Local Plan and the Bloody Garden Villages

The CBC Local Plan Committee is becoming increasingly important.

It has always been of interest behind the scenes, but y’know: it’s not the most SEXIEST of #localgov mechanisms.

Throw on to the agenda Tollgate, the Northern Gateway and the bloody Garden Villages and you can see how the Local Plan is the means in which this town will be carved up over the next decade or so.

The agenda [pdf] for the next meeting on 30 August has been published. It included background reading on how CBC is progressing with the bloody Garden Villages.

As a reminder: the role of the Local Plan Committee is to consult and form policy around how the borough grows.

These are then used as the guiding principles for the BIG boys and girls of Cabinet as they attempt to regenerate Sunny Colch without pissing off local people.

We think we’ve got this right.

And so what we have on the agenda in the Grand Jury Room next Wednesday are a series of briefing papers.

The Local Plan Committee asked officers to come back with some further detail for the two bloody Garden Villages – one at West Tey and the other that swallows any spare land towards the Tendring border.

Build it and they will come, etc.

But where will all these new people work?

We’re talking a HUGE increase in the local population here: 24,000 homes West of Colchester, and 9,000 to the East.

Note this is the number of homes, and not adults of a working age…

On the agenda on 30 August will be:

Local Plan Employment Position Paper

The report rather optimistically claims:

“The Colchester Braintree Borders Garden Community is anticipated to generate 1.17 jobs and Tendring/Colchester Borders Garden Community 1.55 jobs per dwelling.”

Gis a job, etc.

But where are these jobs going to come from?

The brains behind this operation believe that it will mostly be self-generated. Build a bloody Garden Village, and the residents will work within the community.

It all sounds very Trumpton:

“Both of the Colchester-related Garden Communities, are likely to be associated with significant jobs growth, where jobs linked to exogenous growth processes are presumed to be physically on site, those linked to homeworking will be physically associated with the homes of residents and therefore also on site, and those related to the consumption of local services may or may not be on site, but all will be reasonably local.”

There is also the suggestion that ongoing construction will lead to new jobs:

“Construction which will grow in response to new development and well as the demand for repairs and improvements.”

Which is a little insular and inward-looking to be honest.

The report enters fantasy land when it states:

“18.75% of jobs are anticipated to be homeworking.”

GOSH.

Not *that* type of homeworking.

Failing that then there is always the Knowledge Gate over at the University:

“The Knowledge Gateway and University reflects opportunities associated with the growth plans for the University of Essex and the benefits linked to the new Garden Community to the east of Colchester.”

The Knowledge Gateway didn’t get off to the best of starts when trying to attract new businesses to move in…

Elsewhere on the Local Plan agenda is the:

Local Plan Transport Position Paper

This highlights the impact of the bloody Garden Villages on transport:

“Traffic modelling suggests 40% growth by 2032 in the number of vehicle trips in peak periods compared to the modelled base year (2007).”

Allow this thought to pass through your mind as you are stuck in another traffic jam around North Station.

Finally the Local Plan Committee has attempted to defend itself from the fierce criticism over the consultation from the likes of Priti Patel MP:

“There has been criticism made of the Council and this provides an opportunity to clarify the process. In terms of the website, it is acknowledged that it is a new system and will take people a while to get used to.”

Does CBC carry out UX sessions?

Plus:

“At the time of writing the best guess for the number of representations received was approximately 1000.”

Best guess.

Bless.

Much for the Local Plan Committee to consider when it next meets at the Grand Jury Room on 30 August.