Our planning team continually monitors the activities of local planning authorities to identify opportunities for clients. This Local Plan Watch provides an insight into the latest developments in Essex and a brief update on forthcoming Local Plan consultations.

If you would like further information, please get in touch.


Chelmsford Local Plan

The Pre-Submission Draft Local Plan has been published for consultation until 14 March. This is the final opportunity to make representations before the Plan is submitted to the Secretary of State for Examination.  It proposes:

  • Major greenfield expansion to the north, east and west of Chelmsford, at Great Leighs and at South Woodham Ferrers. The annotated key diagram below shows the amount of housing proposed in the main locations.
  • Delivery of 21,893 new homes in total between 2013 and 2036, with 9,085 on newly allocated sites. This is 20% more than the Council’s estimate of Full Objectively Assessed Need (FOAN) indicates is required. It is just shy of the 980 new homes per annum that the Government’s standard methodology for calculating housing need would require if implemented as proposed for consultation last year. 

Essex 1c

Central/Urban Chelmsford

Existing Commitments


New Local Plan Allocations





North Chelmsford

Existing Commitments


New Local Plan Allocations





South and east Chelmsford

Existing Commitments


New Local Plan Allocations






Brentwood Local Plan

A revised Preferred Site Allocations (Regulation 18) has been published and consultation runs until 12 March. This is a focused consultation relating to emerging site allocations only.  The revised proposals: 

  • Increase the amount of land proposed for residential development from 360 to approximately 380 dwellings per year (7,600 in total between 2013 and 2033) to address the Council’s updated evidence on FOAN.
  • Allocate additional sites in villages including Blackmore, Kelvedon Hatch and Doddinghurst to supplement the existing proposals at Brentwood, Ingatestone and Dunton Hills Garden Village.

The Council is expecting to undertake Pre-Submission consultation in Q3 2018. It remains to be seen whether the Plan can be submitted in time to avoid the need to address the Government’s proposed standard methodology for calculating FOAN, which as drafted would increase the annual housing supply requirement to 454 new dwellings.

The Council’s response to the threat of intervention by the Secretary of State can be viewed here.


Rochford Local Plan

Rochford District Council is consulting on Issues and Options until 7 March. It is seeking comments on strategic options that may be taken forward in its new Local Plan. It is not proposing specific sites for allocation at this stage. A Preferred Options consultation is anticipated in late 2018 or early 2019.  


Other emerging Plans
  • Epping Forest concluded Pre-Submission consultation on 29 January. Submission to the Secretary of State for Examination in Public (EiP) is expected imminently and adoption is targeted late 2018/early 2019.
  • Pre-Submission consultation on Harlow’s draft Local Plan is expected in March and submission for EiP is anticipated in July.
  • Basildon is intending to take its Pre-Submission draft Local Plan to Full Council on 22 March 2018 prior to final consultation and submission in summer 2018.
  • The EiP for the Joint Strategic Plan submitted by Colchester, Braintree and Tendring is ongoing. This Plan includes broad proposals for the three new North Essex Garden Communities at West Braintree, West Tey and East Colchester. Issues and Options consultation on the detail of these schemes concluded on 2 February 2018. 

 Essex 2

On 30 January the Government confirmed its “ambition” to publish a revised NPPF in summer 2018 following a consultation in the spring. Local authorities must submit their Local Plans before the new NPPF is published to avoid having to address the new standardised methodology for calculating housing need, which may increase targets significantly across Essex. Plans in Essex likely to be caught by this requirement include:

  • Uttlesford – Pre-Submission consultation is expected in summer 2018.
  • Thurrock – the second stage of an Issues and Options consultation is awaited but as yet no dates are available whilst further technical evidence is prepared. A Call for Sites is due later this month.
  • Rochford – see above.
  • Castle Point – emerging Local Plan delayed. There is no reliable indication available as to when the next Local Plan consultation will take place.
  • Maldon District Council remains the only local authority in Essex with a fully up to date, NPPF-compliant Local Plan. Maldon’s Plan was approved by the Secretary of State on 21 July 2017.  


Adopted Plans

Maldon District Council remains the only local authority in Essex with a fully up to date, NPPF-compliant Local Plan. Maldon’s Plan was approved by the Secretary of State on 21 July 2017.  

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