Street Lighting

Please let me have your views on turning the street lights back on in St Paul’s ward, by emailing me at

There is a working party looking at street lighting which Cllr Andrew Pemberton (UKIP) is part of. He has asked me to provide a St Paul’s ward view of the only option currently under consideration, which is to turn the lights on or off between the hours of 1am and 5am at the ward level. TDC has asked Essex County Council if they would allow this and do not want to over complicate matters with different wards promoting more finely tuned solutions.

Are there particular areas that you would like the lights back on for? My personal preference would be for major roads, such as Holland Road and Marine Parade East to have the lights on all night; plus certain specific public locations, such as roads leading to Clacton Leisure Centre.

What do you think?

Update:- I have just advised Cllr Pemberton that, given  a straight choice between all on or all off 1am – 5am, St Paul’s ward chooses to have the street lights on!

I sincerely hope there is an opportunity for a more nuanced approach. Indeed I would support the lights on Eastcliff Avenue, where I live, being off.

Local Plan – My Submission

TDC have issued an Issues and Options Consultation Document 2015 for consultation, closing on 13th October 2015. Submissions should be sent to To those of you who go weak at the knees when faced with this kind of document – I share your pain! However it is important. So, if all you do is cut and paste my submission then that would be a worthwhile contribution.

Summary of my contribution is:

  • 705 dpa is too high.
  • Priority for the regeneration of Jaywick is absent.
  • Lack of support for jobs growth in light industrial sector and [especially] the leisure sector benefitting from our magnificent new beach.
  • Insufficient priority to A133 Weeley to Frating upgrade.
  • 1000 houses from Colchester/Tendring border is too low.
  • Development of land between Thorpe-le-Soken village and station should be specifically identified.

My full submission may be found here:- TDC Plan Issues and Options – AM Comments. I would be flattered if anyone wished to use all or part of this in their submission.

Feedback on the Issues and Options consultation document will be considered alongside the revised CHMA 2015 – Objectively Assessed Housing Need Study – 2015 -Peter Brett Associate, and the results of the current challenge to that study by TDC.

Local Plan Committee Meeting 2105 09

The Local Plan Committee, of which I am a member, held its latest meeting last Thursday evening (17th September) in Clacton Town Hall (Princes Theatre). I counted 37 people in the public gallery, which may not sound many, but it was three times the number at the full council meeting in the same venue the previous week! The main subject was a discussion of the Housing Needs Study produced by Peter Brett Associates. I posted my letter to other members of the committee on this subject on this blog on September 7th.

First there were five submissions from members of the public, a maximum of three minutes each. Apparently members must submit a request in advance to be allowed to address the committee. The first three submissions were comments on the Local Plan, specifically objections to housing around Little Clacton. This was clearly not what the chairman or officers thought these public submissions were supposed to be about. Nonetheless, all submissions were heard in full and I am sure they will be properly captured by the Local Plan consultation exercise that is currently underway.

Apparently these submissions were intended to be specifically about the revised Housing Need Study. I have to say it was not at all clear to me how members of the public were supposed to know that. Anyway the next two submissions were very directly on the subject of that study. The first was from John Smith-Daye as a resident and then from Alan Eldret as a resident and also as Representative of Tendring Residents Lobby Group. Clearly they had both taken the trouble to read the report in detail and argued strongly that 597 dwellings pa, down from the original 705 dpa, was too many. They wanted a number of 497 dpa or lower.

Then the committee began their discussion and members were kind enough to compliment me on the letter that I had circulated, both on its clarity and for being circulated well in advance of the meeting. Moreover they wanted to support the suggestion that I had made. Extraordinary – I felt hugely gratified! After some to’ing and fro’ing that I had no part in the final motion, proposed by Cllr Jeff Bray (UKIP) and seconded by myself was:

That the Local Plan Committee having considered the findings of the new ‘Objectively Assessed Housing Needs Study’ (July 2015) attached as Appendix A1a));

a) instructs Officers to go back to the authors of the above-mentioned study to investigate the matters raised by the Committee in respect of figures and assumptions in the study and to explore the possibility of revising its conclusions with a view to setting lower housing growth figures for Tendring, such that it is no greater than 479 dwellings per annum as detailed in Section 4.39 of the Appendix; and

b) notes that a further, more detailed assessment looking at the composition of future housing needs across particular groups in society, is underway.

Clearly, this may not result in any change. However, the Local Plan will have to pass inspection and that will be difficult indeed whilst section 9.25 of this study gives a lower bound of 597 dpa and an upper bound of 705 dpa. This is the right process to be following and I am pleased that the committee has passed this motion.

In due course I will write my own submission to the consultation exercise that is underway. That will, of course, be posted here. If any of you wish to use all or part of that you are welcome and I would be flattered.

Full Council 2015 09

Last Tuesday 8th September there was a meeting of the full TDC council in Clacton town hall. With three apologies for absence, I imagine that made 57 councillors attending.

