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After the Consultation: new work for 2015

A chance to join in with new neighbourhood plan work. Read all about it.


  • 230 new dwellings in Wivenhoe!  You must be joking.  That is absolutely outrageous.  Did the NP questionnaire ask how many houses in Wivenhoe are second homes - as commented on by a local estate agent recently?  If any new houses at all are built they must be affordable and for the benefit of the local community.

    This was always the drawback with the NP - the bottom line is that we can't say no to more housing even though it goes completely against all common sense.  What is the point of consulting with the community when the very thing that no one wants is to be imposed upon us anyway?
  • 230 houses??? Ridiculous!
  • Whoa!
    Before we get more reactions based on just that number let's see it in the context of the post:

    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.

    Yes, the bottom line is that an NP -any NP- cannot say 'no' to any or all development; that's in the Regulations. But the WNP will try and control the extent of any development.
    Also note the words might be a possibility, NOT: that's what has been accepted!
  • I'd love to know where they think they can put that number of houses in Wivenhoe without building on the greenbelt!!  Theres no more brown field sites, (well Ceddies and The Wivenhoe Business Centre) both Cooks' and the woodyard have been built on, along with "the Broomie" and the top field where the Wivenhoe Show was held back in the 60's! (Broadfield estate). I guess we will become a suburb of Colchester, or Farmer Johns fields will disappear under a concrete jungle - sad times for the little village I grew up in. There never seems to be any affordable housing, let alone council houses in Wivenhoe.  
  • 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?

  • pitfall, the NP isn't saying anything about those because it doesn't exist yet, not even in draft.

    The issues you mention are all points that will go into the scoring of the suitability of sites. It's part of the work the LUZ group will now begin - and they can use more people to help.
  • There really are no words. All the local councils appear to have taken complete leave of their senses. 

    There is too much traffic coming out of Wivenhoe already, and I very much doubt the new surgery will be capable of dealing with that kind of increase.

    Utter, utter insanity. When will it all end ?
  • Worth cross referencing here with a post that Peter Hill did on the Colchester Local Plan thread..
  • edited January 2015
    The danger is that if the NP expresses a reluctant preference for development in some areas rather than others, this may at some point in the future be taken by CBC as implicit consent for any such proposal.  It might be argued that the NP is a form of 'blackmail' in that is forcing local communities to make these decisions when it might just have been better to say NO to all further development and fight each and any such proposal as it came along?
  • "Given that most land around
    the Wivenhoe settlement area is either zoned as Coastal Protection Belt
    or as Proposed Open Space, are we willing to give up on this protection
    from some development in order to achieve the Plan Objectives?", and
    "to work out how many houses Wivenhoe needs for its own purposes and
    also balance that number against how many we need to achieve objectives
    as a new community centre and anything else we need to buy. If we cannot
    generate enough money through new builds to pay for new community
    centre, for example, it will continue to remain a pipe-dream."

    The above comes from the preface to the next working group taking the plan forward, and reinforces many of the views above. I stand by my contention that this is the main purpose of the Neighbourhood Plan:
    allowing (protected) areas to be built upon so we can access money for
    community projects.  Why must we agree to new, unwanted housing, given
    our infrastructure can't cope with the existing demands upon it...?
  • Absolutely agree with that last comment.
  • It is true that CBC have approved amendments which allow developers to get away with not building the agreed number of affordable homes or siting them elsewhere.  The other main problem is what affordable homes there are in Wivenhoe are frequently snapped up by buy to let developers who don't necessarily even live in the village and they then proceed to let them at exorbitant rents.  There's a lot more to housing issues than 'we just need to build more homes'.
  • edited January 2015
    Spot on HonestTony.
    The NP will not be set in stone. Just another pointless exercise for the powers that be to give excuses, like you've been consulted  blah blah blah.  I just feel sorry for all the people that have give their time and effort into something no more useful than a "Wish List" ;  

  • Example of a "Wish List" ;)

    It's long, but it gives a good example of a detailed NP - the kind Wivenhoe could have.
  • Yes but it looks so terribly tedious and assembled by someone who has swallowed a planning manual.
  • NeighPlan
    "pitfall, the NP isn't saying anything about those because it doesn't exist yet, not even in draft.

    The issues you mention are all points that will go into the scoring of the suitability of sites. It's part of the work the LUZ group will now begin - and they can use more people to help."

    My point is that THERE ARE NO SUITABLE SITES.
  • Here is just one example of what I am talking about, from the BBC News today:

    Schools face 'places breaking point'

    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.

  • Anybody else beginning to think that Eric Pickles was just having a laugh when he made community consultation the bedrock of neighbourhood planning?

    Tedious, you dont say! Not recommended bedtime reading. Effective...? well, a person could die waiting for any admissions from those who wish to rubbish the whole idea. You can fly the frilly pants half-mast on the quay.

