A council has hit back at claims a magazine which was mailed to its residents is misleading.

Braintree Council's annual Contact magazine was sent out to 67,000 homes earlier this month featuring among other topics, details relating to planning across the district.

Since its publication, campaigners have hit out at the section dealing with the council's stalled Local Plan and garden community proposals, saying the information does not accurately reflect planning inspector Roger Clews' findings, which were presented in June.

Rosie Pearson, secretary of the Campaign Against Urban Sprawl in Essex (Cause), said: "It is astonishing that both Braintree Council and North Essex Garden Communities, are prepared to distribute such misleading nonsense.

"The inspector found the proposals unsound, citing problems including infrastructure delivery, financing of the plans, insufficient affordable housing, and lack of employment.

"Mr Clews did not agree that we only have two alternatives: vast, land hungry garden towns or sprawl around our villages. He told the councils to look at other options.

"This council propaganda would be laughable if it wasn't for the fact that the proposals prevent and distract from what is really necessary – a local plan that protects us from speculative developer applications now."

Despite the inspector ruling part of the plan was unsound, Braintree Council, Tendring Council and Colchester Council have all agreed to continue working on the garden community plans, which could see 43,000 homes built at three towns along the A120 corridor.

Ed Charlesworth, of Stop Erosion of Rural Communities in Local Essex (Sercle), said: "Anyone would be forgiven for believing that the Garden Communities were going full steam ahead, which anyone who has read the Inspector’s letter knows to be far from the truth.

"To ask residents for their views in shaping Garden Communities which have been rejected by Mr Clews as unviable and based on a potentially unlawful selection process suggests that the councils have no intention of following his instructions and returning to the drawing board."

Over the next few weeks the planning inspector and councils are set to work together on drawing up a timetable for the resubmission of further evidence.

A Braintree Council spokesman said: "The piece is one page of brief information in a comprehensive magazine that informs residents about the range of services Braintree Council offers.

"The article is accurate and gives people who want to know more an opportunity to do that by visiting the planning policy part of our website where all the evidence and planning inspector’s letters can be found in full.

"The local plan is about talking to our communities about the housing, employment and infrastructure we absolutely need.

"We know some local groups oppose those plans and they have every right to have their say just as we have a responsibility to keep people informed.”

The magazine can be viewed at www.braintree.gov.uk/contactmag.