Letter to the Gazette from our Councillors
The Great and Little Bromley Village article in the Gazette last Thursday objecting to any housing in their back yard, reminded me of this item in the local plan agenda of the 12th November.
Little Bromley Parish Council objects to Tendring Central development. New developments should be directed to the towns such as Clacton. Benefits of developing at Clacton include infrastructure improvements; education and health. Parish also consider that development at Sladbury’s Lane in Clacton would be an acceptable location for new housing development.
So they object to 800 houses to upset their little world that boarders a major town, has great infrastructure, a huge hospital, medical centres galore and rail links to other major places of work. Instead they actually promote two land locked agricultural fields in the East Clacton neighbourhood. Developments that will see around 9000 people descend on Clacton. 9000 who would have to chose between a low paid seasonal job or pay £6000 a year for a train pass to London. A first phase application for 132 dwellings is in the planning process now. The next phases will see a total of 2600 on the two fields and a further 1800 at St Johns at Centenary Way with Thorpe Road. The Wards that will be affected will be East Clacton, Burnsville Holland on Sea and St Johns. I urge anyone who agrees with me and knows the lunacy of their suggestion for Sladbury;s Lane, to contact their ward councillors, call on them to oppose these plans. Once the 132 get permission the floodgates will open. North Essex ward councillor for Great Bromley is The leader of Tendring District Council Mr. Neil Stock he lives in Gt Bromley. He would also be well acquainted with Sladbury’s Lane perhaps he inadvertently mentioned it to his parish council and they thought it OK to build on Clacton agricultural land but not their s. The local plan is in deadlock, everyone knows the best option is a new town in central Tendring but the minority rural parishes are ruling the roost, a classic example of the tail wagging the dog.
Councillor Joy Broderick
Councillor Colin Winfield Councillor King
The Holland on Sea Residents Association.
The following copy of a report submitted to the Council in 2011 is to be re-submitted by our councillors as they endorse the views expressed which are still valid today.
Public Consultation on Housing Development
The Council’s Strategy for Housing Development must be sustainable which means for ‘The Good of All’ in Tendring and in particular for the benefit and inheritance of our children, grandchildren and future generations. The current fear is that we are being railroaded into a quick fix which has more to do with the imposition of central government targets rather than a properly considered strategy which suits the needs of the citizens of Tendring and its environment. If Tendring wishes to have a sustainable strategy, it has to be strongly led by appropriate economic and social criteria - in particular to provide access to employment and business opportunities whilst creating an attractive physical environment which respects the unique attractions of our coast and countryside.
These principles were enshrined in the Essex Integrated Strategy fully endorsed by the Council only this March and which provides a realistic platform for sustainable development. In particular, when the Council signed up, it fully acknowledged the threats and weaknesses in relation to:
- The need for the enhancement of rail services and road connections.
- The threats created by rapid house building unsupported by job growth, services and infrastructure.
- Transport infrastructure providing access to jobs, businesses, markets, health care, education and other essential services.
Furthermore a sustainable strategy must avoid over-development and provide the infrastructure and affordable housing needed for the many rural villages and small townships spread throughout Tendring. There appears to be insufficient priority to enabling small rural businesses and communities to survive in order to provide local opportunities and convenient access for rural residents (and especially younger people) seeking employment, access to basic goods and services.
The consultation process
Hopefully this second attempt to develop consultation has been beneficial as the result of improved public awareness and strength of feedback. Regrettably the Response Form for public use was very unfair in that it was off-putting in relation to the questions posed. How can the Council realistically expect lay people to provide housing need forecasts and parish by parish breakdowns when we don’t have access to, nor understand, census and other technical survey data? Your Council’s professional officers should be providing this data because that is what they are qualified to do and we pay them to do it. I suspect therefore, that many residents may have baulked at using this form so the Council will have lost out on hearing what people really want to say and such information as may have been collected is likely to be based on confusion.
Housing numbers and distribution
For the reasons stated above, it is unsustainable for a largely rural area such as Tendring to absorb an extra 15,000 homes and thus circa 45,000 additional population over the next 20 years. Where is this addition population to come from? Where will they find employment? Where is the infrastructure and public services that will be needed to come from? There is serious concern that this whole exercise is being driven by central government dictat rather than a sensible evaluation of realistic possibilities based on the principles of localism.
For the same reasons it is equally unsustainable for Clacton to be given an allocation of 6000 homes and an additional ‘town’ population of 15 to 20 thousand additional residents. It flies in the face of confirmation from the Council’s advisors that 87% of the housing need in Tendring is outside Clacton ie in west and mid Tendring, Brightlingsea, Manningtree and Harwich.
There appears to be a marked reluctance on the part of the Council (for reasons which have not been declared) to acknowledge that the development of housing and infrastructure needs to start at the borders of the A12 and A120 at Colchester and follow a mid-Tendring to Harwich corridor via the A120. Just consider the possibilities for our young people if the Council was to engage in sponsoring the development of homes and businesses in the high tech area bordering Colchester and the University of Essex. Such development would also attract much needed inward investment. Expansion of Weeley, Frating, Manningtree, Harwich and some of the smaller villages would help to sustain local businesses and assist with rural employment especially if complemented by a programme for affordable housing and small business start up.
