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Colchester Borough Council Draft Local Plan (Preferred Options) Consultation
Comment text for Paragraph 3.1
Braintree District Council welcomes the positive approach to strategic working
being taken by Colchester Borough Council within the North Essex area to address strategic priorities, including the commitment to meet objectively assessed housing needs for market and affordable housing, employment needs and to promote sustainable growth.
As a neighbour and partner in the production of the Shared Strategic Plan for North Essex, or 'Part 1', BOC supports the aims and objectives of the Draft Local Plan (Preferred Options). A Memorandum of Co-operation: Collaborative Working on Strategic Growth Priorities in North and Central Essex was signed between the two authorities, along with Tendring, Chelmsford and Essex County Council. All signatory councils have agreed to meet Full Objectively Assessed Needs for Housing for the Housing Market Area (HMA) and co-operate to plan for cross boundary issues.
BOC is satisfied that the appropriate level of joint-working has been undertaken to date in accordance with the Duty-to-Cooperate for strategic priorities and other issues.
BDC supports the full, objective assessment of housing need in Draft Local Plan which arrives at a target of 920 dwellings per year, the upper end of a range.
The Council notes that Colchester's Spatial Strategy will focus the majority of growth on the urban areas of Colchester and the Garden Communities, but a proportion of growth will also be located at Large Villages and District Centres. Policy SG2 allocates the following number of dwellings to District villages: 250 at Wivenhoe, 350 at West Mersea and 600 at Tiptree. It is noted that Tiptree is allocated the largest share outside the top two tiers, and when committed developments are also taken into account, a total of 829 additional dwellings are planned.
Policy SS15 establishes the principle that development policies would be devolved to the Tiptree Neighbourhood Plan however BDC are concerned that strategic cross boundary issues will not be appropriately addressed at the lowest tier of planning.
Braintree's Draft Local Plan has identified Kelvedon and Feering as strategic growth location and is seeking to allocate at least 1335 dwellings to these villages. BDC is pleased to see reference to Kelvedon at paragraph 6.195, however there is not enough detail in this policy to guide the Neighbourhood Plan and ensure strategic infrastructure delivery on either side of the boundary, particularly as the 'Basic Conditions' only requires that neighbourhood plans have general conformity with the Local Plan and not consideration of wider strategic issues.
More consideration should be made in this policy to ensure that cross boundary matters are dealt with, including pressing issues to proactively deliver infrastructure to accommodate growth at the right time.
BDC requests that further partnership working is undertaken between, Braintree, Colchester and Essex County Council regarding both authorities' proposals at Tiptree, Kelvedon and Feering, so that appropriate policies can be laid out.
BDC has no further comments on the remainder of Colchester's policies or allocations in Part 2 of the Local Plan at this time.