Garden village could help Maldon hit homes target

A new garden village in Maldon cannot be ruled out to provide up 4,500 homes planners say they need to find space for, the district council has said.

Maldon District Council said its housing blueprint, which designates 5,100 homes and expires in 2029, needs to be extended to 2038 at the earliest, but could actually go to 2043 to allow more significant degrees of infrastructure investment to be secured.

People are now being asked their views on how the district could be planning for future development in a consultation now open until March 14, 2022.

The authority said there is not enough housing land allocated or with planning permission to fulfil five years’ worth of needs, which is a national requirement and failure to do so can leave the district council powerless to preventing developments on land it disagrees with.

Given the need for the review, it is also taking the opportunity to consider how it can make development work better when it happens in the district, including things such as improving design quality of new developments, removing flood risk, adapting to climate change, as well as ensuring we have the right protections in place for the natural and historic environment.

But key to the consultation is where housing should be delivered – it is seeking views on seven different ways to distribute growth in the district which could mean carrying on with the 2017 LDP approach for new growth going in Maldon, Heybridge and Burnham on Crouch, a scatter growth proportionally across all settlements, or creating a new satellite settlement.

The existing plan has provided housing in garden suburbs with Maldon, Heybridge and Burnham, but it has said that one way the housing could be delivered is a new garden village – similar to the ones being proposed in Dunton Hills in Brentwood on in north east Chelmsford.

Matt Winslow, strategy, policy and communications manager at the district council, said: “It could be a garden village. A garden village is more about how a settlement is delivered and by what principles it is designed.

“But we have not used that term.

“It is more about that it is bolted onto one of the existing settlements or it is located outside the confined of an existing settlement.

“Garden villages are one of the ways in which that could happen but we have not mentioned that specifically.”

He added: “We can’t just decide we are going to create a new settlement in a location where the land is not available.

“That is why in part we are reopening the call for land so that all the land opportunities are considered fairly and equally.”

He added that new infrastructure to support large scale housing may become more available if the plan was extended to 2043.

He said: “That is one of the questions we are asking as to whether we should aim for a longer plan that could unlock greater infrastructure investment or have a slightly shorter plan.”

Comments are welcome on every issue and question, or just on the areas that are of specific interest. In order to comment, everyone will need to register on our new LDP Consultation Portal, as comments cannot be made anonymously.

Councillor Richard Siddall, leader designate of Maldon District Council, said: “The local development plan review consultation, gives us all a new opportunity to have our say.

“To rethink how development in the whole district should happen in the future, and to ensure that what is built, provides for local needs and leaves a positive legacy to the district.

“We are asking residents, businesses and organisations to tell us what they think is important in how to meet the development challenges ahead.

“I would encourage everyone to give us their initial views, to help us shape the Local Development Plan Review.”

Residents, businesses, and organisations in the District can have their say by at: www.maldon.gov.uk/Issues-and-Options

For those people without access to the internet, comments can be made in other ways; please call 01621 854477 to discuss this further.

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter