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The Government has set out guidance that provides a roadmap to enable Councils to come together to create new bodies to oversee development within their local area.

The guidance could pave the way for the creation of a North Essex Development Corporation responsible for ensuring any new potential Garden Community development is delivered to the principles the Councils have committed to, whilst also giving the opportunity for local people to have more say on how they are developed.

Richard Bayley, Managing Director of North Essex Garden Communities Ltd, the company set up to develop the North Essex Garden Community proposals, welcomed the new guidelines saying:

“The route set out by Government should be welcomed. There is now a clear path to follow for the North Essex Councils enabling them to consider and develop proposals for a ‘locally led’ Development Corporation.

“Of course, the Councils must consider their next steps following the Planning Inspector’s recent letter. However, this doesn’t change the fact that despite being a great place to live North Essex faces significant challenges.

“It now costs more than eight times the average salary to buy a home in Colchester or Braintree. For those local people that do stay in the area, too many are currently travelling out of North Essex for work. Doing nothing is not an option. Traditionally housing delivery tends to be piecemeal, tagged on to existing villages or towns. The problem with this approach is that it never creates the critical mass needed to deliver the infrastructure to support it.

“The locally-led Development Corporation concept to deliver the Garden Communities in North Essex is a fantastic new opportunity that offers a refreshing new approach for the Councils to consider and one which would enable future development to have a strong emphasis on quality design, long term local stewardship and community participation.

“This more holistic concept is being endorsed week after week by think tanks, housing experts and MPs who all stress the importance of the Garden Communities as the best way of addressing long-term housing need that the Inspector has made clear must be delivered in North Essex whilst also ensuring new infrastructure and jobs are delivered alongside.”