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Councils propose creation of North Essex Development Corporation

Date issued: 29 August 2017

Councils looking to create three new 'Garden Communities' across North Essex could be set to form the first Development Corporation in over a decade.

North Essex Garden Communities Ltd, the company set-up to oversee the programme will, in the coming days, seek agreement in principle from its four shareholder councils (Braintree, Colchester, Tendring and Essex County Council) to apply for development corporation status.

The potential to create locally run development corporations has become available following recent legislation changes, and while a decision on whether to proceed will be determined by any rules imposed by Government, North Essex could be the first area in the country to benefit.

Should it proceed, the Development Corporation would be a locally controlled, standalone body with significant powers handed to it directly from Government, which would enable comprehensive infrastructure early in any development.

John Spence CBE, Chairman of the North Essex Garden Communities board said: "This is all about making Essex a better place in which to live whilst accommodating a larger population; it's about trying to create enough homes for our children and grandchildren whilst enhancing the environmental legacy.

"What we are trying to do in North Essex is 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."

A partnership running since 2015, the new communities could see up to 45,000 homes and jobs created over the next 30+ years through the creation of self sustainable planned developments, with infrastructure and key services delivered at the right time.

NEGC Ltd is the company exploring the viability of the three separate projects, which if viable will be built to Garden Community principles over the next 30 years.

The decision on whether to take forward discussions on the Development Corporation plans, and commit funding for the future of the project will be made by each individual Council in the coming days. Each Garden Community is also dependent on the outcome of respective Local Plans which will be examined in the new year.

Cllr Paul Smith, Leader of Colchester Borough Council, said: "A Development Corporation is a way of giving the control of new development to the local community rather than to developers. It will also facilitate more mixed tenure accommodation, including social rented accommodation, which is desperately needed in Colchester."

"I'm proud to lead a council that values its commitment to helping those in need of a home today and which is resolutely at the forefront of efforts to prevent the scourge of homelessness tomorrow."

For more information on the North Essex Garden Communities project visit www.ne-gc.co.uk

ENDS