CAMPAIGNERS have hit back at claims garden communities are the best way to solve the “hidden” homeless problem in North Essex.

In an article published in The Times last week, leader of Braintree Council Graham Butland warned a “long-term approach” towards housebuilding was needed and the council had to “grasp the housing nettle” or risk a generation of young people being unable to buy their own property.

However the Campaign Against Urban Sprawl in Essex (Cause) said residents had already made it clear the new community near Marks Tey, dubbed West Tey, was not wanted.

Rosie Pearson, secretary of Cause, said: “What Mr Butland proposes will saddle future generations with council debt, years of chaos, project overruns and overcrowded infrastructure.

“People would prefer council leaders to address the concerns put to them, which have not been answered, rather than devoting time to spin.

“Stand alone new towns are not the only way of delivering housing in conjunction with infrastructure. West Tey should not be in the local plan.”

West Tey is a housing development of over 16,000 new homes while another garden community of around 15,000 homes is being proposed at Andrewsfield Airfield, in Stebbing.

Stop Erosion of Rural Communities in Local Essex (Sercle) is opposed to the plans.

A spokesman for Sercle said: “No one would argue the point there should be more housing but this ill-conceived scheme for a garden village is neither garden nor village.

"If you go to the Sercle website,, you can read the true and evidenced arguments presented to Braintree Council including blatant disregard for providing water, infrastructure, medical care and access.

"Only the developers and their associates stand to gain; leaving an under resourced new town and devastated rural communities.

"It is not nimbyism to oppose having a massive town swamping small villages but a fight to put schemes of this scale somewhere that can accommodate them.”

Mr Butland was speaking out about the difficulty young people face getting on the housing ladder.