Launch of New

Essex Design Guide


The Essex Design Guide has been updated and relaunched for the first time in thirteen years.  Bidwells summarises the important updates that could affect you. 

For 45 years the Essex Design Guide (EDG) has been at the forefront of local design, delivering notable improvements with developments of high quality and distinctive character where people want to live. It retains the pioneering aspirations of the original while focusing firmly on the future to remain relevant in the face of the continually changing nature of modern development.

New sections within the Guide include:

Local Authority profiles – containing a single reference point for the policies, design guidance and context appraisals that apply to the specific localities across the County.

Garden Communities – with several new Garden Communities planned across Essex, a new section has been established to describe the particular nature and requirements of these developments and respond to the opportunities offered to place-making, environment and society through the delivery of high-quality new communities, including:

  • Housing tenure mix and design
  • Transport, connectivity and active travel
  • Shared community space
  • Economic and environmental sustainability
  • Green infrastructure
  • Local economic offer

Sustainable Drainage Systems – including consideration for how developments can control surface water runoff, the proper maintenance and protection of the natural water cycle. It also details how flood management and sustainable drainage systems can be used to create and sustain natural environments that create a better quality of life for residents.

Highways Technical Manual – encapsulating guidance from many sources including Manual for Streets into one place. It provides clarity on specific technical requirements and standards relating to support the creation of a layout compliant with the Essex Highways adoption guidance.

New themes interwoven throughout the Guide include:

Ageing populations – specific consideration is given to the principles for planning and designing new homes and layouts in response to the forecast increased number of older people and those impacted by age-related conditions for example, dementia.

Digital and smart technology – recognising the importance of and providing solutions to the successful integration of digital technology in our lifestyles;

Active design – providing specific guidance on how to incorporate socially inclusive design in all layouts to activate spaces by prioritising the main user whilst also encouraging sport and physical activity to create more successful, well-managed and safer communities.

Health and wellbeing – recognising the positive characteristics of an environment that supports better quality lifestyles. The section also gives consideration to future of health care provision and how this should be considered in design of new communities.

New and more relevant case studies – reflecting the changing focus of the Guide, with less attention paid to the specific architectural features and greater focus on how developments reflect the specific themes of the EDG.

If you would like to discuss what these changes may mean for you, please contact Our Essex Planning Team


For the full list of updates within the new Essex Design Guide please visit

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