Councils set to agree direction of North Essex Garden Communities Ltd

Will consider NEGC's interim business plan to help deliver ambitious housing plans

Date issued: 13 November 2018

The four councils working in partnership to deliver the principles of Garden Communities in North Essex are set to agree the direction of the organisation set up to help deliver the ambitious plans.

Over the next few weeks Braintree, Colchester, Tendring and Essex County Councils will be considering the interim business plan for North Essex Garden Communities Ltd (NEGC Ltd).

NEGC Ltd is the publicly-owned limited company established by the four councils in January 2017, set up to ultimately oversee the development of the proposed new communities working alongside the private sector. The interim plan sets out its vision, objectives and priorities for 2018/2019 ahead of the development of a new five-year plan for agreement early next year.

Among the key priorities for NEGC are:

  • working with the Government to explore options for a Development Corporation in North Essex - a locally controlled, standalone body with powers handed to it directly from Government, which would enable comprehensive infrastructure early in any development,
  • stepping up engagement with the existing and proposed new communities, and
  • engaging with infrastructure and utility providers to confirm the anticipated demand generated by the proposed new communities and how they will be provided.

The work on the Garden Communities project has so far attracted over £2m of Government funding and bids for further funding have been made. The councils are being asked to agree the budget for the Garden Communities programme and this includes a proposal that each council agrees a contribution of £100,000 for this financial year.

Cllr Tim Young, Deputy Leader of Colchester Borough Council, said: “We all remain fully committed to using the principles underpinning the Garden Communities to help us meet our future housing needs and demands.

“We have some really ambitious plans that will help transform the way we deliver housing developments in the future and provides the roads, schools, health facilities and other infrastructure needed to support them. NEGC Ltd has a key part to play in helping us turn this ambition into reality.”

Cllr Neil Stock, Leader of Tendring District Council, said: “NEGC Ltd is ideally placed to pull together the expertise and resources to make the ambitions of Garden Communities a reality, ensuring that infrastructure is delivered alongside housing growth and employment in a way that is sustainable.

“This is not only from a planning perspective but by providing a distinct way of engaging with the public and stakeholders, and that is why I will be supporting the ongoing support by Tendring District Council for NEGC Ltd.”

Cllr Graham Butland, Leader of Braintree District Council, said: “Collectively in North Essex we need to build 2,186 homes a year – a figure agreed by the Planning Inspector based on our population need over the coming years.

“In order to meet this need, we’re keen to continue to explore the garden community approach to unlock funding for road and rail improvements, new schools and health facilities, as well as creating business opportunities and jobs for now and the future. We’re supporting NEGC with the work they are doing to lay the foundations for this important and ambitious approach.”

Cllr John Spence, Chair of NEGC Ltd, and Essex County Council Cabinet member for Health and Adult Social Care, said: “While the Local Plan proposals are still subject to approval by the Planning Inspector, NEGC Ltd has been established to enable the Councils to take a more proactive role in the development process.

“The business plan for NEGC Ltd plays an important part in ensuring that the four councils’ commitment to ‘Garden Community’ principles can be met.”

While the proposals are still subject to approval by the Planning Inspector, NEGC Ltd has been established to enable the councils to take a more proactive role in the development process, with the company effectively taking the role that a traditional developer would fill.

If approved the company would oversee the development and ensure what comes forward is developed to the ‘Garden Community’ principles the councils have committed to.

The NEGC Interim Business Plan will be discussed at Colchester Borough Council’s Cabinet meeting on Wednesday 21 November, Braintree District Council’s Cabinet meeting on Monday 26 November, and Tendring District Council’s on 14 December.

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