Marks Tey Neighbourhood Plan

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2. The Neighbourhood Plan Area

2.1 The Marks Tey NP area was designated on 16 September 2015. The designated area is shown in the Figure above. It has an area of 6.09 square kilometres.

Geography

2.2 Marks Tey parish comprises Marks Tey and the hamlet of Little Tey. The parish is in the borough of Colchester and located approximately 11km west of Colchester town. Marks Tey village lies at the meeting point of the A120 (named at this location as Coggeshall Road or Old Stane Street) and the A12. The A120 joins the dualled A12 northwards at this point, and the old road (B1408) links Marks Tey to Copford and Colchester to the east. The A120 west links to Coggeshall and Braintree.

Transport

2.3 Marks Tey is a village which is characterised by its road and rail links. The village has a railway station which is on the Great Eastern Main Line (GEML) providing a regular and direct service into London Liverpool Street. It is also a junction for the Sudbury branch line providing direct access to Sudbury in Suffolk. The A12 is a major road which runs diagonally through the southern part of the parish from north-east to south-west linking the east coast with London. The A120, an important trunk road, runs east to west through the parish further north linking Colchester to Stansted Airport and the M11. The A12 and A120 interchange is in the eastern part of the parish.

A Community Fragmented by Roads and Rail

2.4 The two rail lines and the two roads create four separate linear barriers through the parish. There are three crossing points over the GEML; a road bridge at North Lane, a road bridge at the A120 near Church Lane and a pedestrian footbridge to the south of Marks Tey housing estate. The A 12 has one crossing point in the form of a footbridge from the dual carriageway railway station bus stop westbound to London Road/ slip road to A 12 southbound. This is connected to one of the two traffic light controlled pedestrian crossings on the A 120 both designed to give access to the railway station. The first of these allows the crossing of the dual carriageway from the footbridge to the railway station, and the other, approximately 100 yards further west bound just after the roundabout, is a crossing from the railway station to the estate side of the A 120.

2.5 In addition to the linear barriers, the interchange between the A12 and the A120 take the form of two large roundabouts which is subject to high levels of congestion during peak periods. The physical infrastructure of the interchange imposes the following barriers:

  • between the railway station and main residential areas of the parish;
  • between the railway station and the main shopping area; and
  • between the shopping area and the residential area.

2.6 The fragmentation caused by the transport infrastructure in the parish is illustrated by Figure 3 in the Marks Tey Masterplanning Support document prepared by Out Design for the Marks Tey NP in December 2017. This is shown overleaf.


Map 2.1: An overview of transport infrastructure in the parish. (Figure 3 of the Marks Tey Masterplanning support document)

Population

2.7 As at the 2011 Census, Marks Tey parish had a population of 2,551. The median age of the population is 43 and as at 2011, nearly 16% of the population was aged 65 or over. The proportion of people aged 65 or over is very similar to the borough and national level but much lower than neighbouring parishes which have a considerably older age profile (Great Tey: 19% is aged 65 or over; Eight Ash Green is 21%; Copford 20%; and Aldham 25%).

Dwellings and Households

2.8 In 2011, the parish had 1,053 households and 1,088 dwellings. In May 2017, the NP steering group collected data on dwellings and dwelling type. A total of 1,116 dwellings were counted as follows:

Table 2.1 – Breakdown of dwellings in parish as collected by NP group May 2017

Dwelling Type

Detached House

Semi Detached

Detached Bungalow

Semi-detached bungalow

Terraced/linked

Flats

Numbers

403

330

162

54

37

130

% share

36%

30%

15%

5%

3%

12%

Source: Data collected by NP steering group, May 2017

2.9 The Census 2011 provides a useful overview as to how the number of households in Marks Tey are broken down by number of bedrooms:

Table 2.2 – Breakdown of dwellings in parish by number of bedrooms, Census 2011

Bedrooms

Number of households

%

1 bedroom

47

4

2 bedrooms

241

23

3 bedrooms

428

41

4 bedrooms

277

26

5 or more bedrooms

60

6

All households

1,053

100

Source: Census 2011 (DC1402EW)

2.10 In terms of tenure the households are broken down as follows:

Table 2.3 – Breakdown of households and tenure, Census 2011

Tenure

Number of households

%

Owned outright

395

37.5

Owned with mortgage

453

43

Shared ownership

1

0.1

Social rented from council

57

5.4

Social rented from other

7

0.7

Private rented (landlord or letting agency)

129

12.3

Private rented (other)

8

0.8

Living rent free

3

0.3

Total households:

