Questions

This section of the site intended to answer some of the most common questions we get asked. If you can't find an answer to a specific question, you can ask your own question using the form below. We will email you back an answer to your question as soon as possible. If we think other people might be interested we will add the question and answer to the list below.

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Traffic

What are you going to do about the traffic problems at North Station?

Essex County Council and Colchester Borough Council are working together to agree a strategy for dealing with the North Station area and which we understand will be published soon.  We will support this strategy, contribute to the improvements it identifies and invest in other necessary off-site improvements.  Importantly, we will make sure that new residents have meaningful travel choices.  We will invest in public transport to make this convenient, attractive and reliable, and a meaningful alternative to using the car. We will also make it easy to walk and cycle within the scheme, to the station, and oto ther nearby facilities.  We will also provide facilities on-site (such as schools and shops) which mean that some journeys are very local.  We know that some people will still need to, or choose to use their cars, but we will make sure there are other choices available. 

How will construction traffic access the site?

We will carefully manage construction traffic and use designated routes to move to and from the site.  These routes will be chosen to reduce inconvenience and disturbance to existing residents around the site.   Before we can start construction, we will need to demonstrate how issues such as dust and mud on the road will be controlled to maintain highway safety and avoid nuisance. 

How will local traffic be affected, are there any projections or have there been any studies made?

We will minimise the impact of the development on local traffic by making it as easy as possible for new residents to use public transport, to walk and cycle.  Packs will be provided to residents when they move in giving them informaiton about public transport, pedestrian and cycle routes. We know, however, that not everyone can or will use public transport, or walk or cycle.  Because of that, we will also make some improvements to the local road network, complementing the strategic improvements being made by Essex County Council and Colchester Borough Council.

The traffic impacts of the development will be assessed independently using Essex County Council's 'Saturn' transport model.  This will estimate the amount of traffic generated by the development, and allow us to design necessary mitigation.  Essex County Council and the Highways Agency will consider our application when it is submitted, and along with Colchester Council, decide whether it is acceptable and should be granted planning permission.  The application can only be granted planning permission if Essex and Colchester Councils believe that the effect on traffic is acceptable.

 

Will bus routes be planned through the development?

The primary street through the development has been designed to be the main bus route, ensuring that all homes are within easy walking distance of bus services.  Services will connect through the new neighbourhood centre to the town centre and other important destinations.   The services will be established during the first phases of the development, and will be paid for by the developer for the first years.  The services will be extended into subsequent phases of develoment as they are completed. Eventually, the service will connect all the way through the site, connecting from north to south and into the surrounding areas. 

How will local traffic access the new development?

Access into and out of the development will be different depending on how you are travelling.

On foot and by cycle, there will be lots of points of access to the south, east and west of the development.  These will connect to Bergholt Road, Mile End Road and Nayland Road, providing access to the station, towards the town centre, to Mile End and beyond.

Public transport will be able to get in and out of the site from a new access at Nayland Road (north of the existing Boxted Road roundabout) and at the south of the site, through Bartholomew Close onto Mile End Road. 

Private cars will only be able to access the development from the north, using the new access onto Nayland Road. 

Housing

Can’t these homes be built somewhere else?

The Council's adopted policies allocate this site for housing-led development, so the principle of development here has already been decided, and approved by two independent planning Inspectors.  This site was chosen because of its suitability when assessed against a number of measures, such as the proximity to public transport and the town centre and because it is relatively unconstrained.  If new homes weren't delivered here, they would have to be delivered somewhere else, on a site which might not be as suitable. 

How many new homes will be built?

Our current master plan shows around 1800 homes within the whole of the NGAUE allocation.  This is some 400 (or 20%) fewer than the allocation made by the Borough Council.  This is the number which we think is appropriate for the site, given the amount of open space we think needs to be delivered, and the sort of facilities (such as a secondary school, primary school and neighbourhood centre) we are also planning within the site.

How many of those homes will be social housing or affordable homes?

