Ten weeks to have your say on new settlements planned for north Essex

North Essex map showing the possible locations of three new Garden Village developments, providing t

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

Consultation has begun on plans for three new ‘garden villages’ which could deliver up to 43,000 homes to north Essex.

Two of the settlements are proposed for Colchester’s borders with Braintree and Tendring, with a third to the west of Braintree.

The public has 10 weeks to respond to consultation on the projects – put forward after Braintree, Colchester and Tendring councils aligned their Local Plan process.

When first proposed, the largest of the communities, a scheme of up to 20,000 homes built over the next 30 years, known as West Tey, sparked an 8,500 signature petition, which CAUSE (Campaign Against Urban Sprawl in Essex) said was ignored by local leaders.

Those opposed to the West Tey scheme also argued consultation on the project was premature.

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Colchester borough and Braintree district councils’ Local Plan committees met last week to approve plans to consult on the projects, following committee approval in Tendring days earlier.

Colchester’s committee decided to extend the deadline two weeks.

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The issues and options report states that, within their Local Plans, the councils must identify where housing and jobs will be delivered up to 2033, providing land for at least 43,720 homes and planning for 1,900 new jobs a year.

The North Essex Garden Communities (NEGC) project would include 13 new primary and four secondary schools across the communities on Colchester’s borders. It would also involves rerouting rail and road networks.

People can take part in online consultation and attend public events and exhibitions of plans.

The council promises feedback will help create a more defined plan, subject to more consultation.

Council leader Paul Smith believes the communities can fill a need for housing, schools, health care, jobs and infrastructure.

He said: “We all know there is an increasing demand for more homes, but it is vital that, unlike past developments, we deliver the necessary infrastructure before the homes. This is why, together with the other councils involved, we are committed to the ambitious principles of the garden communities.

“We want everyone to be part of developing these communities, not just those who shout the loudest, for the benefit of our future generations.”

Locations of exhibitions for the Colchester border communities can be found at colchester.gov.uk.

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