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Assessing Wivenhoe's housing needs

I thought I'd start a new thread on this topic, although it also follows on from a lot that was said over on this one.

There was an interesting exchange at the Wivenhoe Town Council meeting on 16th December about the question in the Neighbourhood Plan Survey to do with housing. It was suggested that most people were likely to tick the 'no more housing' option. Borough councillor Jon Manning warned that if that was the case, and 'no more housing' became part of the Neighbourhood Plan that was submitted to Colchester Borough Council for adoption, then it would most likely be rejected. This is because Wivenhoe's Neighbourhhod Plan has to sit within the strategic context of CBC development plans.

But, are there any plans for more housing in Wivenhoe? To try and answer this question I contacted Karen Syrett (Place Strategy Manager at CBC).

In particular I asked if the following quote from the Gazette was accurate. It refers to the go ahead for 1600 homes in north Colchester.

"The massive development means the council has all-but fulfilled its housing quota for the next 10 years, potentially protecting the rest of the borough from development."

 Here is Karen Syrett's response:

The quote from the Gazette is not correct as I set out below..

Although the Government no longer set a housing figure for each Council through the Regional Plans, the Council is required to ensure that its Local Plan meets the full, objectively
assessed needs for market and affordable housing, including identifying key
sites (para. 47 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)) The need is
based on a comprehensive evidence base including demographic projections and the
Strategic Housing Market Assessment.

The Council is required to identify and update annually a supply of specific deliverable sites
sufficient to provide five years worth of housing plus an additional buffer of
5% (this could rise to 20% if we persistently undelivered). In addition we are
required to identify a supply of specific developable sites or broad locations
for growth for years 6 – 10 and where possible for years 11-15.

When the Council adopted its Core Strategy in 2008 it identified a 15 year supply of housing land in accordance with the requirements of national policy at the time (which as set
out above is still relevant). The 15 year target was based on an annual target of
approx. 830 new dwellings. Part of the supply was to be met by an urban
extension in North Colchester. Although this was originally envisaged to accommodate a minimum of 2200 new homes, the application recently considered was for 1600 units. This figure will go some way to meeting the overall target of 19000 new homes between 2001 and 2023 but clearly the 1600 units will not on its own meet the ‘housing quota’ for the next
10 years i.e. 8300 (10 x 830 units).

Having an adopted Local Plan and identifying the sites that Colchester
has, does mean it should be relatively well protected from speculative proposals
for development on non allocated sites. Wivenhoe does of course share a boundary
with Tendring who are not in this situation.

We will commence production of a new Local Plan next year. This will involve setting a new
housing target based on objectively assessed needs and is likely to result in
new allocations being required.

Karen Syrett, Place Strategy Manager, Commercial
Services, Colchester
Borough Council


  • < Borough councillor Jon Manning warned that if that was the case, and 'no
    more housing' became part of the Neighbourhood Plan that was submitted
    to Colchester Borough Council for adoption, then it would most likely be

    That's the trouble with democracy - those pesky voters don't know what's good for 'em.
  • The neighbourhood plan is not "submitted" to Colchester Borough Council for adoption.  The Borough Council will certainly want to comment on it and it has to be consistent with the Colchester Borough Local Plan.  It goes however to independent inspection.
    I think Councillor Manning is however worrying unduly.  On the admittedly small sample that I have seen as a data inputter it is not the case that most people are ticking the "no more houses" box.  The survey was partly modelled on that used by Boxted.  This did include the opportunity to say no more houses wanted and it was thought that if this was what people thought they should have the chance to say so.
  • Apart from not worrying unduly, a degree of reticence would not be out of place- given the anger with CBC planning decisions that is showing up in the survey responses.
    Just saying...
  • edited December 2013
    The neighbourhood plan is not "submitted" to Colchester Borough Council for adoption.  The Borough Council will certainly want to comment on it and it has to be consistent with the Colchester Borough Local Plan.  It goes however to independent inspection.
    This is true poopdecker. The Neighbourhood Plan will eventually be checked by an independent examiner appointed and paid for by the local authority. Wivenhoe Town Council will be consulted on the appointment mainly to make sure that they meet certain criteria. For example they have to be independent of the parish council, and have no interest in any land that may be affected by the draft plan.

    The role of the examiner will be to make sure that the Wivenhoe Neighbourhood Plan meets what are known as 'basic conditions'.
    1) Appropriate having regard to national policy.
    2) Contributing to the achievement of sustainable development
    3) In general conformity with the strategic policies in the development plan for the local area
    4) Compatible with Human Right requirements
    5) Compatible with EU obligations.

    There maybe recommendations to modify the plan from the examiner. The recommendations are not binding but obvioulsy need to be considered carefully. The Wivenhoe Neighbourhood Plan Support Officer (from CBC) will then produce a report known as 'the Decision Statement', the purpose of which is to make sure that all the 'basic conditions' are still met once any modifications have been made. Once the Decision Statement has been published the plan will then move to the referendum stage.