1,053

Source: Census 2011

Community

2.11 Marks Tey is fortunate in the range of facilities that it currently enjoys. Few similar sized villages can claim 3 restaurants, 2 vehicle workshops, 3 petrol garages, 2 churches, specialist butchers, cycling and pet food shops and 3 large community halls with good parking which can be hired, and a pub (currently closed) and a community social facility. There is also a generous amount of open amenity space and playing fields and informal access to local countryside. This is partly due to support by the existing community but also largely due to Marks Tey's position on the A120 and the A12 Junction 25. Marks Tey has become a local hub and an accessible location of specialist facilities, but the precariousness of these facilities is indicated by the rise and fall of the specialist food hall business.

Business Community

2.12 The plan area is home to a wide variety of businesses. There are established retail outlets such as Byford's (wholesale & retail florist) and Willsher & Sons (butchers) that are well known and used by customers from Marks Tey and outside the local area. The Marks Tey Hotel, the Shed Centre and Poplar Nurseries are also popular destination businesses. There are other outlets along London Road including a Post Office and general provision store, Auto Spares, Pharmacy and three fast food outlets, serving both Marks Tey and surrounding villages.

2.13 Many of the companies are located around the junctions of the A12 & A120 but there are patches of employment spread across the parish.

Historic Environment

2.14 There are 27 buildings listed by English Heritage within the parish. Of these, there are two Grade I listed churches of St. James the Less, Little Tey and St. Andrew's, Marks Tey. There is one Grade II* (starred) building found on the Marks Tey Hall estate. The remaining 24 are all Grade II listed. The oldest of these Grade II listed buildings is the c1400 barn at Knaves Farm, Little Tey shown below.

Figure 2.1 – C14,000 barn at Knaves Farm, Little Tey, Photo by Patsy Beech


2.15 Included in the parish's built heritage assets is the Circulate Brick Kilns at the W H Collier Brick and Tile Works, Church Lane. The site is scheduled by Historic England as national monument. The monument includes two circular kilns and their associated brick working floor, flues and chimney base. The western kiln is a Grade II listed building.

2.16 The Marks Tey Brick Works was established by John Wagstaff, a farmer and brickmaker, in 1863. William Homan Collier, a young brickmaker from Reading, took over the brickworks by 1879 and in the late 19th and early 20th centuries the firm supplied not only local needs, but also the wider market from its own tramway and siding to the adjacent railway.

2.17 The brickworks is still in use today, having been acquired by Chelwood Brick in 1988, though the processes employed have changed considerably.

2.18 In addition to historical information available via the national database of records held by Historic England the NP steering group has collected further information on local history. This includes an historical survey of Long Green along Granger's Lane in the south west of the parish. The lane once formed part of a link road between two roads known to be Roman, Stane Street, (now A120) and the road to London (A12) although both these roads could have earlier origins and were up-graded by the Romans. This earlier evidence has been noted by Oliver Rackham in his book History of the Countryside. Granger's Lane became recognised as a formal right of way in the autumn of 2020. It is valued by local walkers and provides important habitat including hedgerows and ponds. It is also valued as an important local heritage asset.

Landscape Character

2.19 There are a number of sources that provide information on the character of Marks Tey Landscape Character. This includes:

  1. Colchester Landscape Character Assessment published in 2005
  2. The Marks Tey Character Assessment produced by the NP steering group to inform this plan.
  3. West Colchester Growth Area Option Environmental Audit. This was produced by Chris Blandford Associates in November 2015 to help inform the emerging Borough Plan.

2.20 The parish of Marks Tey falls in two different national character areas; the Northern Thames Basin and Southern Suffolk and North Essex Clayland. The parish of Marks Tey also falls within the Farmland Plateau Landscape Character Type of the Colchester Borough Landscape Character Assessment.. This category is broken down into eight sub types, into two of which the parish falls:

  • B2: Easthorpe Farmland Plateau; and
  • a sub section of B2a specific to Marks Tey village.

2.21 The Colchester Landscape Character Assessment provides a description of key characteristics which include:

  • Raised farmland plateau, dissected by the wooded Roman River valley in the east; ·
  • A mixture of small, medium and large irregular, predominantly arable fields;
  • Small patches of deciduous woodland and several ponds/ reservoirs;
  • Area crossed by a network of narrow, sometimes winding lanes;
  • Settlement pattern consists of small villages and hamlets with scattered farmsteads amongst predominantly arable agricultural land.

