Last week I wrote to the planning policy team at Colchester Council in response to a leaflet entitled “the Local Plan” dated August/September, which was delivered to households throughout Colchester inviting residents to respond to this consultation.

Records show I have previously made a written submission to the Local Plan Inquiry and spoke at the public hearing held at the Community Stadium.

I have also spoken at several meetings of Colchester Council’s Local Plan committee, and also Tendring Council’s Local Plan committee.

It is my opinion the concentration of the Local Plan debate on the so-called “garden villages” – notably caused by the impressive opposition to proposals for West Tey – has resulted in the interests of urban Colchester being largely overlooked.

Urban Colchester needs to have what is left of its undeveloped land protected.

Residents of urban Colchester need such “green lungs” to be kept – not swamped with further urban sprawl.

Dumping yet more houses within the boundaries of pre-1974 Colchester (when the town and many local villages were merged into a single council) must be avoided.

We owe it to future generations to ensure that we keep what is left of our green spaces.

I leave others to debate the merits or otherwise of the “garden villages” on fields to the west and east of Colchester.

I will deal solely with two areas of land within the pre-1974 boundaries – namely:

1 – Salary Brook Valley and land to the east up Clinghoe Hill towards Elmstead Market.

2 – Middlewick, in south Colchester between Old Heath and Mersea Road.

It is important that the whole of the eastern (undeveloped) side of Salary Brook Valley remains as open space, designated as a country park or some other designation in order to retain its rural character and wildlife habitation.

It also important that dwellings at the garden village between Colchester and Elmstead Market are built well beyond the brow of the hill so they are not visible from existing dwellings at Greenstead and Longridge Park.

It is vital there is significant open space between the east of these estates and the proposed new development.

Regarding Middlewick, proposals by the Ministry of Defence for residential development (they requested 2,000 dwellings, the borough council reduced this to 1,000) will – as indicated on maps displayed by the Ministry of Defence a few weeks ago – result in the urban coalescence of the established settlements of Old Heath and Mersea Road (Berechurch Ward), with housing along the southern side of Abbot’s Road opposite established urban sprawl.

This would be a planning and environmental outrage.

Development of land at both Salary Brook and Middlewick would result in significant loss of wildlife sites and rob residents of urban Colchester of areas of open space which must be saved.

In the case of Middlewick, the loss of the last area of heathland in the Colchester district would be an ecological calamity – common-sense dictates that this must not happen.

I believe what is known as the Habitats Regulations Assessment, with the effects that development would have on this important wildlife site, should be regarded as a significant further reason why the Local Plan should exclude the land identified by the Ministry of Defence for building 1,000 houses.

In reaching conclusions for the garden villages at West Tey and to the east of Colchester, it is important the needs of urban Colchester and its residents are not forgotten.

At the moment I fear that they have been.

Residents are encouraged to express their views by writing to Planning Policy, Colchester Borough Council, Rowan House, 33 Sheepen Road, Colchester CO3 3WG. E-mails to