Marks Tey Neighbourhood Plan
3. Key Issues
3.1 This section of the plan:
- Describes the priority issues shared by the community as identified in engagement work in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
- Summarises the existing planning policy context for the NP area. The existing planning policy context provides important background to the NP and it is essential the NP adds to that context rather than duplicates it
- Includes a SWOT analysis prepared by the steering group in August 2017 as a way of building shared consensus of the key priority concerns
Issues Identified During Engagement Work
Early engagement work:
3.2 The Marks Tey community have been asked about key issues concerning them at the early stages of plan development (2015) and mid-way engagement stage (2017). The output of this work is available in more detail in the accompanying consultation statement. Key findings from survey work throughout the process were the identification of positive aspects of the Marks Tey environs, aspects considered as being negative and top priorities for improvements. Results are summarised below:
Table 3.1 – Positive aspects, negative aspects and top priorities for change
Positive aspects of living in Marks Tey
Negative aspects of living in Marks Tey
Top priorities for change
3.3 Other priorities expressed by the community, largely in response to the 16-page householder survey sent out in January 2017 were:
- Strong support for the preservation of a countryside-buffer zone between Marks Tey and other developments
- Strong support for the preservation of views of St Andrew's Church from the A120 including the rural landscape to the north/beyond
- Support for the provision of additional open space around the parish
- Strong support for a stronger village heart given the existence of the A120 and A12
- Support for the protection of employment sites
- Strong support for the preservation of built heritage assets
- Support for the restoration of Granger's Lane as public right of way
- Little Tey should be maintained as a separate community
3.4 In June 2016, a business survey was distributed. This comprised a six-page survey seeking an understanding of the make-up of the employee base as well as needs of the businesses.
3.5 The survey was delivered to 112 businesses and the response rate was 47% with the general statistics indicating the following:
- Most of the businesses in MT are service-orientated.
- 66% of businesses have been established in MT for more than ten years.
- Only one new business has been established in the last 12 months.
- 28 of 50 businesses have been on the same site in MT for more than ten years.
- About 25% of MT businesses felt that their current site was too small but only 20% were looking for new or extended premises. Of those looking for new or extended premises none were looking outside MT.
- 80% of MT businesses had maintained the same number of employees over the last 12 months. Where there had been change it was in general a reduction although numbers were small.
- Whether full-time or part-time the overwhelming majority of workers were in the 20-59 age group.
- Very broadly speaking part-timers represent 27% of the workforce headcount – based on the age group table.
- The largest group of workers was skilled manual.
- There were as many professional/managerial as there are technical and clerical/admin put together.
- The single largest group of workers working in Marks Tey was from Colchester. 42 workers live in Marks Tey and of the others 71 live within 10 miles of Marks Tey and 46 more than ten miles away.
- By an overwhelming majority the single largest group of employees travelled to Marks Tey by private vehicle.
Other findings of engagement work:
3.6 In July 2017, a survey (the 2017 Train Users Survey) was undertaken by the NP steering group of commuters using the Marks Tey railway station. In total, 175 people were surveyed.
3.7 The survey found that the vast majority of users were regular train commuters and that only 10% of respondents were Marks Tey parish residents. Just under 70% people travelled to the railway station by car with the other 30% travelling by foot, public transport or bicycle. Over 50% of respondents parked their car at or near the station with the remainder getting a lift or travelling by alternative means. 20% of respondents said they would cycle to the train station if better cycle paths were provided and just under 60% stated they would work in Marks Tey parish if job opportunities were available.
Planning Policy Context
Adopted Statutory Development Plan
3.8 The parish of Marks Tey falls within the Colchester Borough Council (CBC) local planning authority area. The Local Plan relevant to the NP is therefore the:
- Adopted Local Plan 2001 to 2021 which includes:
- Local Plan Focused Review (July 2014).
Core Strategy (adopted 2008 but updated in July 2014 as part of the Local Plan Focused Review).
