, beauty salon and a pub. There is also a primary school located within the Choats Corner settlement boundary.

14.159 Eight Ash Green Parish Council is developing a Neighbourhood Plan which will allocate development sites in the Parish. The Parish Council, Neighbourhood Plan Working Group and the Local Planning Authority have agreed that the Neighbourhood Plan will allocate land to deliver 150 new dwellings in Eight Ash Green over the Local Plan period.

14.160 A preferred site for development in Eight Ash Green has been identified by the Neighbourhood Plan Group, through consultation with the local community. The site is located to the west of the Choats Corner settlement boundary as shown on the Eight Ash Green policies map. The Plan is currently at an early stage of development and the evidence still needs to be advanced to justify this allocation. The Eight Ash Green Neighbourhood Plan Group will prepare a draft plan which will include site allocation(s) and be subject to public consultation. The Plan will allocate the final site boundary and will include a policy framework to guide development on the preferred site and to guide all other planning issues in Eight Ash Green. The Plan will be subject to examination and referendum prior to being made. This process may result in changes to the plan.

View Comments (6) Policy SS5: Eight Ash Green

The  Eight Ash Green Neighbourhood Plan will:

(i) Define the extent of a new Settlement Development Boundary for Eight Ash Green;

(ii) Allocate a preferred site(s) for 150 dwellings in Eight Ash Green;

(iii) Set out any associated policies needed to support the site allocation  i.e. housing mix, type of new housing and density for each site allocated for housing; and

(iv) The Neighbourhood Plan will also set out the policy framework to guide the delivery of any infrastructure/community facilities required to support the development.

This policy should be read in conjunction with the generic Neighbourhood Planning Policy SG8.

Fordham

14.161 Fordham is identified as a sustainable settlement and is a linear village with a core concentration of development which has evolved over time, including a number of small estate type developments.  Although spread out, it is well served by key community facilities including, a primary school, village hall, convenience shop / post office and playing field.   Also within the village is a community orchard maintained by the local community as well as an area of community woodland managed by the Woodland Trust.

14.162 The character of the village is influenced by a few significant listed buildings and their setting and the extensive areas of well established, locally managed woodland.  It is important to protect and where possible enhance these characteristics.  Small scale development adjacent to Plummers Road has recently delivered an attractive enhancement to the connectivity between this area and the rest of the village via a landscaped footway set back from the road.  Further enhancement to connectivity through the village would be beneficial to existing and future residents.

14.163 Allocation of a site to the east of Plummers Road for additional small scale growth of up to 20 dwellings is considered a logical extension to the settlement.  This provides for the continued sustainability of the key services in the village and accommodates an appropriate level of growth over the plan period.  Development of this site will need to respond to particular site constraints including sensitive consideration in relation to the setting of a Listed Building. 

14.164 Fordham Parish Council has indicated a wish to deliver a rural exception site in the village to provide housing for local people. Numbers and house types will be informed by a local housing needs survey. Land adjacent to the allocated site in Plummers Road may be a suitable location for the rural exception site. Due to the nature of rural exception sites, this development will be delivered outside the Local Plan process. Despite this, if two adjacent sites are brought forward there are benefits to planning them in a comprehensive manner, for example through shared highways access, community infrastructure, affordable housing delivery and complementary design. If a rural exception site is to be delivered on the adjacent site, a masterplan will be required which demonstrates how the allocated residential site will positively and comprehensively relate to any future rural exception site. The masterplan should accompany any planning application for residential uses in this area.

14.165 The proposed site is of potential archaeological significance.  It is therefore likely that heritage assets of archaeological interest will be found, i.e. below-ground archaeological remains.  This will require further investigation initially by way of pre-determination evaluation report. Decisions on the scale of development and also the need for, and scope of, any further archaeological work, should be based upon the results of this evaluation. 

View Comments (8) Policy SS6: Fordham

In addition to the infrastructure and mitigation requirements identified in policy PP1, development will be supported on land within the area identified on the policies map which provides:

(i) Up to 20 new dwellings, the mix and type to be informed by evidence including the Fordham Housing Needs Survey and archaeological evaluation;

(ii) Access from Plummers Road with appropriate junction improvements; and

(iii) A new footway along the frontage/behind the existing hedgerow to provide safe pedestrian access from the site linking with existing footways and the rest of the village.

Great Horkesley

14.166 Great Horkesley is essentially linear in shape and has developed over time along the old Roman road that radiates away from north Colchester (now the A134). Development has spread westwards along a number of roads off the main road. Great Horkesley is fragmented with the main core of the settlement to the south and two smaller fragments to the north along the A134. The southern edge of the main part of the village is approximately 0.6km from the Colchester urban edge and is located north of the A12. There is a primary school, new village hall, church and dental surgery within the main village and a petrol station, post office, shop, scout hut and the old village hall, as well as a number of public houses along the A134.

14.167 Great Horkesley's close proximity to the main Colchester urban area means that it is important to seek to prevent coalescence between the southern edge of Great Horkesley and the northern edge of Colchester in order to retain the individual identity of the village. Development that would not represent a logical extension to the existing built up area will be discouraged in order to prevent further ribbon development to the north along the A134 and to the west; away from existing village services and facilities and where it is more rural in character.

14.168 Infrastructure in the village is at capacity and will need to be improved / enhanced to support any new development. Requirements include new allotments, enhanced community buildings and a new scout hut. Improvements will also be sought to the A134 between the village and North Colchester to promote walking and cycling and to improve accessibility to services and facilities in Myland. 

14.169 Land at Great Horkesley Manor represents a logical extension to the village between existing dwellings at the heart of the village and development would be contained within the wider landscape by a belt of trees and small brook to the east.  Access will be from Nayland Road (A134) and access points will need to be kept to a minimum to avoid disrupting the flow of traffic along this busy main road.  Footways, suitable traffic management and crossing opportunities will be needed as development will require school pupils to cross the main road.  Appropriate design and landscaping will be required to preserve the setting of the existing manor building and the tree-lined approach road from the main road.  Whilst the existing manor building is not listed it is considered to be a visually prominent local building set within large, open grounds, the character of which should be protected. There is an area of low/ medium risk of surface water flooding along the eastern boundary of the site.  Site layouts should take this into account to ensure that flood risk is not increased.