We will make provision for up to 35% of housing to be delivered as affordable units.  These will be delivered and amanged by registered housing providers approved by the Council.  Affordable homes can be provided in different ways - as shared equity units where a proportion of the house is mortaged, and part is rented, or as affordable rented homes. 

Community

How will Mile End Recreational Ground and Cricket Pitch/Pavilion be affected?

The existing Mile End recreation ground is an important asset for local residents and for others across Colchester who play football there.  We want to support this, and are proposing to increase the number of pitches located there by extending the amount of open space around the pavilion.  To support our new pitches, we want to provide more changing facilites which could be incorporated into a new building which has other facilities alongside it.  These might include an indoor sports hall / meeting room, bar, meeting spaces and potentially a community office.

Are you only going to build houses?

Although the scheme is predominantly new homes, a full range of facilities are being provided to support the new residents, and to make sure that existing facilities are not over-burdened. We will be providing sites for a new primary school and secondary school, for local retail including a foostore and space for other local services. We may also be able to provide some small-scale office space in the neighbourhood centre.  In addition, we will make space available for healthcare facilities and for community facilities such as meeting spaces, indoor sports and (if our ideas are supported) offices for community organisations. This is in addition to around 80 acres of open space, which will provide formal parks and play spaces, informal recreation areas and sports facilities (for a range of uses, as well as football).  We are proposing to extend the facilities avaiable at the Mile End recreation ground through additional sports pitches an additional new sports pavilion.  We are also investing in public transport, footpaths and cycle paths to make sure that these facilities are accessible.  

It is important to remember that Colchester's biggest employment sites are very close to the new development, and that the town centre and railway station are also easily accessed.  This means that although we will not be providing large-scale employment on site, such opportunities are close by.

What are you doing about health facilities?

We are planning to provide space within the local centre which can be used by the Primary Care Trust to provide local facilities to serve the development.  We will also prepare a Health Impact Assessment as part of the planning application materials, assessing how our proposals support healthy lifestyles, and identifying ways to address healthcare issues.

What benefits are there to existing residents of Myland?

We have tried to protect those elements of the site which residents value - such as the footpaths and strong landscape elements.  We will also provide new facilities so as to prevent Mile End's existing facilities from being put under pressure.  These faciliites, such as extending the Mile End recreation ground and providing an additional new pavilison, wil be accessible to existing residents.  Other imrpovements, such as investment in public transport, local highway improvements and new open space will also benefit existing residents. 

How much public space will there be and what will it be used for?

We are retaining Chesterwell copse, existing trees and hedgerows.  Our proposals include around 80 acres of open space.  This space will safeguard existing rights of way and create more than 5km on new paths and cycleways.  The open space will include formal play spaces and gardens, ecological areas, wetland areas and sports and amenity spaces.  We want these spaces to be used and valued by the new residents of the development as well as the exisiting residents in Mile End, provide a range of different types of spaces for different activities. 

We also recognise that the Mile End recreation ground is an improtant commnity faiclity, and through new investment, would like to extend the area it covers and the faciliites available. there. 

Are your proposals compatible with nomination of the Mile End Recreation Ground for Queen Elizabeth II Trust status?

We know that the recreation ground has been nominated for Queen Elizabeth II (QE2) Trust status and welcome the initiative.  Full details of the Trust are available here: http://www.qe2fields.com/default.aspx.  

The Mile End Recreation Ground is owned by Colchester Borough Council and is not included within the area allocated for the urban extension.  Our proposals do not restrict the ability of the recreation ground to be dedicated to public use in perpetuity (which is the main ambition of the QE2 Trust).  Our proposals for additional facilities next to the existing pavilion would need to be subject to planning approval and would need to be demonstrably compatible with the use of the area as recreational space and the ambitions of the Trust.

The questionnaire provided alongside the exhibitions on 8 and 10 December (and available online until 6 January) asks for comments on our proposals, so we hope to understand more about what people think about the suggestion. 

Environment

What are you doing about the wildlife living on the site?