With my interest in planning there were three elements that particularly caught my attention:

1:- Cllr Everett (UKIP) had submitted a motion to censure Cllr Stock (Con) “for ignoring the Local Plan Committee resolution to return the consultation to the Committee in the event of a significant decrease being identified in housing need”. This refers to the consultation document that was circulated for public comment, shortly before an updated housing needs assessment was received from PBA, the consultants employed by TDC. This did indeed reduce the housing requirement from 705 dwellings pa to 597 dwellings pa, a reduction that Cllr stock had described as significant. It turns out that the decision not to return the consultation document to the local plan committee was taken by a TDC officer – without any written record of the justification! The motion was defeated by the Conservative lead administration.

2:- Cllr Bray (UKIP) had submitted a motion that the council “makes available, free of charge . . . recordings of all future meetings of the Local Plan Committee and the Planning Committee” as currently happens for full council meetings. There was general agreement on all sides that this was a good thing to do. However, Cllr Stock (Con) proposed a motion that council officers be charged with investigating and producing a report on the technical feasibility and cost of doing this. That amendment was carried overwhelmingly, with myself being the only person to vote against. I support completely the free availability of recordings of these committee meetings and I see this improvement as completely inevitable. My vote was against the waste of council officers’ time in producing a report on the bleedin’ obvious.

3:- The Labour party have decided not to take up their seat on the local plan committee. Cllr Henderson (Lab) said the Labour group was required by the Widdecombe rules to give up two committee seats and this was one of the ones chosen. The council leader, Cllr Stock (Con), then proposed a motion that the seat remain empty, which prompted Cllr Stephenson (UKIP Group Leader) to propose an amendment that he take up the seat. TDC officers then explained that an amendment could not directly reverse the intention of the motion that it was amending. Whereupon I had my chance to speak up, proposing a motion that group leaders confer to see whether leaving the seat blank was indeed the best way forward. Planning is the biggest issue that I faced during the election and since, so it seemed to me to be not filling all the seats on this committee would be to let the residents of Tendring down. Cllr Stock (Con) indicated that he would accept the amendment, and it was accepted overwhelmingly on a show of hands. Whoever fills this seat, or not, the Conservatives will still have a majority on the Local Plan committee.

One final point, council meetings are open to the public. I did not note down the exact number of public attending, but it was about a dozen. Maybe TDC residents get what they need from the Gazette – and this blog of course!

Housing Needs Study

I have today emailed the letter below to members of the Tendring Local Plan committee. I hope it will allow us to find a way forward that commands broad support:

To:         Councillors on the Local Plan Committee

Objectively Assessed Housing Needs Study:

I am writing in advance of the next Local Plan committee meeting on September 17th to ask you to support a proposal to ask the TDC officers to go back to Peter Brett Associates, with a view to agreeing a lower figure than the 597pa that is in the options document currently out for consultation. I have asked Mr Guiver to make consideration of this request a specific agenda item. The result of that review would be considered by the Local Plan committee alongside the feedback from the consultation exercise.

I believe that the Objectively Assessed housing Needs Study carried out by PBA leaves a large amount of unexplained housing requirement. Indeed the report itself recognises this:

4.26 Tendring has a large Unattributable Population Change (UPC) adjustment. Here UPC was over 9,000 people negative over the 10 year (Census to Census) period. The Census reported many fewer people in the district than were expected. The impact on the projected housing need is around 200 new homes per year.

4.39 Unlike the other four districts, for Tendring there is a legitimate reason to query the SNPP 2012.

4.42 The only doubtful element in the projections relates to the Unattributable Population Change (UPC) in Tendring.

9.5 If we use an alternative projection that adjusts for the UPC, the demographically projected need for Tending falls from 705 to 479 dpa.

Uniquely, among the four districts covered by the PBA study, the population forecasts for Tendring has a large negative natural change offset by a huge positive net migration figure:


Change p.a. Total population Net migration % Natural change %
Braintree 1,171 985 84% 186 16%
Chelmsford 1,108 628 57% 480 43%
Colchester 1,638 822 50% 816 50%
Tendring 1,068 1,737 163% -669 -63%
HMA 4,986 4,172 84% 814 16%

The result of this is that the report gives alternative scenarios give wildly differing numbers. The 705 figure for Tendring ranges from 785 down to -230 (section 4.37).

The potential gains from agreeing a number around 500pa are large. I believe it would command broad support within the Local Plan committee, full council and the residents of Tendring. It would also put us within touching distance of having five years +20% demand covered by existing planning applications, which would allow us to refuse speculative planning applications while we go through the process of formally adopting the Local Plan.

I think agreeing a lower target would be entirely compatible with the overall figures in the consultation document. It would create a larger “overhead” that would be entirely beneficial as it would improve the chances of passing inspection. It would also give officers more leverage to ask for greater CIL contributions from developers, than if we are desperate for a smaller number of developments to go ahead.

Finally, Tendring has a poor record of providing new commercial premises over the last decade. Since 2007 I believe the only commercial developments in Tendring, other than barn conversion type properties, have been Lanswood, next to Beth Chatto, and Oakwood on Gorse Lane. The larger “overhead” would also allow land to be available for commercial development, which has to be essential in delivering the jobs that we all believe Tendring needs.

Kind regards,      Ashley Mooney

Cllr John Ashley Mooney