Annual General Meeting 2019

Braiswick Residents’ Association

email: ku.oc.evil|cesarb#ku.oc.evil|cesarb

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held at Colchester Golf Club on Tuesday 12 November 2019 at 8.00 pm.
Present: 65 members
1. Welcome and apologies
Stephen Pitt (SP) - Chairman 2018/19 - welcomed members and guests to the meeting including Councillors Anne Turrell (ECC), Brian Jarvis, Dennis Willetts and Lewis Barber (all CBC).

No apologies had been received.

2. Minutes of last AGM
The minutes of last year’s AGM had been placed on the Association website and hard copies were also available on the tables around the room. In addition, copies had been emailed to those members who had provided email addresses. No matters arising or corrections on the minutes were raised by members and they were signed by the Chairman as a true record.

3. Hon. Treasurers report
Colin Hyoms (CH), Honorary Treasurer, presented the audited accounts for the year ending 30 April 2019.
Copies of the accounts were available on each table at the meeting and would also be appended to the minutes of the 2019 AGM. The figures for the past financial year were as follows:

Balance in the Current account at year end was £1088.59 (£998.06 previous year)
Balance in the Deposit Account at year end was £1,774.98 (£1,774.08 previous year)

CH said that there had been little movement in the accounts over the last year – income being mainly subscriptions coming in and expenses being printing costs. There had been little change since the end of April 2019 when the accounts were prepared.

CH reported that membership was on the increase with 65 households last year, compared to 61 and 59 in the 2 years prior to that. Looking at the attendance on the night CH felt that these numbers would be further improved on this year.

CH thanked Phil Holroyd FCA for once again preparing the accounts as he had done in previous years.

There being no questions from members, the accounts were approved unopposed.

4. Chairman’s report
SP reported on Braiswick issues and the work of the Association over the last year as summarised below:

• The committee of the Association continued to meet regularly over the past year and a copy of the minutes of the meetings can be found on the Association’s website.

• The Association continues to receive information from Colchester Neighbourhood Watch on crime in the area together with information and advice on crime prevention. This is published as appropriate on the Association’s website.

• The Committee of the Association continues to deal with and respond to issues as they arise including reviewing and commenting on planning applications which affect Braiswick and highways issues such as potholes. A particular issue has been the condition of the top section of Bakers Lane nearest to the B1508. This was not resurfaced due to subsidence and flooding problems when the rest of the road was dealt with. Areas have been marked out several times but the expected work is yet to happen. The Association continues to chase this.

• The planning application which related to 6 holiday chalets and associated camping at West House Farm Bakers Lane was refused by Colchester Borough Council. The Association along with many residents had concerns about the effects this proposal would have on the traffic situation in Bakers Lane/ Spring Lane and the incursion into a semi-rural area. (N.B. see Lewis Barber’s additional information on this later in the minutes).

• Rob Waites (RW) continues to have regular meetings with the Braiswick School Management along with resident Chris Law. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss concerns and exchange ideas to improve School/ resident relations. As reported at last year’s meeting the school had a ‘Good’ OFSTED report with some outstanding areas. It also recently received a commendation for the literacy standards achieved.

• At last year’s AGM the possibility of a mini-roundabout at the Fernlea/ B1508 junction was raised as a potential means of easing congestion at school dropping off and picking-up times. A show of hands indicated that this had a measure of support. An application to the Local Highways Panel requires confirmation of public support, however a leaflet drop and survey undertaken by the Association describing the proposal did not receive sufficient support for an application to proceed.

• The proposal for a 20mph zone in Fernlea is progressing albeit slowly and the Association understands that the scheme will be implemented in the near future. AT said that she would talk about it in her section of the meeting.

• The major issue affecting Braiswick at present is the Rydon Homes proposals for land adjoining 67 Braiswick. Many objections were raised to the original proposal by residents, the Residents’ Association and local bodies. The current proposal in front of Colchester Council is initially for a reduced number of houses on the part of the site currently controlled by Roydon Homes. SP said that later in the meeting there would be an opportunity for concerned residents to make their views known.

