Last night, Colchester Council’s Local Plan Committee voted 4-4 to continue with the proposal to build a new town between Colchester and Coggeshall, and to progress with submission of evidence to the Government Planning Inspector. The Liberal Democrat Chairman of the committee used his casting vote in favour of the proposals. All Conservatives voted against.

Local Plan Committee Member, Cllr. Andrew Ellis (Conservative Marks Tey and Layer Ward pictured above) said ‘It is an extraordinary situation, when four councillors have the ability to fundamentally change the face of this beautiful part of North Essex. The sheer scale of development proposed, with an 80 year project lifespan and the considerable financial implications for the taxpayer, deserve a tremendous amount of scrutiny.

This decision should have been taken by all elected members of this Council to demonstrate collective responsibility and consensus. If this Lib-Dem & Labour Coalition is so convinced this is the right decision for Colchester why wouldn’t they agree to do that’?

Cllr Lewis Barber, Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group added: “This was a disappointing decision. The council’s own evidence concludes that other alternatives to the new town plans can deliver greater benefits to communities, including on infrastructure. However, the council continues to pursue the new town plans and failed to produce any argument, let alone a convincing one, on why we should continue with these proposals.”

‘A week after declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’ in Colchester they agree to concrete over thousands of acres to its East and West Colchester with car-dependent New Towns.

'Actions speak louder than words’.