The Wivenhoe Town Plan is based on the results of a range of consultation activities in the community over the past two and a half years including a household questionnaire that produced a very high response rate of 25%.
The survey work shows that Wivenhoe is considered by the vast majority of residents to be a very friendly, attractive, open-minded community with a vibrant and valued range of community events, groups and activities. The ‘natural’ amenities that are most valued by people of all ages are the riverside setting, the woods, King George V playing field, the Lower Lodge Farm area and other green spaces including the surrounding green fields and disused pits. At the same time residents also value the proximity to Colchester, the University of Essex and the rail connection with London. All these aspects of the town provide a rich diversity of opportunities for leisure and work that greatly enhance the quality of life here.
However a strong note of caution and concern is expressed around a range of issues that stem in large part from the amount of new housing development that has taken place over the last ten years and which has seen the population rise from nearer 9,000 in 2001 to around 10,000 today.
This approximately 10% increase in population has not been sufficiently met by a parallel increase in public services or improvements to other types of infrastructure in the town. Indeed, over the past ten years the town has lost its statutory youth service provision and adult education services. The quality of life in the town is further compromised by the huge increase in the volume of traffic, brought about by an increased population and changes in travel habits, and the associated problems this brings with it. The survey evidences all these issues which are felt keenly by residents.
There is much work to be done to address the most pressing issues raised by the survey work: in particular traffic problems, the need to limit development and the need for improved youth and health provision.
The Town Plan Group is pleased to present the Town Plan report and would like to thank all residents who have responded to the various surveys. It is hoped that the findings and Action Plan will help to shape planning and development and public service delivery in Wivenhoe over the coming years and also give useful support to community groups and organisations seeking funding to support their activities.