Colchester Conservatives have urgently called for the winding-up of the taxpayer funded company which oversees the Garden Communities and has spent close to £8 million and achieved virtually nothing.
North Essex Garden Communities Limited (NEGC Ltd) is council-owned and was established in 2016. It’s aim was to delivery three new towns that would have seen over 40,000 additional homes built in North Essex, including 20,000 around Marks Tey. Local Tories have made the urgent call after a Government Planning Inspector rejected at least two of the three new town projects outright. Colchester Conservatives welcomed the decision and have consistently voted against the flawed proposals for the new towns.
Cllr Paul Dundas, Colchester Conservatives Group Leader, said: “In December 2019, we worked with the Green Party, Highwoods Independents and Wivenhoe Lib-Dem Andrea Luxford-Vaughan to command a majority in the council chamber to vote down the Council Leadership’s plans for more money to NEGC Ltd. We thank them for their collaboration. This majority felt that using taxpayer money to fund a company designed to build flawed Garden Communities was not the right approach and that a different future for Colchester and North Essex is possible. The decision by the Government Planning Inspector to finally reject at least two of the three new towns means NEGC Ltd’s purpose is even more redundant than before. The rejection means we now have an opportunity for an alternative future for our communities, which the pandemic is also increasing demands for. The majority we had in December 2019’s meeting can create that alternative future.”
Cllr Lewis Barber, Colchester Conservatives Deputy Group Leader added: “Colchester Conservatives have never supported NEGC Ltd. We believe that this local government quango has used too much taxpayer money for little return. Its only achievement is to assist in developing a flawed and now rejected plan, disliked by communities, at the cost of millions of pounds of taxpayer money. It should be wound-up and taxpayer money used on key front line services, which are now needed more than ever. We should focus on a new vision of hope for our communities in our response to Coronavirus. The planning for that has to and can start now.
Cllr Andrew Ellis, Colchester Conservatives Local Plan Spokesman explained: "To continue to throw large amounts of hard earned taxpayers money at this Company which has already burnt through £millions during its short existence makes no sense whatsoever. Despite NEGC insisting on spending large additional amounts of taxpayers money producing their own separate Viability Appraisals on the Garden Communities; the Planning Inspector ended his 7 paragraph disposal of their work with ‘I consider that the NEGC appraisals do not provide a reliable indication of the viability of each of the proposed Garden Communities.
Despite our repeated warnings against doing so, eye watering sums have been spent on this failed misadventure and it’s time for the Administration to finally accept they have got this badly wrong and stop haemorrhaging our taxpayers money to NEGC immediately."