£40 Billion Essex Development Plans

By Michael Hardware, Director of Planning and Property

Current developments in Essex and the south east was the topic of the Built Environment Networking Event in Chelmsford In November.

Speakers from North East Garden Communities, Chelmsford City Council, South East LEP, L&G Affordable Homes and CHP Housing, detailed the future developments coming to Essex which total some £40billion. That figure is probably on the low side considering there will be more than 140,000 new homes, nine new garden communities, a new nuclear power station, a new lower Thames crossing and link road, the opening of Cross Rail, the potential of Cross Rail Two and various upgrades to the M11, A13, A12 and A127.

The North Essex Garden Communities alone is for 45,000 homes, an estimated £3.5 billion investment across three garden communities: Tendring, west of Colchester and west of Braintree. These are being brought forward by the three local authorities, Tendring, Colchester and Braintree, together with Essex County Council. They are also doing a joint local plan, although the inspector has halted this calling for more evidence around infrastructure provision.

Harlow and Gilston Garden Town will be the first garden community in Essex. With around 26,000 new homes planned for the next 15 years, the town will also be getting a new rive crossing, a new junction on the M11 and a new hospital. It is already looking forward to the completion of the Harlow Enterprise Zone and the relocation of the headquarters of Public Health England over the coming years. It is the fastest-growing region of Essex, strategically placed halfway along the ‘Innovation Corridor’ between London and Cambridge.

The impact of the new power station at Bradwell, on the east coast of Essex, should not be underestimated – the works are on a larger scale than the London Olympics. With 5,600 workers in site at peak times, requiring a worker village of around 6,000 homes, new transport infrastructure to facilitate construction, this project will provide a huge economic injection into Essex. The county may well also receive benefits from the construction of Sizewell C, a new £20billion nuclear power station over the border in Suffolk.

The new lower Thames crossing and the associated link road will have a similar impact in the south of the county. This up to £6billion project will be the longest road tunnel in the country, one of the largest diameter bored tunnels in the world, and the largest road infrastructure project since the M25.

These medium- and long-term investments will, in themselves, draw in other subsidiary investment around them.  This combined inward investment will make Essex one of the fastest growing regions of the UK. A prosperous region with new infrastructure and jobs will attract new residents, especially with a ready supply of new homes in the pipeline.