Marks Tey Neighbourhood Plan
On behalf of Marks Tey Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, I am very pleased to present the Parish Council's Neighbourhood Plan, along with its supporting documents, to Colchester Borough Council.
I want to thank the many people and agencies that have contributed to the task and helped create the Neighbourhood Plan. Many of these have toiled consistently since June 2015. These are:
The current members of the Steering Group, who are Patsy Beech (who also researched, formatted and compiled the Character Assessment), Frank Clark, Gail Gibbs, Richard Gore, Karen Seward, Sue Stacey, Rev. Ian Scott-Thompson and Allan Walker, ex Chair of the Parish Council.
Former members of the Steering Group, Mark Wingate, Bill Rudman, Shaun Balaam and previous chairs of the Steering Group, Juliet English, Gerald Wells and Mark Wingate.
However, we could not have reached this stage of the process without the valuable help and guidance of many others, not least our consultant, Rachel Hogger of Modicum Planning, whose patience was often put to the test but never failed, Darren Carroll of Carroll Planning Design, who provided guidance for the Character Assessment report, and Paul Dodd of the Out Design team, who compiled the Masterplan report. We are also indebted to Cllr. Kate Evans, our Parish Clerk Gemma Humphries, and an army of volunteers who delivered our leaflets throughout the village. Also invaluable have been members of Colchester Borough Council's Planning Department, especially Catherine Bailey, during the later stages of the process, Cllr. Andrew Ellis and the staff of the Rural Community Council of Essex.
In 2015 Marks Tey Parish Council decided that it should have a Neighbourhood Plan and what we present now is due to the dedication of the Steering Group in constantly relating its plans and proposals to the views of residents and the business community. The reason why the Neighbourhood Plan has been far more complex than many others is because it has been carried out against the background of major road development proposals and plans to have a garden community development locally. Significant progress has been on both, with the publishing of plans for the new junction of the A12 and the decision to drop the garden community approach. During the long preparation of the Plan these factors put in our way many obstacles which made progress slow and often unpredictable. Our public consultation began on 24th February 2020 but it became necessary to extend the consultation period due to the Covid 19 pandemic twice, and it finally closed 21 weeks later, on 12th July 2020. The responses from residents, businesses, landowners and others reflect wide support for our policies and proposals, and a sympathetic understanding of the difficulties that had been faced, and for this we are very grateful.
Notwithstanding these recent developments, the Steering Group agreed it would be wiser to avoid going through the process of allocating house building sites until the situation becomes much clearer. Then it will incorporate site allocations at a future review of the Neighbourhood Plan.
For centuries the area now occupied by Marks Tey Parish was a group of small individual hamlets, Marks Tey, Potts Green, Long Green and Little Tey, but with the arrival of the first railway line the population expanded, and then the branch line to Sudbury. This has left a legacy of two railway lines and two major roads which have effectively cut Marks Tey into segments. This complex junction of road and rail has left residents with the problems of congestion, pollution and environmental damage, and so at the heart of our Neighbourhood Plan is the desire for a blueprint that sets out policies that will make the parish a more pleasant place to live and work and that provides realistic alternatives to reliance on road and rail. Our 15 policies are related to a few core objectives that reflect this motivation:
Getting Around. Managing the existing volumes of traffic as much as possible, so they at least do not get worse, improving the links between parts of the village.
An environmentally friendly place to live, with a more environmentally friendly way of travelling, both for work and for leisure, with walking and cycling opportunities.
Creating a Sense of Place. Preserving and enhancing those features that make Marks Tey a distinctive place, keeping it separate from nearby parishes, keeping the two Teys separate and maintaining ancient locations in the village along with preserving many old and often listed buildings.
Creating a Stronger Community. Having policies that enhance the sense that Marks Tey is a living community, protecting and providing links between its green and open spaces.
Creating a Healthier Environment. Having policies such as protecting local wildlife, planting hedgerows and trees, and expecting developers will play a part in terms of funding and incorporating such features in their plans.
Housing for Current Needs. This will be delivered through a variety of homes and tenure with building designs that are responsive to the needs of different generations and changes in modern work patterns.
Business and Employment. Regenerating the main sites in the parish, particularly through environmental improvements including the London Road parade of retail businesses. Also helping to turn the now closed Andersons timber merchants and surrounding area into a modern industrial area.
Cllr. John Wood, Chair of the Steering Group