North Essex Garden Communities (NEGC) is to receive £1million of Government funding, it has been announced.
The company, a collaboration between Braintree District, Tendring District, Colchester Borough and Essex County Councils to develop new purpose-built settlements over the coming 50+ years, has received the backing from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government – and has now received more than £3million of national funding since its inception.
John Spence CBE, Chairman of North Essex Garden Communities Ltd and Essex County Council representative on the NEGC board, welcomed the funding which will enable NEGC to continue to take forward the work it needs to do in order to bring forward new garden communities.
He said: “The Government rightly recognises the importance of North Essex both in terms of its economic potential, and also in the work being done to look at how homes of the future will be provided in a manner that supports the creation of cohesive communities and ensures the necessary social and strategic infrastructure is provided.
“The partnership of councils has been very clear that housing, jobs, economic growth, skills and infrastructure are inextricably linked. The best way of achieving these aims in the long-term is through the creation of purpose-built new communities.
“This is of course a long-term project and NEGC is undertaking the preparatory work that a traditional developer would do ahead of any large scheme coming forward. It should be welcomed that the Government recognises this approach and has continued to have confidence in what is a nationally important project.
“Equally, we recognise the need to spend the money of national and local taxpayers carefully and responsibly.”
Cllr Tim Young, Portfolio Holder for Business and Culture and Deputy Leader of Colchester Borough Council, said: “There is no denying we have ambitious plans to help tackle the housing challenge being faced in Colchester and across North Essex.
“We have already made great strides to develop an approach to Garden Communities that not only deliver the housing we need but the infrastructure the new communities will need to flourish. This recognition from the Government shows that while we still have a way to go in turning the plans into reality we have national support for the direction we are taking and the objectives we are seeking to achieve for the benefit of our future generations.”
Neil Stock OBE, Leader of Tendring District Council, said it should be recognised that NEGC was about much more than building homes. He said: “The work NEGC has been doing around economic strategy for North Essex has been invaluable in shaping the way not only we approach house-building, recognising that homes must be accompanied with jobs and infrastructure, but for the wider view we take of our role in the region as councils.
“This Government funding will enable us to continue that work for the benefit of our residents, both now and in the future.”
Cllr Graham Butland, Leader of Braintree District Council, said: “We welcome this money which will help us continue to explore the opportunities that garden communities could bring our residents and business. Enhanced infrastructure such as jobs, health facilities, schools, green space and roads are all just as important as homes and that is why we’ve been working with our neighbouring councils on larger sites that embrace Garden Community principles so that we do not solely have to rely on tacking houses on the edges of towns and villages to meet housing need.”
Housing Minister Kit Malthouse MP said: “We have not built enough homes in this country for the last three decades, and we are turning that around as we work towards our target to build 300,000 properties a year by the mid-2020s.
“This funding boost is giving councils the support and cash injection they need so they can finish planning new developments and get diggers on site.”