Wivenhoe's Neighbourhood Plan - intended to protect Wivenhoe until 2033

The Plan was approved in 2019 and provides a means of controlling development up to 2033

Peter Hill

The first public consultation event held in the Wm Loveless Hall in 2013
The Neighbourhood Plan logo designed by local resident John Wallett
The total WNP area and its three constituent parts
The 12 page Questionnaire delivered to every household in 2013
A Summary of the Questionnaire Results in 2014
Coalescent breaks between Wivenhoe and the University, and Greenstead and the proposed garden community
The Scorecard designed by the LUZ Group used to score 20 potential sites in Wivenhoe
The Wivenhoe Neighbourhood Plan map showing every area with its proposed designation
The poster for the two consultation events in 2016
The Wivenhoe Neighbourhood Plan and its 121 pages, maps and 32 policies
The leaflet published and paid for by the WNP Group to promote awareness in the May 2019 Referendum

This is the story about how the Wivenhoe Neighbourhood Plan was created that involved a great many residents who all had a say in what went into it, and who then approved its adoption in a Referendum held in May 2019.

Following the passing of the Localism Act of April 2012, Wivenhoe Town Council set up a Steering Group to lead the work on the Wivenhoe Neighbourhood Plan (WNP) and its first meeting was held on 14th March 2013 in the Wivenhoe Town Council (WTC) offices.

The Steering Group consisted of 12 volunteers from the community including 2 Town Councillors. Another 30 volunteers from the community supported the Steering Group with analysis work in 8 Working Groups which were formed during the first year. That work helped to create the basis of the WNP together with a major survey of residents’ views conducted in 2014.

What is a Neighbourhood Plan?

That first meeting learnt that “a Neighbourhood Plan is a community-led framework for guiding the future development, regeneration and conservation of an area. It may contain a vision, aims, planning policies, proposals for improving the area or providing new facilities or allocations of key sites for specific kinds of development. It may deal with a wide range of social, economic and environmental issues (such as housing, employment, heritage and transport).”

A six-year journey through to the WNP being adopted in May 2019

We did not realise then that we were embarking on a journey that would take six years to complete, and involve many hundreds of hours of effort, if not thousands of hours, if all the time and efforts of 40 people who contributed to the Plan were counted.

It was Cllr Bob Needham, Marika Footring, Jane Black and Peter Hill who were the people who were involved at every stage of its creation through to its final version.

The WNP Steering Group

The Steering Group comprised:  WTC Councillors:  Robert Needham (Chair) and Neil Lodge, and residents:  David Allen, Jane Black, Marika Footring (Secretary to the Steering Group), Peter Hill, Giles Job, Ruth Melville, Richard Polom, Mark Norrington, Rosalind Scott and Graeme Willis.

The group was chaired by Cllr Bob Needham, who also kept the Town Council fully informed of our progress, as well as obtained grants towards the costs of the various stages we went through.

Richard Polom did his best to project manage the process but the timeline was constantly being revised through matters outside of the Group’s control.

Marika did a truly excellent job in documenting every one of the 48 Steering Group meetings, as well as being involved with keeping the NP website up to date.

Great support from CBC Officers

Throughout this journey, we had great support from several Colchester Borough Council (CBC) officers especially from Karen Syrett, a senior figure in the Borough’s strategic planning process and who attended many of our meetings, especially those with landowners; Planning Policy Officer, Chris Downes, who regularly attended our weekly Plan meetings, and who created so many of the detailed maps in the Plan which were important to us to illustrate what we wanted the Plan to achieve.  Further assistance came from other members of Karen’s team: Beverly McLean, Shelley Blackaby and also Principal Planning Policy Officer, Sandra Scott, who worked with us during the final two years to ensure that our Plan was in conformity with the emerging Local Plan for the Borough, the work with the Examination Inspector, and who led the final stage of the process through to the Referendum.