5. Election of Officers and Committee

In proposing that John Bentley (JB) be returned as President of the Association for a further year SP highlighted the value of JB to the Association for his breadth of knowledge on past planning applications, policy and events. JB had confirmed that he was willing to serve as the Association’s President for a further year and his re-election was unanimously confirmed.

As outgoing Chairman, SP handed over to Rob Waites (RW) to deal with the appointment of the Chairman for 2019/20. Stephen Pitt agreed to undertake the duties of chairman for a further period. There being no other nominations Stephen was returned unopposed although RW requested a show of hands to confirm that members were happy with the reappointment. This was overwhelmingly given. RW handed the meeting back to SP as the returned Chairman for 2019/20

Other committee members
There had been no nominations received prior to the meeting for residents wishing to stand for election, SP asked if any present on the night wished to join the committee. As there were not the following were returned unopposed to serve on the Executive Committee for 2019/20:

Rob Waites (Hon Sec.), Colin Hyoms (Hon. Treasurer), Janice Hyoms, David Mehigan, Trevor Welham and John Jeffery

In concluding the formal part of the agenda SP said that the committee would always welcome new members so if anyone was interested in joining the committee, he would be happy to speak to them after the meeting.

6. Rydon Homes Development – Land adjoining 67 Braiswick

Because of the importance of this issue SP said that it was included as an extra item on the agenda and he invited concerned residents to come up and address the meeting:

Mark Connor (MC) came up to speak. He said that in July 2019, Rydon Homes submitted an application for an initial 34 homes on land known as St Botolph’s Farm. Also included was a so-called master plan indicating that a further 35 homes could be built on adjoining land owned by Colchester Golf Club and at the rear of the gardens to houses fronting onto Braiswick. The effect would be quite dramatic on the character and feel of the area. He, together with other concerned residents, submitted many objections in fact the last time he looked on the Council’s planning website around 80% of the submitted documents were objections. MC went on to say that last week a revised application was submitted showing 27 homes on the original St Botolph’s Farm site with another 50 homes potentially on the Golf Club land together with that at the back of the house gardens. Thus, there would be a large number of homes on a small area which he estimated would lead to over 100 extra vehicles with one exit/ entrance on to the B1508 from this new estate.

He and his concerned fellow residents feel that their submissions are being ignored by the planning officers. They have attempted to get in touch with Council planners to get a response to their concerns but have had no success. He is also aware that the planning officers and Rydon Homes have had numerous face to face meetings. Rydon Homes say they are in negotiation with the adjoining land owners including the Golf Club to purchase the extra land however MC said that he had been in contact with the management company who own the land behind the gardens and they say they have had no such discussions with Rydon Homes.

SP asked whether due to the submission of a new scheme by Rydon Homes any previous comments submitted were no longer valid? MC said that he wasn’t sure about this and wondered whether all the previous objections would now be ignored. They really would like confirmation that all previous submissions and the issues they raise would be addressed.

A final point was that the so-called master plan gave no indication or even an outline of how the housing and parking arrangements would be accommodated on the extra land and the deadline for receipt of comments on the new application was 26 November!

Resident Ian Stevens pointed out that as an outline planning application, if approved, detailed designs would then need to be submitted for approval,

SP then called upon Committee member David Mehigan (DM) whose house is very close to the site in question. DM agreed that it was an application for outline planning consent but with details only for the part of the site known as St. Botolph’s Farm. Deep in the 170-page set of documents accompanying the application was a ‘master plan’. This was because the 3 areas of land including that owned by the Golf Club and the other small area of land, were dealt with as one site in policy NC3 of the Emerging Local Plan. DM said that for this reason Rydon Homes had included a plan showing the adjoining sites with a line drawn around them with a statement that 50 homes could be built on them.