    So yes, quite a few levels of procedure to go through before the Neighbourhood Plan is adopted. I think Cllr Jon Manning was simply pointing out that in order to be adopted the Neighbourhood Plan must be consistent with the National Policy Framework and Colchester Borough Council's strategic policies. On housing, Wivenhoe's Neighbourhood Plan cannot be at odds with plans for overall housing numbers and allocatons, although it can add to the numbers.
  • The Neighbourhood Plan will cover the area contained within the Wivenhoe Cross and Wivenhoe Quay Wards together. That area stretches well beyond the town or village community of Wivenhoe itself. Colchester Borough Council holds that Wivenhoe is already well supplied with the necessary facilities for a satisfactory community life, hence its failure to provide a single new facility since it became principally responsible for Wivenhoe on 1st April, 1974. My own view is that no further housing is acceptable here given the trebling of our population since April, 1974. But that does not mean that now new housing should be provided in the area under discussion. The obvious place for it is in the North North West of the Cross Ward adjacent to the Greenstead Ward. Similarly, any further expansion of the university should take place on the other side of the A133 road. Wivenhoe proper cannot take any more expansion for several decades to come.
  • The area Christopher T mentions had quite a lot of discussion over on this thread started by poopdecker.

  • edited January 2014
    Tendring District Council have published this month a new document giving their projections for housing needs.

    It has the rather wordy title of 'Tendring District Local Plan Pre-Submission Focussed Changes' - Major Changes to the written Statement - January 2014

    It contains what it says are significant changes to policies and proposals from the Tendring District Council Plan Proposed Submission Draft (2012).

    Most of it of course is not of immediate concern to housing within the Wivenhoe ward boundaries. But one area (mentioned in the two posts above) would impact directly on Wivenhoe. This is the area that they call West Tendring/Colchester Fringe, part of which would overlap into the Wivenhoe Cross ward.

    Attached is what the Tendring Local Plan has to say about it:

  • edited January 2014
    In another Tendring District Council document published this month, the responses to the consultation held last year are shown. This was the consultation on the SHLAA

    The responses on housing make significant reading, with submissions from technical stakeholders and landowners.

    Taylor Wimpey UK Ltd.think Tendring's housing projections are an underestimate and want more houses built.

    Wivenhoe Park Estate (represented by Strutt and Parker) support the policy.

    Karen Syrett (Colchester Borough Council's Spatial Policy Manager) on the other hand questions the evidence base for TDC's housing projections. She says - "The plan now adopts a change in approach which does not seem to have been tested for deliverability, viability and developability."

    relevant passages attached:

  • edited January 2014
    Here is another passage from the report specifically to do with the Colchester Fringe area (which would include part of the Wivenhoe Cross ward).

    The report mentions the Betts Factory site and the way CBC and TDC had to cooperate on that development because the land lies within the boundary of the two local authorities. Here are details:

  • edited January 2014
    Does anyone know about the status of this 41 acre area of land behind Rectory Road?

    In the recent Wivenhoe Neighbourhood Plan survey it was identified as area B under the question that asked "Would it be acceptable to you to see homes built at the places listed below?"

     The rightmove site says the land may have been sold or temporarily removed from the market - does anyone know which it might be?

    "The site has been promoted through the Local Development Framework. The
    Vendor has focused on promoting the southern part of the site (as
    hatched blue on the plan), which has residential development on both
    sides. The remainder of the site has longer term development potential."

    The rightmove site also identifies the Local Authority as being Tendring District Council rather than Colchester Borough. This isn't accurate as the land falls within the Wivenhoe Quay and Cross wards.

    This is pure speculation, but I'm wondering if the pictures of land clearance in that area, taken by Glyn last November, could be related at all ?
    (Edited to add: that I have since been told that the land clearance was simply done by the person who leases the land under an obligation that they have to keep it maintained. It has nothing to do with any potential development in that area. )

  • The fishing club did quite a bit of work here in creating a new track and making more room.
  • edited January 2014
    The 41 acre site behind Rectory Road that is mentioned above was purchased by a consortium called WL2010 Ltd (of North Hill, Colchester), and they gave a presentation a while back to Wivenhoe Town Council.

    We don't know what was said at the presentation as it was not open to the public.

    The reasons for this were explained by WTC in this 2012 message:

  • edited January 2014
    The land that has become known as 41 acres had a mention from Pete on an earlier Forum thread.

    Wivenhoe Town Council tried to buy the land a while back, but was out bid. The current owners no doubt still wish to develop the land at some point. This is despite the contamination issues mentioned by other contributors to the above thread. Just how serious the contamination issues are is unclear.

    I'm not sure where the rightmove webpage gets the information that "The site has been promoted through the Local Development Framework." It doesn't form any part of the current site allocations coming from Colchester Borough Council.

  • edited January 2014
    re. the above post. A clarification.

    The area off Rectory Road and behind Croquet Gardens is in fact identified in CBC's current Local Development Framework map as 'strategic housing land availability'. I attach the relevant section of the CBC map with the area in question outlined in blue.

    So the rightmove web page was correct to say that the site "has been promoted through the Local Development Framework."

    However it is also true that it doesn't form any part of the current site allocations coming from Colchester Borough Council. The Strategic Land Availability Assessment (SLAA) does not allocate land for development or indicate that the Borough Council would support its development. It merely highlights potential of land for development. The SLAA is not the same as actual site allocations which would be in a separate document in the Local Plan.

    What is also interesting from this map is that part of what are WTC allotments are also earmarked as possible strategic housing land. This area of allotments is outside the 41 acres, but it is surprising because allotments are protected from such
    development to a degree. A decision to build on them has to go to the Secretary
    of State for Communities and Local Government, and alternative allotment
    provision has to be made elsewhere as compensation.

  • There maybe some misinterpretation of what the blue outlined areas on the map above actually indicate. It needs to be said that these areas of Strategic Housing Land Availability are simply broad locations that are considered to have potential for housing. It does not mean they will be developed, and there is no presumption in favour of any development proposal.

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