Planning departments and developers across Greater Essex have signed up to a new Essex Planning Protocol. The Protocol is an agreement committing parties to working together constructively to facilitate the growth needed across Greater Essex.
YT understand that Thurrock Council has opted out and is developing one of their own.
It was prompted by a significant predicted growth in the Greater Essex population of almost 300,000 from 2016 to 2036, fuelling demand for housing and the supporting infrastructure.
The Protocol has been signed by the Chairman of the Essex Planning Officers’ Association on behalf of twelve Essex district authorities and the unitary authority of Southend-on-Sea, and the Essex Developers’ Group representing developers, agents and the legal teams involved in development.
It was prepared by Essex County Council’s Place Services and includes commitments under four broad headings – communication, certainty and consistency, resources and training. Key features include support for the use of Planning Performance Agreements which set agreed expectations at the various stages of a project and firm deadlines for making a decision.
Graham Thomas, Chairman of the Essex Planning Officers’ Association said: “In Essex we are committed to delivering high quality and sustainable growth across the county. The implementation of the Essex Planning Protocol is a significant step towards enabling us to meet the county’s future housing and employment needs.”
Mark Curle, UK Commercial Director at Galliford Try Partnerships and Chairman of Essex Developers’ Group, said: “If we are to meet housing need it is essential that we all work more closely with Local Authorities and their planning departments. That’s why I am delighted to see that the country’s major housebuilders and developers have committed to the Essex Planning Protocol, which in turn should result in closer collaboration between both parties, streamlining the planning process and delivering the right homes in the right places for Essex