ANOTHER £550,000 in Government funding has been secured to help the development of three garden communities in north Essex.

New towns at West Tey, west of Colchester and west of Braintree are included as one of 21 projects across the country to receive a share of £6million funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

The North Essex Garden Communities project could deliver about 43,000 homes across the three towns over the coming decades.

The Government says the latest cash allocation will be used for preparing environmental assessments and design works.

Colchester has also been chosen to benefit from a share of an additional £1.9million funding to support the creation of new neighbourhood plans across the borough.

Neighbourhood Plans allow communities to have a say in where developments are built in their area.

Colchester Council has already adopted plans for the likes of Wivenhoe and West Bergholt, meaning the documents are taken into account when planning decisions are made.

Colchester Council's David King, who is responsible for businesses and resources, said: “I’m delighted the Government has once again confirmed its support for garden communities. 

“It knows residents deserve better than the piecemeal and speculative development of recent years.

"This announcement is great news and further testament to our joint vision and ability to attract the investment needed to create sustainable new communities. 

“The Government and our council partners know that garden communities are a much better way to deliver the new homes, jobs and supporting infrastructure needed for future generations across north Essex.”

Julie Young, Portfolio Holder for Culture and Performance and Deputy Leader of the Council said: “I’m delighted the Government has made additional funding available to support Neighbourhood Plans in Colchester. 

“We have always proactively supported our local communities to develop their own Neighbourhood Plans – having already adopted five and with work on several others already well-advanced. 

“I hope this additional funding encourages more communities in the borough to consider developing a Neighbourhood Plan that is appropriate for their area.”

John Spence, chair of NEGC and Essex County Council cabinet member for  adults, said: “We welcome the confirmation of extra funding which we were expecting from the Government, which is a vote of confidence in our ability to deliver garden communities in North Essex through our partnership work.”  

Housing Minister Esther McVey said: “Communities have the local insight to decide what new homes should look like and the kind of infrastructure they need in their area.

“This is what neighbourhood planning is all about, so I’m pleased this funding will ensure the right homes are built in the right places.

“I am also announcing extra cash to deliver new vibrant garden communities, which will help deliver tens of thousands of well-designed new homes for hardworking families.”

The garden communities plans are a joint project involving Colchester, Braintree and Tendring councils in conjunction with Essex County Council.

The authorities’ joint section of the Local Plan is still awaiting approval by independent Planning Inspector Roger Clews.

Yesterday, the first of a series of public hearing sessions on extra evidence opened at Colchester United’s Jobserve Community Stadium.

The sessions will cover issues such as housing need, habitat assessment, transport and other infrastructure.

Planning experts, campaigners and representatives for the councils are all set to take part in the evidence sessions, which are open to the public.

For a full timetable, visit

Audio of all the sessions will be broadcast live and people can listen at

Following the hearings, the inspector is set to publish his latest findings on the Local Plan next month.