Tiptree Neighbourhood Plan
8 Tiptree Village Centre
Objective 5: To enable Tiptree village centre to thrive as a safe location for people to spend leisure time and access community facilities.
Objective 6: To ensure that Tiptree is an attractive location for a range of businesses so that its local economy can thrive.
8.1 Tiptree has a thriving village centre and the number of visitors using the facilities is set to increase. Respondents to the community questionnaire expressed great support for their local shops and businesses. Out of a total of around 1000 respondents, 68% did their main food shopping in the village, 93% used the local shops to top up their food shopping, 54% bought hardware in the village, 49% bought toiletries and cosmetics within the village, 33% bought their 'white goods' in Tiptree and 25% bought electronics here. The village centre is an important destination serving not only the community of Tiptree but the surrounding rural communities as well. Anchored by the three supermarkets on Church Road, it represents an attractive option for shopping, particularly given the relative distance of the larger centres of Heybridge, Tollgate (Stanway) and Colchester town centre. The CLP S2 identifies that Tiptree's 'substantial convenience goods shopping offer' serves the western parts of Colchester Borough and that it 'performs an important role in terms of serving predominantly localised shopping and service needs'.
8.2 It is important that existing shops and services are allowed to thrive and that, where vacancies arise, new shops and services are encouraged to fill these vacancies. Whilst national policy allows a lot of flexibility in terms of main town centre uses, the uses that draw people in to use the centre focus around retail (both 'every day' convenience stores and comparison stores selling high value goods) and 'high street services', e.g. hairdressers, beauty salons, banks, etc., supported by restaurants, cafes and other eateries. Whilst a wide range of uses that make up the 'commercial, business and service' use class (Class E) can change between those uses without the need for planning permission, the Neighbourhood Plan seeks to protect the traditional high street shops and services from falling to other uses.
8.3 There is a desire to see the variety of shops increase and there is support for a street market and also for eating and drinking facilities that are open in the evenings. This plan supports proposals that improve the services and facilities available. It will support the relocation of services that are better placed in a dedicated commercial area with good links to the surrounding district and it will support the provision of additional shops and cafes in or adjacent to the existing village centre.
8.4 Also in the centre of the village is the Tiptree Medical Centre. The North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has reported that the medical centre is already over-capacity and an alternative solution needs to be found to provide the additional capacity required. It is not possible to expand the centre on the existing site. As stated in the Colchester Infrastructure Delivery Plan Update 2021, the CCG intends to work with the Parish Council to review options for the way forward. The Neighbourhood Plan is a key part of this and has allocated approximately 0.4 hectares of land for the construction of a new medical facility on the Elms Farm site allocation.
8.5 As stated in the section on dwelling mix, the size of housing needed and planned for in the CLP S2 has been informed by the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA). Accordingly, there is a requirement for over 38% of all units to be 1- and 2-bedrooms (4.9% 1-bed and 33.3% 2-bed). Many of these units will address the needs of the older population as they look to downsize. As shown in the parish profile, nearly 27% of households in Tiptree parish in 2011 were pensioner households, compared with an average of less than 21% in England. Similarly, 21.5% of people in Tiptree in 2011 were over 65, compared with just over 16% across England. The high proportion of older people not only means increased demand for smaller properties but it is preferable that some of these properties are located close to Tiptree village centre where access to shops and services is easier.
8.6 Reflecting the importance of enhancing footfall in Tiptree village in order to maintain its vibrancy, office-based uses are an important opportunity, particularly for space above shop units. The potential for these types of uses is addressed more generally and in more detail in the next section. However, offices are seen as a main town centre use that would fit the profile of Tiptree well and help to underpin the vibrancy of the village centre.
8.7 With increasing numbers of visitors to Tiptree District Centre, car parking is becoming an issue. There is no longer a public car park in the village and the car parking spaces within the village centre are well used by business employees, those visiting the shops and other facilities and by those taking coach trips from the village. Whilst seeking to maximise journeys by non-vehicular modes (walking, cycling and bus), the Neighbourhood Plan seeks to strike a pragmatic balance which recognises that a large number of visitors/users of the District Centre will need to drive. The provision of additional public car parking for those visiting the District Centre is therefore supported.
The Centre, Tiptree
POLICY TIP08: TIPTREE VILLAGE CENTRE
- Proposals to protect and enhance the range of retail (convenience and comparison) units, high street services (e.g. hairdressers, beauty salons, health & social care and banks) and establishments serving food and drink (cafés, pubs and restaurants) will be strongly supported. Proposals that would result in the loss of such uses (where planning permission is required) will not be supported.
- Proposals for new office-based uses will be supported where they do not result in the net loss of uses listed in Clause A. Such uses should preferably be located above ground floor level.
- In order to primarily address the needs of older people, proposals for sheltered housing in the District Centre will be supported provided that:
- it does not result in the net loss of uses listed in Clause A; and
- provision made above ground floor level provides suitable access.
- Where it can be demonstrated to be complementary to the District Centre function of Tiptree, proposals for public car parking in or adjacent to the District Centre will be supported. This must not result in the net loss of uses listed in Clause A.
- Proposals must not adversely affect residential amenity, particularly in terms of on-street car parking, noise and hours of operation.
After the Carnival – Church Road, Tiptree
 Navigus Planning (2021) Colchester Infrastructure Delivery Plan Update 2021, for Colchester Borough Council
 EBC 2.16 Strategic Housing Market Assessment Update (December 2015) and EBC 2.15 Executive Summary form part of LPP2 Evidence Base Supporting Documents Section 2. Housing and Population.
 ACRE, OCSI, RCCE (2013) Rural community profile for Tiptree (parish), Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) Rural evidence project