DM further commented that in the objections already lodged there was one in July from a company called Scott Developments acting for themselves and on behalf of the owners of the adjoining parcels of potential development land. They referred to discussions which had already taken place between the parties with a view to agreeing a joint way forward. They regarded the current application as being premature and if approved could inhibit rather than assist development of the other parcels of land.

DM reminded residents that the current Local Plan does not identify these sites for development - it is only the emerging Local Plan which does this and this has still not been approved. The emerging Local Plan calls for what it describes as a ‘comprehensive masterplan’ to accompany any application for residential uses on these Braiswick sites. DM speculated that the reason Rydon Homes have not submitted this ‘comprehensive’ plan is the lack of control over the sites other than St. Botolph’s Farm.

DM suggested that aside from residents’ views about the principle of development on the sites, there was also a feeling that the process of bringing forward these proposals for planning approval has been haphazard. For example, he had recently received a notification letter from Colchester Planners saying “Following on from my original notification…….”. DM said that he (and the other residents occupying the homes to the right-hand side of the apartments) had received no previous notification. This had only gone to the occupants of the apartments who are most affected by the Rydon proposals for the St Botolph’s Farm part of the development site. His and the other homes to the right of the apartments will be significantly affected by the 50 homes to be added at a later stage. Does the Council’s letter imply that outline approval is now being sought for the 50 homes? Does this impose a requirement for further notification to statutory and service providers?

It is not easy to see when looking at the Council’s planning website exactly what the obligations are to notify and inform/ consult residents of planning submissions which affect them and how the Council works with the developers.

A further issue highlighted by DM is that as this current application is for only 27 homes i.e. less than 50, the NHS authorities have chosen not to comment as they felt there was little impact on local services. Thus, the application is going in with the lower number but with the strong implication that there is more to follow.

DM also referred to the Myland & Braiswick Neighbourhood Plan (M&BNP) which was approved and became a relevant document in assessing planning applications. The possibility of future development on the St. Botolph’s Farm site was known about and the Neighbourhood Plan states: “MCC and BRA are also aware of a small area of proposed development at St Botolph’s Farm in Braiswick, submitted in response to the CBC 2015 Call for Sites exercise. MCC and BRA anticipate being included in discussions with CBC and developers if this site becomes an option.” It appears to DM that this provision of the Neighbourhood Plan for a discussion with MCC and BRA has been discarded by Colchester Planners.

Resident John Spurr expressed the view that if the planning application is changed all previous comments fall by the wayside thus it is vital for all those who have expressed concerns and objections to resubmit them. MC said that if residents wanted to resubmit objections, they would have to do it by email as the planning website cannot take any more comments.

7. Borough Councillors

a. Councillor Lewis Barber (LB) (Colchester Borough Council Lexden & Braiswick Ward) discussed the following issues:

LB said that earlier in the year he had met local residents to discuss the proposed development and agreed that the current application is part of the site which is included in the emerging local plan however this has not gone through the full rigorous inspection and democratic process where councillors such as himself would vote on its inclusion as a future residential site. So, he would be very unhappy about any indication at this stage that the application would be supported by the Planning Officers. As yet they haven’t given any such indication but If there is a recommendation to approve it, he and his colleagues would do everything they could to prevent it going forward because it is not a site that has gone through the necessary process. He feels that due to such issues as land ownership the proposals are premature. He also highlighted the point made by DM concerning the need for consultations with the Residents’ Association and the Myland Community Council.

He made the point that anyone can put in a planning application for development even if they do not own the land.

He agreed with the point previously made concerning inadequate notification to affected residents which is something he has taken up with the Planning Department before as a general issue and about the need to go beyond their statutory duty especially with a prospective development this size.

