Warren Farm development was set in motion by the old Tory council but the new administration could have stopped it, why didn’t they?
Labour ran in the May 2019 election under the very clear pledge to re-think the development plan that the Tories had set up that people just did not like. The intention within the plan to “maximise urban intensification” is toxic for our town, cramming the centre, choking the traffic and exacerbating already awful parking problems.
Obviously a lot of work and money had gone into the plan and there would have been some cost to change it. There was no need to re-run the consultation, just to listen to it, and the plan is too dreadful to proceed with and will cost more in the long term.
What have Labour done?
Before they lost power, the Tories had already dropped the plan to build homes on the Police HQ site with no new access road, but only after Chelmsford Labour raised an objection. On taking over the council the Lib Dems removed the plan to build on John Shennan field in Moulsham but the plan in general remained, urban intensification, Warren Farm and all.
When Labour activist Pete Dixon raised the issue at a Council meeting, Cllr Pooley admitted that he and Cllr Makrory had discussed the plan and decided to keep it. He also admitted that when the Tories had grabbed power from them 16 years earlier they had ditched the plan they had inherited. So why, with such a mandate for change, did this council not make this fundamental shift?
Refusing to change this has left the ridiculous situation after an earthquake election where the only thing that has changed is the day on which our bins get collected.
2015 -Tories win huge majority on Council
2015-19 – Council ‘consult’ and impose Local Plan
Labour oppose principle of maximum urban intensification as well as specific developments on Warren Farm, Police HQ and club, LibDems oppose specific developments and Cllr Robinson expresses disappointment that council did not pursue the possibility of a new Garden Community.
After Labour opposition Tories drop plan to build on Police HQ & Club site
2019 – Lib Dems win surprise majority on Council
2020 – Council decides to keep the hated plan anyway and not even pursue a new Garden Community.