Essex County Council Housing Strategy

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Closes 26 May 2020

Strategic Goal 1

Strategic Goal 1: Growing Essex while protecting the best of the county

Draft Outcomes

ECC will work with our housing partners to support their ambitions for housing, so that over the next 15 years collectively we will see:

  • The delivery of new homes which meet Garden Community principles across planned new garden communities in Essex
  • Every part of Essex has the policies and land supply in place to deliver the number of new homes - including affordable homes – expected in line with local aspirations
  • Increased investment secured to deliver supporting infrastructure that enables sustainable development of new communities and meets existing communities’ needs
  • Planning, delivery and maintenance of housing in Essex that helps to realise wider aims including to – transition to a zero-carbon economy, create beautiful homes and places, and embed sustainable and active travel

Background: National government has set out a clear ambition to increase levels of housebuilding with a target set to see an average of 300,000 homes built a year by the mid-2020s. To achieve this ambition the government has introduced the Housing Delivery Test, alongside the five-year housing land supply test, and amended the National Planning Policy Framework to encourage higher levels of housebuilding.

There is a recognition nationally and locally that an increase in the number of homes built needs to be accompanied by an increase in the quality of homes. Improving the energy efficiency and use of renewable energy in existing and new homes will play a crucial role in supporting efforts to address climate change and the legally binding target for the UK to be net zero carbon by 2050.

Local Authorities in Essex are preparing Local Plans to deliver approximately 7,120 additional homes each year up to 2036. These plans represent a higher rate of housing site delivery than previous plans.

Partners across Essex – borough, city and district councils, developers, housing associations - have made progress in increasing delivery over last five years with net annual housing additions more than doubling from 2,900 to 7,300 between 2013/14 and 2018/19 and affordable housing delivery at a seven year high of 1,250 homes in 2018/19. Ensuring that new housing delivery is responsive to local needs and demand for new high quality and low carbon housing will be key to enabling the people and places of Essex to flourish.

ECC recognise the need for new housing in Essex and want to see housebuilding that keeps pace with population growth and consistent with the delivery of targets outlined in Local Plans. We recognise that more homes will generate increased revenue through council tax that will help to support the delivery of public services in Essex. We want to see new homes built that are digitally connected as part of places that deliver the right employment opportunities for existing and new residents, allowing businesses to expand and attracting new investment into our county. We want to maximise the opportunity for local people to gain the skills and experience to help build the planned new homes. We want to secure sufficient funding to deliver necessary infrastructure at an early stage in the development process, reducing pressure on existing infrastructure and unlocking the delivery of housing sites. We aim for growing places and the delivery of new homes in Essex in ways that support our ambition for greater use of public transport, cycling and walking to tackle congestion, improve health and wellbeing and unlock wider environmental and social benefits. We recognise that bringing empty homes back into use can increase supply and improve the local environment. The establishment of new settlements in line with Garden Community principles is a key route to achieving many of the above outcomes and ECC are actively supporting work on the proposed garden communities across Essex.