A DECISION on new housing development has been postponed... much to residents’ disapproval.

Members of Colchester Council’s planning committee voted five to four to postpone a decision on the 26-homes estate, near Armoury Road, West Bergholt.

They said they wanted to gather more evidence on the harm the proposals may cause.

Councillors which objected to the development included Vic Flores (Con), who pointed out the site is outside of the current and emerging Local Plan.

Lyn Barton (Lib Dem), who said it was “insulting” to get residents’ input on the village Neighbourhood Plan only to ignore their contributions.

Paul Millard vehemently spoke out against NEEB Holdings’ vision on behalf of Maltings Park residents who have lived for 20 years in a “safe and pleasant place”.

His concerns centered on pedestrian safety, reduced access for emergency vehicles, unfit roads and it adding pressure on infrastructure.

He said: “It will render our community an unsafe and impossible place to live for the young and old alike.

“Furthermore the junction at Maltings Park Road with Colchester Road is a point known for speeding, and indeed there has been two fatalities near this junction.

“By inviting more traffic into this road the risk of road traffic accidents is increased.”

He added: “Regarding planning policy we’ve supported our

parish council with input on the local plan.

“This proposal is in contravention with planning and undermines proper strategic planning.”

Theresa Higgins (Lib) asked about the possibility of the plan being rejected on the basis of “prematurity” for it not being in the Local Plan

and outside of the settlement boundary.

However, council officer Sue Jackson said the council had to demonstrate the new homes would cause harm.

She added having a five-year supply of housing, as Colchester does, is not sufficient enough to guarantee an appeal is dismissed.

Former chairman of the Local Plan committee Martin Goss (Lib Dem) said councillors must ask themselves if they have enough legal grounds to refuse the application.

He said: “You also have the difficulty that Essex Highways hasn’t objected in its submissions...My overall conclusion is I do think there’s enough evidence to object to this.

“The one thing I will say is if this does get approved, I don’t think it will open the floodgates for development because it’s 26 dwellings, and it won’t set a precedent in case law I don’t think.”

Hear the debate by clicking here.