Local Plan

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Representation 1265 on Preferred Options Local Plan by Professor Marcus Pembrey

Support / Object: OBJECT
Document Link: Preferred Options Local Plan - Sustainable Settlements, Mersea Island, West Mersea
Representation: I object to building 350 houses at Dawes Lane and Brierley Paddocks. To agree now is 'to put the cart before the horse' and close off opportunities for future generations. First a proper Mersea Neighbourhood Plan must be researched and established - housing is just one element in a sustainable, integrated community. Many factors (including the future of local employment) will contribute to the maintenance of social cohesion in Mersea, a major source of well-being for residents - and visitors. Para 6.217 is disingenuous in claiming existing facilities and services can cope with an estimated 11% increase.

Original submission

I [1] object to building 350 houses at Dawes Lane and Brierley Paddocks, West Mersea. To agree now is 'to put the cart before the horse' and close off opportunities for future generations [2]. First a proper Mersea Neighbourhood Plan must be researched and established - housing is just one element in a sustainable, integrated community. Many factors (including the future of local employment [3]) will contribute to the maintenance of social cohesion in Mersea, a major source of well-being for residents - and indeed visitors. Para 6.217 is disingenuous in claiming existing facilities and services can cope with an estimated 11% increase [4].
[1] I was a locum GP on Mersea Island throughout the summers of 1967 and 1969, and my wife Heather and I moved to her family's cottage in West Mersea in 2012. I thus have some insight into the evolving social cohesion and well-being on the island over many decades.

[2] Colchester Borough Council's Planning Policy - Preferred Options Local Plan - Mersea Island. para 6.217. The statement, 'West Mersea is considered to be a sustainable location for some housing growth', is at odds with the CBC's own definition of sustainable development. CBC Issues and Options - glossary - p56 - accessed 13/06/2016 says 'Sustainable Development. Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.'

[3] A strategy for attracting suitable employment opportunities to Mersea Island has to be developed in order to sustain social cohesion and keep a satisfactory age distribution of residents going forward. This should be part of a Mersea Neighbourhood Plan. High tech computer and internet development is a suitable field for keeping/attracting young residents in the future. Such firms can have mutually-beneficial interactions with the school and (in terms of testing devices and applications) with diverse Mersea activities such as sailing, natural environment monitoring/conservation, and healthcare for the elderly.

[4] Para 6.217 says 350 houses 'equates to an 11% increase in the number of dwellings, a level which reflects the availability of existing [my emphasis] facilities and services'. Does an additional capacity of 11% for the Mersea school already exist? It is misleading to say existing facilities, when referring to 'Essex County Council has identified a need for contributions towards expansion of Mersea Island Primary School'. Likewise is there already an additional capacity of 11% on the registration list of the Mersea Island Medical Practice? Such a claim seems to be at odds with the Medical Practice seeking to remove non-residents of Mersea from their list.


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