Bloody Garden Villages Begging for More Dosh

Bloody Garden Villages (BGV) are back on the agenda [pdf] when the CBC Cabinet next meets at the Town Hall on 6 September.

BGV, CBC, ECC, F-ALL etc.

To give the agenda item the gravitas that it no doubt deserves, Cabinet will be considering:

North Essex Garden Communities- Progress to date and key developments

We can cut to the chase and summarise it as:

“Shit. We need more money.”

The #localgov waffle optimistically observes that the BGV:

“Enables the four Councils to plan positively for the future homes and jobs needed across the area.”

That area happens to be your own home if you are thinking of moving to a BGV. CBC has forecast that 18.75% of residents will be homeworkers.

As for the grand ambitions of the BGV?

“They seek to reduce urban sprawl and unfettered expansion of smaller heritage communities.”

You try selling the urban sprawl argument to the likes of the tireless CAUSE; the heritage angle won’t exactly win you friends at Wivenhoe Town Council either.

This planning ahead of Planning doesn’t come cheap.

The four Councils involved in the land grab (CBC, ECC, Braintree and Tending) have already each lobbed a cool quarter of a million pounds into the pot.

Cabinet on Wednesday will hear that less that a year on since CBC agreed to partner the ambitious plans, the BGV project is already a further £1M under-funded.

And we trust these people to deliver 40,000 plus homes and infrastructure on budget?

The short-term solution is that all four partners are now being asked to cough up a further £250,000 each.

This will cover expenditure only for 2017/18. It “may not be recoverable.”

This is #localgov shorthand for covering your political arse.

Yes, PLEASE DO cover your political arse.

Especially YOU, Sir.

And so a further £250,000 for a scheme that no one in Colchester wants, except for the LibLabIndie love in lot and the landowners.

Fancy that.

But wait! There’s more…

“The process to prepare a Long Term Business Plan will involve a further budget review. No land deals have been secured, discussions and negotiations are continuing in respect of all three areas.”

It would be unfortunate if the further budget review and the land grab led to nothing…

Also key to the Cabinet report on 6 September is the emergence of the New Town Town Development Corporation.

Don’t get excited if you live in New Town. You’re old news, folks.

The report explains:

“New Town Development Corporation with local accountability has now emerged as a realistic option for the onward development of the project.”

This represents a significant power shift. CBC and the other Essex players are now in the hands of the big boys and girls in Westminster.

The closure of a NTDC can only be brought about by Parliament.

We have seen in recent weeks what a wonderful working relationship CBC has with some of the key players in our patch over at Westminster…

As ever with #localgov bodies and bodies within bodies [ewww] then someone wants paying for all this effort:

“The initial funding of the NTDC(s) will be supported through borrowing either by the NTDC acting as main borrower or by Local Authorities borrowing and onward lending to NTDC. If the latter option is selected we would need to consider the subsequent impact on Local Authority budgets.”

Put simply, CBC will need to cough up once again.

The BGV project remains strictly party political.

Sure, those nice Tories over in Tendring are backing the scheme. But only because the bulk of ‘their’ houses will fall on the CBC border.

We are now entering the stage where the poxy party politics is about to face the harsh reality of pounds and pence.

The value of your property may go up, or down, Comrades.

One thought on “Bloody Garden Villages Begging for More Dosh

  1. I’m still struggling to understand why Colchester and the other boroughs are so very keen on the BGVs. They’ve fiddled the new house figures (so-called Objectively Assessed Housing Need); they don’t need the BGV properties in the Local Plan period to 2033; they’ve not looked at alternatives; they’ve not justified why they’ve gone for these locations; their cost estimates for infrastructure are far, far too low; and they reckon 3 x as many people will work from home compared with other places, so they are fudging the employment figures too. Now it seems the costs of trying to fix evidence to fit the (not pre-determined) decision, are running way above budgets. What local people need is a thousand or two of properly affordable homes, not 34,000 commuter dormitories. Surely that fits a Liberal/Labour profile more than this risky mega development BGV?
    Capricornian

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