Due to its size the application will have to go to Planning Committee rather than be agreed at officer level so it will be possible for interested parties to come along and watch the proceedings with one member of the public speaking for and another against if it gets that far. He and Dennis Willetts would both be speaking against for all the reasons previously articulated i.e. land ownership problems, lack of consultation as required by the M&BNP, premature in view of lack of democratic approval of the emerging local plan etc.

LB appreciated that planning policy and procedure can seem obscure so he and his colleagues were happy to explain any of the issues in more detail and if need be call and see residents at a convenient time. He also reiterated the point made by others about the need to resubmit comments/ objections or make any new ones on the revised application as soon as possible. He and Dennis would be happy to pass these on to the planners if they were sent to them. Brian Jarvis sits on the Planning Committee thus he is unable to comment on the proposals before they get to committee.

In response to a question concerning the programme for the emerging Local Plan, LB said that Part 1 of the Plan related to the ‘Garden Communities’ which will be considered again by the Planning Inspector in January 2020. The 2nd part of the Local Plan which includes reference to the St Botolph’s Farm site etc. will only be considered once the Garden Communities section is approved. LB’s personal opinion is that the Garden Communities will not be approved which will have a dramatic impact on the rest of the Local Plan. Even if the Garden Communities are approved, approval of the 2nd part of the Local Plan is some way off – LB’s guess is Autumn 2020 at the earliest.

RW asked if delay in approving the new Local Plan leaves Colchester at risk to speculative applications?

LB said that because of this risk he had proposed in full council that a ‘Plan B’ be prepared which was unanimously accepted. Thus, if approval of the Garden Communities is derailed then there will be an alternative plan to protect the Borough from speculative development. In effect the Rydon Homes application is speculative development. The Council has to demonstrate that it has a 5-year plan for development and it fails to do so it puts it in a very weak position when developers put applications in and appeal a refusal. LB said that the Borough is on the cusp and in respect of the recent appeal against refusal of housing in West Bergholt, one of the arguments put forward was that there was not a 5-year supply of development sites. He doesn’t want the Rydon Homes site being used to plug a gap.

A question was raised as to the timing of the ‘Plan B’. LB said a timetable has been put forward that, within one month of the completion of the inspection of the Garden Communities section of the emerging Local Plan, a ‘Plan B’ is submitted to the Local Plan Committee on which he sits hopefully by February 2020. A questioner asked whether this new plan would include the Braiswick sites. LB said that he didn’t know – the plan would have to be presented by the officers but his view was that it would largely include the sites. He made the point that the Planning Department was under pressure and lacking resources so at this stage he couldn’t speculate until the plan appears probably in February.

A resident made a general point about the planning process and the potential adverse impact of the Garden Communities or ‘new towns’ which she preferred to call them. LB said that he had always expressed his opposition to them and had written numerous articles and letters expressing this.

Resident John Jefferies suggested that the discussion was getting beyond the scope of local issues – the meeting was concerned with Braiswick issues. LB made the point that he was responding to a question and the situation in respect of the Garden Communities was interlinked with local planning issues. The original questioner said that her point was relevant as the situation with the Garden Communities reflected that in respect of the Braiswick site - there was a lack of consultation and doubt over whether any notice was being taken of comments and objections.

LB said that all comments and objections would definitely be read - whether the Planning Officer agreed with them was a different matter. If the outline application by Rydon Homes is recommended for approval it will go to Planning Committee and he will be there speaking against it and he will let residents know the date of the meeting. In answer to a question from the floor concerning whether the councillors will see all the objections, LB said that, in the information pack the committee members get, the officers will have listed all the key points made by objectors and given their responses. They will than give their recommendation taking all this into account.

DM said that in the large number of documents supplied by the developer in support of the application there are many questionable assumptions made. For example, that children and adults will walk, cycle or use public transport rather than drive or be driven thus there will be no impact on the local roads – with little or no evidence that this actually happens in reality. He again referred back to the apparent inclusion of the extra 50 homes in the revised application which arguably rendered previous consultations with the NHS etc invalid. Can they be challenged on this?

