How to vote?

Let me say first that this is not an attack on Julie Young who has worked hard for Wivenhoe.  However the latest Labour circular urges us to support Labour in order to protect Wivenhoe.  The official Labour party line is, however, to support the building of the East Colchester/West Tendring garden settlement.  The reasoning given in the leaflet for the claim that voting Labour will protect Wivenhoe is that the Conservatives support even more housing than the currently suggested 6,500 on the site.

Who does one vote for if one thinks, like me, that any new garden settlement should be located further to the east, around Weeley, say, rather choosing a site which will in effect be an extension of Colchester?

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Comments

  • That's a fair question; I'd suggest voting Green, but doubt that'll change anything...?
  • I have huge reservations about the current state of the national and local Labour Party. However, Julie Young is an extraordinarily good and conscientious person. There are few politicians that I trust, let alone admire. My wife and I have many reasons for both trusting and admiring her. At a certain point, politics comes down to people. I have no vested interest here, but this candidate is, in my humble opinion, good people. 
    As for the garden settlement, of course it's a bad idea. But it's obviously a dispute within as well as between parties. 
  • As I recall the Greens (along with our own Wivenhoe Independents) were the only party to specifically come out against the so called "Garden Settlement" at the last Borough Election. 

    Obviously it's slightly early days regarding the May election and I can only find two manifestos so far:

    Labour Party Manifesto

    Green Party Manifesto

    Still waiting for the Conservatives, Lib-Dems and any others.

    For what it's worth the Green Manifesto does contain the following:

    "We will strive to protect Salary Brook Valley from development and oppose plans for a 'West Tey' huge new town site on green fields."

    I think I'm right in saying that the Labour Party Manifesto makes no mention of the "Garden Settlement", likewise the last Conservative Manifesto.

    In answer to the original question I think I would have to concur with @puffin, along with the sentiment that it will change nothing.






  • It's a wonder that anyone votes when the party line seems more important to elected "representatives" who ignore/fudge the will of electors. I thought that the rise of Ukip would have woken up these councillots, MPs etc
  • The only thing that will wake MPs up is a change to the electoral system, and the British public threw that opportunity away a few years ago.

    Agree that Julie seems to be a good person and a good councillor; have yet to receive any literature from any of the candidates / parties.




  • I have been conscientiously voting since 1970. None of my votes could ever "change anything" because I always lived in a safe seat in a first-past-the-post system.
  • @dud5ers makes a very good point in my view.

    Many other conscientious voters must feel the same way, but does it render them impotent in the scheme of things...?
  • I'm tempted towards the 'don't vote, it only encourages them' point of view. 
    The Greens are also are a decent option. 
    My only point is that, in my opinion, Julie Young is about the best you can get among politicians. Which is why I'll be voting for her, despite what I think of the current state of the Labour Party. 
    You're only impotent if you believe you are. 
  • adrian said:
    The only thing that will wake MPs up is a change to the electoral system, and the British public threw that opportunity away a few years ago.

    Agree that Julie seems to be a good person and a good councillor; have yet to receive any literature from any of the candidates / parties.




    I think that the Great British Public were assisted in their deliberations by a huge amount of Smoke And Mirrors by the Established Political Parties........
  • I am not clear that a change in the electoral system would make much difference.  The problem is that none of the established parties, with the possible exception of the Greens, seems opposed to the proposals for the garden settlements.  There will be no referendum on the Local Plan so local elections seem the only way that voters can express the view that the plans are for an over ambitious growth target, given Colchester's infrastructure.  The May elections are for the County but the County does have a finger in this pie as it is one of the parties to the funding of the garden settlements.  The real crunch will be next year when there are Borough elections.  Will there be any opportunity then to indicate opposition to the Local Plan proposals at the ballot box?
  • Very confident there will be poodecker. There is also an independent standing for this election too, but as always - literature takes a little longer to surface when you don't have a party sorting it for you.
  • To have any impact on outcomes there would need to be candidates in all wards who believe the suggested Local Plan is not sustainable.
  • ECC has now published the list of candidates standing for the Division:

    --

    Mark Alan Cory, Liberal Democrat

    Chris Hill, Independent

    Janita Erica LeFevre, Green

    Michael McDonnell, Conservative

    Julie Ann Young, Labour
  • Does anyone know about the "Tory suggestions to concrete over Salary Brook" that Julie mentions. I can't find any reference to this.