We also had the benefit of several consultants in the process including:

  • Rachel Hogger, an advisor from Planning Aid England who was very helpful especially in the first two years of the Plan’s creation.
  • Dr Jonathan Crane, Place Services, ECC, who helped review the SEA Scoping Report, wrote the SEA Assessment Report and helped with the Addendum to the SEA Report.
  • Chris Bowden, from Navigus Planning, who wrote the first draft of the Plan and its policies from notes provided by the Steering Group, and who later critically reviewed it all for us.
  • Tony Burton, from NPIERS The Neighbourhood Planning Independent Examination Referral Service who conducted a thorough review of the WNP for us in June 2017 and made suggestions how we could improve it to make more likely to get through the Examination process.

Funding the costs

The Steering Group  were able to obtain funding support from Locality through the Community Development Foundation to pay for such things as the printing of Survey forms and publication of the Survey results, the design and work on Plan documents as well as the considerable costs of all of the consultants. WTC contributed towards some of the costs, especially relating to local consultations which the Steering Group organised, and CBC picked up all of the costs of the Independent Examiner and holding the Referendum in May 2019.

How we went about creating the first draft of the Plan  

Many people were involved in its creation, especially in its early stages when 8 Working Groups were established to consider the Wivenhoe of the future. It was important that this vision was a collective one, and one that the whole community could support.

The 8 initial Working Groups

Working groups were formed based on the 8 themes the Steering Group felt it was necessary for the WNP to address.

The Groups’ initial task was to help form the Vision for Wivenhoe. This was one of the requirements of the Neighbourhood Plan. The Working Groups’ work resulted in proposals to the Steering Group from which the Vision statement could be prepared. Their proposals also formed the basis for the November 2014 public consultation.

Titles of these groups and their indicative scope were as follows:

  • Countryside, river and environment issues including: Biodiversity, different uses of outdoor green spaces and water for leisure, maintenance and preservation of green areas.
  • Heritage and Townscape including: History, development, character, conservation and preservation needs.
  • Community, facilities and or leisure activities including: Sports, Allotments, Cemeteries, Playing Fields, Health Centre, Schools and Adult Education.
  • Traffic and transport including: Roads, Parking, Bus, Train, Cycling on highways.
  • Residential development and land use including: Housing generally, Green Areas within Development, Types of Building, Locations, Ownership/Renting options.
  • Economic and business development including: Retail Outlets, Business Premises and Sites, Needs of Self Employed, Homeworkers, Employment Opportunities.
  • Infrastructure needs including: Utilities in general e.g. Communications, Power Supply, Water, Waste Disposal, Alternative Energy.
  • The University including: Employment, Community Engagement and Facilities, Expansion Plans.

The Working Groups finished work on these 8 categories in December 2014 and this formed the basis of what should go into the draft Plan.

A Survey of all households – end 2013

With guidance from our Consultants, and following the consultation event we had organised in the William Loveless Hall in July 2013, the Steering Group determined we needed to survey the views of all residents, and a group of us started working on devising a suitable questionnaire. After some weeks of long meetings in the Town Council offices to thrash out the type of questions we wanted to pose, we eventually produced a 12 page questionnaire by October 2013 that the Steering Group was happy with.

We had 3,500 copies printed on bright lemon-yellow paper, reasoning it was less likely to get lost amongst other papers in someone’s home!

The questionnaire was distributed by volunteers in November 2013 who delivered it to all 3,500 households together with a reply paid envelope. We also placed collecting boxes in various shops and other places around Wivenhoe for residents to return the questionnaires; most residents were considerate enough to save us the cost of the postage and dropped them back to the shops. Lots of publicity was arranged about the importance of completing them.

We didn’t ask people to tell us who they were but we did ask them for some information about the ages of the people in their household and how long they had lived in Wivenhoe. Plus we marked every questionnaire with a code before delivering it, so we knew from which part of Wivenhoe it had come from when it was returned.

We also gave residents the opportunity to respond via an on-line function (Survey Monkey); we were surprised how many did and that encouraged us to load the rest of the questionnaires into the programme as well.

