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Amendments which could make a joint Local Plan sound have been recommended by a planning inspector

Amendments which could make a joint Local Plan sound have been recommended by a planning inspector

Latest on the Local Plan

In May 2020, a planning inspector followed up his examination with a letter on the joint Section One Local Plan shared by Braintree District Council, Tendring District Council and Colchester Borough Council (North Essex Authorities (NEAs)).

The Inspector said that to take the plan forward, in his view, the NEAs had two main options:

  1. To propose and consult on main modifications to remove the Colchester / Braintree Borders and West of Braintree Garden Community proposals from the Plan; or
  2. To withdraw the Plan from examination.

The Planning Inspector has now recommended main modifications that will make the Plan sound and legally compliant. These modifications have now been published for the first time within committee papers in advance of Tendring District Council’s Planning Policy and Local Plan Committee and Braintree District Council’s Local Plan Sub Committee.

The modifications will be discussed at Local Plan Committees at Colchester Borough Council on July 14, Tendring District Council on July 15, at Braintree District Council on July 16 and at Braintree’s Full Council on July 27.

In addition to the removal of two of the three proposed garden communities, the Planning Inspector has also made a number of other suggestions including: mitigating impact on wildlife; managing any potential flood risk, allocating  land in the garden community to accommodate expansion of the University of Essex; and that planning consent and funding approval for the A120-133 link road and rapid transit system are secured before planning approval is granted for any development forming part of the garden community.

Several of his recommendations were put forward by the NEAs themselves, last year.

Cllr Julie Young, Deputy Leader of Colchester Borough Council, said: “It is important that we carefully examine and consider the inspector’s modifications to our Local Plan proposals. These forthcoming committee meetings will help us decide the way forward for both Colchester and the rest of North Essex and how best to meet our housing targets in the most sustainable and appropriate way possible.”

Cllr Gabrielle Spray, Cabinet Member for Planning at Braintree District Council, said: “Now that we have the modifications, as a Local Plan Sub-committee and then as a Full Council we will be able to consider the proposed changes and what it will mean for our district.”

Cllr Nick Turner, Chairman of Tendring District Council’s Planning Policy and Local Plan Committee, said: “Our next meeting will allow us to discuss the changes put forward by the Planning Inspector and their implications, and if they are appropriate for our district then look to proceed to consultation.”

If agreed by all authorities, the Section One Local Plan with the new modifications will go out to a six week public consultation.

UPDATED AS OF 17/07/2020:

You can watch the Local Plan Sub Committee where this was discussed here.