The Issues and Options consultation has ended. The Councils are processing the responses and gradually putting them onto their joint web site. NEGC has said there were about 1,000 responses to the three consultations. At the time of writing there were less than 700 on the web site, so they still have a fair bit of work to do.
Of the responses posted to date, almost half were for the TCBGC. This is gratifying. It suggests HOW’s work to publicise the consultation and to make responding easier has paid off.
The Councils will next analyse the responses. The comments will help shape the next iteration of plans. This will result in a Preferred Options Plan, which is likely to be published and consulted on later this year.
The CBC emerging Local Plan was also subject to public examination in January. Hands Off Wivenhoe attended the hearing but was not allowed to participate. However Wivenhoe’s position was represented by Wivenhoe Town Council and Wivenhoe Society. During the hearing three very clear legal challenges were made to the plan. Firstly, the lawful use of Compulsory Purchase powers to buy the land. Using this statutory power is key to the financial models working. Secondly, Dr. Chris Gibson presented a legal calling with regard to the habitat assessments that had been prepared and weren’t adequate. And finally, a land promoter raised legal issues on the legality of how the sites were chosen. Because of this there is now a date set to repeat parts of the hearing.
Obviously, there were a lot of other issues the Inspector is considering before his report is given, and lots of rewriting of the plan has already been done by the Councils following issues raised. The biggest concern for us, (as well as the definition of the development area for each site), is the infrastructure. Nothing said at the hearing has convinced us that the wish list in the Issues and Options document, can, or will, turn into something deliverable.