All this will happen against the background of Colchester and Tendring plans and in these Wivenhoe has been earmarked for ‘proportional growth’. What that means in terms of numbers of new houses has not been set out but the LURD has calculated that there could be a demand for 450 new dwellings in Wivenhoe (and this has not been denied by CBC).The Steering Group knows that residents would find this an unacceptably large number but has to accept that the WNP cannot validly say NO to any development of this nature. The LURD had calculated that maximum 230 new dwellings might be a possibility.
Another major problem with this level of residential development is the unsustainable pressure on schools, the surgery, roads etc. etc.
What does the NP have to say about important issues like those?
Here is just one example of what I am talking about, from the BBC News today:
The cost of creating places for a predicted 880,000 extra pupils in England by 2023 could push schools to breaking point, council leaders warn.
My point is a serious one. Since 1st April, 1974,Colchester Borough Council has approved planning applications that have leddirectly to Wivenhoe’s population more than trebling in size. The developershave provided new facilities such as the play areas on Broadfields and theLower Lodge open space area. But, if you ask what Colchester Borough Councilhas provided in the way of newfacilities for Wivenhoe, the answer is zero. To be fair to CBC, it hasmade occasional grants towards refurbishing the Loveless Hall and acontribution towards the new Quay Shelter. That, however, is pretty well all.The truth is that Wivenhoe does not figure significantly in CBC’s collectivethinking. Our community, which includes the university’s campus, is useful as asource of revenue for providing new facilities in Colchester itself andelsewhere in the Borough but gets none itself. That situation is completely unacceptable.
This is one of the reasons why the Neighbourhood Plan Groupis at a tangent to Wivenhoe’s real needs. The NPG has to work within the confines of the legislation and the parameters of CBC’s ownplanning framework. It is inevitable that this process will lead to proposals formore housing in Wivenhoe. It is alsoinevitable that the expansion of the University will be catered for. Both willbe regarded as necessary by CBC’s planning officers and the members of the relevantBorough Council Committees. Working handin hand with CBC is, I am afraid, self-defeating.
What can be done about this state of affairs? I do favourWivenhoe’s separation from the borough. That would give our community back thepowers needed to determine our own future. Can a start be made and, if so, how? Well, it only takes twopeople on the electoral roll to call for a parish meeting to be summoned andfor ten residents at such a parish meeting to demand a referendum on secedingfrom the Borough. Nothing will cause CBC more concern than the thought of itssorry record being put to the voters and the prospect of Wivenhoe’s resourcesbeing lost. This campaign can be mounted. It will be fun too to see theWivenhoe Liberation Front mobilise and to witness its headquarters in one ofour pubs in operation. Let us see what happens.