North Essex Garden Communities Ltd (NEGC Ltd) has announced it will carry out an extensive programme of public engagement work later this year to raise the awareness and understanding of the garden community proposals.
NEGC Ltd, which is wholly owned by and working on behalf of Essex County Council, Braintree District Council, Tendring District Council and Colchester Borough Council was established in January 2017 as the body tasked with taking the North Essex Garden Communities project forward. The four councils are due to consider the proposed further work of NEGC Ltd as set out in its Interim Business Plan.
Garden communities will support economic growth in north Essex and will help it compete with comparable areas in the south east of England. Garden communities will provide new homes and business space to attract investment and create new jobs for the local economy. More importantly, garden communities will be the driving force behind the delivery of infrastructure, such as roads, transport, schools, jobs, and health and well-being centres.
This approach to growth is reinforced by the Chancellor’s recent announcement of a successful funding bid for more than £99.9 million for the ‘Tendring Colchester Borders Garden Community’ which was prepared and submitted by Essex County Council with the support of NEGC Ltd. The funding will support the development of a new link road between the A120 and A133 to the east of Colchester, alongside a transformational new public transport system which will help reduce congestion and improve journey times through the town.
Garden community principles are based on putting infrastructure first and have been developed with local needs, community inclusion and well-being in mind. Residents will be given an opportunity to provide input and participate in the conversation around the design of garden communities at a forthcoming engagement programme led by NEGC Ltd that is due to commence towards the end of October.
Richard Bayley, Group MD of NEGC Ltd, said: “Our plan is to design garden communities which suit the needs of local people while safeguarding opportunities for future generations. We believe that our approach is the best way of providing new homes alongside the new business space that North Essex needs to thrive. New communities which provide infrastructure, jobs, education, abundant green space and healthcare facilities lay the foundations for a healthy and prosperous society.”
Cllr Tom Cunningham, Deputy Leader of Braintree District Council, said: “Garden communities give us the opportunity to rethink everything we know about planning and creating communities. Rather than tacking houses on the edge of towns and villages we can create innovative places with modern infrastructure requirements in mind. From design, stewardship, innovation, community cohesion, job creation and much more, NEGC Ltd is carrying out some of the important and interesting groundwork on our behalf to make sure we are ready to deliver the garden communities that will match our ambitions.”
Cllr Neil Stock, Leader of Tendring District Council said: “NEGC Ltd is supporting the work of the North Essex Authorities to make sure that daily needs of residents are met alongside housing which is the key tenet of garden communities. Investing money on building new homes and creating new jobs is vital for society and for the economy. By meeting the housing needs of everyone (families, young and older people), we are investing in their health and well-being.”
Cllr Mark Cory, Leader of Colchester Borough Council, said: “It is very important that NEGC Ltd carry out this public engagement work. Many residents do not know about the pressure from central government to take housing numbers and how we are planning differently to create new communities with infrastructure built in first. Concerns remain amongst some groups – so engagement, listening and working together with existing communities must occur. On infrastructure, we must get it right and get it built upfront. The £99.9 million infrastructure grant from government will help, but we need to make the plans a reality with residents involved.”
The delivery of the Garden Communities is subject to them being approved by an independent Planning Inspector who is currently examining the plans. Braintree District Council, Colchester Borough Council and Tendring District Council are currently out to public consultation on the additional evidence being submitted to the Planning Inspector supporting the development of three new Garden Communities. The consultation will run from Monday 19th August until 5pm on Monday 30th September. Residents can make their views known by visiting www.braintree.gov.uk/NEAtechS1