LB said he would check on this and see how large the proposed development had to be to require much wider consultation. He said they would keep residents informed.

On a different subject, LB referred back to the proposed holiday lets in Bakers Lane mentioned by SP in his Chairman’s report. He has just received notification that the applicant has lodged an appeal against refusal of planning approval. This will go to a Planning Inspector for a decision.

LB has spoken to the Portfolio Holder on Colchester Council about the parking issues outside of the Golf Club and the danger created. The response was that there have been no reported accidents although LB has witnessed a crash which the driver concerned declined to report to the police so it didn’t get through to the appropriate authorities.

On the subject of the Bakers Lane road/ drainage repairs he thought Anne Turrell might be able to give an update although it was his understanding that the design work was to be undertaken in this financial year with actual works next – i.e. 2020/2021

b. Councillor Brian Jarvis (BJ) (Colchester Borough Council Lexden and Braiswick Ward) discussed the following issues:

BJ described the ‘locality budget’ which he had also mentioned last year. They had made a successful application for Braiswick Primary School and paid for some outdoor furniture which includes a teaching chair and wooden toadstools so that pupils can spend more time in the open air in fair weather. They worked with the school on this project and it was something they wanted but didn’t have the resources. The furniture should be in situ by the end of November.

BJ said that residents may have noticed that the ‘BRAISWICK’ sign in front of Warwick Bailey Close has gone. BJ reported in the summer that the metal support legs had rotted through and it was in danger of falling over. He asked for it to be removed and a replacement is now awaited. He was told signs have to be ordered in batches and cannot be ordered singly. He checked on the morning of the AGM and was told that the requisite number for an order had been reached and in due course the sign would be replaced.

BJ described the Colchester Woodland Project whereby Colchester Council is aiming to plant 200,000 trees over the next 5 years spread over the Borough. The scheme will be kicked off on the 23 November 2019 and will start in Spring Lane Park in Lexden which is over the other side of the Spring Lane roundabout. If anyone wishes to they can go along at 10.30 on 23 November to participate in a worthwhile occasion.

Referring back to the 6 holiday lets in Bakers Lane mentioned by Lewis which were refused by the Council but now subject to appeal, BL confirmed that the ward councillors did lodge objections to this proposal.

He also confirmed that he sits on the ‘Planning Panel’ thus not allowed to make any public statements on applications otherwise it could jeopardise his ability to sit on the panel. He would advise that it is worth lodging objections to planning applications if you have any as the points made and the volume of local objections are given serious consideration along with all the other relevant factors. If residents can go along to the evening meeting with one to speak on their behalf then that, taken with the volume of written responses, strengthens their case.

c. Councillor Anne Turrell (AT) (Essex County Council Mile End Division) discussed the following issues:

AT said that she had worked out that this was the 17th AGM of the Braiswick Residents’ Association she had been to!

She reminded residents that she was an Essex County Councillor thus dealt with some parts of education, social care, and highways amongst miscellaneous other things. Obviously, highway matters are the things that affect most people at the meeting.

On the subject of Bakers Lane, the information given by LB was correct and thus there was no need to go over it again.

The design for the 20-mph zone on the Fernlea development came to her about a month ago and she was unhappy about it as the very first sign facing the direction of exit traffic from the school was at Camomile Way which she felt was too far away from the exit. She may have delayed things a bit by asking for this to be changed but it was necessary. The ‘STOP’ line will be provided at the school exit at the same time. The Cabinet member had to approve the scheme as it went against normal policy to provide a 20-mph speed limit on developments designed like Fernlea. The ‘cooling-off’ period has passed and no one has called it in thus it will happen. Unfortunately, highways’ matters always seem to take a long time to be resolved.

She has worked with LB on the commuter parking outside of the Golf Club but neither Essex Highways or the North Essex Parking Partnership (NEEP) want to take any action on it.

