Why is Quality Important for Essex

Essex first put design at the forefront of planning and place creation in 1973, with the launch of the UK’s first ever Design Guidance of Residential Development- The Essex Design Guide. The guide sets the context for all new development in Essex and provides all users with the necessary tools to deliver quality developments. In response to the unprecedented development pressure facing Essex over the next 20 year The Essex Design Guide was updated in 2018 to be one of the first digital design guides tackling many current and socio-economic topic areas including health and wellbeing, active design, aging population and digital technology.

Currently Essex is home to 1.8 million people, making it the 6th most populous county outside of London. The county is one of the UK’s fastest growing regions which is testament to the economic strength and quality of life offered by the towns and villages within Greater Essex. In order to ensure growth to meet demands is sustainable and delivered to a high quality, the planning system must ensure design and quality are at the forefront of decision making.

The Essex Planning Officers Association (EPOA) are committed to promoting and encouraging high quality design throughout Essex. The creation of the quality review panel will draw on the core principles set out within the Essex Design Guide but also utilise the knowledge and skill of local and nationally respected consultants and practitioners.

One of the main drivers for the EPOA is the need for the panel to reflect the different localities within Essex. The recruitment of the design panel members is currently being advertised to build a professional pool of members who are either based or have key experience of development in the county of Essex. This level of local knowledge and understanding will be crucial in providing a responsive and progressive panel.

The panel will seek to address current and future development quality topics which were the subject of the refresh of the Essex Design Guide in 2018:

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