Work to identify the best sites for more than 12,000 new homes to be built in Tendring over the next 17 years is to continue.
A number of locations across the District have been put forward, evidence will carry on being gathered and talks held with interested parties before proposals go out for consultation.
Around 300 people turned up to a meeting of Tendring District Council’s (TDC) Local Plan Committee at Clacton Town Hall.
A 600 plus page agenda pin-pointed sites already being considered to meet the requirement of 12,120 dwellings by 2031.
These include 3,634 in Clacton; 1,358 in Harwich and Dovercourt; 1,100 in Weeley, 952 in Frinton and Walton; 655 in Manningtree, Mistley and Lawford; 231 in Brightlingsea; 543 across other rural villages and a potential 3,000 plus homes close to the border of Tendring and Colchester, subject to agreement with Colchester Borough Council.
TDC is also looking at potential employment sites to create thousands of new jobs over the same time period.
Some of the residents who attended the meeting questioned the need for more 12,000 new homes but were informed that the evidence backed the numbers.
Richard Matthams, TDC’s Planning Policy Team Leader, said it was fully understood that communities were not in favour of that level of growth.
“Due to the Government’s policy to boost the supply of housing, the number is no longer up for debate – but where they go is up for debate,” he said.
“There is a real danger that if we don’t have a Local Plan in place that we will be left open to speculative development and any development that is shown to be sustainable will get approved on appeal. We are caught between a rock and a hard place.”
The committee heard that developers have already put forward five new proposals including ‘Hartley Gardens’ in Bockings Elm, Clacton with 2,500 homes and ‘Tendring Central’ around Frating Green and Hare Green of 1,500 to 2,000 homes plus 40 hectares of land for business and industrial development.
There are also smaller alternative development proposals being promoted by landowners and developers including 164 dwellings off The Street, Little Clacton; 50 off St Andrews Close, Alresford and 50 off Thorpe Road, Kirby Cross.
Carlo Guglielmi, TDC’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Corporate Services, said the next stage is for officers to continue with their work before the document goes out for public consultation.
He said that a further report will come back to the committee before that consultation takes place.
“We listened to Ward Members, Town and Parish Councils and our residents before and came up with a plan for just under 6,000 new homes,” he added.
“We have been categorically told by Planning Inspectors that if we went forward with that figure our Local Plan would be rejected along with the plans of 50 to 60 other local authorities. We need to move forward from that position.”
Cllr Guglielmi added that all the five new proposals, which were not recommended by officers as they either did not comply with the sustainably criteria and for other reasons, could have been brought forward before now.
“This shows that we are fortunate not to have already received planning applications for unwanted development,” he said.
News from Tendring District Council