Britain is facing key economic, housing and environmental challenges; the planning system is under pressure to play its part by ensuring that we are best placed to meet them. Since the banking crisis and the consequent programme of necessary austerity measures our economy has continued to flat line amid threats of a third recessionary dip. At the same time the rapidly emerging global economy is challenging the ability of our traditional business sectors to remain competitive. There appears to be no quick fix or a return to boom time economics to lead us out of the economic doldrums. Improvement in our economic fortunes will increasingly only come from new business sectors which can successfully compete in world markets playing on our national strengths of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurial skills. Recent figures show for every three new households being formed in the UK we are only building one new house. Despite the best efforts of successive governments our house building rate continues to lag behind demand causing mounting social pressure and hardship.This situation is exacerbated by our poor economic performance which is limiting our ability to deliver physical and social infrastructure. Colchester andTendring Councils each face different plan making challenges. Colchester will need to plan for its role as an area of strong growth by delivering the best outcomes for prosperity; however, growth should not be at the cost of reducing the quality of life.Tendring will need to address the challenges of an increasingly aging population, the regeneration of its coastal towns and the creation of a strong economy. Both Councils must ensure their rich and varied natural resources are supported by responsible growth. Proposals for a new Joint Growth Area address these issues by offering a broad location for growth shared between the two districts and based around Essex University but with improved links to the International Port at Harwich, the A120 corridor and Colchester as a centre for growth.The proposal is led by the establishment of new business sectors strengthened by university links. Essex University is already a major economic force in the area with an annual £200 million turnover.This economic driver is set to expand with more innovative and entrepreneurial focussed activity to create an economic ripple effect encompassing the wider area.
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