Essex's huge village that's growing so quickly it really should be a town

Essex has a range of beautiful villages - some of which many people don't even know about. But other villages are so well-known, people often think of them as being towns.

Tiptree is a large village in Essex that's expanding so rapidly it could easily be mistaken for a town. It has seen significant growth over the years and despite its size, Tiptree remains a village after a proposal to adopt town status was rejected at a local referendum in 1999.

Situated between Maldon and Colchester, this Essex village has witnessed rapid expansion over the decades, with numerous housing and commercial developments cropping up in the area. The area has also seen a surge in commercial activities, particularly since the early 2000s.

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One key driver of this growth is its renowned jam production, with Tiptree being an internationally recognised brand of fruit preserves produced by Wilkin and Sons. In 2019, the company boasted over 220 full-time staff and a turnover nearing £50million.

Another significant contributor is the presence of recruitment services and their headquarters. Tiptree is home to Jobserve, the world's first online recruitment service. Founded in the village in 1993, the international brand has since expanded to America and Australia, maintaining its headquarters in the village.

Proposals for a new business park have been included in the neighbourhood plans, aiming to provide fresh employment opportunities for locals and sustain the village's robust and burgeoning economy. In anticipation of increased demand for leisure facilities and amenities due to population growth, the council has proposed a series of community projects. These include the construction of a multi-games surface at Grove Road and replacing the Scout Hut with a community youth and scout hall.

Meanwhile, Tiptree Heath, a popular spot for nature walks in the village, is home to Essex's largest lowland heath spread across 24 hectares. It boasts a variety of rare plants such as Allseed and Chaffweed, and endangered mammals like dormice. The neighbourhood plan outlines strategies aimed at preserving and maintaining the diverse wildlife that inhabit Tiptree's rural and conservation areas.

This includes the creation of green 'corridors' for footpaths, cycle paths, recreation and wildlife, along with a Recreational Disturbance Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy to protect the local fauna from the pressures of an expanding population.

With proposed developments set to cater to the growing population and prominence, there are numerous reasons why this village could be considered a town. Regardless of what the villagers decide, it seems only a matter of time before Tiptree embraces its economic and commercial growth and officially becomes a town.

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