ESSEX County Council has joined Braintree, Colchester and Tendring Councils in supporting the creation of a North Essex Development Corporation to oversee the potential development of three new Garden Communities.

The four councils have, over the past two years, been developing plans for the creation of three new communities built to specific principles, and planned and delivered by the councils in partnership with local people, rather than traditional developers.

Launching a newly formed company – North Essex Garden Communities Ltd, earlier this year to oversee the project, the councils could now become the first in the country to benefit from recent legislation changes allowing for the creation of a locally led development corporation.

Cllr David Finch, Leader of Essex County Council said: “A development corporation is effectively a body which takes powers directly from Government. It can compulsory purchase land, facilitate infrastructure and borrow money directly from the Government.

“And while with any legislation change the devil is in the detail, it is a real opportunity for North Essex to lead the way and set the standard for how new homes and communities should be created in the future.”

County Councillor John Spence CBE, Chairman of the North Essex Garden Communities board welcomed the news saying: “This is all about looking at how we manage housing needs in the long term. We collectively feel that the creation of planned, self-sustainable communities, built to garden community principles, delivered with an infrastructure first approach, and an emphasis on ensuring the conditions to attract businesses and jobs, is better than piecemeal urban sprawl.

“What we are trying to do in North Essex is innovative, its of national importance, and it is our belief that the opportunity to create a new development corporation takes the programme to the next level and enables us, if viability is proven, to deliver the vision we have set out.”