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Help create great places to grow up, live and work

12 February 2019

Help to secure stronger, safer and more neighbourly communities

Individuals, families and communities are the best guardians of their own interests. Where it is appropriate to do so, the Council will support communities to help themselves by seeking to foster and build community capacity and capability, recognising there are times when public services need to step in. The Council needs to continue the shift in the approach that enables communities to take responsibility for themselves. Strengthening communities has the potential to significantly change how we support the most vulnerable people in the county.

In the next year the Council will:

  • Re-profile our volunteer programme and develop a system wide resilience volunteer programme to support winter pressures
  • Work with citizens to develop new community-led approaches to improving well-being
  • Recast and develop relations with parishes and town councils through the Essex Association of Local Councils

Help secure sustainable development and protect the environment

The Council has a key role to play as a custodian of the environment for current and future generations. The stewardship requires that less waste is produced, less carbon emitted, more homes and businesses protected from flooding and the use of green space is maximised. New housing growth in Essex has the potential to deliver more connected, healthier communities. 

The Clean Growth Strategy has set out an ambition for zero avoidable waste by 2050. This ambition and legislative changes that will likely follow the UK's planned exit from the European Union, create the opportunity to re-shape our approach to waste. Producing less waste in Essex is better for the environment and will reduce the cost to taxpayers of its disposal. The world of energy is changing. The push to reduce carbon emissions, the deployment of new technologies, such as battery storage, means our energy system is shifting to a more decentralised and flexible model.

In the next year the Council will:

  • Further expand the Ride demand responsive travel pilot to facilitate community-based transport schemes in a number of areas of the county
  • Implement the Green Infrastructure Strategy which aims to guide and shape planning, organisations, developers and other services through setting principles that can inform plans and strategies
  • Ensure resource efficiency is integral to the choices we make in designing and delivering our services
  • Deliver the 2019/20 floods capital programme - the final year of our five-year programme which will have reduced the risk of flooding to over 1,000 properties. The 19/20 programme is forecast to reduce surface water flood risk to 337 residential properties and generate £2.1m worth of income from external partners, which equates to 57% of our budget for the year. Over the last two years the total amount of damages avoided to residential properties in Essex is in excess of £60m
  • Develop opportunities to generate more clean, renewable energy on publicly owned assets and promote schemes that reduce carbon emissions and that enable the growth of electric vehicles in the county

Facilitate growing communities and new homes

Essex needs to build at least 136,000 new homes over the next 20 years - a 22% increase in the current number of homes. The Council is committed to facilitating that housing growth in such a way that the characteristics of the county we cherish are protected and enhanced. The Council is not just building new homes, but building communities. Districts' Local Plans are the key to securing good growth – the Council will work with our districts to support the local planning process.

In the next year the Council will:

  • Work in partnership with districts to facilitate new garden settlements at Harlow-Gilston and Uttlesford
  • Work with districts to make progress with Local Plans to support the development of North Essex Garden Communities
  • Lead work with Essex Partners to address homelessness across the county
  • Deliver, through stronger collaboration with districts and developers, appropriate levels of investment to support local infrastructure needs
  • Develop an approach to increasing the amount of key worker housing
  • Establish the Essex Quality Panel to review and appraise strategic and important development proposals in Essex, with a focus on improving the quality of development
  • Complete 40 new homes through Essex Housing including 8 Independent Living homes for people with learning disabilities