    I'm a little confused by the claims. Julie voted in favour of pushing through the Garden Village. She broke protocol in her role as the 'apolitical' Mayor of Colchester.

    The Tories actually put forward an amendment at December Full Council to scale back the size of the Garden Village in West Tey. Once again, Julie voted against this amendment.

    If she wanted to limit the size of the developments then she had a chance to vote in favour of the amendment, rather than obey her party whip.

    Is she now campaigning against the Garden Village? It seems most odd seeing as though she has formally given it her backing and rejected the chance to scale down the West Tey development.
  • edited April 5
    An enquiry to Cllr Julie Young has provided this reply which she is happy to share on the Forum.

    The local plan committee (cross party) has voted through plans to build over 900 homes per year over the next local plan period. The Tories then brought forward an amendment to the December Council meeting which sought to remove the West Tey delivery vehicle at this stage.  As the 900 homes requirement would still stand, taking out West Tey would only mean one thing, the numbers would have to increase significantly everywhere else. Middlewick ranges have a maximum capacity of 2000. Mersea have had their housing numbers reduced from 350 to 200 which means 150 to be found elsewhere. "CAUSE" campaign is to refuse urban sprawl on the West but support more development on the East. The Tories back CAUSE's plans. 
    The 900 homes per year plan has been voted through and cannot be changed, so the only conclusion that Tory plans come to is that larger scale development must go to the East as they don't want it in Mersea or West Tey. 
    Christopher Hill has stood in Greenstead as a Tory Candidate over the past 3 or 4 years I understand he is not in agreement with the Tory group on their local plan proposals and is therefore standing as an Independent this year. My position is clear I support the Garden settlements East and West subject to the green buffer being maintained on the East and development of a country park and the necessary infrastructure to be put in place prior to large scale housing being developed. 
    Finally I have not broken any protocol on voting , Mayors are at liberty to vote if they choose to on any subject at any time. 
    Julie

    References:
    CAUSE - http://www.cause4livingessex.com
    A recording of the December Colchester Borough Council meeting is here:
    http://clw-push2.colchesterboroug.netdna-cdn.com/audio/Council/Council_8_December_2016_part_1.MP3
    The relevant section starts at the 1:01:35 mark
  • edited April 5
    Ah - and so a "suggestion" with the help of some internal mathematical calculations, and not a Tory policy.

    Clear.

    I think.

    That's quite a leap to then claim in an election leaflet that the Tories "want to concrete over Salary Brook."

    It's always good to remember that election leaflets are pledges, and nothing more.

    Roger - can you ask Julie in your role as her Ambassador about the connection with the Conservatives and CAUSE please? Once again, this has not been substantiated.
  • The politics over the garden village thing is perplexing. It seems that all sides support them, but the source of contention is where they should be. How can the garden villages be an election issue then, except between a Labour group that wants them distributed between East and West (with a green belt) and the Tories who just want them on the east. Excuse me if I have a poor grasp of geography but wouldn't the latter be worse for Wivenhoe?

    I did come across this http://www.halsteadgazette.co.uk/news/14955746.LIVE_BLOG__Updates_from_tonight_s_full_meeting_of_Colchester_Council/

    It's very hard to stand against change, particularly where housing development goes (I won't repeat the C Govn edict). I'm personally not against more housing, but I wish there was more innovative thinking around housing (more community self-building, mixed use developments, more variation in design, making use of low cost low energy design, smaller but better built dwellings) and more housing available for low cost rent. And never mind the massive underestimation of what it takes to build 'community'.

    Is it really to late to influence the detail?

  • An enquiry to Cllr Julie Young has provided this reply which she is happy to share on the Forum.

