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In 2012 over 1400 houses were put forward by developers for inclusion in the Local Plan to be built in the Great & Little Oakley ward. This was mostly in Little Oakley.
I opposed such large scale development in the ward as did hundreds of local people from our villages. This feedback was listened to by Tendring District Council planners and we are now expecting to see only 55 houses built within the Great & Little Oakley ward between now and 2031.
Most importantly for Little Oakley, Little Oakley is now proposed to be removed from the Harwich urban development area and be re-classified as a rural settlement. I have campaigned for this for the last 7 years and made representations to achieve this both this time and at the public inquiry for the previous Local Plan published in 2007. The good news is that Tendring District Council has now taken notice of my representations and has reclassified Little Oakley as a smaller rural development. This offers us additional protection against future development and gives additional protection to our rural services such as our pub, school and post office.
I made two representations to the last Local Plan this as District Councillor, the first representation regarding the District Ward of Great & Little Oakley with additional comments on Horsley Cross, and the second regarding the proposed development on the Horse Rangers land in Ramsey as this directly affects many residents of the Great & Little Oakley ward.
The Local Plan Committee was set up in 2014. I sit on that committee as the representative for the Independent Group.
I oppose the building of 12120 new houses in Tendring by 2031 as I do not accept that these are required. Between 2001 and 2011 the population of Tendring fell by 491 people:
Change in population within Tendring, 2001 to 2011
At the same time, the vacancy rate within Tendring increased from 5.1% to 7.2%
Change in vacancy rate within Tendring, 2001 to 2011
Given that Tendring was building an average of around 400 houses per year between 2001 and 201, then this chows that against a falling population, the housing development was driving an increase in vacant properties due to lack of housing demand. Taking into account the economic downturn from 2008 onwards, then it may be reasonable to assume that 400 new houses per year is reasonable. However, these figures do not in any way support the proposed plan to increase housebuilding to around 700 houses per year which is a 75% increase in historical housebuilding against a falling population and increasing vacancy rate, and is not justification to propose increasing the number of households in Tendring by around 19% by 2031.
The real driver behind the demand that we are expected to plan for is the need for us to expand to accommodate the need for people to migrate from other areas due to their housing shortages and our house prices being relatively low compared to such areas.
I recorded my opposition to the proposal to build 12,120 new houses at the Local Plan Committee. The inclusion of 12120 new houses in the Local Plan was voted through by the Conservative and Labour members of the Local Plan Committee
At the December 2014 meeting, proposals were put forward to remove all strategic green gaps and coastal protection belts from the Local Plan. Strategic green gaps protect rural villages from merging with neighbouring villages and towns. I spoke strongly against the removal of these green gaps and moved an amendment that successfully retained the strategic green gaps in the new Local Plan. Similarly, I argued for the retention of the coastal protection belts, and these to are currently retained in the Local Plan.