How many times have you seen new housing developments and been enraged as your village is no longer besides the ever-growing traffic queues and doctor waiting times? These issues will be tackled and broken down in this article along with insider knowledge from Colchester Councillor—Martin Goss.

The section 106 agreement is an ‘agreement between a developer and a local planning authority about measures that the developer must take to reduce their impact on the community as part of the Town and County Planning Act 1990—though infrastructure costs are a factor into the agreement—as Colchester Councillor Martin Goss rightly suggests that the ‘developments don’t generate enough funding’ which is demonstrated in the seemingly lack of infrastructure developments in comparison to the amount of houses being built.

By law these housing developers cannot be made to fund already existing infrastructure deficits. Though there are funds being brought in such as £18.2 million for Greenstead through the Governments ‘Town Deal’ in March 2021— the infrastructure needs to be there before the hosing developments start. Families are already being made and communities already being impacted before the infrastructure developments are put into action. This funding should be put into the communities that are already there first and tackle big issues such as knife crime. Adding a multiplicity of housing developments does not drown out these issues and they should first be the at the centre of attention with the funding provided.

There is a ‘Community Infrastructure Levy’ which means a charge can be levied by local authorities on new developments in their area to support the infrastructure, but this does not apply in all areas. Despite this, there is however a solution to this issue that looks to be the new route forward in terms of land and planning development of houses.

Goss views ‘garden communities [as] the only way forward’ in fact.

'The issue is developments don't generate enough funding through section 106 agreements to generate the amount of infrastructure really required - Garden communities are the only true way forwards rather than piecemeal development due to the extra overall investment that will be gained up front and as needed for infrastructure including open space, roads, schools, walking & cycling provision, NHS facilities and community centres.’ - Martin Goss Colchester Councillor for Mile End Ward for 11 years.

 

Garden settlements or communities are a flexible solution to many of the issues caused by rash decisions to plant many houses in an area that is already crowded and needs better infrastructure funding than the development will provide. This is clearly shown in the Cowdray Avenue housing developments which are currently placed on an old business park which is hardly the place to start healthy communities in natural environments. 

However, garden communities provide new housing, employment and infrastructure in sustainable settlements. These have also become an attractive selling point for politicians—though of course there needs to be great planning and funding to support these. ‘Croner-I’ reports that ‘there will be 14 new garden villages delivering over 48,000 homes with access to a £6million fund… in next 2 years’