Braintree is a predominately rural District in the north of Essex covering 612 square kilometres. The majority of the population lives within the three towns of the District; Braintree, Witham and Halstead. The District is an advantageous place to live with an attractive rural setting and many historic buildings, nature reserves and local wildlife sites including ancient woodlands. The District is well placed for economic growth with the central and southern portions of the District benefiting from good rail and road links to London, as well as London Stansted Airport and the ports to the east.

Braintree is the largest town followed by Witham and Halstead. In addition to the town centre facilities, the District benefits from the Freeport Designer Outlet Village that attracts shoppers from the wider District and beyond. The areas in proximity to the A120 and A12 are attractive to commuters, with many who reside in the District travelling to Chelmsford, Colchester and London for work.

Braintree District has been one of the fastest growing areas in the country over the past decade. The population of the District is currently approximately 150,000 and is projected to rise substantially by 2033. As life expectancy increases, the age structure is expected to change, with a marked increase in the number and proportion of the population who will be aged 65 and over. The number of one-person households is also expected to increase.

The Braintree District has a wide employment base of mainly small and medium-sized businesses. In 2011, approximately 58,000 residents worked within the District, 15,000 travelled into the District to work and 32,000 travelled from the District to work in the major centres of London, Chelmsford and Colchester. Unemployment and youth employment rates have been falling and are below the national average.

The Council is promoting the Livewell campaign, working together with partner agencies to reduce levels of adult obesity and reduce numbers of hip fractures in the over 65s. Braintree District has the highest rate of excess winter deaths out of all the Districts in Essex. Levels of adult obesity in the District are currently higher than the national average, and levels of physical activity amongst adult residents are lower than the national average and the lowest in Essex. The Council has invested in new and enhanced leisure facilities in the District. In 2014 a new leisure centre with swimming pool and gym opened in Witham.

Braintree District Council Local guidance Countywide / Subregional Not currently available
Local Development Plan      
Adopted Local Plan    
Draft Local Plan    
Development Viability      
Developer Contributions      
Greater Essex Growth and Infrastructure Framework (GIF)    
Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)    
Development and Urban Design      
Neighbourhood planning    
Planning Policy    
Design Guidance      
Parking Policy      
Health and Wellbeing      
Health Impact Assessment(HIA)    
Accessible and Adaptable Dwellings    
National Space Standards    
Essex Insight Public Health Profile    
Open Space Appraisal     ● 
Open Space Strategy    
Playing Pitch Assessment    
Climate Change and Flood Risk      
Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA)      
Water Cycle Study      
Surface Water Management Plan (SWMP)  
Sustainable Drainage Systems Design Guide    
Environment Quality      
Landscape Character Assessment    
Green Space Strategy    
Historic Characterisation    
Local Wildlife Site Review    
Conservation Appraisal      
Transport and Communications Infrastructure      
Highways Standards      
Cycling Strategy    
Local Transport Plan  
Protected Lanes    
Economy & Retails      
Economic Development Needs Assessment (EDNA)    
Retail Needs Assessment    
Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA)    
Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA)      
Gypsy & Traveller Accommodation Assessment    
Green Belt      
Green Belt Functions Assessment    
Green Belt Landscape Assessment    
Green Belt Boundary Review    

Page updated: 29/08/2019

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