Your letters page in the last few weeks had had many residents opposing Gimsons’ 78-home development in Witham.

Although many local people, if not most, have consistently been against it, successive Government policy changes in the last six or seven years have forced all local authorities to increase their housing numbers substantially.

It has effectively forced unacceptable developments by undermining councils’ ability to determine applications against their local plans.

This is not just a personal view but one shared by most Braintree district councillors, including the leadership.

Gimsons is unfortunately not unique and unacceptable developments have been passed in, for example, Silver End, Braintree town and other areas.

Last week Witham Town Council considered, as a consultee, three applications in Witham North Ward for hundreds more houses at Rickstones Road, Conrad Road and Dorothy Sayers Drive.

Although the Rickstones Road application is in Rivenhall Parish it is acknowledged it is more likely to have an adverse impact on Witham in terms of traffic and other infrastructure issues.

Because of Government policy each of these applications is likely to pass, but as far as Witham councillors are aware no significant infrastructure improvements are being considered for North Ward to mitigate the impact of all these extra houses.

Furthermore there appears to be no willingness to consider the cumulative impact of each of these applications, particularly over traffic and parking problems.

Each of the existing estates and housing communities in North Ward suffer overcrowded streets with parking problems exacerbated by commuters.

Each of the applications satisfies parking standards for the dwellings within the sites but visitor spaces are practically non-existent which are likely to clog further Conrad Road, Forest Road and Rickstones Road and traffic flows will increase significantly with all these vehicles joining the local network, causing queues and additional air pollution.

Two obvious minor improvement opportunities are to create a new zebra crossing to link the new housing communities south of Rickstones Road to the schools on the other side of the road and a need to refurbish the Rickstones Pavilion to replace the Forest Road community hall, demolished some years ago.

Witham councillors found no evidence either of these was being contemplated and in this instance Government policy doesn’t prevent these from being implemented.

My constituents need better than they are being offered.

Cllr Phil Barlow

Labour member Witham North

Chalks Road, Witham