Sir Bob Russell says taxpayers will be left with £14 million schools bill

Sir Bob Russell - warning

Sir Bob Russell - warning

First published in News
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COLCHESTER Council’s failure to force developers to pay for a secondary school could cost taxpayers across the country “hundreds of millions”, it is claimed.

Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell spoke out after Colchester Council gave permission for 1,600 homes to be built between Nayland Road and Bergholt Road.

The planning agreement with Mersea Homes and Countryside Properties did not include money for a secondary school. Essex County Council said Colchester Council should have sought £14.6million from the developers.

It has admitted it does not know where it will find the cash for the school, which it wants to open in 2019.

Sir Bob said: “This blunder means taxpayers will have to foot the bill for the new schools.

“What is worrying is developers in another part of Essex have already told Essex County Council they will be looking for the same arrangement not to be required to fund schools, using what has happened in Colchester as a precedent.

“This could end up costing the taxpayer hundreds of millions of pounds across the country, with developers walking away with even greater profits as they will argue they should not be required to pay for schools.”

Mersea Homes and Countryside Properties still need detailed planning permission.

Once it is secured, work could start later this year with the first homes ready early in 2016.

Tim Young, councillor responsible for planning at Colchester Council, said Sir Bob had not taken into account the land given up for educational and community uses by the developer and money which will be paid to improve roads.

Comments (3)

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5:23pm Tue 18 Mar 14

Say It As It Is OK? says...

Moot Hall was packed when this planning approval was granted. What we saw was a council committee who ignored hundreds of objectors. Education funding was also questioned at the time by those who spoke out against this development but all objections were ignored when the majority of the committee approved the application without thought.

The decision, witnessed by hundreds of residents, raised questions then about who on this committee is in the pockets of the developers?

So CBC Planning Committee put things right when detailed plans are presented and ensure adequate education funding is included.
Moot Hall was packed when this planning approval was granted. What we saw was a council committee who ignored hundreds of objectors. Education funding was also questioned at the time by those who spoke out against this development but all objections were ignored when the majority of the committee approved the application without thought. The decision, witnessed by hundreds of residents, raised questions then about who on this committee is in the pockets of the developers? So CBC Planning Committee put things right when detailed plans are presented and ensure adequate education funding is included. Say It As It Is OK?
  • Score: 5

10:23pm Tue 18 Mar 14

stevedawson says...

I fear the horse is well over the hill by now.
I fear the horse is well over the hill by now. stevedawson
  • Score: 4

10:47am Wed 19 Mar 14

romantic says...

The Planning Committee and/or planning dept (of which Bob Russell's son is part) would have been in charge of checking the details of the contract. Who has signed off the contract without taking this into account? Is it simply that nobody noticed this clause was not there? A contract like this would go through the hands of plenty of people, so the question is why has nobody spotted this?

This is not really a matter for parliament, it is a local issue which somebody at CBC needs to come clean about. The developers are not going to raise the issue, I am sure they noticed the lack of this clause and were delighted. But don't hold your breath for any clarification!
The Planning Committee and/or planning dept (of which Bob Russell's son is part) would have been in charge of checking the details of the contract. Who has signed off the contract without taking this into account? Is it simply that nobody noticed this clause was not there? A contract like this would go through the hands of plenty of people, so the question is why has nobody spotted this? This is not really a matter for parliament, it is a local issue which somebody at CBC needs to come clean about. The developers are not going to raise the issue, I am sure they noticed the lack of this clause and were delighted. But don't hold your breath for any clarification! romantic
  • Score: 3

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