One year ago, the government announced a string of 14 new garden settlements and three garden towns across England. If all goes to plan, 48,000 homes will be built as a result.

The aim is to construct attractive, well-designed new settlements that meet housing need. Gavin Barwell, housing minister at the time, said they should be “places, not just dormitory suburbs”.

In North Essex, four councils are taking the idea and running with it.

The plans are certainly ambitious. The councils are joining together to form a new sort of development company with the aim of building three garden settlements made up of 40,000 homes – almost as many as the government has approved across England so far (Read more on Inside Housing).