14.170 Land off School Lane to the north of the village offers the opportunity for a small development which includes the redevelopment of a brownfield site, improved access to the old village hall and improvements to the scout hut. The site includes a listed building and care will need to be taken to safeguard its setting. The existing scout hut is in poor condition and development proposals should look to replace and/or contribute to its relocation.

View Comments (7) Policy SS7: Great Horkesley

Great Horkesley Manor

In addition to the infrastructure and mitigation requirements identified in policy PP1, development will be supported on land within the area identified on the policies map which provides:

(i) 80 new dwellings of a mix and type of housing for which there is a demonstrated need;

(ii) Provision of allotments;

(iii) Contributions to enhancing community buildings;

(iv) Provision of a scout hut with parking;

(v) Retention of the belt of trees to the east of the site;

(vi) Access from Nayland Road;

(vii) Contributions towards improving walking and cycling facilities along the A134; and

(viii) Provision of footways and suitable traffic management and crossing opportunities on Nayland Road.

Any proposals will also take into account the Essex Minerals Local Plan and the developer will be required to submit a Minerals Resource Assessment as part of any planning application.  Should the viability of extraction be proven, the mineral shall be worked in accordance with a scheme/masterplan as part of the phased delivery of the non-mineral development.

School Lane

In addition to the infrastructure and mitigation requirements identified in policy PP1, development will be supported on land within the area identified on the policies map which provides:

(i) 13 new dwellings;

(ii) Development will facilitate access to the old village hall and contribute to the replacement of the scout hut;

(iii) Access from School Lane;

(iv) Development will safeguard the setting of the Church of England School building as a grade 2 listed building and other heritage assets on The Causeway.

The designated Local Economic Area at Holly Lodge Farm shown on the policies map will be retained and any future development proposals at this site will be required to accord with policy SG4.

Great Tey

14.171 Great Tey is situated north of the Roman River and is a small rural community that contains a few local amenities including a village pub, a school, and a church.  Bus services 82/83 operates between Great Tey, Marks Tey railway station, Tollgate Retail Park and Colchester

14.172 The RCCE completed a Rural Housing Needs Survey in 2012 which indicated a need for four affordable units.  The Parish Council thus acknowledge a need for lower cost/smaller houses in the village.  To contribute to the continued sustainability of the key services in the village and accommodate an appropriate level of growth over the plan period, two sites for housing development are allocated in accordance with Policy SS8 below.

14.173 Land at Brook Road is capable of accommodating 10 dwellings.  The number reflects the edge of settlement location, the adjacent Conservation Area and Listed Building and the desire for single storey dwellings with a larger land take. The site is adjacent to a listed building and a Conservation Area and care will need to be taken to safeguard its setting.  There is also a Public Right of Way immediately adjacent to the site.  Suitable footways will be needed to link the development with the rest of the village. 

14.174 Land off Greenfield Drive is capable of accommodating 30 dwellings with access off Greenfield Road.  The site is adjacent to the existing public open space and the opportunity will be sought to extend this open space as part of the proposal to provide for a wider range of facilities.

14.175 Great Tey Parish Council has confirmed that it intends to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan for the village, which will determine how each of the sites allocated in this local plan will be developed. The Neighbourhood Plan will develop a policy framework to guide and meet the strategic policies in this Plan and for all other development or community needs identified in the village.

View Comments (61) Policy SS8: Great Tey

Land on Brook Road

In addition to the infrastructure and mitigation requirements identified in policy PP1, development will be supported on land within the area identified on the policies map which provides:

(i) 10 new dwellings, which shall include single storey units;

(ii) Suitable design and screening/landscaping to minimise any negative impact on the adjacent Conservation Area and listed building (Rectory Cottage) including its setting.

Land off Greenfield Drive

In addition to the infrastructure and mitigation requirements identified in policy PP1, development will be supported on land within the area identified on the policies map which provides:

(i) 30 new dwellings with access off Greenfield Drive (Harvesters' Way and/or Farmfield Road);and

(ii) A minimum of 1ha of public open space adjacent to existing public open space.

Tey Brook Farm is an allocated Local Economic Area as shown on the policies map and will be protected for this use. Any future development proposals will be required to comply with Policy SG4.

Langham

14.176 Langham includes two settlements, Langham Moor and St. Margaret's Cross, linked by School Road.  A former WWII airfield lies between the two areas.  The village contains a mixture of historic properties and farmhouses along with more recent development. 

14.177 Langham has a number of facilities including a community centre and shop, public house and a primary school.  Langham has limited access to public transport. Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty adjoins the village to the east, although it is separated by the A12. 

14.178 Langham is considered an appropriate location for limited development. Accordingly, three small sites have been allocated. Approximately 10 dwellings are appropriate on Land at Wick Road in keeping with the existing detached housing adjoining and opposite. Land at Wick Road abuts the former airfield and development will need to have regard to both its landscape character and connectivity to existing footways. 

14.179 Land at School Road represents a logical extension to the village as it lies between existing housing and employment sites and is well located for the school and community centre/shop.  Two sites are allocated there providing a total of 70 dwellings, a school car park and extension to the playing fields.  Whilst the Parish Council favour frontage development there is potential on these sites for an estate or green approach to layout given that they are at the heart of the village.   Both sites abut the former airfield, and development would need to have regard to both its landscape character and connectivity to existing footways.

14.180 The 2016 Water Cycle Study identified a lack of head room capacity at the Langham Water Recycling Centre (WRC). With regards to waste water, the report also identified the need for upgrades at the Langham Water Recycling Centre (WRC) to enable it to accept all wastewater flows from the proposed development. Discussions are underway between the Local Planning Authority, the Environment Agency and Anglian Water to resolve the above issues.

14.181 A joint Position Statement is currently being prepared between The Local Planning Authority, the Environment Agency and Anglian Water. The Position Statement will identify water and sewage capacity shortfalls at the Langham WRC, infrastructure upgrades needed to address these, consider the need for a review of current licences/permits and recommend any further changes needed to the policy SS9.

