The year started with ‘Regulation 14’ when the community and stakeholders were asked to read and answer a questionnaire on the draft Neighbourhood Plan. We had an excellent response, with over 300 returns. Thank you!
This has been a busy year for the group, we are pressing ahead trying to progress the plan as fast as we can while allowing for the many and various rules and regulations.
To date we have:
- Reviewed the community and stakeholders’ responses to the Regulation 14 questionnaire. Changes are being incorporated into the Regulation 15 Plan and we hope to have the draft completed by Christmas.
- Habitat Regulation Assessment (HRA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) were commissioned. These form part of our evidence base and are now complete.
- A housing strategy report was commissioned to assess the allocated sites in the plan and ensure that the Parish is providing its quota of new homes in line with Braintree District Council and regional policy.
- The infrastructure policy has been re-examined and whilst we cannot build new roads, it looks like some of the ‘Aspirational Polices’; such as the Kelvedon to Coggeshall Cycleway, may be included in the Plan as a planning policy. This gives them greater weight to be taken forward by resident groups and / or the PC and attract funding.
- The Village Design Guide is now complete and will form part of the Plan. This document advises planning applications on the design and layout of new development, large and small, so that they may enhance the village and the rural landscape. We hope that this will become a guide for the community in general. Developers do not have to adhere to its content, but if they don’t, they must have good reason!
- When the draft Plan is ready it will be presented to the Parish Council for approval. The community will be invited to attend to learn more.
- We are currently working on the formal documentation that must be submitted with the Regulation 15 plan.
Following regulations 15 & 16 we hope to take the Plan to public referendum in mid-2020 after which it will become a legal planning document. This is dependent on a successful examination by the planning inspector.
- Landuse Consultants were commissioned by BDC, Tendring and Colchester councils to re look at garden communities. We responded to the scoping opinion on this assessment with the Monkswood Garden Community (north of the A120, 80% of which is in Coggeshall Parish), and the ‘Non garden community’ which proposed infill of all the land from West Street up and around to the east of Coggeshall including the ‘Bovis’ site firmly at the forefront of our minds. The infill south of the A120 has now been excluded from further assessments though Monkswood remains.
- Higgins, the developers of the Dutch Nursery, have received full planning permission for the site. The CNP group put forward their comments on the design detail to CPC which were submitted by the CPC to BDC. We found the design detail to be generally poor and unimaginative and asked that standards be improved.
- Land at Colchester Road, the ‘Bovis’ site:
- In December 2018 Braintree District Council (BDC) approved an application by Bovis to build 300 houses at the Colchester Road site. The Coggeshall Neighbourhood Plan subcommittee had objected to this application but given BDC approved it, the site has now had to be included as an allocated site in the Coggeshall Neighbourhood Plan.
- The position of the CNP committee and the Parish Council is that now we have this development we must try to influence it positively. We need to try and prevent this new community from being isolated at the edge of Coggeshall and ensure that the architectural and landscape design will in the future contribute positively to the character of the Parish. If the CNP does not take this opportunity, then there will be no say on what the development looks like.
- The CNP subcommittee therefore wrote the site policy for this site with these aims in mind. In addition, we progressed the production of a Village Design Guide so that its content can help to shape the design and layout of the site.
- We are pleased to report that we are making progress. A draft of the Village Design Guide was approved by the Parish Council and it was sent to the Bovis design team. Following this, a group of representatives of the Parish Council and the CNP sub committee met with representatives of Bovis and their design team to discuss the aspects of the scheme that concerned us and could be improved. We found Bovis to be open to ideas, and while not everything we asked for has been accepted, some has including aspects around design and layout to improve the character of the development.
- We can report the following progress from a recent meeting between Bovis, their design team, and PC and CNP representatives:
- There are 4-character areas for new homes in the development which have a greater variety of housing types and finishes to reflect the variety of housing types in Coggeshall.
- The new houses that back on homes along the Colne Road / St Peters Rd are now bungalows so they are less visually intrusive to the existing homes.
- All new homes are to have charging points for electric vehicles and plus communal charging points.
- The landscape plans have been developed with 3 distinct landscape character types with ecological diversity and different play opportunities, including a zip wire and trim trail. Existing trees and hedgerows will be retained and new trees (including species distinct to Coggeshall), will be planted.
- Ponds and retention ponds (dry to take water in high rainfall events) will be created next to the stream. These will also have ecological benefits.
- The footpath from the site to St Peters road (The Essex Way) and will be upgraded.
- The developer is for artwork ideas within the landscape, ideally from a local artist.
- The noise attenuation bund to the A120 has been remodelled to make it more interesting.
- A planning application to address reserved matters (design detail) will be submitted by the end of 2019, this is your chance to comment again.
- Other Planning Applications:
- IWMF (incinerator). Planning permission for the increased stack height was refused by ECC earlier this year. The deadline has now passed to appeal this decision. The Environment Agency must now issue their decision on whether the applicant can operate the incinerator with the lower, 35m high stack which was granted planning permission 10 years ago.
- The quarry / flood mitigation plans for the area adjacent to the Coggeshall Hamlet and down to the village are expected to be submitted for planning permission by the Environment Agency in conjunction with Blackwater Aggregates early next year.
- An application to convert Martin’s, the former newsagent on Church Street, into one residential home, one residential flat and two commercial properties is with BDC for assessment.
Thank you to the community for your support to date and please remember that you are welcome to join us at our meetings which are open to the public to comment or just listen.
Please keep up to date on our website or Facebook page:
Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and a ‘made’ plan in the New Year!
The Coggeshall Neighbourhood Plan Subcommittee.