- Policy ENV2 – Rural Communities. Marks Tey village falls within the Rural Community category of the borough-wide settlement hierarchy and Policy ENV2 provides principles for development proposals coming forward in these locations.
Site Allocations DPD (2010) which allocates in the NP area:
- an area of 8.03 hectares of land suitable for employment use;
- an area of 2.5 hectares of land suitable for nursery use;
- London Road, Marks Tey as a Neighbourhood Centre where shopping/amenity uses are protected by policy DP7 in the Local Plan;
- Marks Tey Brick Pit SSSI as designated under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 with additional protection provided under Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.
- Development Policies Development Plan Document (adopted 2010 and updated in July 2014 as part of the Local Plan Focused Review).
- Proposals Map 2010.
3.9 The statutory Development Plan applicable to Marks Tey also includes the Essex Minerals Local Plan produced in July 2014 and the Essex and Southend-on-Sea Waste Local Plan (2017).
- A key purpose of the Minerals Local Plan is to "maintain a plan-led approach to future provision, providing reassurance for Essex residents, the minerals industry, key stakeholders and future developers that future needs can be met, whilst also providing a degree of certainty as to where minerals development will take place" (see paragraph 2.39 of the Essex Minerals Local Plan). The plan safeguards the following two sites in the Marks Tey NP area:
- Marks Tey Brickworks for brick clay extraction and brickmaking (Policy S8 – Safeguarding mineral resources and mineral reserves).
- Marks Tey Rail Depot which is a minerals transhipment (Policy S9 -Safeguarding mineral transhipment sites and secondary processing facilities).
3.10 The Essex and Southend-on-Sea Waste Local Plan (WLP) sets out how Essex and Southend-on-Sea aim to manage waste up to 2032. It seeks to deal with waste more sustainably across the plan area by guiding the development of waste management facilities in appropriate locations, encouraging recycling and reducing reliance on landfill.
3.11 The WLP safeguards the following site:
- Honeylands Farm Waste Transfer Station for the recycling of waste arising from highway gullies, including the construction of concrete pads, sumps, ancillary equipment, office and welfare facilities. This site is located on the western boundary of the NP area.
Emerging Local Plan 2017 to 2033
3.12 Colchester Borough Council is relatively advanced with the progression of its new Local Plan and is currently at examination stage. The examination into Part 1 of the Local Plan commenced in October 2017 and is expected to be closed later in 2020. In July 2018, progress was halted following findings from the Planning Inspectorate. After additional evidence, the Examination in Public restarted in January 2020. In May 2020, the Inspector issued a letter to the NEA concluding that two of the garden communities, including the proposed garden community around Marks Tey, were unviable and recommended their removal from the plan. Significant modifications to Part 1 of the Local Plan have since been prepared and subject to further consultation. The emerging Local Plan does not include a housing requirement figure to be delivered through the Marks Tey Neighbourhood Plan. The examination into Part 2 of the Local Plan is anticipated to start in spring 2021.
Planned Strategic Road Improvements
A12 Chelmsford to A120 Road Widening
3.13 The expansion and improvement of the A12 was in the 2015 to 2020 Road Improvement Programme for widening to three lanes each way. It has now been carried forward into the 2020 to 2025 programme. Highways England have announced a preferred route which will continue to run through Marks Tey but with its junction moved. It is anticipated to be completed in 2028. https://highwaysengland.co.uk/projects/a12-chelmsford-to-a120-widening-scheme/
A120 dualling between Braintree and the A12.
3.14 The A120 at Marks Tey, which stretches through the plan area, is the last stretch of single carriageway road between the M11 and Colchester. As part of Essex County Council's (ECC) response to this plan at pre-submission stage in July 2020, ECC have explained that 'Over the years, and particularly since the stretch of the A120 from Stansted and Braintree was upgraded, the single carriageway of the A120 between Braintree and the A12 has become increasingly congested and unreliable. This has led to poor levels of service and safety for road users, impacting on economic growth and development in the region, as well as affecting the well-being of local residents via impacts on the local environment and access to essential services. With traffic volumes expected to increase, congestion on the A120 will get worse, further exacerbating the impacts on travel, local residents and economic growth'.
