MORE details have emerged about what would be one of the biggest new housing estates Colchester has seen in years.
Lands Improvement, owner of 53 acres of land, including the former Betts factory site, has revealed it wants to build 107 homes on the Colchester Council side of the Ipswich Road land.
It had previously indicated it might go for as many as 128.
It has also announced it wants Chelmsford-based builder BellwayHomes to build the houses on the site, which straddles the border between Colchester and Tendring.
The company already has outline planning permission for both Colchester and Tendring portions of the site and has yet to submit a formal, detailed planning application for either half.
It now testing the water in Colchester by publishing details of the kind of application it is likely to put in to Colchester Council.
A similar, informal approach is likely to be made soon to Tendring Council.
Paul Smith, Colchester councillor for St John’s ward, welcomed the latest move, describing it as “an early Christmas present for the residents of St John’s”.
He explained: “They will be relieved to knowwhat is going on with the site.
“I hoped, from the beginning, Lands Improvement would be on the same page as residents and be keen to get things moving sooner rather than later.
“People will be happy to see things are being done.”
However, Mr Smith said unanswered questions remained about earlier plans for a 65-bed care home to be built on part of the site.
He added: “My feeling is, the number of homes being planned means the care home will probably not be going ahead.”
Bob Dunston, chairman of St John’s Residents’ Association, welcomed the news, but voiced concern Colchester Council might end up footing the bill for servicing the whole estate, instead of the cost being shared with Tendring.
He said: “I know Colchester Council already collects the bins and recycling from about 40 homes at the top end of Ipswich Road.
“I could easily see that being the case for the homes here, even on the Tendring site.
“How much would that cost Colchester Council taxpayers?”
Mr Smith conceded Colchester did already collect rubbish from homes on Ipswich Road which were in Tendring.
He added: “My understanding is we are not recompensed for that, but if thatwas to be the case on the Betts site, I would expect the council to make an extra charge.”
Lands Improvement was given outline planning permission to build as many as 128 homes on the Colchester portion of the site in March.
Tendring Council have given outline permission for as many as 73 homes on its side However many new homes are built, it is understood the councils will insist a fifth of them will have to be available for rent as social housing.
The Gazette contacted both Bellway Homes and Lands Improvement for comment but received no response.