TENDRING’S blueprint for development over the next 17 years has finally been approved by councillors – six years after the last plan expired.

The district’s Local Plan will guide where homes are built up until 2033.

It was supported by all but one councillor, who abstained, at a meeting of Tendring Council on Thursday.

The plan will now go out to public consultation before being put in front of a Government inspector.

It will provide up to 11,000 homes across the district over the 2013 to 2033 period - equal to 550 new homes a year.

The last local plan was due to be replaced in 2011, but the replacement suffered a series of delays.

Council leader Neil Stock, who is also councillor responsible for planning and regeneration, said: “I’m really delighted that the plan has now been agreed by councillors.

“It’s important that we, as representatives of local people, control what is built and where and what it looks like.

“If we didn’t agree a credible plan it would be up to the developers and not local people.

“We need housing, but we need road and schools and doctors’ surgeries to be built at the same time.”

The local plan could include a new ‘garden community’ on the Tendring and Colchester border, which could provide up to 9,000 new homes.

The garden community would see infrastructure, such as road, schools and health facilities, before the housing is complete.

Mr Stock said the Local Plan had been delayed due to changes in Government, including the new National Planning Policy Framework and the requirement for a five-year supply of housing.

Tendring Council had been criticised that it had left the door open for speculative developments because it could not identify the Government-stipulated five-year supply.

Rush Green councillor Richard Everett was one of the council’s biggest critics over the plan – which originally called for 12,000 homes – but he has now backed the blueprint.

“I was one of the most vociferous opponents of the local plan - it was providing too many houses for a small area such as Tendring,” he said.

“I do not think it is perfect and there are still bits of it that I think could be improved.

“However, in terms of the good of Tendring overall, and particularly now that we have a five-year housing land supply, it is incumbent on me not to vote against the plan.

“We are more able to direct housing to where we wish it to go, not to where developers or inspectors just decide they want it to go.”

Labour group leader Ivan Henderson also backed the plan and criticised previous proposals for relying on ‘aspirational housing’ more than affordable and social housing.

He said: “A decent home, a roof over your head, should be everyone’s right in the 21st Century.

“I’m glad we’re no longer plucking figures out of the sky and are now using evidence-based figures to make sure the housing required is at the right level.

“I’m pleased those who originally thought aspirational housing was the answer to the housing shortage across Tendring have now changed their minds.

“We have got 1,300 people in the district that need housing and are on housing waiting lists.

“We have got a number of people in inadequate housing under terrible landlords, and we were not supplying them an alternative for housing.”

As part of the consultation and engagement process, the council has arranged six events across the district for people to look through the draft and ask questions.

These will be June 27 at the Columbine Centre in Walton from 3pm to 7pm; June 29 at the Ogilvy Hall, Lawford, from 3pm to 7pm; July 1 at the Baptist Church, Clacton, from 10am to 3pm; July 4 at Elmstead Community Centre from 3pm to 7pm; July 6 in the Weeley Council Chamber 3pm to 7pm and on July 11 at the Methodist Church in Main Road, Dovercourt from 3pm to 7pm.