14.182 The Water Cycle Study also identified water quality issues in the receiving water bodies feeding into the Stour Estuary. This has been further considered in the Appropriate Assessment completed as part of the evidence base of the Local Plan. Any proposed WRC infrastructure upgrades and/or permit reviews identified in the Position Statement provide the mitigation needed to ensure that quality of the water bodies feeding the Stour do not deteriorate further as a result of development in Langham. The delivery of waste water and sewage infrastructure upgrades specified in policy PP1 will be essential in Langham as they are required as mitigation to ensure compliance with the Habitats Regulations 2010 (as amended).

View Comments (18) Policy SS9: Langham

In addition to the infrastructure and mitigation requirements identified in policy PP1 developers could be required to demonstrate the impact of their proposals on the strategic and local transport networks, including the cumulative impact of multiple developments (in line with national guidance). Development should not commence until adequate waste water and sewage treatment capacity is available to serve the new housing.

Development on land shown the Policies Map will be supported where they meet the requirements identified below for each site;

Wick Road

Development will be supported provides:

(i) 10 new dwellings of a mix and type of housing to be compatible with surrounding development;

School Road

Development will be supported which provides:

(i) 70 new dwellings of a mix and type of housing for which there is a demonstrated need, including smaller family homes and sheltered housing;

(ii) One site to the east of the Powerplus site to accommodate 40 dwellings plus a car park for the school;

(iii) One site to the west of the Powerplus site to accommodate 30 dwellings plus an extension to the adjacent recreation ground;

(iv) A landscape Appraisal which will then inform appropriate design and suitable screening/landscaping to minimise any negative impact on the surrounding landscape, including visual screening around the School Road employment site and;

(v) A design and layout which protects and enhances the listed buildings including their setting including suitable screening/landscaping.

The Powerplus Engineering and Whitnell Contractors site on School Road, Langham Airfield (Lodge Lane) and The Depot, Old Ipswich Road, in Langham are designated Local Economic Areas as shown on the polices map. The sites will remain allocated, including an extension to Lodge Lane, and any future development proposals at this location will be required to accord with policy SG4.

Layer de la Haye

14.183 Layer de la Haye is an historic village, located approximately 2.5km south west of the Colchester urban area. The village is well served by community facilities including a primary school, village shop and post office, GP surgery, public open space at New Cut and Malting Green, and two public houses.  Layer de la Haye is also well connected to Colchester by road with several bus stops providing public transport to residents.

14.184 Layer de la Haye is therefore considered a sustainable settlement and suitable for some additional residential growth over the plan period. However the GP surgery is currently at capacity and ECC has indicated that the school will require investment in the coming years to maintain its current capacity. Therefore new development will be required to contribute to this local infrastructure to mitigate the impact of additional residents in the village.

14.185 Land has been identified for residential growth for up to 35 dwellings on land adjacent The Folley. This site is in a location which integrates well with the existing settlement by utilising existing screening features and new open space can be delivered without detrimental impact on neighbouring residents and the surrounding landscape. In addition to contributing towards existing infrastructure, new development will also provide new facilities on site including areas of open space, an equipped children's play area and a footpath connecting new dwellings to existing village facilities.

14.186 Layer de la Haye Parish Council has carried out a local housing needs survey which has demonstrated a need for up to eight new affordable homes for occupation by existing residents or by those with a close connection to the village. Land has been identified which could accommodate a rural exception site to provide for this local need adjacent the residential allocation mentioned above. Due to the nature of rural exception sites, this development will be delivered outside the Local Plan process. Despite this, there are benefits to planning the two sites in a comprehensive manner, for example through shared highways access, community infrastructure, affordable housing delivery and complementary design. If a rural exception site is to be delivered on the adjacent site, a masterplan will be required which demonstrates how the allocated residential site will positively and comprehensively relate to any future rural exception site. If the sites are developed concurrently, the affordable housing provided for on the exception site will be discounted from the overall requirements for affordable housing on the allocated site. The masterplan should accompany any planning application for residential uses in this area. It will also be required that the overall provision shall not exceed 50 dwellings.

View Comments (16) Policy SS10: Layer de la Haye

In addition to the infrastructure and mitigation requirements identified in policy PP1, development will be supported on land within the area identified on the policies map which provides:

(i) 35 new dwellings of a mix and type compatible with surrounding development, to include bungalows and small family homes;

(ii) Primary highways access to serve the development from Great House Farm Road with secondary, non-thoroughfare access, from The Folley to serve a limited number of dwellings;

(iii) New areas of public open space, to include an equipped children's play area; and

(iv)  A masterplan demonstrating how the development will positively and comprehensively relate to the future delivery of a rural exceptions site on adjacent land.

Marks Tey

14.187 Marks Tey is located at the busy junction of the A12 with the A120. Marks Tey is essentially a linear settlement that, while being sustainably located has been fragmented by the railway and A12/A120.  Its good range of facilities are provided in different sections of the village with a railway station providing an interchange between mainline to London and branch services to the east, a larger area of modern housing, village hall, and the primary school to the west and retail facilities to the south of the A12.

14.188 Development constraints in Marks Tey include the community separation resulting from the two roads and the rail line running through the village, with only limited pedestrian accessibility currently possible over these barriers.  The northeast is affected by environmental constraints including the head of the Roman River valley and associated flood risk.  Any development in the area will be required to deliver SuDs to manage the risk from surface water management. In addition there may be a need for contributions towards sewage infrastructure capacity which will depend upon the scale of development which is delivered in.  In addition there is a minerals and waste safeguarding zone around the historic brickworks, which is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).   Marks Tey also contains a significant number of grade II listed buildings, including the scheduled brick kilns and the Grade I Church of St Andrew which would need to be protected and enhanced as part of any development proposals.

14.189 The road infrastructure in the area is to be further developed over the plan period. The A12 is programmed in the Road Investment Strategy for widening between junction 19 at northeast Chelmsford and junction 25 at Marks Tey to start in 2020. Highways England are developing options for widening further sections of the A12 from junction 25 to junction 29 in Colchester (Ardleigh Crown).  Essex County Council is leading on the development of options for a revised A120 route between Braintree and the A12. 

14.190 Reflecting its sustainable location, the wider Marks Tey area is identified as a location for a Garden Community as identified in Section 1 of the plan.  In addition to this Local Plan, future development of the area will also be guided by a new Joint Development Plan Document developed with Braintree District Council for the Garden Community area as well as the Neighbourhood Plan being developed by Marks Tey Parish Council. 