    The local plan committee (cross party) has voted through plans to build over 900 homes per year over the next local plan period. The Tories then brought forward an amendment to the December Council meeting which sought to remove the West Tey delivery vehicle at this stage.  As the 900 homes requirement would still stand, taking out West Tey would only mean one thing, the numbers would have to increase significantly everywhere else. Middlewick ranges have a maximum capacity of 2000. Mersea have had their housing numbers reduced from 350 to 200 which means 150 to be found elsewhere. "CAUSE" campaign is to refuse urban sprawl on the West but support more development on the East. The Tories back CAUSE's plans. 
    The 900 homes per year plan has been voted through and cannot be changed, so the only conclusion that Tory plans come to is that larger scale development must go to the East as they don't want it in Mersea or West Tey. 



    The Local Plan Committee may have voted through plans to build over 900 home per year but this does not mean it cannot be changed as the Local Plan will have to go to inspection.  Most of the proposed growth of for the suggested garden settlements is for post 2032 and in the case of the East Colchester/West Tendring garden settlement is growth for Tendring (not included in the 900 p,a, within the Plan period.  The housing allocation within the plan period for Colchester suggested for the East Colchester and the West Tey settlements could almost all be accommodated on Middlewick ranges if that were thought to be a good idea.
  • Funny that Greenstead gets roads and paths resurfaced but we have craters and terrible paths in Wivenhoe. Julie told me that Broomgrove paths were to be resurfaced years back. That never happened. 

    Rosalind never replied to me on the path issue either. 
  • Well yes, there are only two candidates who might get elected, and both of them are very active members of the two CBC parties who as the ruling group are PROPOSING the scheme for the garden town here (not just 'supporting' it!); and they, along with all the Lab and Lib Dem Cllrs, are  whipped into not doing anything to help Wivenhoe fight against the consequences of it for us.
        This is, of course, done in order to ensure that there is no rigorous examination of any of the practicalities and consequences of it. 
        
    One of them admittedly is known to be personally very concerned about it, but there is nothing much he can actually do!

    So you can vote for the party who promise you a few smarties or the one which promises a couple of choccies, but you can't vote not to get your head cut off.  Viva la democracia!
  • edited April 6
    Well of course, @PeterKay, in that instance its very much a case of resorting to alternative activism. Given the degree of mystification around it though, someone would need to digest all the relevant information and create a succinct statement of plans and the nature of the opposition.

    My worry is that opposition to it may become part of a 'change is difficult/return to the past/no immigrants here (meaning people from other parts of the UK too)' kind of politics with which we've all become horribly familiar over the past year (apologies to any enthusiasts of that perspective...just saying how I feel).

    And when people in the UK do need housing, just not more private housing. Did you know that there are only five main housing developers in the UK, who are responsible for our terrible quality and designed housing? Innovators get shut out. But there's a £60m Community Housing Fund to help LAs encourage self-building? We could just do it differently. It's a failure of imagination, really.
  • Found this: 

    This "housing surplus" has nearly doubled from 800,000 spare homes in 1996 to 1.4million homes at any one time in 2014.

    Telegraph, 3rd of Feb this year .... Shouldn't we be addressing the unused houses first ? 


  • Not to mention the huge slab of unoccupied concrete at the Cowdray Business centre that has lain idle for 10 years and counting while we contemplate building on green space elsewhere...
  • Don't local councils receive money from central government for building new homes (as opposed to addressing the unoccupied surplus)? If so, I would guess that is a factor.


  • Adrian, is this another way of suggesting that handouts are not a healthy way of encouraging people or organisations to think creatively...?
  • In this instance it would seem that the cash incentive focusses responses to the problem rather narrowly.

  • edited April 6
    NickT said:
    Found this: 

    This "housing surplus" has nearly doubled from 800,000 spare homes in 1996 to 1.4million homes at any one time in 2014.

    Telegraph, 3rd of Feb this year .... Shouldn't we be addressing the unused houses first ? 


    It's an eye watering statistic, and there have been attempts to tackle it. In 2006 the Labour government introduced the Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMO). This allowed local authorities in England to take over the management of certain residential properties that had been empty for at least six months. But by 2011 only 64 applications had been made and 43 granted. The new Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government then changed the law in 2012 so that the property had to be empty for at least two years before an order could be issued, the argument being that it was undermining property owners' rights. (Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-34930602)

    The following (from Aug 2015) gives a pretty considered overview of the problem :

    http://www.steeleslaw.co.uk/news/is-there-a-case-for-the-empty-dwelling-management-order-edmo



  • That makes interesting and ultimately fairly sensible reading - thank you ... I regularly used to leave a property empty back in the 80s when I was at sea, but it couldn't have been considered "empty" - having to deal with a layer of authority trying to re-possess it would have been a nightmare !!