Survey Respondents

There were replies from 980 households across Wivenhoe (29% of all households), 70% via paper questionnaires and 30% directly online. The information on the paper questionnaires was entered into this computer programme by a team of local volunteers. All of the results were analysed together by a further team, including some staff and students from the University of Essex.

The Survey analysed in a 64-page Report published in mid-2014

A 64 page report was produced by Ruth Melville who had led the analysis of the Survey results. This was used as valuable input by the 8 Working Groups.

A Summary of the Survey was published in June 2014. It was produced by local resident John Wallett who also created a new logo for the Plan.  This was printed and distributed widely to keep the community informed as well as made available on-line.

January 2015 – New website and re-organisation

The survey and the report led to lots of consultation with the public; in January 2015 we were able to launch a new and much more comprehensive website to collect comments and views.

At the same time the Working Groups were re-configured into two new groups: Land Use & Zoning, and the Plan/Policy Writing group. The Community Engagement and Communications group was also formed. Each group consisted of Wivenhoe Town Councillors, steering group members and volunteers from the community.

The Communication and Community Engagement (C&CE) Group’s role was to:

Devise and oversee a strategy for communication and community engagement which finds ways to:

  • Promote transparency
  • Recruit members of groups and maintain an open door to public observers and potential new members
  • Consult and engage the full range of residents in the process

The membership of the C&CE group was Rosalind Scott (facilitator) with Lesley Jones, Jean McNeil and Ruth Melville.

They met regularly to encourage progress with the creation of the Plan and share information with residents through consultation events and publicity; Ruth Melville regularly loaded documents to the website, and articles were submitted to Wivenhoe News each quarter.

It worked with John Wallet to produce an excellent summary of the WNP Survey, and later commissioned John to produce a very professional-looking version of the WNP which was issued later in May 2016 for public consultation.

The Land Use and Zoning (LUZ) Group

The role of this Group, formed in January 2015, was to investigate the competing demands for land use, and use this information along with the NP Vision and Objectives to:

  • Research and investigate potential purposes for all land in the Wivenhoe NP area
  • Develop site allocation criteria and housing needs criteria
  • Develop a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) scoping
  • Recommend locations for residential development, number of houses and type of properties
  • Consider the potential for community benefits from changing land use designation.

It arranged visits to parts of Wivenhoe members weren’t familiar with as the gravel pits off the Alresford Road and the meadow behind the Cricket Club with local naturalist, Chris Gibson.

The membership of the LUZ Group was: Peter Hill (facilitator), David Allen, Jane Black, Val Endean, Pat Lean, Cllr Neil Lodge, Cllr Robert Needham and Mark Norrington. LUZ meetings were held most Mondays and in the Town Council Offices during 2015 and through to mid-2016.

The LUZ Group also produced a mammoth 191 page report in July 2015 for use in drawing up the Plan.

January 2015 – Site Allocation Criteria

The Land Use and Residential Development Working Group proposed the following Site Allocation Criteria to the Steering Group in January 2015 and these were agreed:

  • SAC1: Wivenhoe’s identity as a separate town/village must be preserved with a clear green break between the University (on both sides of Colchester Road) and the Wivenhoe settlement area, and with a clear break between Wivenhoe and Alresford
  • SAC 2: There should be a presumption against development on land zoned as coastal protection belt
  • SAC 3: No land of high landscape value should be developed and the vistas from and towards Wivenhoe should be protected
  • SAC 4: Land that is environmentally important for nature conservation should not be used
  • SAC 5: New housing must be spread across several locations. Small developments will be preferred to larger ones.
  • SAC 6: Sites and types of development which will not lead to a significant increase in peak hour traffic on busy roads such as Rectory Road and the Avenue are to be preferred.
  • SAC 7 Development should be sited to allow easy pedestrian and cycle access to the rest of Wivenhoe settlement area and should be within 700 metres of a bus stop.

The LUZ Working Group went on to develop a Scorecard based approach.

March 2015 – A Vision for Wivenhoe

The Steering Group spent a lot of time and effort agreeing a Vision and Objectives and in March 2015 it published its final version. We all knew what we wanted but it was trying to get the right words. That took some time and effort.

