The recent 12-week consultation on the initial ideas for the North Essex Garden Communities has provided a strong foundation to develop further plans for the ambitious initiatives. Run jointly by Braintree, Colchester, Tendring and Uttlesford councils, the consultation was the first opportunity for local residents to have a specific look at the three proposed Garden Community sites.
It enabled people to comment on the first thoughts for the communities and to see the potential options and constraints for each of the sites.
More than 1,000 responses were received and all of the feedback is being assessed and will be used to help create a more defined plan for each of the proposed new communities, which will then be subject to further public consultation.
A spokesperson for the councils said: “This consultation was the first step in starting to develop the specific principles the new communities will adhere to. This is a critical step as they will form the planning policies that will ultimately ensure the garden communities are designed to create high quality places that residents and businesses will value and be attracted to.  The vision is to create communities that are amazing places to live, work and spend leisure and recreation time.
“We received many constructive comments as part of the process. While some have concerns with any new development we had many positive comments about the need for a different approach to house building and support for an infrastructure-led model
“The Garden Communities have formed part of the recent planning inspectorate hearing on the joint section within the three local plans. Dependent of the inspector’s recommendations, all of the comments we have received from the issues and options consultation will help shape the next version of the plans.
“We fully recognise there is still a long way to go, but this consultation and the subsequent public engagement we will carry out will help create well thought through and successful detailed plans for each site.

“We are committed to ensuring our residents have their say on every aspect of these innovative and ambitious plans as we go through this process”.