COLCHESTER’S High Steward has written to the Prime Minister amid concerns over proposals which mean Colchester could have to build 1,600 homes a year saying it would be a “disaster” for the town.

Sir Bob Russell sent Boris Johnson the strongly worded letter alongside a copy of the Gazette’s coverage of the plans.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick’s Planning for the Future White Paper is set to bring about huge changes to the planning system in a bid to rip up the red tape in the planning system.

North Essex as a whole - Colchester, Tendring, Chelmsford and Braintree - could need to build 5,086 per year under the new method.

The White Paper also proposes replacing how housing need is calculated to a nationally-set method distributing 300,000 homes per annum across the UK.

Planning consultants Lichfields calculated how much each area is likely to need to build under the new rules.

Colchester’s housing requirement could rise to 1,612 a year, the highest number across Hertfordshire and Essex.

Read more >>> Colchester may need to build nearly DOUBLE amount of homes under new rules

The current requirement set out in Colchester’s Local Plan is 920 homes per year, although the borough has delivered an average of 1,045 homes over the past three years according to Lichfields.

In the letter Sir Bob said: “The Jenrick Declaration will be a disaster for the borough of Colchester with the changes to the planning system making it a developers’ charter to build with no regard to the views of local residents as expressed through their democratically elected councillors.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

“Total disregard for communities is how it operates in communist China.

“The population of Colchester has already increased by 30,000 this century.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

“Mass house building is already taking place. Hopes of a country park in urban south Colchester will not now happen.

“That land will now be lost to further urbanisation. So much for green spaces for urban dweller. The long-term consequences threaten a planning and environmental disaster.”

Sir Bob also urged all borough councillors to speak up against the plans, no matter their party allegiance.