By the end of the Plan period, in 2033, Wivenhoe will still be a thriving and vibrant community but will be an even better place in which to live, work and to visit by:

  • protecting and enhancing its distinctive character, rich heritage and natural assets such as the river and its rural setting, and those areas which are important to wildlife and biodiversity
  • improving access to the river and other countryside areas by people for recreational purposes whilst respecting sensitive environmental habitats
  • securing more green spaces
  • adding new community facilities
  • ensuring traffic flows are improved by creating additional footpaths and cycle-ways in order to encourage sustainable travel modes and ensuring new housing is located in areas which do not significantly impact upon the existing road network in Wivenhoe at peak times
  • providing additional homes that will give a better overall mix of housing in Wivenhoe and that will meet the needs of local people.

This vision statement was circulated widely and support for it sought.

May 2015 – Landowners respond to a Call for Potential Sites giving potential for an extra 1,000 homes

Earlier in 2015, CBC had issued a request to landowners across the Borough to submit their proposals for land that they might wish to see designated as land for development.  5 sites were put forward in Wivenhoe with potential for the building of 1,000 new homes.

June 2015 – Scorecard for selecting land for development

The LUZ Group also worked on producing a Scorecard as a means of coming up with a scientific basis for selecting certain sites as suitable for development. Clearly some sites were more suited for some residential development than others.

This Scorecard was based on the Site Allocation Criteria agreed earlier in the year and gave points from 0 – 5 according to how well a site scored against each of the criteria in order to produce an overall score for each site. An individual score could be plus if the criterion was deemed to be positive i.e. homes would be close to shops, or negative, if it was deemed to be harmful to views of the river for example or could potentially contribute to more traffic in the lower part of Wivenhoe.

The Scorecard was used to assess 20 sites in Wivenhoe. Its results were submitted to the Steering Group for approval. It was a useful basis for decision-making, although its results were later revised particularly regarding housing numbers.

A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)

It was determined that a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) was required after a Habitats Regulation Assessment Screening Report was completed by CBC. The SEA doesn’t form part of the actual plan document but sits alongside it to show that full thought has been given to the potential environmental impact from any sort of development in the area.

It  first requires that Scoping Report is agreed.  The Scoping Report was put together by the LUZ working group, with Jane Black doing most of the work on this with support from fellow LUZ Committee member David Allen, and help from planning consultant Dr Jonathan Crane from Place Services, ECC. The report focussed on the methodology and scorecard approach developed by LUZ which was approved by the Steering Group.

This report, published in June 2015, ran to 56 pages.  It was sent to statutory authorities and local stakeholders to see whether it covered everything it needed to.

Then a full Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) was then commissioned from with Dr Jonathan Crane of ECC Place Services and resulted in another long report being eventually published later in 2016.  This report, a long time in the making with lots of discussion involving Jane Black and other members of the LUZ Working Group before it went through the formal consultation process.

A maximum number of new homes

From discussions LUZ had with the local schools, we knew how many children from outside of Wivenhoe were occupying places in those schools. And from work that the Group also did with the ECC Education Department, we reasoned that 250 new homes was the maximum number of new homes which could be justified before another school would be required.  This number of 250 homes also presumed at least two thirds of them were not designed as ‘family homes’.

The Steering Group agreed with these arguments and it confirmed that the Plan should adopt this number.  This number was agreed with CBC and who adopted this number in the Emerging Local Plan.

July 2015 – the first draft plan produced

On 18th June,  Chris Bowden of Navigus Planning was sent the long document which LUZ had produced and that included all of the reports from the Working Groups, to use as the basis for the first draft of the WNP.   On 25th July, he produced the first draft comprising just 38 pages but, helpfully, with lots of notes about what extra wording and work on it was required to make this draft much more comprehensive. This draft gave us a really good start and a framework from which to work.

