Smoked Filled Room Deal Breaks North Essex Garden Communities Deadlock

Last Night Lots of work done before the meeting between the Lib/lab coalition and the Tory group apparently – well done. They however insisted no coalition chair – hence technically ‘deadlock’ where an officer has to chair. Colchester Gazette
CONTROVERSIAL new towns containing more than 20,000 homes must have a Government commitment to new infrastructure before even one house is built, council bosses say.
Alongside Tendring and Braintree councils, Colchester Council was presented with three options from a planning inspector after the controversial proposals were judged to be “unjustified” and “unsound” at this stage.
But the committee agreed a “fourth way” which had been thrashed out by leaders of Colchester Council’s main parties.
The agreement gives a commitment to continue working alongside the two authorities but also states commitment is “dependent on funding for the necessary strategic infrastructure being confirmed, them being proven financially viable and environmentally sound”.
It adds: “The North Essex authorities will provide the further evidence requested by the inspector under an alternative option which will show any Colchester and Braintree Borders Garden Community being planned for the later years of the housing trajectory of the local plan and any Colchester and Braintree Borders Garden Community and Colchester and Tendring Border Garden Community proposals dependent on necessary strategic infrastructure being committed.
“It will also be imperative to prove the economic viability for garden communities and to ensure future housing growth is matched with economic growth.”
The move also calls for a larger number of potential alternative sites to be carried out. It is believed that could include areas such as Weeley and Thorpe le Soken, which already have main line train stations.
The agreement adds: “Should the necessary strategic infrastructure for the garden communities not be committed after a reasonable period of time, this will trigger a review of the local plan to manage the consequential shortfall in housing delivery in a way that does not overburden the infrastructure of existing communities/settlements.” Colchester Council leader Mark Cory told the meeting: “It is important to understand that we have listened and we are addressing some of the points which have been turned up.
“We have listened to the inspector and his letters and [have put forward] what we want to see for our communities while accepting the need for growth.”
The senior Lib Dem added: “This is a hybrid which allows us to make progress and carry out the work on the sustainability assessments.”
The leader also reiterated his pledge to see no development south of the A133 in relation to any Colchester/Tendring border settlement.
Labour boss and deputy leader of the council Tim Young outlined the reasons a local plan must be in place – to deter “greedy developers” – and added it is “essential” a road linking the A133 and A120 is in place before any work on the planned eastern settlement begins.
He added: “If that isn’t the case, it is a non-starter. We must have the infrastructure and that is loud and clear in our wording.
“There is housing coming in Colchester and there needs to be. There are a lot of families who just cannot get on the housing ladder and we want to address that in this local plan.”

The Choice of the Final Western Route for Ox Cam Expressway Should be Devolved to the Oxfordshire JSP – The Project will Fail Otherwise @kitmalthouse

Highways England is in danger of creating 2 years of blight across a 30 km wide corridor in Middle England, potentially derailing the whole corridor project a it, necessarily, becomes the focus for opposition.

This is potentially a cluster*** you can she coming years in advance.

The Romans never built roads to nowhere, straight lines yes but between their towns and Garrisons set up in strategic positions.  We are now faced with a chicken and egg position of delaying the Oxfordshire Joint Strategic Plan and choice of strategic growth locations consultation till 2020.

This is unnecessary.  Why not consult on ‘realistic options’ (as required by law, on the expressway route western section and strategic growth locations AT THE SAME TIME.  What a radical silo bust thought.

The route south of Oxford, if effectively would support growth at Grenoble, Hadenham/Thame and Culham, North might notionally support growth any Begbrooke/Yarnton but a southern route would take a lot of traffic off the A34.  In any event IT WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIGHWAYS ENGLAND TO MODEL ANY IMPACTS WITHOUT ADDING TRAFFIC ASSESSMENT UNITS TO THEIR MODEL WHICH INCLUDE THE PREDICTED LOCATION AND SCALE OF GROWTH.

What is more or the first time and place there will be an ‘Administrative Process’ for the Corridor, in that the NPPF (and new NPPG as set out yesterday) set one down for JSP strategic policies.  As such the Highways Agency will likley face multiple legal challenges if they dont do an SEA of the New Town/Garden Communities options and Route options together if they merely assume the growth options (prior to any consultation) in their two models.

If you can see an omishambles coming – time for transport and planning ministers to speak to each other.

Devolve the decision.  It will be a tough one, the leader of Oxfordshire CC and South Oxfordshire are die in the ditch over the route, but in a tough decision like this it if far better the flack is taken locally.  The condition, if they dont take it within 12 months they should lose ALL government growth and housing funding.