AT said if anyone had any questions on highways, education of social care she will try to assist.

RW mentioned to AT that he, resident Chris Law and Martin Goss, had a recent meeting with the Headteacher and Site Manager at Braiswick Primary School. It was mentioned that there was some prospect that residents on New Braiswick Park may be seeking parking restrictions on Apprentice Drive. This could have a knock-on effect on Fernlea and the wider Braiswick area if parking was restricted on the whole of Apprentice Drive due for example to transfer of school parental parking. AT said that she had heard about this but it hasn’t got very far. She didn’t quite understand why it would affect Fernlea as parents can park on the school premises for dropping-off etc as they do at West Bergholt School. RW replied that it is very crowded on the school grounds and it would only get worse as the school reached capacity in a couple of years’ time. Whilst most people acted reasonably there are a persistent minority who park in awkward places without due care which probably also happens on Apprentice Drive.

AT said that Fernlea residents could object to any application for parking restrictions on Apprentice Drive but RW replied that a better solution would be to have similar restrictions on Fernlea. AT said that Fernlea residents could put through another application however she recalled the last such effort did not attract sufficient support amongst residents. RW said that the overwhelming majority of those who replied were in favour but there were insufficient responses overall to meet NEEP requirements. It would probably be best to wait to see whether the Apprentice Drive initiative is proceeded with. AT reiterated that this hadn’t got very far yet and she hadn’t been formally notified of the proposal. She made the point that there are no ECC councillors on the NEEP. Colchester Council representative on the NEEP is Mike Lilley.

Resident Ian Stevens asked how the possible min-roundabout at the Fernlea/ B1508 junction would interact with the 20-mph zone. RW said that the Residents’ Association didn’t get anywhere near enough support by way of the resident survey to justify an application for a mini-roundabout. AT said several initiatives had been floated in the locality but 75% support is needed from residents to progress them and this is very difficult to achieve. AT mentioned that the Association couldn’t get enough resident support to deal with commuter parking at the top of Fernlea although it did for the 20 mph.

Resident Chris Law asked whether there was going to be a stop sign as well as a stop line at the school exit onto Fernlea. AT said she wasn’t sure but would check. CL also asked about the new location for the 20 mph sign which AT said was too far away at Camomile Way. AT said ECC hadn’t come back to her yet on this.

CL further asked about the white lines that had been painted on Camomile Way at its junction with Fernlea. They were different from the others that had been painted. He had raised it with her to see if they wrong. She said that it wasn’t wrong as such and served its purpose as a stop line for cars.

Ian Stevens asked if there were to be any ‘no waiting’ signs near the junction between Stonecrop and Fernlea but AT said both she and the Association had tried to get yellow lines on the bend opposite the Stonecrop junction but with no success. Ian asked a follow-up question as to the location of the first 20 mph sign on Fernlea down from the B!508 junction. AT confirmed that there would be a 20-mph sign at the top of Fernlea a short way down from the junction.

8. General Open Discussion.
A question was asked concerning the Golf Club and its views on the proposed Rydon Homes development bearing in mind a parcel of Golf Club land is affected by the current application. Was there anyone here from the Club who would like to speak about it and the impact it would have on their neighbours? It would be nice to hear from them.
SP said that obviously the Club was aware of the meeting but the Association could not speak for them or their views on the subject.

Responding to this question, LB, who was a member of the Golf Club, had spoken to the Club Captain on this subject. LB is of the opinion that the club is not overly pleased about the developer putting in an application over their heads as the submitted master plan potentially undermines anything the club wishes to so with the land. LB did email the club when the application came into Colchester Council to see if it conflicted with any plans they have but they did not come back to him. He will follow this up. LB pointed out that even if the developer’s application was approved, it couldn’t proceed to build on the Golf Club land without agreement. He emphasised again that as far as he was aware the Golf Club was not happy about the current situation but he would follow up his earlier contact to get confirmation.

