Newly elected Councillor Tom Walsh’s letter last week referred to my articulation of Labour’s consistent local planning position since the Conservative Government’s imposition of huge extra numbers of houses to be provided in Braintree district some five years ago.

This resulted in the need to revise the district’s then Local Plan, which had been very close to submission.

As Councillor Walsh reminded your readers, we have opposed the continual tacking of new housing on to the edges of our towns and villages where experience has shown that the necessary accompanying services and facilities would take years to catch up, if ever.

New settlements where the housing, employment areas, schools and services could be designed and delivered at the same time is a far more sustainable, fairer and timely way of delivering the extra Government imposed housing numbers.

Without them there would be even more speculative developments applied for on the edge of Coggeshall that he refers to and the new Local Plan would have to allocate them on the edge of other existing sites, as the Campaign Against Urban Sprawl in Essex consultant recently suggested.

In Witham we know the problems with this, the Maltings Lane estate was started in the 2000s and there are still hardly any facilities and services supporting the residents there.

We have allegedly been promised a louder opposition in the newly elected council from the Greens and independents but shouting louder is not going to reduce the housing numbers imposed on us nor stop the speculative applications and successful appeals in those areas where the Council may refuse them.

It will be interesting to see what changes will transpire in the next few months and years apart from more spin, headline chasing and little constructive opposition.

Phil Barlow

Town councillor for Witham North

Chalks Road, Witham