  • I'm surprised that there isn't even a draft NP yet?  You've had the analysis of the questionnaire and the rather arid consultation process.  Surely you must be feeling your way towards a draft response by now?  Is it the fact that everything has to fall in line with CBCs rigid planning strictures that is causing the delay? I believe it is vital that the plan is supported by the community and I know that you would like more people too be involved in the process.  But you could argue that it is these very strictures which are putting people off?

    In general people in Wivenhoe are a very active and vociferous bunch but no one wants their ideas and suggestions to be constrained or channelled into planning platitudes.
  • The draft plan will eventually be written by a planning consultant, like the Woodcote one was - probably accounts for it reading as if it was  assembled by someone who has swallowed a planning manual.
    But then, that's exactly what it will be: a proper planning document, based on views expressed by the community.

    And when that's done we'll have another arid consultation on the draft....
  • Tally ho Martin!  But Marika isn't there a danger that the lively views of the community, or at least those which they have been permitted by the strictures of the NP to express, may have the life throttled out of them by the said planning consultant, in his efforts to squeeze them into acceptable NP speak? I'm sure this must also have been an issue for the steering committee?
  • Not necessarily. And there will be the final consultation (or at least I heartily hope it will be the last!) to check on that.
    Bear in mind though that even 'lively views' need to be capable of being expressed in planning terms- but there are ways.
  • Wave a magic wand?
  • The problem with the Neighbourhood Plan process is that it has to comply with the planning framework set out by Colchester Borough Council. Any document that the Neighbourhood Plan Group produces will, in ay event, be subject to the adjudication of the Borough Council's planning officers and the relevant CBC Committee. Having followed the Wivenhoe NP group's work and seen their exhibition,  I am not at all optimistic about the prospects. The only way of resolving the questions about Wivenhoe's future is for our community to leave the borough and regain control of our local services. 
  • Following the example of 'Passport to Pimlico'?  Sounds most attractive!
  • My point is a serious one. Since 1st April, 1974,
    Colchester Borough Council has approved planning applications that have led
    directly to Wivenhoe’s population more than trebling in size. The developers
    have provided new facilities such as the play areas on Broadfields and the
    Lower Lodge open space area. But, if you ask what Colchester Borough Council
    has provided in the way of new
    for Wivenhoe, the answer is zero. To be fair to CBC, it has
    made occasional grants towards refurbishing the Loveless Hall and a
    contribution towards the new Quay Shelter. That, however, is pretty well all.
    The truth is that Wivenhoe does not figure significantly in CBC’s collective
    thinking. Our community, which includes the university’s campus, is useful as a
    source of revenue for providing new facilities in Colchester itself and
    elsewhere in the Borough but gets none itself. That situation is completely unacceptable.

    This is one of the reasons why the Neighbourhood Plan Group
    is 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 own
    planning framework. It is inevitable that this process will lead to proposals for
    more housing in Wivenhoe.  It is also
    inevitable that the expansion of the University will be catered for. Both will
    be regarded as necessary by CBC’s planning officers and the members of the relevant
    Borough Council Committees.  Working hand
    in hand with CBC is, I am afraid, self-defeating.

    What can be done about this state of affairs? I do favour
    Wivenhoe’s separation from the borough. That would give our community back the
    powers needed to determine our own 
    future. Can a start be made and, if so, how? Well, it only takes two
    people on the electoral roll to call for a parish meeting to be summoned and
    for ten residents at such a parish meeting to demand a referendum on seceding
    from the Borough. Nothing will cause CBC more concern than the thought of its
    sorry record being put to the voters and the prospect of Wivenhoe’s resources
    being lost. This campaign can be mounted. It will be fun too to see the
    Wivenhoe Liberation Front mobilise and to witness its headquarters in one of
    our pubs in operation. Let us see what happens.

  • @junius do you know of any examples where this has been successfully achieved with examples of the benefits and disadvantages.
  • Most of our Council Tax goes to the County and some for police and fire services.  Less than 12% goes into the Borough's coffers.   Junius, are you suggesting we secede from Essex too and also take on responsibility for education, waste disposal services and roads? 

    Council officers do not come free.  We would need a range of expertise.  What would administration cost?


  • The Local Goveernment Act 1972 makes provision for the calling of parish meeings by two electors and for the conduct of parish referendums if ten people or more at such a meeting demand a referendum. The parish or, in our case, town council meets the cost. A copy of this act is avaliable online. Iam suggesting a referendum on independence from Cochester Borough Council, not on independence from Essex County Council.  I should add that much smaller communities than ours - in France, for example - exercise a wider range of powers than CBC does and do so sucessfully. We have the talent and experience to make such new arrangements work if we wish.
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