Landowners are being asked to suggest land for potential development.
Braintree Council has begun a call for sites after scrapping its draft Local Development Framework for 3,443 homes across the district.
Up to 883 homes a year may be needed as a result of new housing projections and Government guidance, more than three times the 272 a year the council had thought.
Lady Patricia Newton, cabinet member for planning, said: “With the need for more homes, we will need to look at larger sites, which could include urban extensions like Great Notley, or new settlements, as well as extensions to existing towns and villages, and this will become clearer as we get further into the process.”
Road, jobs, schools, shops, doctors surgeries and other community services will also be needed.
Landowners can find out more at braintree.gov.uk/callforsites.
The deadline for submissions is October 24.