2.22 It also identifies key planning and land management issues, a landscape strategy objective, landscape planning guidelines and land management guidelines. The landscape strategy objective for B2 is "Conserve and Enhance". The landscape planning guidelines applicable to Marks Tey parish include:

  • Conserve the mostly rural character of the area.
  • Ensure that any appropriate new development responds to historic settlement pattern and use materials, which are appropriate to landscape character.
  • Ensure that any development on the edges of Marks Tey responds to traditional settlement patterns and uses design and materials which are appropriate to landscape character.
  • New farm buildings such as sheds should be sensitively located within the landscape to respect local character and avoid the skyline.

2.23 The landscape management guidelines applicable to Marks Tey parish include:

  • Consider the introduction of new structure planting to shield/mitigate the visual effects on the A12/railway and (Marks Tey village) settlement corridor
  • Strengthen and enhance hedgerows with hawthorn where gappy and depleted.
  • Conserve historic lanes and unimproved roadside verges.

2.24 The West Colchester Growth Area Option Environmental Report provides an audit of ecology and nature conservation, landscape/townscape character and visual amenity as well as water quality and flood risk for the entirety of the West Colchester Growth Area. Amongst other things, the report provides an assessment of townscape within Marks Tey itself.

2.25 The report includes an assessment of visual amenity within Marks Tey parish (as part of looking at the wider area). As part of this an assessment of fourteen views taken from within the parish was undertaken.

2.26 The conclusions on constraints and opportunities which are applicable to the Marks Tey parish can be summarised as follows:

  • In terms of impact (of development) on landscape, the principal effect of development would be a change from rural arable to a residential character
  • In terms of townscape, development is unlikely to have a significant overall effect. There is opportunity for development to be complementary to surrounding townscape
  • Development would potentially have a negative effect on the visual amenity of public rights of way across the site including those in Marks Tey parish.
  • Care should be taken to avoid loss of the woodlands and hedgerows/field boundaries that form screening elements in views from the edge of Marks Tey area.
  • In terms of landscape capacity this is identified as being limited ability to be able to accommodate development without degradation of landscape characteristics that are of local value. Mitigation and enhancement measures would be required where change does take place.
  • In terms of green gaps, the report finds that
    • The arable fields between Copford and Marks Tey along the B1408 are considered to provide a high contribution to the physical and visual separation between the settlements.
    • It is considered desirable to safeguard the land further south (where the distance between Copford and Marks Tey widens) from inappropriate development.
    • Most of the land between Marks Tey and Little Tey is considered to provide a high contribution to the physical and visual separation between the settlements. It is considered desirable to safeguard this from inappropriate development.
    • Most of the land between Marks Tey and Easthorpe is considered to provide a high contribution to the physical and visual separation between the settlements.
    • At the western end of Marks Tey, arable fields on either side of Dobbies Lane and their associated greenhouses are considered to have no more than a medium contribution to the sense of separation between Marks Tey and Easthorpe.
    • The area of hardstanding south of the intersection of the A12 and A120 has a predominantly urban fringe character and makes a low contribution to sense of separation between the settlements. This also applies to the adjacent field which is enclosed by built development on three sides.
  • Existing landscape structure across the site should be retained and strengthened.

Natural Environment

2.27 In addition to its importance to heritage, the Marks Tey Brick Works is also designated by Natural England as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) under the Wildlife and Countryside Act. The reason for this designation is:

Marks Tey has uniquely important Pleistocene sediments, which have yielded a continuous pollen record through the entire Hoxnian Interglacial. No other site in the British Isles has so far produced a comparable vegetational record for this or any other interglacial. Of considerable interest also are the laminations (seasonal layers) within these lacustrine (lake) sediments which have made it possible to estimate the duration in years of the Hoxnian Interglacia.

Source: Citation for Marks Tey Brickpit as provided by Natural England at https://designatedsites.naturalengland.org.uk/SiteDetail.aspx?SiteCode=S1004027

2.28 The Marks Tey designated Local Wildlife Sites are:

  1. Little Tey Churchyard (reference Co14).
  2. Marks Tey Brick Pit (reference Co31)

2.29 A search using the mapping tool at www.magic.gov.uk identifies nine areas of broadleaved deciduous woodland (a priority habitat for England), three additional areas of woodland and a range of bird life and mammals in the parish.

2.30 Additional information on local wildlife has been collected by the NP steering group. Wildlife surveys were undertaken in 2016 and 2017. The surveys revealed the presence of a wide variety of birdlife throughout the year, amphibians, and many large and small mammals including bats, deer and badgers.


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