Tiptree Neighbourhood Plan
(1) 6 Design and Housing
Objective 1: To deliver development prioritising local distinctiveness in keeping with the village feel, rural surroundings and heritage of Tiptree.
Objective 2: To meet the housing, infrastructure and service requirements and needs of Tiptree and its residents in a sustainable manner.
Local character and design
6.1 Responses to the Community Questionnaire reveal a strongly held desire for Tiptree to remain a village with a 'village feel'; small enough for there to be a sense of community but large enough to provide essential services within the village. There is a strong desire for new housing to reflect the village character and to avoid the imposition of an urban landscape. It is acknowledged that this has not always been achieved in the past.
6.2 Dwellings should be built in clusters with space between to break up the development and to provide space for footpaths, cycle-ways, trees and wildlife corridors that connect to existing facilities and networks. New development should incorporate integral features of benefit to wildlife, such as integral swift bricks, bat tiles, sparrow terraces, starling boxes, hedgehog highways, invertebrate 'hotels', log piles, reptile refugia, etc. A wildflower lawn mix can be used for amenity areas, which significantly improves the value for insect pollinators.
6.3 Roads should have pavements and most dwellings should be set back and have front gardens. The streetscape should be attractive and well managed with storage space for recyclables, refuse/wheelie bins and bicycles and lay-bys for on-street parking.
6.4 In recognition of the forecast increase in demand from electricity networks for solar panels and batteries as well as electric vehicle charging, and from digital networks for faster broadband, it is important that houses are designed so that new technology and infrastructure can be incorporated in the build or retro-fitted as necessary.
Wilkin Drive, Tiptree
(33) POLICY TIP02: GOOD QUALITY DESIGN
- All development within Tiptree must demonstrate good quality design and respect and enhance the character and appearance of the surrounding area and the way it functions. Achieving good design in Tiptree means responding to and integrating with local surroundings and landscape context as well as the existing built environment. In particular, proposals must demonstrate that they will appropriately address the following:
- Ensure new development proposals reflect the local vernacular in terms of building styles, building set back and arrangements of front gardens, walls, railings or hedges.
- Incorporate inter-connected areas of open space and green infrastructure to form discreet groups of buildings to break up the building mass.
- Retention of existing landscape features such as mature trees and hedgerows which contribute to local landscape character and ecological diversity.
- Incorporate the principles of Secured by Design to design out crime.
- Propose trees and mixed hedges of predominantly native species to screen development and integrate it into the landscape.
- Development must minimise the visual impact of built development on existing green infrastructure networks such as footpaths, cycle paths, bridleways and leafy lanes.
- In order to address the need for biodiversity net gain, integral features of benefit to wildlife should be incorporated into buildings and amenity areas or elsewhere in the parish.
- Ensure safe access to routes for pedestrians, cyclists and road users, particularly towards the village centre, local schools and other amenities.
- Use of high quality materials that complement the existing dwellings in the immediate vicinity.
- Properties to be designed so they incorporate appropriate infrastructure, including electric car charging points, and can be retro-fitted for new electricity and digital technology.
- Designs that incorporate new technology to increase energy efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint will be encouraged.
- In order to ensure a high quality and well managed streetscape, developments must ensure that sufficient external amenity space is provided, as well as space for refuse and recycling storage and car and bicycle parking.
Residential car parking
6.5 It is recognised that the number of vehicles per household is increasing, particularly in a village where most working people are dependent on personal transport to get to work and public transport networks are limited in terms of frequency and destination.
6.6 The main economic centres where Tiptree residents work or shop are Colchester, Chelmsford and London. The Colchester Travel to Work Patterns 2015 report identifies that 72% of workers from Tiptree leave to go elsewhere each day. The larger dwellings in Tiptree are home to households with high numbers of workers for whom accessibility to the workplace is a key consideration.
6.7 Car ownership is therefore high, not helped by the fact that bus services to main centres and railways are not practical for workers. Policy DM22 of the Colchester CLP S2 requires development to meet the most recent local parking standards and this is considered to be particularly important in Tiptree. The local standards are provided by the Essex Parking Standards 2009 and it is important that any updates to this are suitably reflected.
6.8 This plan considers it important to provide sufficient off-road parking as well as space for visitors with the aim of maintaining an orderly streetscape that is safe for children and pedestrians. Whilst garages are desirable, they are often not used for car parking. This plan encourages the use of open parking on drives, parking courts or car ports. Any street parking should preferably be in lay-bys with sufficient remaining road width for two cars to pass.
(30) POLICY TIP03: RESIDENTIAL CAR PARKING
- All new residential developments within Tiptree must demonstrate sufficient provision of off-street car parking that meets the relevant local standards.
- In order to ensure that off-street parking is fully utilised, the provision of open parking under car ports, on drives or on parking courts with designated spaces is encouraged in preference to garages. Height and width of parking spaces should be in accordance with the space dimensions set out in 'Essex Parking Standards: Design and Good Practice' document (2009) or successor document.
- In order to achieve an orderly streetscape, on-street parking is encouraged to be provided in lay-bys.
Building for a Healthy Life
6.9 Ensuring a high quality design of developments in terms of integration into the existing footprint, character and community of the village has frequently been expressed as a high priority for residents in consultation. In line with the CLP S2 (paragraph 15.83) the Plan encourages new developments to apply the Building for a Healthy Life design standard.
