Essex council is to update its famous design guide to fit in with the government's sustainable communities agenda.

The Essex Design Guide, which first appeared in 1973, is regarded as required reading for housebuilders. The updating exercise was announced last week by regeneration minister Lord Rooker, and is to be published later this year as a supplement to the original.

Entitled The Urban Place Supplement, it will address issues of high-density, mixed-use sustainable development as required by the ODPM.

The supplement, which is being prepared in partnership with CABE and the East of England Development Agency, is mainly aimed at private housebuilders, which will be responsible for developing the 100,000 homes designated for the county.

Essex is the only large area designated for sustainable communities to draw up such a design guide.

Lord Haingfiled, leader of Essex council, said that greater attention had to be paid to the complexity of design issues “if we are to achieve our aim of making these homes a popular choice”.

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