14.191 The Parish Area has been designated as the Neighbourhood Plan Area and the Parish Council are progressing with a Plan to inform the emerging concepts associated with the potential Garden Community.  Marks Tey is in an unusual position awaiting further confirmation in respect of a planned route for the A120 as well as further work informing the extent and definition of the Garden Community area, both of which may influence the consideration of site allocations which will be considered through the Neighbourhood Plan.  In response to this, it is appropriate to take a flexible approach to the Neighbourhood Plan, providing the opportunity for a phased plan for allocations associated with growth of the existing settlement, which could reflect forthcoming decisions on the A120 route and A12 and the Garden Community location.

14.192 The site known as Anderson's will be retained as a Local Employment Area having been reviewed as part of the Council's evidence update on employment. 

View Comments (16) Policy SS11: Marks Tey

Growth within the Marks Tey area will largely be guided by the following documents in addition to this Local Plan:

(i) The Joint Plan Development Plan document to be prepared with Braintree District Council for development of a new Garden Community, as provided in Section 1 Policy SP9.

(ii) The Marks Tey Neighbourhood Plan to be developed to include policies to guide the relationship between the existing community of Marks Tey and the gradual development of a Garden Community, and will provide flexibility, including the scope for the allocation of any small parcels of land for development outside with the Garden Community to be considered in the Neighbourhood Plan at the appropriate time.

The Anderson's site is allocated as a Local Economic Area as shown on the Policies Map.

This policy should be read in conjunction with the generic Neighbourhood Planning policy SG8.

Mersea Island

14.193 West Mersea is a small coastal town located on the confluence of the Colne and Blackwater Estuaries approximately 15km from the centre of Colchester Town. West Mersea is the larger of two settlements on Mersea Island, the other being the much smaller village of East Mersea. Early development in West Mersea was concentrated around the harbour and nearby oyster pits to the south west of the island. Development has since expanded to the north and west.

14.194 West Mersea is a District Centre with a high number of key services and community facilities. There are two supermarkets, a primary school a community centre, as well as a range of independent shops, cafes and restaurants but no secondary school.  These services support the needs of local residents and businesses on Mersea as well as communities from the surrounding rural areas in the south of the Borough. It will be important to protect the function of the District Centre in Mersea to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of the local coastal communities who use it. There are frequent bus routes serving the town to and from Colchester and serving the local secondary schools. Accordingly, West Mersea is considered to be a sustainable settlement suitable for growth during the plan period.

14.195 West Mersea Town Council is currently preparing a Neighbourhood Plan for the town, which will determine how each of the sites allocated in this local plan will be developed. Given the current number of dwellings in West Mersea and the range of available facilities on the Island, it is considered that an appropriate level of growth across the plan period would see the delivery of approximately 200 dwellings. The Neighbourhood Plan will develop a policy framework to guide and meet the strategic policies in this Plan and for all other development or community needs identified in the town. Accordingly, the Dawes Road allocation incorporates residential and open space allocations and the Brierley Paddocks site is shown as mixed use to provide flexibility to respond to the content of the Neighbourhood plan. As well as delivering 100 dwellings and open space this site could deliver community facilities for new and existing residents if a need is identified in the Neighbourhood Plan.

14.196 The Parish of East Mersea is a smaller settlement situated on the eastern side of Mersea Island. It comprises a small cluster of dwellings and a limited range of community facilities. It is also home to Cudmore Grove Country Park which is very popular with visitors at weekends and in the holidays. Due to its size and limited facilities, East Mersea is not considered a sustainable location to accommodate substantial additional growth and is defined as an Other Village in the spatial hierarchy to reflect the important community function the village provides.

View Comments (79) Policy SS12a: West Mersea

In addition to the infrastructure and mitigation requirements identified in policy PP1, development will be supported on land within the areas identified on the policies map which contributes towards expanding Mersea Island Primary School, provides suitable landscaping to screen the development to minimise any negative impact on the surrounding landscape and protect the open rural character of land within the Coastal Protection Belt, and meets the requirements for each site indicated below. Housing on both sites should address local needs which will be detailed in the Neighbourhood Plan but are likely to include starter homes and single storey dwellings.

Dawes Lane

Development will be supported which provides:

(i) 100 new dwellings of a mix and type of housing to be compatible with surrounding development;

(ii) Public Open Space, including sports pitches;

(iii) Children's play area/land for a sports pavilion if identified in the Neighbourhood Plan;

(iv) A single site access off Dawes Lane.

Brierley Paddocks

Development will be supported which provides:

(i) 100 new dwellings of a mix and type of housing to be compatible with surrounding development;

A satisfactory vehicular access;(iii) New public open space; and

(ii) Community facilities if identified in the Neighbourhood Plan.

There are three existing designated Local Economic Areas in Mersea as shown on the policies map that will continue to be safeguarded for this use.  Any future development proposals at these sites will be required to comply with policies SG4.

This policy should be read in conjunction with the generic Neighbourhood Planning Policy SG8 and the West Mersea Neighbourhood Plan, once adopted.

Coast Road, West Mersea

14.197 The coastal area of the Borough around Mersea Island is an extremely rich, diverse and irreplaceable natural asset in terms of its natural and cultural features. It includes substantial parts of the Colne and Blackwater Estuaries. The ecological importance of the Colne and Blackwater Estuaries is reflected by the variety of international and European designations covering them i.e. Ramsar sites, Special Protection Areas (Birds Directive), and the Essex Estuaries Special Area of Conservation (SAC) designated under the Habitats Directive. There are also a number of Sites of Special Scientific Interest designated along the estuaries. Accordingly, proposals along Coast Road will need to be screened for likely significant effects on adjacent European sites in accordance with Habitats Regulations 2010 (as amended).

14.198 Tourism makes an important contribution to both the local Mersea economy and the wider Borough economy. As a consequence, there are a number of diverse and competing interests which all need to be managed in an integrated way within the Borough's coastal zone. These include internationally important habitats, land and water-based recreation, tourism, fishing, archaeological and historic environment assets.

14.199 Climate change including sea level rise is also likely to increase pressure regarding the management of coastal habitats and coastal communities along the Borough's coastal fringe.

14.200 Future development proposals will have to balance the need to protect the important natural and cultural assets at the coast against competing development pressures and the need to support wider socio-economic needs of the Borough's coastal communities.