We have undertaken a full season of wildlife surveys to understand the habitats and species on and close to the site.  Some of the species we have found are protected under law, so we are being very careful to make sure that our scheme is designed to protect them.  The important habitats on site - the woodland copse, trees and hedgerows - are being retained, and we will provide generous buffers to protect them.  The intensive arable activity on site restricts the amount of wildlife to be found within fields, so our proposals for around 80 acres of open space and sustainable drainage techniques will provide the potential for lots of new wildlife and habitats.  

Will the existing public footpaths remain, and be accessible during construction?

Yes, exsting public footpaths will be retained.  We will also create a further 5km of paths and cycleways as part of an 80 acre parkland setting. We are interested in knowing whether the exisitng footpaths shoudl be kept as footpaths, or opened for use by cyclists as well. 

during construction, we will make sure that existing footpaths reamin open, or where absolutely necessary, there are temporary local diversions to maintain users' safety. 

How environmentally friendly will the development be?

The scheme will be designed to meet national and local government standards on sustainable construction for both new homes and new commercial buildings.   New homes will be designed to be energy efficient in use, as will commercial buildings.  In addition, we will incorporate other sustainable measures such as sustainable drainage systems (SuDS), new tree planting and new wildife habitats which will offer environmental benefits.  More than 80 acres of open space will provide important ecology habitats and opportunities for healthy living (exercise routes, and cycle and footpaths). By providing facilities on site, we will also make it easy for people to walk and cycle to schools, shops and other facilities.

Schools

Recent developments haven’t been supported by infrastructure – will this scheme be any different?

We are providing a number of facilities within the development, and will make sure that they are available as soon as there is sufficient demand for them.  In particular, we know that there is a need for schools to be delivered early on, so we will work with Essex County Council to support that.  Utilities and services will have to be available before the site is occupied, so necessary improvements will be in place by the time they are needed.  We will make sure that public transport is delivered for early phases of development and will be paid for by the developer until it is established.  We will also programme highways improvement in agreement with Essex County Council and Colchester Borough Council and deliver them to provide improvements at the right time.  

What provisions are being made for schools?

We are proposing sites for two new schools within the development a primary school and a secondary school.  These will be well related to each other, and to local faciliites as part of a neighbourhood centre.  The secondary school will serve a wider catchment than just the new site, and supports new education provision across northern Colchester.  Our proposals have been drawn up to complement Essex County Council's education provision strategy for Colchester.

The Planning Process

When is construction likely to start?

Construction of homes is likely to start in 2015, with new homes ready to buy in early 2016.  Some infrastructure works may be required before then

Our prgoramme is based on outline planning permsision being granted early in 2013, with detailed permission or the first phases of devleopment granted in early 2014. 

How much of a say in what happens can the community have?

The community, residents across Colchester and other interested parties (such as businesses and service providers) have already been able to influence the principle of development on this site, through the Council's Core Strategy and Site Allocations planning documents.  The Council are also continuing to engage with the community as part of their work on the Supplementary Planning Document for the site. 

We are running our own events at the start of December (and through the website until January) to give the community a chance to comment on our master plan, and some of the features it shows.  We will use these comments to inform revisions to our proposals. 

When we have finalised our proposals, we will submit an outline planning application. We will explain our proposals to the public through further events.  You will be able to submit your comments directly to the Council as part of its formal consultation process. 

Once outline planning permission is granted, we will start to prepare detailed proposals for each part of the development.  these will need detailed planning permission, so you will again be able to submit your comments to the Comncul through its formal consultation processes. 

 

How do I get my opinions heard?

The best way for you to respond to our current proposals is to fill out the consultation questionnaire.  THis will allow us to understand what you like and don't like about the master plan, and incorproate changes before the planning application is prepared. 

If you have any questions about what we are doing you can submit them to us through the website (you need to register first).  We will reply to you directly and publish the answers where we think they are of wider interest. 

Once the planning application has been submitted, you will be able to submit your comments to the Council.