Date issued: 2 July 2019
More than 21,000 jobs could be created over the next 30 years across North Essex as a result of proposed Garden Communities, leading economic consultants have said.
Assessing the economic impact as part of new Local Plan evidence set to go before the Planning Inspector later this year, the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) has set out how, with the right investment, the Garden Communities can play a major role in boosting the North Essex economy through the provision of high-quality business space and the right sorts of homes to support employees.
While discounting construction jobs, its findings show the Garden Communities would help support 6,500 new jobs by 2033, 21,500 by 2050 and 45,000 once the new settlements are completed, either in the proposed communities or the surrounding area.
Braintree, Colchester and Tendring councils have published the further information on their joint plans for the purpose-built Garden Communities in response to questions raised by the Planning Inspector last year.
The Garden Communities, which would be built over 40-50 years, are a long-term strategy of the three North Essex councils, in partnership with Essex County Council, to help meet future growth of the area in a more strategic way.
A different model to traditional building, Garden Communities are ‘holistically planned’ developments which have an emphasis on how design and layout are used in a way that creates healthy, green, vibrant new communities, delivering a range of homes alongside jobs, accessible open spaces, health, education and community assets – places people can live, work and play.
The new evidence shows the council’s infrastructure-led approach is viable, meaning the schools, health, and leisure facilities needed to support the stand-alone settlements would be developed at the same time as the homes – not afterwards as is the usual practice.
The plans also set out that substantial commercial space will be provided within each of the new communities, supporting new, existing and growing businesses, to help meet the councils’ commitment of ensuring at least one job is created for each home built.
Cllr Mark Cory, Leader of Colchester Borough Council, said: “We have too often been let down by development which is little more than housing estates without the infrastructure we desperately need.
“Homes, jobs, infrastructure: they are all interlinked and should not be treated as independent to one another. They are also the things that matter to local people and local businesses and it is vital we get them right.”
Cllr Graham Butland, Leader of Braintree District Council, added: “The Garden Communities, like our Horizon 120 business park, offer the opportunity for us to continue creating high quality employment space for new and existing businesses to enable them to thrive and grow, close to a range of high-quality homes and supported by the infrastructure needed for families to live, work and play.”
Cllr Neil Stock, Leader of Tendring District Council, said: “The work done by CEBR shows that with the right focus in the right areas, particularly in terms of embedding the latest technologies, the creation of good quality employment space and provision of digital infrastructure means the Garden Communities offer a real opportunity to help drive forward the North Essex economy.”
The findings of the revised and new Local Plan evidence will be considered by Local Plan Committees across the three authorities through July and then by full council meetings in Braintree and Tendring ahead of a period of consultation. It is expected that the Local Plan examination will re-open this winter.