Copford with Easthorpe Neighbourhood Plan

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Copford with Easthorpe Neighbourhood Plan

What is a Neighbourhood Plan?

The Copford with Easthorpe Neighbourhood Plan provides a Vision for the future of the Villages up to 2033 but reviewed periodically. It contains a number of Policies which must be taken into account by those preparing and submitting planning applications for proposed development in the Parish and those determining planning applications including Colchester Borough Council and planning inspectors. It will also be used by the Parish Council in preparing consultation responses to planning applications as a consultee during the period of the plan. Alongside the Vision and Objectives, the Policies included in the Neighbourhood Plan have been developed over four years based on the views of those who live and work here, coupled with independent research.

The Plan will be subject to local referendum, to ensure local people have their say, as well as scrutiny by an examiner and Colchester Borough Council. The adopted Plan will have the same weight as planning policy documents prepared by Colchester Borough Council. It provides additional details that reflect local circumstances and conditions which cannot feasibly be dealt with by higher level planning authorities. It therefore will sit alongside Colchester Borough Council's Development Plan.

Neighbourhood Plans such as this are made possible by community powers contained within the 2011 Localism Act, which seeks to provide communities with greater powers to shape the place they live in.

Vision for Copford with Easthorpe

The Neighbourhood Plan seeks to conserve and enhance the distinctive nature of our rural community, recognising the challenge of the climate emergency while taking a sustainable and optimistic view of future development by ensuring:

  • The separate identities and distinctiveness of the villages within the parish boundary (the plan area) are respected
  • The scale of growth and location of new buildings is proportionate to the size of the village and designed to retain the sense of space and community well-being in the villages
  • Building is planned to meet a broad range of local housing needs
  • Opportunities are provided to actively favour ecologically sustainable building, including self-build and small developments with a low or zero carbon footprint
  • A successful economy which provides local employment, accommodating small businesses and retaining agriculture.
  • Conservation, biodiversity and green open spaces are at the heart of the plan.
  • Improved connectivity within the Parish promoting sustainable travel, with footpaths, cycle ways, safe roads, and rail access.
  • Improved community amenities

Copford with Easthorpe - The Ongoing Story

The Parish of Copford with Easthorpe comprises three distinct villages, Copford, Easthorpe, and Copford Green, the latter being a designated conservation area. Copford with Easthorpe is a vibrant, modern community, but retaining a largely agricultural landscape. Positioned with direct connections to road, rail and airport infrastructure, the Parish straddles ancient roads, has 45 listed buildings and an eclectic mix of housing. Its varied natural environment, typical of north Essex, reflects rich history, with ancient fields and lines of historic oak trees. Long-established working farms contribute strongly to the rural landscape. This juxtaposition of rural setting and transport connections make the villages appealing yet vulnerable, with an absolute need for careful, sensitive planning.

The character of modern day Copford with Easthorpe has been shaped since pre-Roman times, the remains of which have been found in places such as Hall Road. The Roman invasion of nearby Colchester in AD 43 changed the direction of our history, reminders of which are evident throughout the parish. The northern extremity of the parish is traversed by London Road, following the course of Roman Stane Street. Easthorpe also lies on an old Roman road. A Roman villa stood north of Copford Church and Hall. Much of Copford Church is built of Roman tile and brick, and there is similar evidence in Easthorpe Church. The parish has an intriguingly named "Roman River" though its name is of uncertain origin.

Over the centuries and as woodland was cleared, the parish developed its agricultural character, which has remained up to the present day. Until recently, development was limited to a few scattered farmhouses and cottages, a cluster of houses at Copford Green and piecemeal development along London Road during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. During the 20th century, both sides of London Road and School Road have undergone ribbon development and more recently, there have been further developments of land off London Road and Church Road in Copford, and at Easthorpe.

Overall, such building has had little impact on the character of the parish, which remains what it has been for centuries – agricultural. By far the greatest part of the parish comprises large, open fields interspersed with woodland and magnificent solitary oak trees. Open countryside and rural walks abound, with wide horizons; extensive, unbroken views and big skies to delight the eye and refresh the spirit. Such is the heart and soul of the parish.

As nearby Colchester rapidly grows, it is vital to safeguard the special rural character of Copford with Easthorpe. Some new development is necessary and newcomers refresh the vitality of the villages. But such development must respect and enhance the heritage and ongoing story of the parish, for the continuing enrichment of current and future generations.

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