3.15 ECC are therefore progressing plans for the dualling of the A120 between Braintree and the A12 at Marks Tey. ECC has identified its favoured route as being Route D which would join the A12 south of Kelvedon. ECC considers this would help address A120 movements but would also be instrumental in addressing through traffic issues in the area. The NP steering group however note the ECC analysis of the options published in its 2017 consultation document the A120 Braintree to A12 Consultation on Route Options 17 January to 14 March 2017. Figure 6 of this document shows that Route D will leave the A120 in Marks Tey with 82% of its current traffic load, the largest residual traffic load of any of the considered options and this will need to be fully evaluated and planned for.
3.16 The Government's Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2) announcement in March 2020 included commitments to progressing further development work on the A120 dualling including detailed design, land assembly and statutory processes that are required to prepare the scheme for delivery. The A120 dualling scheme will be considered for inclusion in the RIS3 programme. ECC have stated in its pre-submission response to this plan that the scheme is considered to be amongst the most advanced unfunded strategic road schemes in the country (in terms of design stage) so once funding is secured it is 'shovel-ready'.
Summary of Key Constraints and Planning Designations in the NP Area
3.17 The key constraints in the plan area include:
- The Railway Line
- The A12
- The A120
- Marks Tey Brick Pit SSSI
- Marks Tey Circular Brick Kilns Scheduled Monument (WH Collier Bricks and Tile Works, Church Lane)
- A number of listed buildings
- Head of the Roman River valley north east of Marks Tey identified in Colchester's emerging spatial strategy
- Limited capacity for landscape to accommodate development without adversely impacting sense of place and character
- Lack of capacity at Water Recycling Centre, under current permit, to treat additional wastewater flows from development without adversely impacting water quality in the Roman River, as advised by the Environment Agency in its response to the pre-submission consultation draft of this plan.
- Parts of the designated NP area lie over (water) source protection zones, as advised by the Environment Agency in its response to the pre-submission consultation draft of this plan
Additional planning policy constraints and designations:
- Marks Tey Brickworks safeguarded in the Essex Minerals Plan for brick clay extraction and brick-making.
- Marks Tey Rail Depot safeguarded in Essex Minerals Plan as a Safeguarded Transhipment site.
- Honeylands Farm Waste Transfer Station safeguarded in the Essex and Southend-on-Sea Waste Local Plan for the recycling of waste arising from highway gullies, including the construction of concrete pads, sumps, ancillary equipment, office and welfare facilities.
- Village settlement boundaries (currently around Marks Tey, Little Tey, A12 small residential area, London Road parade and North Lane residential area).
- Existing employment site allocations:
- at Anderson's Yard
- Nursery (not due to be carried through in emerging Local Plan)
- A neighbourhood centre at London Road, Marks Tey.
3.18 As well as the active extraction of brick clay, there are unworked deposits of sand and gravel within the parish which are safeguarded through Policy S8 of the Minerals Local Plan. This policy has specific requirements of development proposals when 5ha or more of a proposed non-mineral development falls within a Minerals Safeguarded Areas associated with sand and gravel. There also exists a Minerals Safeguarding Area associated with the brick clay resource. Policy S8 has further requirements when development equating to one dwelling or more is proposed within a brick earth Minerals Safeguarding Area.
3.19 Policy S8, as well as Policy S9, further safeguards existing and allocated minerals infrastructure from proximate new development which may compromise the ability to work or manage minerals. The policy ensures that ECC in its role as the Minerals Planning Authority (MPA) is consulted on all applications within 250m of existing or allocated minerals infrastructure, depending on the nature of that infrastructure. The MPA is likely to object to the permitting of development what would unnecessarily sterilise a mineral resource or compromise the operation of mineral infrastructure unless certain policy tests are met.
3.20 Policy 2 of the Waste Local Plan designates Waste Consultation Areas up to 250m from existing or allocated waste infrastructure (400m from Water Recycling Centres). ECC in its capacity as the WPA is likely to object to the permitting of development that would unnecessarily compromise the operation of waste infrastructure unless certain policy tests are met.
