Résumé : Moderate or Intense Low Oxygen Dilution (MILD) combustion is a fuel-flexible combustion technology featuring high efficiency and low pollutant emissions. Fundamental studies reveal that turbulence-chemistry interactions are extremely complex in MILD conditions and reactor-type approaches seem to be the adequate modelling choice. In this work we develop a generalised Eddy Dissipation Concept (EDC) adapted to MILD combustion regime accounting for finite rate chemistry. We examine two recent modifications of the standard EDC and present a generalised model. It is based on functional expressions where the model parameters are adjusted to the local conditions in terms of Reynolds and Damköhler numbers, contrary to the usually proposed ad hoc tuning of the global EDC constants. Numerical results reveal that previously presented corrections are indeed suitable for specific conditions; their appropriate combination, guided by physical premises and a scrutiny of computation results, leads to a reformulation of the EDC framework. The study consists of two parts: the model development is described here (Part 1); in a companion paper (Part 2), we present a thorough validation process performed against twelve flames issuing from the jet-in-hot-coflow burners from Delft and Adelaide, representing a wide range of operating conditions. The new, generalised model can serve as a plug and play engineering tool without complex pre- or post-processing treatment.