Update from Cllr William Sunnucks on proposed Tendring Borders Garden Community


Cllr William Sunnucks (Rural North Ward) and Conservative Spokesperson on Council Resources writes: Many residents will have heard of the “Tendring Borders Garden Community” project. But not many know precisely what it is and even fewer realise how it will affect them directly.

It would be tempting to think if you do not live near it then it doesn’t really affect you, but it does. Get the transport wrong and thousands more cars will be deposited on Colchester’s already gridlocked roads. Get the medical provision wrong and Colchester’s already overburdened Hospital, Doctors and Dentists will be even more difficult to access. Get the education provision wrong and thousands more people will be competing for rare school places.

In short, wherever you live in Colchester and even beyond it, it will affect you. It is huge - our biggest development - more than twice the size of Wivenhoe and Elmstead Market combined. And it will shape the future of our City.

The new community comes with many promises – but are these actually going to be delivered?  There have been many attempts but very few new towns of this size have actually been built since Milton Keynes in the 1960s. 

The signs aren’t good – our Councils have put a lot of time and money into creating a plan, but they don’t own any of the land, and they don’t have any legal agreement with those who do.

The promise of the link road between the A120 and the A133 to take the traffic away from Colchester has already been compromised. When the grant money ran out, we were forced to accept a decision to build it in two phases and there is a risk that the second phase won’t be built.  A half link road will be of no use to anyone.

The same risk applies to other infrastructure.  If the developer runs out of money will we get the schools, the surgeries, the rapid transit system and country park that we have been promised? 

The project has developed an impetus of its own.   A detailed plan is being rushed through but little attention has been paid to the money side - a mistake we will all regret.  Developers are not bad people but they are not Father Christmas.  Their priorities are different and we need over £300million of their cash for the necessary infrastructure. 

There is no contract, no memorandum of understanding and no legal structure to achieve this. 

Until June 25 there is a key public consultation available at https://talk.tcbgardencommunity.co.uk/. I would urge anyone and everyone in Colchester however far away you might be to look at it and respond.

There is only one chance to get this right and Colchester needs to make it clear that we need a practical plan not just a wish list.


Councillor William Sunnucks is a Chartered Accountant with extensive experience in property development and finance.