The Council’s Public Speaking Scheme for the Local Plan Committee gives the opportunity for members of the public and other interested parties/stakeholders to speak to the Council’s elected members on the Local Plan Committee on any specific agenda item to be considered at that public meeting.
The Chairman invited the following persons to address the Committee:
Item A.1 – 2016 Local Plan Preferred Options Consultation Response Summary
Councillor Richard Everett asked the following question:
“In the consultation exercise much concern has been shown by Councillors and members of the public over the details of Tendring District Council’s housing supply.
Section 47 of the NPPF requires, among other things, an annual report to be produced on the Council’s position regarding a 5 year housing supply.
The Council has not yet published a 5 year housing supply report. Will the Local Plan Committee please instruct Officers to publish the report and further require that this is updated annually as required by the NPPF.”
The Chairman of the Committee replied along the following lines:
“Thank you for your question Councillor Everett. I agree, the lack of housing supply has long dogged Tendring District Council, not only having an out of date plan, but also the recent recession limiting land coming forward for development. In 2014 we set up this Committee to ensure that we could get a Local Plan in place which delivers certainty for investors and homes that are much needed. As you can see from the agenda today we have made great strides in delivering the Local Plan and have consulted on our preferred options, with the land supply we agreed back in April 2016. I am also glad to inform you that Tendring District Council does provide an annual report on housing – and has done so long before the NPPF. The report is called the Authorities Monitoring Report and is on our website. Our Local Development Scheme – approved at the last meeting of this Committee requires the report to be published in December/January each year - so you can expect an update very soon.”
Councillor Bray suggested that there be a standard agenda item in future whereby the Officers gave an update on the five year housing land supply. The Chairman undertook to discuss this suggestion further with the Head of Planning Services.
Mr William Shunnucks asked the following question:
“Why does the Plan make so little mention of the employment growth opportunities offered by the University of Essex? Also whether the opportunity for transport orientated development along the Sunshine Coast Line is being considered?”
The Chairman of the Committee replied along the following lines:
“Thank you Mr Sunnucks, I recognise you as member of the Campaign Against Urban Sprawl in Essex – or CAUSE in short.
We welcome CAUSE’s, representation to the Tendring Local Plan; which provides endorsement of the east Colchester / west Tendring garden community. I agree that both the university and the sunshine coast prove a sound basis for employment generation and travel sustainability in plan making. Part 1 of the draft Local Plan, fully recognises the opportunities presented by the University of Essex expansion. Tendring District Council is actively working with the University in regards to new employment, academic and student space. In addition a study is underway to look at the potential demographics of the new garden community and the types of employment that can be expected to be delivered with the benefit of the university expansion and more generally.
In relation to Tendring’s settlement hierarchy, I can indeed confirm that rail stations are an important criteria for achieving sustainable development. Settlements within the ‘Sunshine Coast’ take the majority of allocations, or are existing development commitments to deliver Tendring’s Objectively Assessed Housing needs. This includes, Alresford, Great Bentley, Weeley, Thorpe-le- Soken, Clacton, Kirby Cross and Walton – very much a Metro Plan.”
Councillor I J Henderson suggested that the Committee should receive information on the control period for future Railtrack investment on rail infrastructure within the District. The Chairman undertook to arrange this with the Head of Planning Services.
Mr Donald Emslie, joint owner of the Lifehouse Hotel and Spa at Thorpe-le-Soken, made a statement advocating the inclusion within the Local Plan of a mixed development around Thorpe Hall.
Ms Angela Barnes, Vice-Chairman of Weeley Residents’ Association (WRA), made a statement on her concerns that the objections raised by the residents of Weeley had been ignored by the Council. She reiterated the reasons why the WRA felt that Weeley was not the right location for a large scale housing development.
Parish Councillor Christine Hamilton, Vice-Chairman of Weeley Parish Council, made a statement expressing her disappointment that the Parish Council had not been officially consulted. She stated that Weeley was not the right location for a large scale housing development and raised several issues that she wanted the Council to address.
Ms Tina Starling, a resident of Thorpe-le-Soken, made a statement expressing her objections to any inclusion within the Local Plan of the proposed mixed development around Thorpe Hall on highway grounds.
Sir Bob Russell made a statement with regard to Local Plan issues on the boundary between Colchester Borough Council (CBC) and Tendring District Council (TDC). He stated his concern that CBC and TDC were not necessarily “on the same page” especially with regard to the boundary of the proposed country park. He felt it was important that the boundary of the country park be fixed before any housing sites were allocated. Sir Bob also stated his concern that Colchester would urban sprawl eastwards and he hoped that TDC would prevent an urban development on the boundary.
Parish Councillor John Cutting, Chairman of Little Clacton Parish Council, made a statement in which he again urged TDC to put a Local Plan in place as soon as possible in order to protect residents and also to stop the “presumption in favour” of development. He stated that he felt that the current wording of Local Plan Policy LP6 was not in the best interests of residents and needed to be amended. He felt that it favoured developers and put “the presumption in favour” of development ‘in stone’ especially where a shortage of affordable housing had been identified.
Mrs Bannister made a statement in which she urged the Council to change the designation of Weeley from “Expanded Settlement” to “Rural Service Centre” as even with the removal of Option W from the Local Plan Weeley would still be vulnerable to further large developments in the future. Mrs Bannister stated that Option T was still too large an allocation of housing for Weeley and was in the wrong site. She urged the Council to work with the Parish Council and the WRA to find a better site.