COUNCIL bosses have promised to do everything they can to protect a piece of land from development after it was put up for sale alongside a former military site.

The Middlewick Ranges, which has been earmarked for 1,000 new homes, was put on the market by the Government back in October after years of opposition from campaigners. 

Previously, only 86 hectares of the plot was set to be sold off, but an additional parcel of land measuring 21 hectares has now been included. 

This increases the total land up for grabs to 107 hectares – equivalent to almost 150 Premier League football pitches.

The future of the Middlewick Ranges has been a fiercely debated issue since its inclusion in the Local Plan six years ago which proposes building 15,970 houses in Colchester by 2033. 

Martin Goss, Colchester councillor for Mile End, has now contacted MP Grant Shapps to raise his concerns about the inclusion of the extra land, which had not been included in any previous discussions. 

Labour councillor Dave Harris and Colchester’s MP Will Quince have spoken to the Ministry of Defence previously regarding the issue but were left unimpressed with the response from the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO). 


Responding to Mr Goss’ worries, the DIO said: “The parcel of land being sold at Middlewick Ranges was updated in 2017 to include the additional land south of the firing burrs, to help support bio-diversity net gain measures. 

“This area is not included within the allocated area for development and is therefore specifically excluded from the Local Plan development area.

“The area for sale was increased so the new perimeter fence can be installed on the other side of the woodland, therefore, protecting its habitat.” 

The response Mr Goss received from the DIO did not bring the result he had hoped for, however, as he told the Gazette. 


“It has not been particularly satisfying, as the response included the extra land, which was never talked about before,” he said. 

“There is nothing to stop the new owner from including the land as the owner could ask for the land to be included in the Local Plan in the future.” 

Despite the Local Plan spanned a 16 year period, it is reviewed every five years, creating the opportunity to make amendments. 

Mr Goss said: “If the land is sold the area would need to be included as an open space, wildlife sanctuary or county park.

"It needs protection and should never be built on,

“I will do all I can so that this land is protected for now and for future generations.”