A panel led by one of the country’s leading housing experts has commended the scale of ambition and strength of co-operation between the councils in developing proposed North Essex Garden Communities.
Lord Bob Kerslake, previously head of the Civil Service and former Chief Executive of the Homes and Community Agency, has been working with the councils involved to undertake a review of the work to date, and provide strategic advice on how the projects should progress.
Lord Kerslake described the initiative as having “huge potential on a national scale” and praised the progress that has been made to date.
The panel has shared their initial findings with council Leaders and Chief Executives; the full report will be published in the New Year.
A spokesman for the garden communities’ project board said: “We are very grateful to Lord Kerslake and his team for the time they have given to come in on a pro bono basis and review where we are with the project.
“We were impressed with the strength of the team he assembled. It really demonstrates the importance of the project that a team with such a pedigree in advising at the very highest levels is willing to give advice to support our work.
“Lord Kerslake has identified a number of helpful issues and confirmed our view that the early delivery of infrastructure and government support are essential to the project's success.
“Key to the feedback he has given is the need to ensure we give ourselves enough time to assess and look at all of the options, including the evidence base which will form part of each Council’s Local Plan.”
Lord Kerslake’s review will be available in the New Year on the websites of the four councils: