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A review of the Preferred Options Local Plan and associated Proposals Map indicates that the site is now proposed to be allocated as public open space under Policies DM17 and DM18 and lies adjacent to the boundary of the North Colchester and Severalls Strategic Economic Growth Area as well as being adjacent to the new residential allocation on land at Colchester Rugby Club under Policy NC1.
On behalf of our clients we wish to submit that the public open space designation is entirely illogical in the context of the proposed loss of playing fields to residential development at the rugby club. A proportion of the rugby club land is still retained as open space to serve the existing and future community and therefore there is no obvious planning requirement for the site at Oxley Parker Drive to be designated as open space. The Council's own Open Space, Sport and Recreation Study (2008) states "the Urban North analysis area is currently well provided for in terms of amenity green space, with 4.51ha more than the population is required." This again emphasises that there is no need for the site at Oxley Parker Drive to be allocated as public open space.
Although the site was previously used as playing fields in connection with the former school use, this has evidently been vacant and disused for some considerable time, and this historic functional connection has been definitively abandoned since the main body of the school site was developed for housing in the form of Oxley Parker Drive itself. The site remains in private ownership with no public access. Allocating the site as public open space provides no impetus for the site to be delivered as such with no onus on the site owner to provide landscaping, maintenance or open up the site for public access.
We therefore OBJECT to the open space designation under Policies DM17 and DM18.