(27) POLICY TIP04: BUILDING FOR A HEALTHY LIFE
Applicants for major residential development (as defined by the National Planning Policy Framework) are encouraged to demonstrate how they meet the Building for a Healthy Life standards.
6.10 The 2011 census shows that proportionally, Tiptree lacks 1- and 2-bedroom dwellings and has a high proportion of 3- and 4-bedroom dwellings (see Table 6.1 below).
|Tiptree Parish||Colchester Non-Metropolitan
|East of England Region||England Country|
|All Household Spaces With
At Least One Usual Resident
|5 or More Bedrooms||183||4.74%||3460||4.83%||122511||5.06%||1014710||4.60%|
Table 6.1: Distribution of dwelling size in Tiptree based on number of bedrooms
6.11 Colchester Borough Council policy recognises the historic over-provision of larger dwellings. Local Plan Section 2 (Policy DM10) requires development to provide a mix in line with the latest Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) and this requirement should be followed in Tiptree along with any up to date evidence of specific local housing needs. Following the SHMA, the Local Plan requires over 38% of all units to be 1- and 2-bedrooms (4.9% 1-bed and 33.3% 2-bed). For Tiptree's 600 dwellings this will provide approximately 30no. 1-bedroom and 200no. 2-bedroom dwellings. The Barbrook Lane development, which accounts for one-third of Tiptree's housing requirement, has been granted planning permission to deliver 35% of its units as 1- and 2-bed properties, slightly below this requirement. Moreover, only 29 of these properties (14.5%) will be open market dwellings, with 15 of these being bungalows. Similarly, the land at Kelvedon Road which was granted permission on appeal in 2022 will only deliver 18% of its 130 units as 1- and 2-bed properties. The requirement for more smaller properties, which meet the needs of first-time buyers amongst others, has therefore increased.
6.12 The RCCE housing Needs Survey (2017) also identified a need among current Tiptree residents for 25 bungalows (mostly (80%) 2-bedroom plus a few 3-bedroom). The Barbrook Lane development will contribute 15 bungalows towards this requirement.
6.13 Tiptree Neighbourhood Plan accepts that a discussion of the number of bedrooms is primarily about dwelling size and price. For this reason a dwelling the size and price of a two bedroom house but with a third bedroom in a loft space for example would be an acceptable alternative to a 2 bedroom dwelling.
6.14 The CLP S2 Policy DM10 covers housing diversity. This requires developments to deliver a range of housing types and tenures in order to create inclusive and sustainable communities. In particular, development is required to provide a mix of dwellings in line with the latest Strategic Housing Market Assessment and has particular requirements for older people, specialist housing (e.g. for people with care needs, etc.), self-build/custom-build, gypsies and travellers, students and hospice provision. This policy is strongly supported by the Neighbourhood Plan and development should ensure that it meets its requirements in full.
6.15 In line with Colchester Local Plan Policy DM8, housing developments of 10 or more dwellings are required to deliver at least 30% of units as affordable housing. Affordable housing includes rented, shared ownership and 'First Homes'. There is a strong desire (75% of 1042 respondents) for a proportion of affordable housing to be allocated to people with a link to Tiptree. According to the RCCE Housing Needs Survey for Tiptree published in December 2017 there was an assessed need locally of 19 units for housing association/council housing. This works out at six 1-bed units, ten 2-bed units and three 3-bed units.
6.16 The importance of making local people aware that they need to register with Colchester Borough Council in order to be considered for an affordable home is addressed in Section 13 (Non-policy actions).
6.17 First Homes are a specific kind of discounted market sale housing that are considered to meet the definition of 'affordable housing' for planning purposes. Specifically, First Homes are discounted market sale units which must be discounted by a minimum of 30% against the market value. They must be sold to genuine first-time buyers and the discount must then be passed on to all subsequent buyers of the property. A minimum of 25% of affordable housing on any development must be First Homes.
6.18 The evidence base underpinning the CLP S2 and the Neighbourhood Plan identifies that there is a need for homes that are affordable for first-time buyers. As identified in the housing needs survey, prices in Tiptree mean that many people cannot afford to buy properties locally. Since this was prepared in 2017, prices have increased by 8% for 2-bed properties (source: Zoopla.co.uk). The Housing Needs Survey also quoted evidence from 2007/8 that the median house price in Tiptree was 18.8 times higher than the median income (source: ONS/Land Registry), well above the figure of 15.4 for England as a whole. Given that the house price rises over this period (including the significant increases since 2017) has not been mirrored by equivalent rises in income, it can be assumed that the affordability ratio will have significantly worsened. There is a clear justification to introduce a First Homes requirement in Tiptree.
6.19 Due to the relatively recent introduction of First Homes (May 2021), the CLP S2 falls under transitional arrangements for national planning policy so does not have to have a policy requirement for First Homes. The Neighbourhood Plan however does not fall under these transitional arrangements so is able to include such a policy. It is considered vital that a proportion of affordable housing delivered in Tiptree is available as First Homes.
(28) POLICY TIP05: FIRST HOMES
Developments that are required to deliver affordable housing (as per Colchester Local Plan Policy DM8) should deliver at least 25% of affordable units secured through developer contributions as First Homes.
Honeybee Grove, Tiptree
 Essex County Council (2009) Parking Standards: Design and Good Practice, with Essex Planning Officers Association