PLANS are in motion to identify potential sites that will accommodate thousands of new homes for the next 20 years.

Chelmsford Council has produced documents showing 116 sites across the borough that have been identified as being “suitable, available and achievable” for development.

Those sites could cater for about 8,000 homes.

It’s part of a government initiative that asks local authorities to identify potential sites for new homes over a period of years.

Chelmsford already has a plan in place for 16,000 homes to be built up to 2021, but the government has now asked for land supply to be extended to 2035.

The sites have been listed in document known as the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment. Though the sites are listed, it does not decide where future homes could be built. The long process will first go through a public consultation in autumn 2015.

Some of the sites include land south of School Lane, Broomfield, which could cater for 220 homes and land sandwiched between Pathcing Hall Lane and Main Road in Broomfield for 500 homes.

Roy Whitehead, leader of Chelmsford Council, said: “This is a list of all the sites that could be built on in the future. It’s only stage one of a very long process, and one we’re just repeating from a few years ago. We don’t want people to get too excited about it.

“We were one of the first in the country to have a Local Development Framework. It stops people from coming in and doing what they want on land, like we’re seeing n Basildon and Maldon.

“I said many years ago to people you’ll thank me if we put a plan in place, and thankfully we have.”