A resident asked for confirmation of the email address to be used to send Colchester Planner Department comments on the revised Rydon Homes application. Martin Goss (Colchester Councillor Mile End Ward) who was attending the meeting gave the address: ku.vog.retsehclocc|secivres.gninnalp#ku.vog.retsehclocc|secivres.gninnalp . LB said that as Councillor Dennis Willetts (DW) was taking the lead on this so far as the ward councillors were concerned, if residents emailed DW on email address: ku.vog.retsehcloc|sttelliw.sinned.rllc#ku.vog.retsehcloc|sttelliw.sinned.rllc. he would ensure that the planning officers received all the comments sent to him.

A question was raised about the relationship of developers with the planning officers. They were able to have discussions directly with the planning officers but people wishing to comment or object had no such access. DW said that this was the process. The Council’s planners were in the best position to negotiate changes or seek improvements on a set of proposals which was why it was important for everyone interested to submit their comments and objections to the planning department. In making these objections it is also important to explain the basis of the objections using any supporting evidence to back them up.

DW said that the inability to speak directly to the planning officers also applies to councillors. Once the planners have substantially concluded their deliberations and are preparing their recommendations councillors are able to approach them to get an idea of their thinking. He is not particularly happy about this but that is the way the council operated at the moment. In effect Councillors then have to put their energy into the last part of the exercise when the committee report appears, attending the planning committee meeting and then putting the case they wish to support.

DW also mentioned the practice that developers adopt in putting through separate applications for large sites in ‘dribs and drabs’ possibly with the intention of avoiding the more intensive scrutiny of potential impacts which a consolidated application could attract. This is why DW and his colleagues were keen for an application to be submitted for the whole of the St. Botolph’s Farm and adjoining sites rather than just for 27 homes. He made the point that it is not just in Braiswick that this has been done – also for example in Stanway. He made the point that this complies with planning law.

A resident pointed out that the developer had reduced the density of housing on the St. Botolph’s site by 8 houses but had then boosted the number proposed on the adjoining sites owned by others. DW said that as explained before planning is quite separate from land ownership. All an applicant has to do is serve a notice on the land owner to say that an application has been made. That doesn’t mean to say of course that the land owner has to sell the land to the applicant. He felt that the current application had a reduced density with the sole intention of making it easier for it to get approval.

CL asked whether the Rydon Homes developer could use the argument that Colchester has not got a 5-year supply of potential housing sites. DW said that the Local Plan covers a 15-year period providing a strategic plan of how the Council will accommodate the future development of its area in terms of housing, schools, business, industry etc. At any one time in the 15-year cycle it has to show that it has identified development sites covering the next 5-year period. The Planning Committee will normally then only approve applications for major development in those areas it has identified in its rolling 5-year programme. If there is a 5 year ‘land bank’ the presumption is that development can only take place in those areas. If you fall below the 5-year limit then there could be a presumption that you can develop anywhere you like as long as the proposal is not obviously harmful to the locality. That is a dangerous position to be in for a local authority.

Because the new Local Plan should have been in place by now but has been delayed for the reasons discussed earlier, the land bank is getting depleted and there have been challenges from developers. However, to date the Council’s officers have demonstrated that there are still ample sites for development.

There followed a few minutes of discussion about general planning policy which DW and LB answered but which were not specific to Braiswick. Both DW and LB emphasised again that any residents who thought the Rydon Homes development is harmful to the area should ensure that they put their objections and reasons in writing to the Colchester Planning Department.

Close of Meeting
In closing Stephen Pitt said that he hoped the meeting had been informative and thanked the speakers for attending. The Councillors would be around for a little longer if anyone wished to speak to them. In conclusion he thanked the Golf Club and staff for their hospitality and the use of their lounge.
The meeting was declared closed at 9.25 p.m.

N.B. These Minutes remain as 'draft' until approved at the next AGM

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