Guidance issued by the government has been welcomed by the company developing North Essex garden communities.

The 14-page document, which aims to help councils create bodies for overseeing developments, has been released by the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government.

Developers hope this could pave the way for the creation of a north Essex development corporation, responsible for ensuring communities are made with the principles councils have promised.

This comes the same time as campaigners join forces to lobby against North Essex Garden Communities.

Campaign groups Hands Off Wivenhoe, Campaign Against Urban Sprawl in Essex (CAUSE), and Stop Erosion of Rural Communities in Local Essex (SERCLE) have written to councillors asking them to acknowledge proposals have been found unsound by a planning inspector.

Peter Finlay, a spokesman for SERCLE, said: “No amount of spin from the authorities can cover up the fact the Inspector has sent their plans back to the drawing board.

“Not only that but he has recommended they appoint a new and objective consultant to do the work - with an open mind.

“Until it is clear local people will have an influence over the brief and appointment of a new consultant, we will not engage in discussions with NEGC’s PR firm, Grayling.”

However Richard Bayley, managing director of North Essex Garden Communities Ltd, the company set up to develop the proposals, welcomed the new guidelines.

Mr Bayley believes there is a path for councils in North Essex, which enables them to develop plans for a locally led development corporation.

He said: “Of course, councils must consider their next steps following the Planning Inspector’s recent letter.

“However, this doesn’t change the fact that despite being a great place to live, North Essex faces significant challenges. It now costs more than eight times the average salary to buy a home in Colchester or Braintree.

“Doing nothing is not an option.”