As it is, Tendring is not going to attract a large scale high tech employer into the area because of existing lack of infrastructure and local skills. The strategy must therefore depend on encouraging small to medium size enterprises and start-up schemes which can be ideally located in small townships as well as existing industrial estates. One effect of this would be to enable less dependence on travel across the peninsula and restricted choice as the result of poor rural public transport.
Strangely, the Council has been silent on these important matters and we are left with the distinct impression that Clacton is to be a useful large scale dumping ground which is able to absorb a population increase of up to 15,000 or so. Does Clacton have to become simply a bigger housing estate purely to meet government targets rather than what is sensible for Tendring? Hence the impression that strategy is being driven by property/land speculators in ‘partnership’ with the Council rather than there being a proper appraisal of what is for ‘The Good of All’. It is understood that Clacton will need to expand and take its fair share of meeting growth needs on a steady basis with developing infrastructure. However it must not become a victim of a rushed land grab by speculators and tick in the box bureaucrats who are anxious to meet targets without proper consideration of the consequences.
The way forward
The future strategy needs:
1 To be sustainable under the principles agreed in the Essex Integrated Strategy.
2 A strategy which is led by economic and job creation policies with priority for sustainable rural community development.
3 The attraction of inward investment and jobs along the Colchester/Mid Tendring/Harwich corridor. This would add strength to the case for dualling the A120 and improving the A133 with – eventually – a Weeley, Tendring, Wix/Great Oakley link to the A120 for improved connections with Harwich?
4 At Clacton
- Housing development to be sited with immediate access to the A133 at the existing Bovill’s roundabout. Your advisors say there is scope for over 1,500 homes in the vicinity around London Road and Centenary Way.
- Scrapping the totally unrealistic target for 2,600 homes off Sladbury Lane, not least of all because the road infrastructure for such enlargement simply does not exist (another property speculator/land owner fantasy?). How is an additional population of 8000 supposed to move around the country lanes? By helicopter? What might be feasible is, say, 900 homes to the west of the railway line towards Thorpe Road provided, however, there was a separate direct link road with Centenary Way so as to avoid additional pressure on Sladbury Lane and Holland Road, Little Clacton.
- The open land to the east of the Clacton–Thorpe railway line should be preserved because of its considerable importance to the landscape, the Holland marshes and views towards Great Holland and the Frinton coast and to provide green belt into the Holland-on-Sea area which should enhance Pickers Ditch. Maintaining a quality rural environment is equally, and sometimes far more important, than accommodating those that seek to migrate from outside Tendring.
- There needs to be an imaginative plan to create a Pickers Ditch park providing an attractive, longitudinal, green field development linking Holland-on-Sea with the Little Clacton Road and Jaywick Lane. At present there are plans only for a ‘walkway’ and the area concerned is poorly maintained and often strewn with rubbish - particularly in the Pickers Ditch Brook. This could provide an attractive amenity and recreational space which would relieve any impression of claustrophobic development.
- The HartleyPark proposal does nothing to add to the economic prosperity of Clacton because it does not lead to enhanced business opportunity or jobs. Indeed it can be argued that the addition of some 1,500 houses and circa 4,000 inhabitants will merely add to demands on current inadequate infrastructure and stretched services. In so far as it is merely part of a disproportionate increase in Clacton’s housing population it would be vastly preferable that such energy and resources attached to it are directed more productively towards the need for sustainable rural development. Furthermore this project would take away valuable productive farmland which, contrary to what prospective developers wish us to believe, is as of the same good quality as the remainder of north east Essex.
- The suggested ring road does not significantly improve transportation out of Clacton especially as it is planned to terminate at a minor roundabout at the BrookRetailPark. It would be preferable for any new road to link in the Colchester direction of the A133 eg at Bovill’s roundabout or Weeley Heath.
The following letter has been sent to the Editor of the local Gazette by our Residents Association Councillor Colin Winfield
9th November 2015
Tendring Council is currently preparing a Local Plan.
This government requirement is forcing Tendring Council to permit the building of 10,000 new houses across the area, mainly on green field land.
There is nothing democratic or local about this. Local people's views and opinions, despite a token public consultation exercise, are being ignored and the true local housing need is just one tenth of this figure.
As has been widely stated many times before, the existing infrastructure (e.g. schools, surgeries, hospitals, police and roads, etc.) cannot and will not be able to cope with the pressures an additional 30,000 people will bring.
Why bother to hold national and local elections if the government and bureaucrats do not listen to the people?
