Colchester Borough Council Conservative Group welcomes the decision by the Planning Inspector to find the New Town proposals unsound but deeply regret that the Lib/Lab Council Administration decided to pursue a flawed policy which has wasted millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money, delayed a vital upgrade to the A12, and according to the Inspector, represented over development.
After at least £8m of taxpayers’ money being spent, the proposals to build three New Towns in North Essex have been found unsound, not once but twice. A tentative go-ahead has been given for development in Tendring, that represents only 17% of the original planned housing and will be subject to further consultation.
Cllr Paul Dundas (Stanway Ward), Conservative Group Leader said “We have been saying for years that these proposals will not work. Time and time again we have highlighted problems with the transport, financing, viability and that New Towns simply were not needed to meet our housing targets before 2033. One of the most senior Planning Inspectors in the UK has agreed with us.”
“We have been the only political Group in Colchester to point out the flaws. We were the only Group to vote against submitting this failed plan and only Conservative members of the Local Plan Committee asked the right questions. We were the only Group in Colchester to make our representations directly at the Enquiry Hearings and it is only thanks to us voting to prevent the transfer of £350,000 of Colchester Council tax payers’ money to the North Essex Garden Community Company in December and February even more money has not been wasted”
“I would seriously question whether those same people who have championed the New Towns which have been rejected twice are the right people to take this forward and think they should consider their positions.”
Cllr Lewis Barber (Lexden & Braiswick Ward), Deputy Group Leader and Local Plan Committee member said “The Conservative Group supports sustainable, affordable homes where infrastructure and services come first, the natural environment is protected and existing communities listened too.
The New Town project fulfilled none of these tests."