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New garden towns receive huge cash boost in bid to build 43,000 new homes

PUBLISHED: 14:55 15 January 2020 | UPDATED: 14:55 15 January 2020

North Essex map showing the possible locations of three new Garden Village developments, providing thousands of homes and other facilities

North Essex map showing the possible locations of three new Garden Village developments, providing thousands of homes and other facilities

Archant

A garden community project in north Essex has received a huge funding boost in a bid to bring forwrd plans to build 43,000 new homes.

The North Essex Garden Communities (NEGC) project has received a £550,000 share of government funding released to support plans to build the towns across Colchester, Tendring and Braintree.

Under the current schedule, the new communities - which developers say will also include improved infrastructure, schools, health facilities and green spaces - would be built over the next 40 to 50 years.

John Spence, chairman of the NEGC and Essex County Council cabinet member for health and adult social care, said: "We welcome the confirmation of extra funding which we were expecting from the government, which is a vote of confidence in our ability to deliver garden communities in North Essex through our partnership work."

The new funding is part of a £6million boost for garden communities across the UK, with the aim of building more than 200,000 new homes across the country.

The plans have however hit resistance from some who argue the money would be best spent in an alternative way.

Michael Hand, planning adviser for Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) Essex, believes plans for new standalone towns should be "abandoned" and that more focus should be put on building smaller garden villages "in the right locations and linked to existing centres".

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The new funding has been received well by politicians across north Essex, who hope it is another step towards the projects becoming reality.

David King, Colchester Borough Council's portfolio holder for business and resources, said: "I'm delighted the government has once again confirmed its support for garden communities.

"The government and our council partners know that garden communities are a much better way to deliver the new homes, jobs and supporting infrastructure needed for future generations across north Essex."

Neil Stock OBE, leader of Tendring District Council, said: "This clearly demonstrates the level of significant and ongoing support from government for this innovative and forward-thinking approach to ensuring we have enough homes, jobs and infrastructure to support future growth in our area in a planned and sustainable way."

Gabrielle Spray, cabinet member for planning at Braintree District Council, said: "This money from central government to progress garden communities to create good homes for hardworking families is very good news.

"We will continue to work with our partners to make the right long-term decisions for our local area."

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