Essex Local Plan Watch - Spring 2024

16.4.24 2 MINUTE READ

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There are good opportunities available across Essex, with new Local Plans at the early stages of review across the north and centre of the county and immediate opportunities available in some areas elsewhere.

Chelmsford City Council is always amongst the boldest, most pro-growth authorities in Essex and it is maintaining that reputation by gearing up to publish a draft Local Plan with further major allocations. These include 4,500 homes and 90,000sqm of employment floorspace to the East Chelmsford, focused on a new garden community at Hammonds Farm, Sandon. 

Uttlesford undertook its draft Local Plan consultation at the end of last year, with the Preferred Options (Regulation 19) draft, anticipated to be published in late Summer. The draft Plan includes new allocations for just over 6,000 new homes.

In north Essex, Braintree, Colchester and Tendring have all begun reviews of their Local Plans. Colchester and Tendring are working to a similar timetable, both recently finishing their Call for Sites consultations. Braintree is now running a Call for Sites consultation until 24th May.

Brentwood has launched its partial Local Plan review with a recent Call for Sites consultation, which provided opportunities to submit new sites for Green Belt release. The timetable is falling behind the anticipated timeframes of the adopted Local Development Scheme, but it is positive that the Council has commenced a review less than two years on from the adoption of its existing Plan.

In contrast, many of the Local Plans in South Essex date from the late 1990s and the politics of Green Belt release across this area continues to hamper progress. Partly as a result of this, there have been various successful appeals on Green Belt sites in Basildon and Castle Point. Where the benefits case is strong enough, there are therefore immediate opportunities in these areas.

Five-Year Land Supply


Uttlesford is the main area of opportunity in respect of five year housing land supply, with recent appeals concluding that supply stands at 4.5 years, short of the five year requirement that still stands in the District because the Council has not yet published a draft Local Plan with a full proposals map. The tilted balance is also engaged in Uttlesford due to a poor Housing Delivery Test result in December 2023.

Colchester and Braintree were struggling to maintain a five-year supply, but following the December 2023 NPPF update that is no longer as relevant. Even if they now fell into a deficit, they are protected from the tilted balance because their Local Plans are less than five years old.

Elsewhere, some of the main opportunities now lie in Green Belt areas, where housing land supply and delivery is woeful in many parts. Successful appeals continue to come through the system in Basildon in particular, where land supply sits at around 1.85 years.

For detail on emerging Local Plan position in Essex, please click on the map below.


Our Planning team


Sam Metson

Partner, Planning

Sam delivers practical solutions to his clients, balancing competing demands between the need for development and its impact upon the environment.

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Steven Butler

Partner, Planning

A personable and dependable chartered town planner who prides himself on his local knowledge, attention to detail and relationships based on trust.

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Alice Mcguire

Alice Maguire

Senior Planner

From residential developments and educational buildings to retirement living – Alice has a broad range of experience at her disposal.

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Spring 2024

Local Plan Watch

Our Local Plan Watch provides an update on the progress of the Local Plans coming forward across our region to allocate new land for development and highlights the key opportunities for landowners, promoters and developers. 

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