The recently produced Housing Need Strategy (ref. Tendring website) highlighted the low employment levels already existing in the Tendring district. It stated “Tendring's economy will not provide enough new jobs to support the population projection” and “Tendring will have too many workers to meet demand” - clearly a labour surplus is on the cards
Bearing in mind this scenario of 10,000 homes which the infrastructure cannot support and low employment rates, in my opinion, if this mass development was to proceed it would be appropriate for Tendring Council to make it a criteria for any interested building company or developer to include within their tenders for this work a commitment for a reasonable ratio (say 30%) of the total workforce employed on these sites be Tendring residents.
Also, what nobler piece of work could Tendring Council do than INSIST on 100 new apprenticeships for local youngsters being created solely by it's Local Plan.
(Cllr.) Colin Winfield
Holland Residents Association
Comment by Councillor Mrs Joy Broderick
5 years work Binned.
On the 26th November 2013 the local plan voted through Tendring District Council ended The 5 year campaign (or so we thought) to stop Agricultural land in Sladbury’s Lane become building land..5 years of consultations, response forms scrutiny committees, 2 Days on one committee to look at the whole thing yet again for the final time, exhaustive examination for 5 years. Questions to the planning Boss North Essex Councillor Carlos Gugliealmi,by Mrs Chaplin of Sladbury’s Lane. 5 years, hours and hours of work by officers, not to mention The 3500 strong petition collected by those same residents. All now beinglooked at again because the government, Colchester Borough Council and Essex County Council say it’s not enough Housing. MP Eric Pickles, is now demanding another 12000 new builds.
Add to that those already agreed in the plan could mean to around 40,000 more people to accommodate. We have just 1500 on the housing waiting list so where is the need? There are options for a gardens city nearer to Ipswich Colchester London where the work is Sladbury’s Lane is not sustainable will ensure that this land remains farmland. The 3500 strong petition will also stay on records and still carry huge weight.
This administration's well trailed "Local homes for local people" slogan (designed to quell our objections ) boasts that you have to live here for 5 years before you get on the Council list. This rule will mean diddle squat for Tower Hamlets. They have 20,000 on their waiting lists and can transfer as many as they want anywhere they want on a temporary ticket, how long is temporary 10/20 years?
. In order to ensure you’re your HRA councillors’ a place on the new plan committee we have set ourselves up as a separate group on the Council. We are officially now “The Holland Residents’ Group” this will ensure Holland views are represented by us. We will not rest until we are sure that no housing will go on Sladbury’s Lane farm land. We may at some future date need you to attend public gatherings to support us, this is our place and we assure you they will get the message.
Update July 2014:
A new plan labelled a Vision for Tendring has been unveiled to build new homes around the district. The plan includes creating large suburban communities at specific sites which will include new schools and medical centres. Clacton has been earmarked for 4000 homes to be divided across two sites, one near Clacton Coastal Academy and the other near Gorse Lane Industrial Estate.
This means that, at least for the present, there are no plans to build on the controversial Sladburys Lane site. The local council planning department has confirmed that they do not consider this site to be suitable for development.
Position May 2014:
The local plan agreed in November 2013 has been abandoned following objections from Essex County Council, Colchester Council and some developers. There were concerns that in accordance with our duty of cooperation with neighbouring local authorities, the number of houses suggested was not sufficient and the size of the sites allocated were not big enough. It was felt that this would lead to the plan being rejected by a Government Planning Inspector.
It was agreed by a majority decision at a recent local plan committee that Tendring needs 12,000 additional dwellings in the next 20 years. Tendring District Council now hopes that a new version of the plan can be adopted by April 2016. Those of our councillors who did not agree with this will raise the matter again at the next local plan committee on July 15th.
Councillor Broderick commented "Endless work on the local plan has now been wasted. All this is back on the table after hours and hours of council officers' time. We have been working on it for 5 years. How much has this now cost taxpayers in Tendring?" She also attacked the Government's new Homes Bonus which pays millions of pounds to Councils who allow new housing "The Government is bribing councils to build, build, build but at what cost to local democracy?"
Position April 2014:
The local plan which does not include any new housing development in Sladburys Lane was approved locally in November 2013. However it has been suggested that insufficient provision has been made for new housing in the Tendring area. Our local councillors will be monitoring the situation closely and will strongly oppose any proposals for development in Sladburys Lane.
Position July 2012 For the past 3 years the residents of Sladbury’s lane and the Holland Residents Association have collected 3341 signatures on a petition against the council's plans to build a new housing estate and extend the caravan park on to farm land in Sladbury’s Lane. The residents of Bockings Elm (St Johns Road) have also conducted a petition against plans to build a further 3100 in that ward. The total Clacton and Holland residents opposed to these developments is almost 5000. As a result of the campaign the council will conduct further consultations. It is suggested that all Tendring residents will be asked where they will want new estates. There are approximately 75,000 households in Tendring- 35,000 of these in Clacton and Holland. Residents will be asked to suggest site locations. Fear is that the well trailed ‘Localism Bill’ going through parliament at present will give power to people living in other parts of Tendring who don’t want development in their back yard the power to put it in ours.