During the following weeks, lots of changes were made to it by Cllrs Bob Needham and Neil Lodge, Mark Norrington, David Allen, Neil Hopkins, Pat Lean, Val Endean, Jane Black with Peter Hill as facilitator and secretary producing a new version almost every week until, by 18th Oct 2015, version 10 had been produced. It had grown substantially by then and now stretched to 83 pages with lots of additional text and maps.  We employed a graphic designer to help us with a lot of these, and especially the graphics to illustrate the socio-economic profile which Jane Black produced, drawing on her expertise in this field as a former professor at Exeter University.

Meetings with Landowners

From August 2015, we had meetings with those landowners who had put forward outline proposals for approximately 1,000 extra homes in Wivenhoe. These meetings were all very cordial – having Karen Syrett, CBC’s Place Strategy Manager present at all of those meetings was very helpful as she added a lot weight and importance to those meetings. In consequence they were very constructive. I drafted letters to each landowner to confirm what we wanted in return for allowing them to build. Each letter was reviewed by Karen Syrett before it was sent out.

Results of those meetings – Community Benefits in return for new homes

In return for zoning land for the building of 250 extra homes of different types, the LUZ group negotiated the following benefits, these were in addition to the usual requirements of the planners as social housing, play spaces and a financial contribution to community facilities:

  • A new cemetery (a traditional one as well as a ‘green’ one) with car parking spaces
  • Land for new allotments (in two locations)
  • Additional 2 hectares of playing fields (for football and rugby)
  • New cycletracks and footways
  • Land for new almshouses for Wivenhoe people

We were also able to zone two areas of land for use to build care homes.

Land was designated for other purposes

LUZ also proposed that other parts of Wivenhoe should be allocated as Open Spaces, several wild life areas and 2 hectares of land by Keelars Lane as a new commercial and light industrial centre to create new employment opportunities.

Of particular importance was the desire to preserve a Coalescence Break between the Wivenhoe Parish area and the University / B1027, spanning either side of the B1028 main entrance road into Wivenhoe, and this land was designated accordingly for this especial purpose.  Much of the undeveloped land by the river, or which offered good views of the river, was also given an especial new designation, that of Colne Special Character Area to prevent it being built on.

All these ideas were fully supported by the Steering Group. In this way, every part of Wivenhoe was reviewed and was given a proposed designation that would determine for what purpose that land could be used in the future.

Summer 2015 – Development Site Proposals – More consultations

In June and July 2015 public consultations were held at events like the Regatta and in the Wm Loveless Hall on the choice of sites and the overall number of homes we felt should be put forward in the eventual Plan. When these reasons and our approach had been explained, the vast majority of people accepted this number, and the sites we were putting forward for development.

A letter was also hand-delivered to all residents of streets nearest the 4 proposed sites to ensure everyone had an opportunity to comment.

December 2015 – A Summary of the Draft Plan is published

The Steering Group was anxious about publishing something about the NP, and LUZ worked with John Wallet to produce a Summary document which cut out a lot of the text and focussed on the Policies and the proposals maps.

February 2016 – The first draft of the WNP is published

By mid-February the whole Plan document was able to be published, and public consultation events were advertised in the Cricket Club and in the Wm Loveless Hall. These events were well attended.  Comments on this draft Plan were requested by the end of March.

February 2016 – LUZ becomes the Plan Review Group

This group, comprising Cllr Neil Lodge, Jane Black, Mark Norrington, David Allen, Marika Footring, Rosalind Scott, Val Endean with Peter Hill as facilitator / secretary, continued to meet weekly in the Council Offices to refine the wording of the Plan in the light of comments and points raised at the public consultations.

The document kept on evolving due to many factors, as discussions with the University and their consultants, consideration of issues relating to the emerging Local Plan, comments from CBC and statutory authorities and continuing negotiations with land owners and the number of units per site.

April 2016 – Navigus Planning reviews the WNP

In April, LUZ had the benefit of NP planning consultant, Chris Bowden from Navigus Planning’s comments on the wording of the draft plan to date.

May 2016 – The Draft Plan is issued for Public Consultation

By May we produced what we thought was a near-final draft Plan and that was the one which was published on the WNP website. Giles Job proof-read the draft for us which found a few small things which needed changing.