14.201 Development proposals on the landward and seaward side of Coast Road will have to further balance these issues against the need to protect and enhance the traditional maritime character of this part of West Mersea. Sequentially preferred maritime related uses which could be supported along Coast Road include boatyards, boat restoration business; ancillary uses related to boating, sailing, chandlers, fishing, specialised fish restaurants and shops, fish cookery schools and water based leisure businesses. Proposals for additional residential development on Coast Road will generally not be considered suitable or sustainable and will only be supported on upper floors where sequentially preferred maritime related uses have been discounted in agreement with the Local Planning Authority.

14.202 The current Essex and Suffolk Shoreline Management Plan has shown that the West Mersea coastal frontage is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and coastal processes. Future land uses and developments along the coastal frontage will be required to demonstrate the ability to adopt a roll back approach in response to changing local climatic conditions.

View Comments (13) Policy SS12b: Coast Road, West Mersea

Development proposals on the seaward and landward side of Coast Road, West Mersea, will be supported where they:

(i) Are located within the area defined as the developed coast and the development is such that a coastal location is required;

(ii) Enhance historic assets, maritime uses, the traditional maritime character of   Coast Road and the landscape character of the coast;

(iii) Can demonstrate no likely significant effects on adjacent European sites or where impacts can be appropriately mitigated;

(iv) Will deliver or sustain social and economic benefits considered important to the wellbeing of the coastal communities;

(v) Will not generate a significant increase in traffic; and

(vi) Represent an appropriate use with regards to flood risk.

Proposals for all development and change of use on both the landward and seaward side of Coast Road will be expected to enhance the West Mersea Conservation Area and the traditional maritime character of Coast Road, as well as its role as a major yachting, fishing and boating centre.  Proposals that would result in the development of existing undeveloped areas of foreshore will not generally be supported unless they accord with criteria in the Coastal Areas policy ENV2.

In exceptional circumstances, development may be permitted where it is proven that the proposal provides an over-whelming public or community benefit that outweighs all other material considerations. In such instances applications must demonstrate that the site is the only available option and be acceptable in terms of its other planning merits.

Houseboats - Proposals for new moorings for permanent residential houseboats will not be permitted in coastal areas including Coast Road because of their landscape and environmental impact on the internationally designated habitats. Houseboat proposals for new moorings on historic vacant sites or houseboats of historical maritime significance, may be acceptable, subject to an installation method statement being submitted which avoids impacts to saltmarsh habitats and which satisfy all other policy criteria. Applications for infrastructure to support existing houseboats including jetties, sheds, platforms and fences and for replacement houseboats or houseboat alterations considered to result in material alterations will be considered on the basis of their scale and impact on surrounding amenity, environment and landscape.

Caravan Parks

14.203 There are six caravan/holiday parks on Mersea Island; Firs Chase, Waldegraves, Seaview, Coopers Beach, Mersea Island Holiday Park and Fen Farm. As these are leisure businesses, the caravans and chalets at the caravan parks should only be used as short term holiday accommodation and not for permanent residential use. Where evidence is provided, that people are living in any of the caravan parks on Mersea on a permanent basis, the Local Planning Authority will take appropriate action.

14.204 The Local Planning Authority recognises the valuable contribution that the caravan parks make to the supply of holiday accommodation for visitors to Mersea and the rest of the Borough. They are also an important element of the local tourism industry and their retention and improvement is generally supported.

14.205 Caravan Parks are under increasing pressure to extend both the length of their opening season and also the range of activities and events operating on the sites to help sustain their business. This has the potential to impact on Mersea residents and sensitive European Sites and any resulting need to be carefully managed.

14.206 The caravan parks on Mersea are located adjacent to internationally designated European sites and because of their coastal frontage locations can be potentially vulnerable to increased risk from flooding. As an important tourist destination, the protection of the EU designated bathing waters around Mersea is an important consideration. All tourism related development proposals including the extension of caravan parks will have to demonstrate that there is adequate waste water and sewage treatment infrastructure in place to serve the proposed development to help protect EU designated coastal bathing waters and to satisfy EU Water Framework Directive requirements. As part of this process applicants should consult with the Environment Agency and Anglian Water at an early stage in the planning application process to ensure that sewage disposal options are fully considered. 

14.207 All coastal tourism developments must also be sensitive to and integrate well with their sensitive coastal environment and surrounding rural landscape and respect the special characteristics of the Coastal Protection Belt defined on the policies map.

14.208 All future development proposals at holiday parks on Mersea located adjacent to designated European Sites will only be supported where a sympathetic development approach is followed. It must be demonstrated that proposals will not result in likely significant effects on the Europeans Sites and where necessary appropriate mitigation measures implemented to minimise environmental impacts on neighbouring European sites. Mitigation proposals will need to be agreed with the Local Planning Authority and Natural England prior to development commencing.

14.209 Extensions to existing caravan parks should not impact on the amenity of residents living and working in close proximity to the parks, through increased noise or light pollution. Proposals should promote a range of measures to encourage sustainable travel for leisure to help mitigate and reduce the impact of leisure related traffic on Mersea Island.

14.210 Sites allocated as Caravan Parks as shown on the policies map will be safeguarded for this use against other less appropriate types of development.

View Comments (15) Policy SS12c: Mersea Island Caravan Parks

Development proposals at caravan parks on Mersea Island, including change of use, intensification of an existing use, or change in activities on site will be supported where they:

(i) Have adequate wastewater treatment and sewage infrastructure capacity to serve the caravan park and to protect the EU designated coastal bathing water quality and to help meet EU Water Framework Directive requirements;

(ii) Help protect the integrity of European sites and minimise disturbance to migratory or over wintering birds using the sites;

(iii) Minimise impact on the amenity of residents or businesses living or operating near the site;

(iv) Are supported with a Site Specific Flood Risk Assessment and Flood Management and Flood Evacuation Plan; and

(v) Are supported by measures to promote sustainable travel for leisure on Mersea.

Permission will not be granted for caravans or chalets at the caravan parks to be used as permanent residences. They should only be used for holiday accommodation at all times.

All caravan park proposals should be supported by a site specific Flood Risk Assessment and Flood Management and Evacuation Plan. Proposals for caravan extensions in flood zone 3 will not generally be supported due to the increased risk to people and property from coastal flooding.