    One of the aspects of the current proposals that I find very short sighted and worrying is the utilisation of land that could and should be used for growing food to provide building land when there seem to be so many brown-field sites available - Glyn mentioned the large slab of concrete where Nig Banda stood but there are many others that would seem to good candidates as well as that.
  • "Martin Goss, chairman of Colchester Council’s local plan committee said he believed new housing should always be built on brownfield sites but the number of appropriate areas in Colchester were dwindling quickly."
    http://www.gazette-news.co.uk/news/14388079.Colchester_chosen_as_one_of_the_brownfield_register_pilot_sites/

    And the results of that registry:-
    Colchester is one of 73 local authorities participating in the pilot Brownfield Register project, run by DCLG. CBC have used the DCLG template to collate the relevant information and to help establish a national data standard for Brownfield Registers.
    https://data.gov.uk/dataset/brownfield-land-register-cbc/resource/7542310e-9f42-4934-b29a-74906cb4a739


    Site Name

    ST BOTOLPHS CULTURAL QUARTER

    AREA EAST OF MANSON ROAD

    BRITANNIA WORKS SITE

    BT REPEATER STATION

    BRITISH TELECOM SITE

    EAST BAY MILL

    FORMER GYM ARENA SITE

    BETWEEN ALBANY GARDENS AND DISTILLERY LANE

    KING EDWARD QUAY AND HAVEN ROAD (SOUTH)

    176-192 MAGDALEN STREET

    LAND, BUILDINGS AND FORMER CBT BUS DEPOT

    DOVERCOURT BP PETROL STATION AND GARAGE

    GARAGE 74-78 MILITARY ROAD

    RAILWAY SIDINGS NORTH OF MAGDALEN STREET

    83-102 MAGDALEN STREET

    SCRUBLAND BETWEEN RIVER COLNE AND HYTHE QUAY

    GASWORKS AND FORMER TIMBER DOCK

    1 THE AVENUE

    BT BUILDINGS, CAR PARK AND SMALL GARDENS

    DERELICT COAL YARD DEPOT

    LAND COVERING HAWKINS ROAD

    GARDEN HOUSE

    26 HYTHE QUAY

    28 HYTHE QUAY

    80 MAGDALEN STREET

    PARKING LAND USED BY ROBERTSONS VAN HIRE

    ESSEX COUNTY HOSPITAL SITE

    ROWHEDGE PORT

    RESIDENTIAL GARAGES REAR OF 1 STALIN ROAD

    SITE REAR OF THE CO OPERATIVE STORE

    RESIDENTIAL PARKING AREA OFF GROVE ROAD

    COAL YARD SITE

    23 ST JULIAN GROVE

    FORMER UNDERWOODS GARAGE


    ( And to mention a point that has come up before on the Forum concerning appropriate brownfield sites 
    http://wivenhoeforum.co.uk/discussion/comment/30005/#Comment_30005 )
  • edited April 6
    re. the above, this is a better link to the 35 sites that Colchester Borough Council put on their brownfield land register in July 2016.
    http://datashare.colchester.gov.uk/View/planning-and-licensing/brownfield-land-register

    There is one brownfield site identified in Wivenhoe with a housing estimate of 24 residential units.
    And this explains more about it.
    Extract:
    The Council was well-placed to prepare a register given it had already gathered much of the information required through housing monitoring work and assessment of potential sites for the new Local Plan. The analysis of potential sites resulted in a final Brownfield Register containing 35 sites, listed in Appendix 1. This relatively low number reflected the fact that much of the brownfield land in the Borough has already been reused and redeveloped. 29 of the sites are in the urban area of Colchester, primarily East Colchester; 1 site is in West Mersea, 1 in Rowhedge, 1 in Wivenhoe and 2 are in Tiptree. The full register also includes all known information on planning status, site constraints, site capacity, and ownership. It would be expected that further information on issues such as contamination requiring more detailed investigation would be carried out at the Permission in Principle or planning application stage. 

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