3.21 The designated planning constraints as per the adopted Local Plan and emerging Local Plan are shown in Maps 3.1 and 3.2 below.
Map 3.1: Planning designations and constraints as per the adopted Colchester Borough Local Plan 2001 to 2021
Map 3.2: Planning designations and constraints as per the emerging Colchester Borough Local Plan (provided by Colchester Borough Council February 2020). Note: the Garden Community has since been withdrawn from the Local Plan
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
3.22 The NP steering group used the consultation results in 2015 and 2016 to identify the strengths in the plan area that should be protected, weaknesses that should be addressed, any threats to be managed and opportunities for improvement. The outcome is shown below:
Table 3.2 - Marks Tey SWOT Analysis
- Providing interchange between mainline to London and branch services to the north
- Access to London, east coast and Stansted Airport
Good range of facilities
- Parish hall, hotel, shops, restaurants, Post Office, primary school, churches, pharmacy
- 27 listed buildings, non-listed but locally important historic buildings, historic village greens, 3 roads improved by Romans.
A historic place
- Connections to important historic figures,QE1 and Henry Compton, Bishop of London 1675 – 1713
- Reasonably good access to countryside including some ancient footpaths and bridleways
- Attractive rural landscape
- Predominantly Grade II (very good) agricultural land in parish
- SSSI, extensive range of wildlife, semi natural habitats, landscape features including hedgerows, mature trees, ponds, small amount of woodland near Methodist church.
High speed internet infrastructure link on A12
- Would be ideal location for data centres
Low density development
- The 1970's housing estate was given building permission with only 8 houses to the acre leaving space for building extensions and allowing for open green areas
A fragmented community
- Poorly linked residential areas due to A12, A120 and railway corridors acting as barriers.
- No village heart or facility that unites the parish
- Poor pedestrian connectivity from residential areas to and from services including the railway station (only 1 pedestrian crossing on the A120)
Poor parking provision
- For station users which leads to on street parking in residential area surrounding station
- For London Road shop customers/businesses
Poor pedestrian environment
- Air and noise pollution
- National speed limit on A roads throughout parish
- Very poor accessibility to places, shops and services for mobility impaired
- Traffic congestion
- Noise pollution
- Air pollution
- Poor local knowledge of heritage and history
- No health facilities e.g. doctor, dentist
- Unconnected habitats leading to fragmentation and isolation of areas for wildlife.
- No secondary school
- No elderly care provision in parish
- Lack of employment opportunities for professional occupations
Reconnect a fragmented community
- Can we identify local solutions or priorities for reconnecting fragmented communities?
- Can we strengthen sense of place through provision or expansion of community meeting space (outdoor/indoor) with purpose of bringing together parish residents
A12 and A120 road improvements:
- A12 programmed in Road Investment Strategy for widening J19 to J25 to start in March 2023. Possible further widening J25 – J29. A120 potential for revised route between Braintree and A12 which would remove the existing cut through the parish.
- Potential to "green" the road corridors
- NP could raise profile of NP area including its heritage
- Can we identify priority areas for improving or linking habitats?
- Where are green corridors needed the most?
MT could in the future become a more attractive location for industry and high tech firms?
- Road congestion
Impact of new development on existing infrastructure
- e.g. vulnerability of shops to closure of J25 on A12
Loss/damage to heritage assets
- Loss of locally important historic buildings e.g. the cottages on Old London Road, bungalow built to showcase collier bricks on A120)
- Damage to all heritage assets via air pollution and vibration
Loss/damage to Rural Character
- Loss of access to countryside
- Loss of countryside
- Loss of attractive landscapes
- Loss of good quality agricultural land
Loss/damage to Natural Assets
- Loss of mature trees, poor management of natural assets, front gardens being paved over)
General loss of character through insensitive and intensive development
- Uncertainty over future development. What will actually be delivered on the ground?