North Essex Garden Communities

Our planners like to keep their ears to the ground to ensure we are up to date with any changes in the local planning landscape. Key issues to look out for are changes to Local Plans, as is the case in several districts in Suffolk and Essex, as well as Council’s land supply positions.

Potentially the most noteworthy situation is the ongoing discussions in respect of the North Essex Garden Communities, which is a key component of the planning strategies of Braintree District Council, Colchester Borough Council and Tendring District Council. The strategy aims to deliver several thousand new homes within three new communities (to the East of Colchester, at West Tey and to the west of Braintree).

The ‘Section 1 Local Plan’, as it is known, has been undergoing examination by a Government-appointed Inspector to ascertain whether the plan is sound. The original examination period found major issues with the concept of the NEGC and required the three authorities to carry out more research and consultation. A further period of examination has recently ended, and we now await the Inspector’s findings.

If the Section 1 Local Plan is found to be sound, then the plan can be adopted by the authorities (subject to potential legal challenges) and the authorities can then progress to their own separate Local Plans (‘Section 2’).

However, if the Section 1 Local Plan is not found to be sound then there would appear to be significant implications for each authority – they may be under pressure to allocate other land for development, either through a further Call for Sites exercise or through the planning application process due to a lack of identified land for housing.

It will be intriguing to see the outcome of the examination, and this is something that the Planners here at Brooks Leney are monitoring with interest…Keep an eye on our blog for further updates and let us know if you have any sites you would like to put forward for allocation in the event Section 1 is found unsound