Skip to content
News3 March 2023

International design competition winners announced for 7,500-home Tendring Colchester Borders Garden Community

RIBA Stirling Prize-winning architecture firm Haworth Tompkins will lead a visionary team of domestic and international architects in masterplanning a landmark 7,500-home garden community in Essex after winning a major design competition this month.

Latimer, the development arm of Clarion Housing Group, has chosen the winning team – made of up seven individual architects and practices – marking the end of a five-month search for a masterplanner for its 715-hectare Tendring-Colchester Borders project.

The Haworth Tompkins-led team will comprise Swedish masterplanners Kjellander Sjöberg, spatial and landscape design practice Periscope, emerging architecture firm Grounded Practice, international engineering and sustainability experts Arup and regenerative design specialist Exploration Architecture.

The seven-strong team will now work with lead developers Latimer to prepare a detailed masterplan for the site in advance of an outline planning application for the new garden city to be submitted next year.

The winning team will reinforce a range of consultants already appointed by Latimer to support the masterplan developments process. These are Lichfield as planning consultants, Fourth Street as place vision consultants, RPS as cost consultants, Stantec for technical engineering disciplines and young person engagement specialists Matt + Fiona.

Consultant teams were last autumn invited to enter the developer’s design competition to create an outstanding masterplan for the North Essex project, which aims to be the most sustainable and inclusive new community in the UK.

Working with consultants Colander, Latimer assessed a total of 30 quality submissions received from experienced international firms, independent design practices and a series of consortiums for the competition’s first stage.

Five finalists were then invited to participate in stage two, with refined submissions judged on their collaborative approach to the design of a landmark community which recognised garden community principles whilst exploring how these might evolve to create a resilient model for future communities and generations.

The competition’s expert judging panel included Lord Matthew Taylor – an instrumental figure in garden community policy – and Jonathan Rose from Prior + Partners, who have been developing the policy framework and strategic masterplan for the new community on behalf of the councils.

The diverse new mixed-tenure project will provide high-quality housing, employment space, a new country park, University of Essex campus expansion and a rapid transport system alongside new retail, leisure and community infrastructure over the next two decades.

The winning team is announced at an important time for the project following confirmation this week (27 February 2023) that the joint planning committee, established to consider applications for the new community, is supportive of the submission version of the Development Planning Document (DPD).

The joint planning committee has also supported the strategic masterplan prepared by the Councils, and has recommended the DPD to both Colchester City Council and Tendring District Council.

Richard Cook, Group Development Director at Clarion Housing Group, said:

“We were incredibly impressed and privileged to assess as many as 30 innovative, compelling and inspiring proposals from home and abroad on our journey to appoint an outstanding masterplanning team for this once-in-a-generation project.

“A huge thank you to everyone who entered and congratulations to the winning team. This marks the beginning of a crucial working partnership which will help us set the standard for future placemaking at a sustainable 21st garden community.”

Joanna Sutherland, Director, Haworth Tompkins said:

“We are thrilled to be selected to masterplan the Tendring and Colchester Border Garden Community. The masterplan offers an opportunity for us to synthesise many strands of work we are passionate about – thinking about how we will live, collaborate, exchange and work with respect and understanding for our natural environment.

“We look forward to working with Latimer, the existing community and regional stakeholders to create a new place which attracts existing and new residents alike, inspires locals and amplifies voices.”

Lord Matthew Taylor said:

“The teams at Haworth Tompkins and Kjellander Sjöberg have been hugely impressive. They have shown flair, innovation and expertise in their thinking about masterplanning the project to create a truly exemplar new community.

“Latimer’s commitment to delivering quality and social cohesion for the new community, coupled with the exceptionally high-quality team now appointed to plan it, should give everyone with a stake in the future of the community great confidence it will be delivered to the best possible standards. I can’t wait to work with them to make this new community the best of the best.”

Latimer was selected as development partner for the new community in the summer of 2021, and will work alongside local residential developer Mersea Homes, Colchester City Council, Tendring District Council and Essex County Council to bring the plans to life. It will also engage proactively with the local community.

Read more details on the winning team, including visuals of their successful submission.