July 2016  –  A Final consultation on the Neighbourhood Plan

A formal 6 –week consultation was launched by Wivenhoe Town Council on the draft WNP with a closing date for this consultation to end on 6th September.

August 2016  – SEA Report finished

Dr Jonathan Crane started working on the SEA report for us in 2016, producing all 167 pages of it eventually in August 2016.   LUZ worked with him during these several months it took to produce.

August 2016 – Basic Conditions Statement

Marika Footring created a 56-page Basic Conditions Statement, one of the required documents of producing a Neighbourhood Plan.

6th September 2016 – WNP submitted to CBC

With the WNP completing its pre-submission consultation on 6th September 2016, Wivenhoe Town Council submitted it to Colchester Borough Council as the local planning authority shortly after that date, with the request that an Examiner should be appointed.

7th Sept 2016 – Steering Group Meeting

At the close of this meeting, thinking that work on the Plan was at an end, the Chairman, Cllr Bob Needham requested that his thanks should be recorded for all the work that had been done by the Steering Group over the Plan period.

Little did we realise that it would take another two years of endless meetings and emails to get the WNP to a Referendum in May 2019.

September 2016 – An Objection from Natural England

One of the Statutory consultees in this Plan process, Natural England, voiced an objection to our Plan which took ages and a lot of extra work to resolve. They felt that with all the potential housing development taking place in Wivenhoe, especially from the proposed Garden Community as well as in the surrounding areas, there was a significant in-combination threat to wild life in particular areas further down the river, away from Wivenhoe, which could be affected by increased recreational activity arising from this extra housing. They pressed for a Habitats Regulation Assessment and mitigation actions in the Plan.

October 2016  –  The Plan Review Group

Cllr Bob Needham, Marika Footring, Jane Black and myself to continue working on the Plan and to overcome the obstacles which seemed to prevent us from reaching the finishing line.

Many changes were required to it although no changes were required to its Objectives or Sites Allocations or housing requirements.

By the time our work was finished in March 2019, and after many more meetings in the Town Council offices to agree these changes, I had published Version 29 of the WNP.

June 2017 – The Plan is reviewed by NPIERS

To try to make progress in 2017, Marika proposed we seek a review of the Plan from the Neighbourhood Planning Independent Examiner Referral Service (NPIERS).

Comments from NPIERS in June 2017 led to further fine tuning of the draft plan’s policies though no material changes were necessary.

October 2017 – An Addendum to the SEA Report

This Addendum was prepared in October 2017 and was reviewed by Jonathan Crane of Place Services in the November.

Following comments from Natural England after the Regulation 19 pre-submission consultation in August 2016, and further consideration of the Plan’s policies after the NPIERS review in June 2017, a number of small modifications were made to the Wivenhoe Neighbourhood Plan policies.

These modifications were subject to a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) in so far as they may alter those impacts highlighted in the SEA that accompanied the consultation version. While most modifications were minor, a new Section 18 DEVELOPMENT AND NATURA 2000 SITES and a new Policy WIV32, Recreational Avoidance from New Housing in Wivenhoe and Mitigation Strategies were added.

December 2017 update – Basic Conditions and an Addendum to the SEA Report

The Plan Review Group sought to overcome this difficulty by formulating a Habitats Regulation Assessment addendum and the addition of a Mitigation policy in the draft WNP. The Basic Conditions statement update and an Addendum to the SEA report were completed in November 2017.

This meant that all the necessary documents were ready for a re-submission to CBC for compliance review. This re-submission took place at the end of November. We hoped to hear from CBC before the end of December.

December 2017 – Consultation Statement

In December, Marika Footring produced a Consultation Statement, a document of some 43 pages, listing all of the public consultation events that the Steering Group had organised since the beginning and the results of those consultations.

CBC Consultation early Spring 2018

CBC began the ‘final’ consultation on the WNP with Wivenhoe residents, land owners and statutory consultees. This consultation took place between 5th February to 19th March 2018, when further comments on it were sought.

