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Tendring Colchester Borders Garden Community

The new Garden Community planned for the north-east of Colchester, straddling the border with Tendring, will become home to 20,000 people over the next 20 years.

We were commissioned by Latimer, the master developer, in 2023 to produce a cultural strategy for the new community, setting out what new facilities and programmes will be needed to support a community of this scale, as well as the wider strategic opportunities are for the Garden Community to become a creative hub that can benefit the wider communities of north Essex. The cultural strategy and brief was supported by mapping and analysis of existing provision, interviews with over 20 cultural stakeholders locally and regionally, from Arts Council England to local artists, and learnings from best practice elsewhere.

The cultural strategy is based on the principle of ‘culture on your doorstep’ – that residents should be able to access and participate in creative and cultural activity easily, from children’s dance classes, pub gigs and amateur theatre to major productions and events. With the increasing evidence for how creative activity benefits physical and mental health and wellbeing, spaces for local cultural activity should be co-located with other social infrastructure including education and healthcare.

The study also identified a number of local and regional gaps in cultural provision which could be located in the Garden Community, and analysis of travel time catchments identified that provision in the Garden Community could also play an important role in increasing cultural and creative participation in Tendring, which is an Arts Council Priority Place.

We are now working with the design team to integrate the recommendations from the strategy into the spatial masterplan and outline planning application.