Braintree Council has scrapped its plans for 3,443 homes and is going back to the drawing board.
It could take more than two years to complete a new Local Development Framework (LDF).
The current LDF was meant to go out to public consultation then to a planning inspector this year.
But new housing projections and Government guidance means up to 883 houses a year may be needed - more than three times the 272 a year previously thought.
Councillors feared the inspector would find the plan unsound, costing taxpayers £80,000 and paving the way for developers to try to build on previously rejected sites.
Council leader Graham Butland said: “There is ample evidence that it would not be successful and we would be putting at risk a significant sum of tax payers money if we were to do that.”
See this week's Braintree and Witham Times for the full story.