A PLANNING expert has set out the raft of changes needed before Colchester, Braintree and Tendring councils’ joint Local Plan can proceed to the next stage.

In May, planning inspector Roger Clews told the authorities their plans for 43,000 new homes, across three garden communities, were unsound.

He said two of the new towns, at West Tey and West of Braintree, should be removed from the plan, however, the third, a 9,000 home development east of Colchester, could still go ahead.

Mr Clews has now also recommended a number of further amendments which should be made for the plan to pass to the next stage.

He has called for further mitigation to protect wildlife, flood prevention work and allocating land in the Colchester/Tendring new town to allow Essex University to grow.

Planning consent and funding approval for the A120 to A133 link road and rapid transit system, for which £99 million has been committed by the Government, should also be confirmed before any homes are given the go-ahead.

The proposed modifications will be discussed at Local Plan committee meetings at each of the councils next week.

Julie Young, deputy leader of Colchester Council, said: “It is important that we carefully examine and consider the inspector’s modifications to our Local Plan proposals.

“These forthcoming committee meetings will help us decide the way forward for both Colchester and the rest of north Essex and how best to meet our housing targets in the most sustainable and appropriate way possible.”

If the recommendations are accepted by the councils then section one of the Local Plan, with the modifications included, will go out to a six week public consultation.

Gabrielle Spray, Braintree Council’s planning boss, said: “Now we have the modifications, as a Local Plan sub-committee and then as a full council we will be able to consider the proposed changes and what it will mean for our district.”

Nick Turner, chairman of Tendring Council’s planning policy and local plan committee, added: “Our next meeting will allow us to discuss the changes put forward by the inspector and their implications and if they are appropriate for our district then look to proceed to consultation.”