Rowhedge

14.211 Rowhedge is situated to the south east of Colchester on the western banks of the Rover Colne; it is the only settlement in the parish of East Donyland.

14.212 The village has a strong sense of identity which is emphasised by a conservation area at its core and a number of listed buildings, predominately on the riverfront. Rowhedge benefits from its own primary school, GP surgery, village shop, public houses and public open space provision. However due to its history as a fishing village the settlement has grown from the port outwards and this has resulted in new development being situated further away from Rowhedge's historic centre where many of its limited services and facilities are located.

14.213 Rowhedge is bordered by the River Colne to the east, and the surrounding land's estuarine nature gives rise to a number of ecological designations which run along the coast and inland to the south of the village. The north of the village is separated from the urban area of Colchester by a relatively short, but nonetheless valuable, expanse of greenfield land. In addition to providing a valuable buffer between Rowhedge and Colchester, much of this land is designated as Coastal Protection Belt because of its high landscape value.

14.214 The commenced development at Rowhedge Wharf and the exceptional constraints to expansion surrounding the village renders Rowhedge unsuitable for extensive new development. However redevelopment of Rowhedge Business Centre offers an opportunity to convert low value and underused storage land with limited employment use into new housing in a sustainable location with low landscape impact. Redevelopment of this site will also provide a number of local benefits including land for expanded health provision in Rowhedge.

View Comments (18) Policy SS13: Rowhedge

In addition to the infrastructure and mitigation requirements identified in policy PP1, development will be supported on land within the area identified on the policies map which provides:

(i) 40 new dwellings of a mix and type compatible with the surrounding area including affordable housing in line with adopted policy;

(ii) Ecological and arboricultural assessments of the site and mitigation as required;

(iii) An area of open space between the site and existing housing which will include protection of trees deemed as valuable in the arboricultural assessment; and

(iv) Provision of new health services to be agreed with the North Essex Care Commissioning Group.

Tiptree

14.215 Tiptree is a large village located on the south west boundary of the Borough and approximately 15km from Colchester itself.  Development has grown up around key highway intersections in a roughly triangular built form. There is a small separate cluster of houses to the south west of the main village known as Tiptree Heath.

14.216 Tiptree is a District Centre with a high number of key services and community facilities. There are two supermarkets, 4 primary schools, a secondary school, a community centre, as well as a range of independent shops, cafes and restaurants.  These services support the needs of local residents and businesses in Tiptree as well as communities from the surrounding rural areas. It will be important to protect the function of the District Centre in Tiptree to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of the local communities who use it. There are regular bus routes serving the village to and from Colchester Accordingly, Tiptree is considered to be a sustainable settlement suitable for growth during the plan period.

14.217 Tiptree is very well served in terms of educational facilities as it has four primary schools and Thurstable Secondary School within the village. There is also a Leisure Centre located at Thurstable School and Colchester United's training ground is located off Grange Road. There are four Local Economic Areas in Tiptree.

14.218 There are a number of constraints which limit the amount of land available for growth in Tiptree. Development to the south east is constrained by Tiptree Jam Factory and Birch Wood Local Wildlife Site. Development in this direction would also reduce the green gap between the village and Tolleshunt Knights.  Developing in this direction would also be constrained by Layer Brook which is Flood Zone 2.  Expansion to the north east of Tiptree is constrained by Thurstable School and Warriors Rest while expansion to the south west is constrained by Tiptree Heath SSSI. 

14.219 Tiptree Parish Council is currently preparing a Neighbourhood Plan which will allocate sites for further growth in the Parish.  In discussion with the Neighbourhood Plan Group, it has been agreed that Tiptree will deliver 600 new dwellings over the plan period given the current number of dwellings in Tiptree, the good availability and access to services and facilities, and the fact that Tiptree is a District Centre. This is considered an appropriate level of growth for Tiptree.

14.220 The Tiptree Neighbourhood Plan Working Group will prepare a draft plan which will include site allocation(s) and be subject to public consultation. The Plan is still at an early stage of development and evidence is still being gathered to support the allocation of sites in Tiptree and development of the document.  The Plan will allocate final site boundaries and will include a policy framework to support the delivery of 600 houses up to 2033 and to guide all other planning issues in the village. The Neighbourhood Working Group will need to work closely with neighbouring Local Planning Authorities to ensure that all strategic cross boundary issues are properly considered and addressed through the Neighbourhood Plan. The Plan will be subject to examination and referendum prior to being made.

View Comments (12) Policy SS14: Tiptree

Within the broad areas of growth shown on the Tiptree policies map, the Tiptree Neighbourhood Plan will:

(i) Define the extent of a new settlement boundary for Tiptree;

(ii) Allocate specific sites for housing allocations to deliver 600 dwellings;

(iii) Set out any associated policies needed to support this housing delivery i.e. housing mix, type of housing and density for each site allocated for housing;

(iv)     Set out the policy framework to guide the delivery of any

           infrastructure/community facilities required to support the  development;

(V)  Consider strategic cross boundary issues e.g. A12 junction improvements

      (vI)   Identify other allocations in the Parish, including employment and open space.

Proposals for development outside of the identified broad areas and the settlement boundary for growth will not be supported.  This policy should be read in conjunction with the generic Neighbourhood Planning policy SG8, policy SG3 and policies in the Tiptree Neighbourhood Plan, once it has been adopted.

14.221 There are currently four designated Local Economic Areas (LEAs) in Tiptree; the Alexander Cleghorn Site, Tiptree Jam Factory, the Basketworks Site and the Tower Business Park. These will continue to be protected for this use. Any development proposals affecting these sites or any other sites providing an economic/employment use in Tiptree over the Local Plan period will be required to comply with policy SG4 unless they are reviewed and amended through the Tiptree Neighbourhood Plan.

West Bergholt

14.222 West Bergholt is a rural parish located approximately 1km to the north west of Colchester. It is considered a Sustainable Settlement as it has a sufficient population base and a range of community facilities and infrastructure to support appropriate growth which can be physically accommodated in West Bergholt without compromising the existing settlement shape, form and character.

14.223 There are a number of constraints which restrict the availability of sites suitable for development.  To maintain the current settlement pattern, development will continue to be located around the three main roads with facilities located centrally where possible.

