THE inaugural meeting has been held of a joint committee established to oversee planning decisions for a new garden community.

The Tendring Colchester Borders Garden Community is part of the shared adopted Local Plan of both Colchester Council and Tendring Council, and is supported by Essex County Council.

The garden community proposal itself will see between 7,500 and 9,000 homes on the Tendring-Colchester border constructed over the next 30 years.

Sitting across the border of Colchester and Tendring councils, under current arrangements, planning decisions would need to be considered by either - or both - councils’ separate planning committees.

But councillors say having one joint committee will help to ensure a comprehensive approach to decisions.

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During the first meeting, Colchester Council leader Paul Dundas put forward a recommendation to improve the maps of the proposed build.

He stated there are still questions yet to be answered about many aspects of the project, but the committee is looking into them.

Mr Dundas said: “There was wide political support to participate in the joint committee when we voted on it in Colchester last year.

“It was a historic occasion as joint committees between two authorities, let alone three, are very rare.

“The committee was tasked with deciding whether to send some early drafts of the design out to consultation. This is a very early stage with much to still be decided depending on the feedback.

“There was a wide range of views expressed by members and public and a good discussion. I would hope and expect there will be a wide range of responses to the consultation”

However, Colchester High Steward Sir Bob Russell says it is wrong councillors representing Greenstead and Elmstead were not part of the committee.

Sir Bob said: “The three wards most directly affected are Elmstead in Tendring and Greenstead in Colchester, along with Wivenhoe which is also in the borough.

“Wivenhoe is represented on the joint committee whereas Greenstead and Elmstead are not.

“That is not fair on the residents of these two wards. Their elected representatives have been excluded.”