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We write as a Community Land Trust, as recognised in the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008, to provide our written comments on Colchester's Borough Council's draft Local Plan. We have been in constructive dialogue with the council's planning department throughout the drafting process and are appreciative that The Hythe continues to be recognised as a distinct neighbourhood/regeneration area with unique opportunities and challenges. However, there are a number of points that we would wish to make and would wish to see taken into consideration in the final draft:
* Through discussion with CBC planning we jointly identified four key strategic sites, where it is particularly important that development proposals are subject to scrutiny and the application of appropriate design and build principles. We would like these sites to be explicitly referred to in the Local Plan.
* Whether within the section relating to The Hythe, or as a broader Local Plan principle, we would like to see Colchester Borough Council state a desire to support the establishment of properly constituted local groups committed to driving appropriate development - such as CLTs. This will assist in delivery against the council's Community Enabling Strategy as well as encouraging local communities to be more positively engaged in defining/driving suitable development.
* Whether within the section relating to The Hythe, or as a broader Local Plan principle, we would like to see mention of a desire to help identify assets suitable for community ownership/and or management (with due regard to the effect this might have on affordability/viability).
* The Hythe (and East Colchester in general) is developing very fast. This means that there is a time limited opportunity to 'lock in' value for the benefit of the community as land values rise. The example of Coin Street in London demonstrates the fantastic legacy that can be created to deliver sustainable services of great community value whilst defining a vibrant sense of place.
We would appreciate the opportunity for further dialogue and trust that our submission reflects shared strategic objectives of Colchester Borough Council and Hythe Forward CLT.