At the May-2019 Council Meeting Cllr Lewis Barber (Lexden & Braiswick Ward and Conservative spokesman on the Local Plan) voiced the unanimous support of the CBC Conservative Group for the adoption of the WIVENHOE Neighbourhood Plan.
Cllr Barber commended the bottom-up approach to delivering infrastructure, services and housing, as set out in the Wivenhoe Neighbourhood Plan. It empowered residents of Wivenhoe to take greater control of the planning process, and for local people to determine the future of their own town.
Cllr Barber pointed to the progress being made in many other communities towards the preparation of Neighbourhood Plans. “My Ward is fortunate to have a fantastic group of volunteers who have driven ahead with Neighbourhood Plans in Braiswick, Eight Ash Green and West Bergholt, completed or on the verge of being completed, set the future direction of these communities, and the benefits are significant with clear policies, shaped by local people, on the aforementioned policy areas.”
The Wivenhoe Plan demonstrates that Neighbourhood plans are not just for villages and rural areas, but could shape urban areas too, such as Colchester's Cultural Quarter and Vineyard Street.
In stark contrast, Colchester Council’s discredited top-down New Town Development Corporation approach, most prominently manifested in its backing of the largely undemocratic North Essex Garden Communities Ltd and current garden community plans, leaves existing communities exasperated.
Far too often, Colchester’s rural communities seem to be viewed as an inconvenience to be overcome for the achievement of political objectives by Colchester Council’s Liberal Democrat and Labour leadership.
Conservatives believe that the Council must empower people and communities to embrace this bottom-up approach to planning. This way we can all have a stake in the diverse neighbourhoods of Colchester, and end the mistakes of the past.