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Re:Colchester Borough Council Local Plan
We write to set out our observations and representations in relation to the proposed allocation of land for residential development in Copford and in particular in regard to the land off Hall Lane.
It is accepted that some additional housing will need to be accommodated in the village of Copford.
It can be argued that the extent of housing provision required in the Colchester area is excessive and unreasonable. The growth of housing need in the last 15 years has hugely been driven by net immigration largely from the European Union. There is very likely to be a reduction in the level of immigration as a result of the referendum vote and Britain no longer being part of the single market and the European Union. Therefore any decisions at this stage are premature and the projected period too long.
The rapid growth rate of Colchester in the last few years has put a huge strain on the infrastructure and provision has not caught up. Much of the new housing is being occupied by people who are travelling either to London or southern Essex for employment . The main roads are regularly grid locked and this cannot be good for the environment or economic efficiency of the region.
Train services are seriously overcrowded at present with insufficient parking at stations.
It must be right for more of the housing to be provided closer to the work locations. An air flight over the area within the M25 reveals that there are largely areas of brownfield sites that could be developed and have easy access to public transport.
The current proposals as they stand for Tending, Colchester Borough and Braintree District Councils would effectively create 30 miles of continuous residential development in the largest single expansion of urban sprawl probably anywhere in the country.
In regard to the plan for Copford there are 2 suggested sites are very much greenfield and the Hall road site is a valued piece of farmland.
The proposals have made no regard to other land within the existing village envelope that is likely to be developed to provide additional accommodation.
In the last 3 years 23 new dwellings have been created in Copford - the former Kings nightclub in London Road, at the end of Allendale Drive,plus plots in London Road and School Road
There is no doubt that the Grade 2 Listed Copford Place which is on the historic buildings at List register will be developed in order to safeguard and restore the house.The house has not been used as a single private residence for over 60 years and in the last 35 years there have been several planning applications on the site. I heard that a few years ago there was a suggestion of 80 units of accommodation for a local housing association.
London Road has a significant number of aged poor quality commercial buildings and it is inconceivable that some if not the majority of these will have been redeveloped residentially prior to 2033 and will provide a significant proportion of the residential land provision. Recently there was a comment that Colchester has a 65 year supply of employment land so redevelopment and a change of use of these areas should not be an issue and would improve the area.
There is longstanding recognition that development of brownfield sites has a priority over greenfield sites.
In regard to the Hall Road site
* There is insufficient visibility from the junction of Hall Road and London Road looking east and thus concerns over safety
* Hall road narrows to a too smaller width before the site is reached
* It is close to the edge of the Roman River conservation area
* Part of the site at the North west corner has flooded on several occasions from surface water run off after heavy rain
* In the last 3 years the level of traffic in London Road has grown rapidly following the development behind Tollgate and some of the army land. In part this has been to avoid a blocked or busy A12. Regularly one can see half a mile queues to join the roundabout between London Road and Tollgate. The traffic levels with all the houses currently under construction in the Stanway area will continue to adversely affect the occupiers in London Road. The open field provides the balance
The objections at the current time are on the following grounds
1. The decision on the number required is premature and over too long a period
2. The apportionment of new housing to Colchester area is too large
3. Most if not all of a fair projected level of housing for Copford can be accommodated within either the existing envelope or on its brownfield sites
4. The Hall Road site in particular is part of an essential break in the proposed urban sprawl
5.The Hall Road site has access issues and development will be detrimental to local residents
I attach some photos