14.224 There is currently limited inter-visibility between Colchester and West Bergholt.  However, there is a relatively high potential for visual coalescence of settlements and any new built development on land to the south of the village may undermine the sense of settlement separation.  Development to the south of the village towards Colchester on Colchester Road is therefore not considered suitable due to the high potential of visual coalescence.

14.225 Development to the north of the village on Colchester Road/Nayland Road would extend new development away from existing key facilities and into open countryside, which is not considered sustainable.

14.226 West Bergholt Parish Council is currently preparing a Neighbourhood Plan for the village, which will allocate sites for further growth in the Parish.  Given the current number of dwellings in West Bergholt, the available facilities and the proximity of the village to Colchester, it could accommodate approximately 120 dwellings over the next 15 years.  This is considered an appropriate level of growth for West Bergholt.

14.227 The West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan will allocate land for housing and develop a policy framework to guide and meet all other development or community needs identified by the community in West Bergholt.

14.228 Pattens Yard in West Bergholt is allocated as a Local Economic Area. This site will remain allocated for this use and any future planning applications will be required to accord with policy SG4.  Any development proposals affecting this site or any other sites providing an economic/employment use in West Bergholt over the Local Plan period will be required to comply with policy SG4 unless they are reviewed and amended through the West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan.

View Comments (13) Policy SS15: West Bergholt

Within the broad area of growth as shown on the West Bergholt policies map, the West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan will:

(i) Identify the settlement boundary for West Bergholt;

(ii) Identify specific sites for housing allocations needed to deliver 120 dwellings;

(iii) Set out any associated policies needed to support this housing delivery i.e. housing mix, type of new housing and density for each site allocated for housing;

(iv) Identify any additional local economic areas and set out any associated policies; and

(v) The Neighbourhood Plan will also set out the policy framework to guide the delivery of any infrastructure and community facilities required to support the development, including the provision of SuDS for managing surface water runoff in individual developments.

Proposals for development outside of the identified broad areas for growth and the settlement boundary will not be supported.  This policy should be read in conjunction with the generic Neighbourhood Planning Policy SG8 and the West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan, once it has been adopted.

Wivenhoe

14.229 Originally Wivenhoe comprised two separate settlements: Wivenhoe Cross which was centred on the crossroads of Colchester Road, Rectory Road and The Avenue; and Wivenhoe to the south which was centred on the quay. More recent development has resulted in the coalescence of these two distinct settlements into one.

14.230 Since the 1970's growth has included significant 'estate' development including Dene Park during the 1970s; Broomgrove to the west in the 1970/80s; Ferry Marsh in the 2000's and most recently Cooks Shipyard.

14.231 The town benefits from good infrastructure provision including a mainline train station, a GP surgery, two primary schools, numerous shops and restaurants and abundant open space provision. This is reflected in the designation of the town as Rural District Centre. There are also frequent bus services between Wivenhoe and Colchester and a cycle path between Wivenhoe, and the University of Essex has recently been built. There is a well-used footpath and cycle route to Colchester along the River Colne (the Wivenhoe Trail), which increases the sustainable nature of the settlement and makes it suitable for additional future growth within the Local Plan period.

14.232 An additional 250 dwellings will be delivered in Wivenhoe by 2033.  This is an appropriate number of new dwellings along with a number of new dwellings within the parish which will be allocated in the Colchester/ Tendring Borders Garden Community.  There are a number of constraints which has influenced the amount of growth considered appropriate for Wivenhoe.

14.233 Broomgrove and Millfields schools are both operating at capacity but are currently accepting a small number of pupils from outside of Wivenhoe.  There is not a secondary school within Wivenhoe with most children attending the Colne Academy in Brightlingsea or Colchester Academy in Greenstead. Wivenhoe is bordered by the River Colne to the west and south.  In addition to the physical boundary that the river presents, there are also other associated constraints such as flood risk zone 3 areas, SSSI, Special Protection Area and the Coastal Protection Belt, which reduces the availability of suitable sites for new development.

14.234 Wivenhoe Town Council is currently preparing a Neighbourhood Plan which is at an advanced stage. The Plan sets out the planning policy framework needed to support the delivery of 250 houses up to 2033. The Neighbourhood Plan, also allocates sites for other uses identified by the local community as being important in Wivenhoe and develops the policy framework needed to support any such allocations.

14.235 In the Habitats Regulation Assessment as  required by the Habitat Regulations 2010 (as amended), proposals in the Wivenhoe Neighbourhood Plan when considered in combination with development proposals in Section 1 and 2 of Colchester's Local Plan  were considered likely to result in a significant increase in recreational disturbance on the Colne Estuary which is a designated European Site. This issue was further considered in an Appropriate Assessment. The AA identified the requirement to prepare a Strategic Access Management and Monitoring (SAMM) Strategy. A joint SAMM will be prepared for the Colne and Blackwater Estuaries that will identify where recreational disturbance is happening and the main recreational uses causing the disturbance. The SAMM will also identify the mitigation measures needed to address the issues and the funding mechanism to pay for the implementation of the mitigation.

View Comments (3) Policy SS16: Wivenhoe

Within the broad areas of growth as shown on the Wivenhoe policies map, the Wivenhoe Neighbourhood Plan will:

(i) Identify the settlement boundary for Wivenhoe;

(ii) Identify specific sites for housing allocations needed to deliver 250 dwellings;

(iii) Set out any associated policies needed to support this housing delivery i.e. housing mix, type of housing and density for each site allocated for housing;

(iv)    Identify other allocations in the Parish, including employment and open space; and

(iv) The Neighbourhood Plan will also set out the infrastructure requirements to support new development.

Proposals for development outside of the identified broad areas settlement boundary for growth will not be supported. This policy should be read in conjunction with the generic Neighbourhood Planning policy SG8, policy SG3 and policies in the Wivenhoe Neighbourhood Plan once it has been adopted.

Other Villages and Countryside

14.236 The purpose of the planning system is to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development. The NPPF recognises that there are three dimensions to sustainable development: economic, social and environmental.  Settlement boundaries are an essential tool for the management of development and contribute to the achievement of sustainable development by preventing the encroachment of development into the countryside, protecting rural character.  The spatial hierarchy (Policy SG1 and Table SG1) directs development to the most sustainable locations by defining different tiers for growth.  In the first instance development is directed to the urban area of Colchester, which is the main location for jobs, housing, services and choice of means of transport.  The second tier is the Garden Communities and Sustainable Settlements.  Other Villages and then Countryside are next.  This approach was informed by evidence in the Settlement Boundary Review, which assessed the sustainability of each of the Borough's settlements, using criteria relating to the NPPF definition of sustainable development.

