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 add: “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’.
Colchester Borough Council Conservative Group welcomes the consultations on the St. Botolph's Circus and its associated traffic circulation.
Highways Spokesperson, Cllr Jackie Maclean said: "We are delighted that Essex County Council is committed to improving the area and funding is available to provide improvements to vehicular traffic, buses, pedestrians and cyclists along the A134 Southway corridor and St Botolph’s Circus. The roundabout is often congested with traffic and this will continue to worsen if improvements are not made.
The junction currently experiences significant congestion in the peak hours. A collision analysis found that most of the collisions in the study area were concentrated around St Botolph’s Circus roundabout. Safety for vulnerable road users within this area is poor. 11 of the 18 reported injury collisions involved pedestrians, pedal cyclists or powered two-wheeler users (such as motorcycles).
In addition, pedestrians and cyclists currently navigate the roundabout using a dangerous underpasses that are unappealing and the open space below the surface attracts antisocial behaviour."
Cllr Simon Crow, Conservative Borough Councillor for Castle Ward, which includes the Town Centre and St Botolphs circus, added "These proposed improvements to St Botolph’s Circus are critical to improving the infrastructure of Colchester. They will aim to improve congestion, reduce collisions as well as improving safety for residents and improving the aesthetics of the area and complement the heritage of the town."
The current plans include:
- Infill the roundabout and subways, ensuring the public artwork is preserved and moved to a suitable location
- Alter the shape and size of the island in the middle of the roundabout to increase carriageway capacity
- Provide an additional lane on the eastern and southern sides to maintain three lanes around the roundabout
- Install additional signals and a toucan crossing on the A134 Magdalen Street
- Improve the junction at the entrance to Colchester Magistrates’ Court and Colchester Town railway station
- Improve the surrounding streetscape by removing unnecessary street furniture and signage, upgrading footway surfacing, adding tree planting and feature lighting, and creating a series of pocket parks
Conservative Group Leader, Cllr Robert Davidson, said that it was good to see Conservatives again taking the lead on improving Colchester's infrastructure. The residents of Colchester would dearly like to know what are the Lib-Dem & Labour Coalition plans for Queen’s Street and the surrounding area. After 11 years in power at the Town Hall we are still waiting for the Coalition to make up its mind.
Conservative Group Civic Appointments 2019-20
|Group Leader||Cllr Robert Davidson|
|Deputy Leader||Cllr Lewis Barber|
|Group Chairman||Cllr Kevin Bentley|
|Group Secretary||Cllr Paul Dundas|
|Group Whip||Cllr Jackie Maclean|
|Strategy||Cllr Robert Davidson|
|Culture and Performance||Cllr Simon Crow|
|Business and Resources||Cllr Barbara Wood|
|Commercial Services||Cllr Paul Dundas|
|Communities, Wellbeing & Public Safety||Cllr Lewis Barber|
|Customers||Cllr Pauline Hazell|
|Housing||Cllr Nigel Chapman|
|Waste, Environment & Transportation||Cllr Jackie Maclean|
|Chairman Scrutiny Panel||Cllr Beverly Davies|
|Vice-Chair Scrutiny Panel||Cllr Kevin Bentley|
|Planning Committee||Cllr Pauline Hazell|
|Local Plan Committee||Cllr Andrew Ellis|
|Licencing Committee||Cllr Roger Buston|
|Governance & Audit Committee||Cllr Dennis Willetts
|Policy||Cllr Christopher Arnold|
|Heritage||Cllr Simon Crow|
|Environment||Cllr Peter Chillingworth|
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.
Colchester Conservatives are pleased to announce their new Group Leader will be Cllr Robert Davidson (Mersea & Pyefleet Ward).
Cllr Davidson was first elected in 1998 and has previously been both Leader of the Conservative Group and Leader of the Council, offering valuable experience to the role. He has lived and farmed here all his life, growing crops across the Borough.
To support him, the Deputy Leader will be Cllr Lewis Barber (Lexden & Braiswick Ward), an enthusiastic, younger member of the Council.
With 23 members, Colchester Conservatives remain the largest single party on the Borough Council. Cllr Davidson anticipates continuing to be in opposition if Labour, Liberal Democrats and Highwoods groups again form a Coalition to run the Council.
Commenting on his new role Cllr Davidson said: 'I am looking forward to scrutinising the work of the coalition council. I am particularly looking forward to helping develop our next generation of community leaders. We have some real shining stars and I see my role as supporting any initiatives offering a brighter future for our borough.’
Cllr Davidson added: 'I pay tribute to our former Leader, Castle Ward Councillor Darius Laws, who earned respect across the chamber with his new ideas for Colchester, some of which the Council have delivered especially around his passion for a cleaner town centre, tourism, Colchester's Roman heritage and his love of the bicycle !’
- Lib-Dem and Labour Coalition determined to concrete over North Essex
- Conservatives wecome consultations on Colchester's St. Botolph's Circus
- Conservatives support adoption of the Wivenhoe Neighbourhood Plan
- Conservative Group Civic Appointments 2019-20
- CBC Conservative Group elects Cllr Robert Davidson as their Leader
- Essex Highways reports on the technical problems of resurfacing A1124 Lexden Road
- Manifesto Launched
- Conservative Intentions for Colchester's Local Plan
- Conservatives oppose controversial plans for massive student accommodation in the Cultural Quarter
- Conservatives consider an alternative approach to local planning
- Tackling Town Centre Crime
- Aggressive begging in the Town Centre must be stopped.
- Council going backwards on the recycling of plastics
- Conservative viewpoint on Jumbo: The Elephant in the room
- Tackling Litterbugs And Restoring Civic Pride
- Crime Issues in the New Town & Hythe Community
- The Conservative Group