Dear Bloody Garden Villages…

The bloody Garden Villages: they won’t go away.

And so another week, another tit-for-tat letter writing exercise.

It’s all about trying to get that nice government Inspector on board after his *ahem* letter last June that showed that the plans were officially ‘unsound.’

The three BIG HITTERS from the three council involved have all signed a letter of Carry on Regardless.

Cllr Tim Young has also added his signature.

Basically it’s another self-promotional piece to try and justify how North Essex Garden Communities Ltd got into this mess, propped up with public funds.

The only way out is to… spend, spend spend more taxpayers money.

And whaddyaknow?

The good ship NEGC is hellbent on plotting the exact same ‘unsound’ course.

The letter reads:

“Over the last few months there has been a great deal of speculation about the North Essex Garden Community proposals following the Planning Inspector’s letters published in June.”

You say speculation; we say serious concern.

“The last thing any of us want to see is large scale housing estates or soulless bland commuter entities which will never provide the strategic infrastructure North Essex needs.”

This is a classic Strawman argument that we have come to expect from the three councils involved. It’s Project Fear being played out at a local level.

“For these reasons, continuing to develop the Garden Community proposals is the right approach for the benefit of our communities, and current and future generations.”

Thankfully there remains legal and planning regulations that the main players need to navigate before they can push through their unsound plans.

You’d get better odds on Col U winning the Champions League within the next five years to be honest.

Signed:

Cllr Graham Butland, Leader, Braintree District Council (Conservative)

Cllr Mark Cory, Leader, Colchester Borough Council (Lib Dem)

Cllr Tim Young, Deputy Leader, Colchester Borough Council (Labour)

Cllr Neil Stock OBE, Leader, Tendring District Council (Conservative)

In response the Campaign Against Urban Sprawl in Essex has addressed the claims made by NEGC in another public letter: [pdf]

“The letter from the Authorities to the inspector dated 19 October sets out what we believe is an extremely unrealistic timetable for the further work required by the Inspector.”

CAUSE highlights how the ‘pressure’ of the local election cycle appears to be governing the urgency coming from NEGC.

You can see how this works at a local level.

The ‘progressive alliance’ of the LibDems and Labour in Sunny Colch are but one seat away from being kicked out of power. They need to be seen to be in control of this agenda before the next set of local elections in May.

It gets a little more interesting when you consider that not all local ‘progressive alliance’ Cllr’s are signed up to the grand vision of their Leaders…

CAUSE calls for:

“Adequate time and care are taken now to ensure that any proposals are realistic and robust.”

aka please don’t waste any more public money.

This was a point raised at CBC Full Council on Wednesday evening. Conservative Cllr Dennis Willetts questioned why financial scrutiny of the plans hasn’t taken place.

CAUSE continue:

“We believe that any Plan submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in March 2019 will be extremely unlikely to be sound.”

UNSOUND.

You listening?

NEGC keeps on banging the infrastructure drum as though it is a virtue that will get them through this car crash of a plan.

CAUSE can see right through this. Residents also want infrastructure; simply repeating the mantra without adding in any evidence leaves you looking a little naked.

Which is not a very nice thought…

“How is it possible to select alternatives, assess alternatives, explain choices and choose the most appropriate alternative in the absence of evidence of viability, employment and transport provision?”

In conclusion from CAUSE:

“Finally, we are ever more concerned that the public behaviour of the NEA’s points to closed minds and a lack of objective thinking. The view presented to the public is that the same three garden community proposals submitted previously will ‘make the grade’ with a little tweaking of the evidence.”

To be fair to NEGC there wasn’t even any tweaking of the evidence in the piss poor puff piece of a website that put up to try and fool investors.

Beware the Ides of March, Comrades.

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