14.237 The Local Plan contributes to the economic dimension of sustainable development through the supply of employment land and retention of employment sites.  Allocations and the strategy for future development ensures that development will be located at accessible locations where residents will have good access to employment opportunities and be in close proximity to regularly used services, facilities, shops, etc. 

14.238 The Local Plan contributes to the social element of sustainable development through the allocation of 14,720 homes between 2017 and 2033, which meets the Borough's objectively assessed need for housing.  Residential development in the countryside is not needed to contribute to the social element of sustainable development.  Furthermore, residential development in the countryside would be functionally isolated.  This would have a negative impact on the ability of residents to access social services and facilities.

14.239 The Local Plan contributes to the environmental element of sustainable development by protecting the Borough's landscape character, countryside and coast, and directing development to locations that reduce the need to travel and make sustainable travel a realistic option.  Residential development in the countryside could adversely affect landscape character and the undeveloped nature of the countryside and coast.  It would lead to reliance on the private car, increasing carbon emissions.  Residential development in the countryside would have a negative impact on the environmental dimension of sustainable development.

14.240 National evidence indicates that villages in the catchment area of larger towns struggle to retain facilities, even when more housing is built. Colchester Town is the main provider of shopping, services, employment, and community facilities for the Borough as a whole. Elsewhere in the Borough, only Wivenhoe, Tiptree and West Mersea provide a sufficient level of shops, services and employment to maintain a reasonable level of self-containment. In general, rural communities do not provide sufficient employment opportunities, shops, services and facilities to support significant growth.

14.241 Settlements within the Other Villages category as defined in the spatial hierarchy are small villages which functionally act as local service centres which the local communities rely on for basic facilities and as social hubs. These smaller rural villages often operate as clusters by sharing key services which help provide a strong sense of community for the communities living and working there.  These settlements can accommodate a limited amount of small scale development. Appropriate development proposals therefore, that meet a local housing need, increase rural employment opportunities, optimise the sustainability of villages by contributing towards community facilities, or which help retain the vitality and sense of community will be supported in principle where they also comply with other policies in the Plan. Policy OV1 applies to Other Villages and Policy OV2 applies to proposals in the countryside outside of settlement boundaries.

14.242 Due to the relative sustainability of the Other Villages any development in these areas would inevitably place a greater reliance on the use of the car.  As a result this will generate higher levels of carbon emissions, than development located in more sustainable settlements.  It is acknowledged that access to alternative modes of transport is a key indicator of sustainable development, it is not however the only factor influencing carbon footprint.  Design and construction can significantly contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of residents and as such any residential development permitted in Other Villages should be provide high standards of design and sustainable construction to contribute to achieving wider sustainable development principles.

14.243 Areas outside of settlement boundaries are defined as Countryside.  Within the countryside, there are a number of very small villages/hamlets and isolated clusters of dwellings which lack any community facilities or access to services and rely on nearby larger villages or towns to meet their daily needs.  It is essential that development is restricted in the countryside to protect the landscape, character, quality and tranquillity. Development within the countryside will accordingly be limited to activities that either require a rural location or help sustain a rural community and local economy and which help protect the rural character of the areas where a development is being delivered.  The NPPF includes examples of exceptions whereby proposals for isolated dwellings in the countryside may be acceptable.  The Local Planning Authority's interpretation of 'isolated' is threefold; it interprets it as an isolated single dwellings in the countryside, sites that are physically isolated relative to existing settlements, and sites that are functionally isolated relative to services and facilities.

14.244 The Local Planning Authority is aware that certain buildings within the Borough benefit from Prior Approval for residential use under Class Q of the Permitted Development Order. However, this provision is in place to facilitate the speedy delivery of low-cost rural dwellings, not to add value to land and buildings.  Therefore, the Local Planning Authority will not accept this as a "fall-back" position and will treat each application purely on its planning merits whether or not Prior Approval exists.

14.245 The Local Planning Authority is also seeking to sustain and enhance local employment and rural enterprises in the Borough.  Regard should be had to policy DM6 which sets out the planning approach for economic development in rural Colchester.  Regard should also be had to policy DM13, which provides criteria for proposals for residential alterations, extensions and outbuildings, and policy DM14 on rural workers housing.

14.246 Proposals in close proximity to a European site must demonstrate through HRA screening that the scheme will not lead to likely significant effects to the integrity of the European site. Where this cannot be ruled out a full appropriate assessment will be required to be undertaken. 

View Comments (12) Policy OV1: Development in Other Villages

The Local Planning Authority will support proposals that enhance the vitality of rural communities and help maintain the sense of community provided by smaller rural villages and in rural areas.

Within settlements classed as Other Villages,the Local Planning Authority will support proposals for appropriate new infill developments, development on previously developed sites, and extensions, restorations or alterations to existing buildings. Policy PP1 includes infrastructure and mitigation requirements, which may be relevant.

The design and construction of new village development must be high quality in all respects, including design, sustainability and compatibility with the distinctive character of the locality.

View Comments (3) Policy OV2: Countryside

Proposals for sustainable rural business, leisure and tourism schemes, development essential to the effective operation of agriculture, horticulture, forestry, equestrian use, infrastructure, renewable energy generation, and minerals or waste operations in the adopted Essex Minerals and Waste Local Plans may require a countryside location.

Policy DM6 (Economic development in rural areas and the countryside) provides further guidance. In general, proposals for sustainable rural businesses will be supported if they are of an appropriate scale, meet a local employment need, minimise negative environmental impacts, and harmonise with the local character and surrounding countryside where they are being proposed.

Residential development in the countryside, outside defined settlement boundaries, will be restricted to small scale rural exception sites needed to meet local affordable housing needs. Schemes will only be considered favourably on appropriate sites where they are supported by a Local Housing Needs Assessment.  Where there is an identified need for certain types of housing, schemes must demonstrate how these needs have been met.  Proposals should be supported by the relevant Parish Council.


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