April 2018 – Results of this Consultation

This formal consultation exercise generated quite a number of objections and comments from many parties, including comments from CBC themselves who were by now working on the Local Plan.

On behalf of WTC, we put a 68-page document together which went through all of these objections with our view of what changes were acceptable to us in Wivenhoe, and what were not. This formal response was given to CBC to forward to the Examiner in June 2018.

April 2018 – Ann Skippers MRTPI appointed as an Independent Examiner for the WNP

Ann Skippers MRTPI was appointed by CBC as the Independent Examiner in March after consultation with WTC. With our response to the objections, she issued a formal notice to WTC that she would start the Examination process on 15 June 2018.

July 2018 – The European Court of Justice

An issue arose in July 2018 from a ruling of the European Court of Justice concerning Habitat Regulations Screening Assessments which temporarily called a halt to the Examination whilst clarification was sought on what this ruling meant. This ruling affected all other Neighbourhood Plans around the country and so we were not alone although that was small comfort.

This difficulty was overcome by the UK Government passing into law the Conservation of Habitats and Species and Planning (Various Amendments) (England and Wales) Regulations 2018 which came into force on 28th December 2018.

And thus the logjam for all Neighbourhood Plans was broken but this ruling by the European Court had delayed progress towards getting our Plan to a Referendum by six months.

January 2019:  Another formal consultation

With the changes that had been made, CBC initiated another formal consultation from 9th January on 20th February 2019 with all of the people and organisations which had  made representations at the publication stage in Spring 2018.

February 2019 – Timetable to get the WNP to a Referendum on 2nd May 2019

A timetable was agreed how to get the WNP to a Referendum on 2nd May which was the date for Borough Council Elections and therefore a very convenient date on which to invite all Wivenhoe residents to vote on the Plan.

18th March 2019 – Ann Skippers finished her Examination of the report and signed it off

The final version of the WNP was sent to CBC on 28th March (Version 30) incorporating all of the changes which the Examiner had required and it was published on Colchester Borough Council’s web site, all 121 pages of it, containing 33,917 words and 32 policies to determine how Wivenhoe evolves in the future.  Hard copies of it were placed in the Wivenhoe Library and in the WTC offices.

26th April 2019 – A Public meeting about the WNP

On Friday 26th April, the WNP group gave a slide presentation to all Wivenhoe residents who wanted to know more about the WNP.

The Plan Group also organised articles in the local Press as well as arranged for a leaflet to be hand-delivered to every house in Wivenhoe by volunteers to encourage people to turn out and vote. We made it clear that this leaflet was not commissioned by WTC but by the WNP Group and it was the members of that group who paid for this leaflet.

The Referendum on 2nd May 2019

CBC issued a voting card to every Wivenhoe resident prior to the Election date for them to vote on whether the WNP should be adopted.

Referendum Result

The Plan was overwhelmingly backed by residents in the Referendum with 2,771 people in favour and 342 against.

The Plan was formally adopted by Colchester Borough Council on the 31st May 2019.

This meant that from this date, the Wivenhoe Neighbourhood Plan was brought into legal force, forming part of the statutory development plan for Colchester Borough and to be used in the determination of future planning proposals in the Wivenhoe Neighbourhood Plan area.

Of particular significance are those policies which govern the four parcels of land which were proposed in the Plan document that will give substantial benefits to Wivenhoe in return for allowing the building of 250 new homes, the first time that clear benefits as these had ever been obtained.

A Team Effort

To those of us who had been involved from the start in 2013, six years previously, we felt we had achieved something significant for the future of Wivenhoe. We are grateful to everyone, and probably around 50 people,  who joined us on this journey, by being involved in Working Groups, delivering questionnaires or leaflets more than once to every house, and who played their part in helping to create this Plan.  In addition, there were a great many more people who attended the Consultation events who gave us their views, and lots more who took the time and trouble to read published versions of the Plan, and email us their views.


To download a copy of the Plan (Pdf file – 10mb), click here 

To see a Summary of what the Plan contains click here  



This page was added on 11/02/2021.

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