Welcome to The Essex Design Guide

Explore the new and updated content, learn about the history of the Essex Design Guide and see how the guide relates to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

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New and updated content

See how the 2018 Essex Design Guide has been updated, including the new integrated social-economic themes, new highways standards, references to SuDS and the new case studies

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Understanding Context

The importance of understanding and responding to the context of any proposed development site is the starting point for any proposals to follow

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Essex County

Essex is made up of 15 local planning authorities including City, District, Borough, Unitary and County Councils. Explore each of the relevant council pages

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Getting the details right

Access the key ingredients of what makes quality places and spaces; this section includes details on architecture, layout, streets and roads and green infrastructure

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The Planning Awards 2019 Winner

The Essex Design Guide has been announced Winner of Excellence in Planning and Placemaking at The Planning Awards 2019

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The Essex Design Guide

The Essex Design Guide was established in 1973 by Essex County Council. It is used as a reference guide to help create high quality places with an identity specific to its Essex context. The preceding publication was released in 2005. The 2018 edition seeks to address the evolution of socio-economic impacts on place-making.

Active Design

Emergency Services

This section highlights the strategic development principles from all three Essex Emergency Services and how to engage with them through the planning process.

Layout Details

Developments should be well connected, offering a variety of routes for all users while identify the relationship between the built environment and landscape.

Highways Technical Manual

This section contains the technical information for highways design. It should be read in conjunction with the other sections of this guide, in particular Streets and Roads and Parking


Air Quality

This section contains guidance and advise on air quality, referencing policy, tools and advice for improving air quality through plan making and planning applications.

Garden Communities

This section identifies the key design and planning principles to create new communities on a larger scale.

Parking Design Details

Well-designed car parking spaces should be well managed, safe, attractive environments.

Developers Contributions

The requirements to ensure appropriate levels of infrastructure and community benefit are delivered.



Water conservation, water management and flooding is a high priority for Essex which is one of the driest parts of the country.

Built Context

Understanding the context and sense of place for any existing community a key principle to inform new development.

Architectural Details

Getting the architectural details right is critical to ensuring new developments are appropriate to the setting and context.

Essex Local Authorities

Click here to access the specific guidance, policies and context of each of the Essex Local Authorities.


Contact Place Services for technical support and advice on the Essex Design Guide

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