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In my opinion, Great Horkesley together with the villages situated North of Colchester, should be excluded from further residential development for the period of the Local Plan. The Chesterwell development, together with the Severalls Hospital site, in addition to the Turners Road/Northern Approach Road development, illustrates how the North of Colchester has, and continues to play its part in shaping the future requirements of residential developments in North Essex.
The Settlement Boundary Report is right in identifying that it is desirable to prevent coalescence of Great Horkesley with the main urban area south of Great Horkesley. In many respects the aspirations, or desirable intention, that allow Great Horkesley to remain a village, has been eroded already. The proximity of Chesterwell to Great Horkesley, has only the slimmest of separation and the presence of the A12 is the only noticeable feature that places any distinction between us.
Reported initiatives to encourage Developers and Landowners in Great Horkesley of competitive returns to sell their land for residential developments as an alternative to farming, must question what is in the best interests of village communities.
The balance is weighed too heavily in favour of those who wish to exploit the 'firestorm' sale of land, blighting our countryside, eroding nature and doing irreversible damage to the countryside. Generations in the future will ask the question 'where have all the small villages gone'.
The proposals set out in the Local Plan appear to be immune, with the exception of Sec 106 Agreements, relating to some advancement of GP services to the much bigger issues of the projected capabilities of Colchester General Hospital (CGH). My understanding is that irrespective of a commitment by the NHS to build for the future locally, this would not be cause for development to be delayed. I find it inconceivable that our political leaders are, at all levels, willing to support these proposals in the absence of a NHS Plan to match and expand services to the increase in population.
The sites identified in Great Horkesley add to the numbers accessing services to a very uncertain future of NHS provision in North Essex.
Binding agreements must be received concerning expansion of service at CGH, together with GP, Dental and the full range of NHS Services to my community. Developers must be required to fulfil any Sec 106 agreements, they should not be allowed to vary them after work commences and should be subject to enforceable penalty clauses for non-delivery.
All stakeholders, including Essex County Council and Colchester Borough Council should proceed with caution. There are long-term consequences of their decision to push ahead with unrealistic development plans, albeit, they are under pressure to deliver by the Government.
In terms of projections for schooling places in Great Horkesley for the future, I could not see where these projections are sourced from. I can find no evidence in the public domain to support these assumptions. I understand that Mersea Homes have recently announced that the Secondary School at Chesterwell will not be built to the original timeframe.
Is the dedicated bus lanes and road infrastructure around North Station going to be delivered in accordance with the original agreements? Will our Train Operators increase capacity as promised?
Despite planners trying to convince us that the private motor vehicle will not be the chosen mode of transport for the future, it will be. The 'school run' and even short journeys will be the preserve of the family car.
Commuters will either drive to the station or their intended location in the main, some will choose other means and people living in Great Horkesley, will still use their motor vehicle/s as their preferred option, thus the sites identified for potential residential development will increase vehicle use and movements locally.
Bus services to and from Great Horkesley are subject to delay and in the case of the service to Sudbury are infrequent. The current timetable arrangements do not provide sufficient service for the evening. The journey cost is expensive unless you are the holder of a concession ticket.
Whilst I understand there is a proposal to enhance cycle routes, the footway network is poor, will remain overgrown and again, could be relatively poorly accessed by village residents.