Visionary and ambitious new garden communities that aim to address long term housing, transport, infrastructure, open space, and employment needs across North Essex have been revealed.

Braintree District Council, Colchester Borough Council and Tendring District Council have been working together along with Essex County Council since 2014 to address growth issues across their areas and North Essex as a whole.

All three districts are working on their draft local plans which will set the direction for future growth. To comply with national guidelines and to meet locally-driven demand North Essex must build more than 2,300 new homes per year along with the required infrastructure and associated employment.

To address these substantial growth requirements, the Councils are thinking long-term and are proposing new garden communities within which much of the growth will be located.

These initial plans will be discussed at each of the authority’s local plan committee meetings - the first of these meetings will be Braintree District Council’s Local Plan Sub Committee meeting on the 25 May. Read the agenda here:

The draft plans show that three new garden communities could be located at the following locations:

· on the border of Colchester and Tendring district;

· to the west of Colchester on the border with Braintree district

· to the west of Braintree.

The intention is for these communities to be planned and developed based on garden city principles, with necessary infrastructure, employment and facilities integral as well as a high quality of built and urban design.

Cllr Graham Butland, Leader of Braintree District Council, said: “North Essex will be an area of significant growth and we are embracing the need to build new homes, create jobs and improve and develop its infrastructure for the benefit of existing and new communities. We are working together to promote sustainable growth across district boundaries.”

Cllr Paul Smith, Leader of Colchester Borough Council said: “Central to the work we have been doing is looking at the needs of residents and businesses in the future and ensuring those needs, like schools and local medical facilities, are provided upfront. We want places where people have the best chance of living healthy and happy lives, which give them opportunities for the job and home they want and the lifestyle they want, where they have control over their own environment. We’re working together to come up with principles for new communities that will create amazing places.”

Cllr Neil Stock, Leader of Tendring District said: “Working together in this way makes complete sense and is an exciting opportunity to get the quality of homes and jobs we need in North Essex which are fit for the 21st Century.”

Cllr John Spence, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Finance, Housing and Planning, said: “The thinking about garden communities is both exciting and responsible. We know we need more homes for our children and their families. Here we have three councils, with the support of ECC, thinking not just about numbers of houses, but about the appropriateness of location, the quality of design and the creation of a great environment. And by working together we can ensure that the all-important infrastructure is developed at the right time.”